Saturday, April 27, 2013
With the impending move of the Salem Senior Center, here's a look back at the history behind the historic Broad Street site.
I was recently asked the question about the history of 5 Broad Street. Now that the green light has been given to a new senior center, it seems this would be a good time to review the history of 5 Broad St. as it enters a period of change. Before this area became an enclave of educational buildings in the mid 1800s, there was already significant history here. This area was the site of Salem Common for many years before the Common on Washington Square. In the 1600s and 1700s the current Common on Washington Square was a combination of marshland with streams and hillocks along with scrubland, surrounded by ropewalks and tanneries leading to Collins (Shallops) Cove. In those days, the cove reached further inland to a dock on what is now Essex…
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Wandering through Valentine history and Salem advertisements
Valentine's Day has a long and clouded history. When searching for its origins, you encounter a variety of explanations. Many say the origin dates from third century Rome when a Christian priest named Valentine was martyred for performing marriages for Christians in defiance of the law. While he was executed on Feb. 14 and was later named a saint, the commemoration of the date as a time to express love didn’t occur for centuries. In the fifth century, when Rome was no longer pagan, but Christian, various celebrations from pagan days persisted among the population. One such feast was Lupercalia, (Feast of the Wolf), which harkened back to Rome’s founding, and had evolved into a festival with animal sacrifices, feasts and rituals to ensure …
Friday, November 30, 2012
As we prepare to say final farewells to Saint Joseph Church it seems a fitting time to look back at the church and the people who built it.
The story of St Joseph Church is a story of a unique people who helped build Salem’s industries and went on to influence all aspects of the city. As industrialization took hold in Salem in the mid 1800s there was a need for laborers able to handle the increasingly complicated machinery in the mills and factories. This growing need fueled the arrival of large number of French Canadians who moved from severe economic conditions in the largely agrarian Quebec. The Quebec Province at this time was under much stress with a growing population with limited opportunities. Canada’s population had grown by 400% between 1784 and 1844. It was nearly impossible to pursue farming due to the non-availability of suitable land. Farmland between 1784 and …
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Here's an opportunity for you to recommend someone as a 'Salem Legendary Local' to be included in this book of past and living history.
Want to see a friend or relative included in a history of Salem? Recently three local writers contracted with Arcadia Publications to add a Salem edition to their successful new series entitled Legendary Locals. Each book in Arcadia Publishing’s Legendary Locals series delves into the history of some of the unique individuals and groups, past and present, who have made a memorable impact on their community throughout its history. This will be the third book of legendary locals in Massachusetts. Both Westford and Haverhill have recently been published. Accepting the challenge of researching, identifying, and finding images of these people are Dorothy Malcolm, Nelson Dionne and Jerome Curley. Given the depth and breadth of Salem’s history …
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Pointed out as haunted for decades, this historic house is one of Salem's architectural treasures.
As the wealthy merchant class grew in Salem at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, they started building fine homes and mansions. At the time, merchants looked for desirable areas on which to build. One of the most desirable was Bridge Street because of its straight road with Salem waters and marsh land cooling the area during hot summer months as well as ocean winds sweeping the causeway clear of winter snows. While there were few houses along Bridge Street in 1800, there were some buildings and businesses that were not interested in being displaced. They resisted the idea of making way for mansions so the builders turned their sights on developing a new street. Eventually Chestnut Street was laid out for the future …
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Here's a vintage selection from Nelson Dionne -- do you recognize it?
Here's another selection from Nelson Dionne's vintage collection. Where was this photo snapped? Tell us in the comments, and we'll have an answer for you on Wednesday. As always, thank you for sharing, Nelson!
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Last week we asked you to identify a building in Salem based on a vintage photograph; here's the answer.
Last week we asked you to identify a building from Nelson Dionne's vintage photo collection. The building we asked you to identify is now the site of F.W. Webb at 295 Bridge St. The signage on this building might be different today, but its unique sillouhette remains the same. Were you able to guess correctly?
Monday, April 16, 2012
Take this quiz about Salem during a formative time in the nation's history.
Patriot's Day marks the formal beginning of the American Revolution, and like most surrounding communities, Salem had its own important roles to play during this momentous time in history. With this quiz, check out some of the interesting details that can be found in the city's history, and test your own knowledge in the process!
Sunday, April 8, 2012
A little known Salem inventor has had a lasting and continuing impact.
Whenever you pick up that distinctive yellow #2 pencil inscribed with Dixon Ticonderoga, you are handling a bit of Salem history. This pencil along with several other common articles we all use, were the brainchildren of Joseph Dixon who lived and had his first factory in North Salem in the 1820s. Joseph Dixon was born in Marblehead in 1799, the son of a mariner. Joseph, while having little formal education, had a variety of interests. While in his teens, he invented a machine for making and cutting files which had been hand made. While still young he became a printer but was unable to afford metal type so taught himself to carve wood for type. Interested in trying to cast his own type he learned about metallurgy. The difficulty with …
Monday, June 6, 2011
This mansion is just part of the story of this historic place.
This photo from 1938 shows a distinctive house shortly after it was built in 1900. This house was built for Dr. Hardy Phippen, a well known Salem physician who had his offices and home here for several decades. The house itself is unique to this neighborhood being the only Colonial revival mansion overlooking Salem Common. While the architect remains unknown, this design clearly was influenced by the architectural work of Samuel McIntire and Charles Bulfinch. According to Bryant Tolles, in his book, Architecture in Salem, this dwelling brings together a variety of Georgian, Colonial and Federal elements that make this house so distinctive. This is most notable when you compare this facade to McIntire’s Assembly House at 138 Federal St. In …