Vintage Salem Morning!

Town House SquareTown House Square Salem MA 1891

The Stearn Building which housed H.P. Ives Bookstore once was flush with the corner of Short Street, which was long gone even in this photo. The building opposite the Stearn Building, on Short Lane, once held the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, after John Hancock took up Reverend Bentley’s offer to move it here after Boston was invaded during the Revolutionary War.  The offending part of the Stearn Building has been removed to make it now flush to the new corner of Washington Street and Essex Street. Most of the buildings behind it have long since been removed and the new ones are also flushed to the current location of Washington Street.

Also you can see the beginning of the tunnel that led to the underground train station in which goods were smuggled through from the Kinsman Building in the distance. Do you remember the fortune telling machine or the traffic cop in the box from here? Tell us below?

Send us your favorite vintage Salem photos to info@salemhousepress.com and we will post them and give you a shout out! Also if you have some to add about the photo from family histories, your readings, or your memories, please share them below in the comments section.

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Vintage Salem Morning

Wurlitzer Organ,
Paramount Theater
on Essex Street

Wurlitzer Organ Paramount Theater Salem Ma

Now replaced by the East India Mall, the Paramount used to be a Salem favorite with it’s organ that would rise out of the floor to provide the sound effects and score to the movies during the silent era. I was asked recently, ‘were did the organ go?’, but I had no answer. Do you?

Send us your favorite vintage Salem photos to info@salemhousepress.com and we will post them and give you a shout out! Also if you have something to add about the photo from family histories, your readings, or your memories, please share them below in the comments section. Do you know where the organ is today?

H.P. Lovecraft and Salem

Cthulu Walks Here…

In 1923 and 1924 in the summers H.P. Lovecraft, horror writer, came to Salem and was inspired by many of the buildings in town. Those listed above are only a few. In his narratives Salem became known as Arkham; an epitaph borrowed by the Batman franchise. Other surrounding areas became Innsmouth (Ipswich) and Kingsport (Marblehead). Tales like Herbert West-Reanimator, Pickman’s Model, and The Thing on the Doorstep were set inside this fictional Arkham.  Also institutons like Danvers State Hospital were transformed into Arkham Asylum  and the Essex Institute into the Miskatonic University.

For more info read Sub Rosa to find out how Salem shaped America and your lives! Available at Remember Salem, Jolie Tea, Wicked Good Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com.

Salem House Press
http://www.salemhousepress.com

Colossal Victorian Divorce

America’s First Family in Disarray…

West Vs. West Divorce with America's first Millinaire FamilyMany of us living on the North Shore of Boston know of the mall called…The North Shore Mall. Some of us know the stories of the various graves that dot the property in the hedges before you walk into JC Penny’s and other locations or the  stories of the church that resides in the basement; very few know of the mansion that resided on this location and the nasty divorce that got the home pulled apart and reassembled in various places.

So lets back up a bit; who were the couple who built the mansion known as Oak Hill. Well Elizabeth Derby West was the daughter of Elias Hasket Derby who was America’s first millionaire and on some lists is described as the 10th wealthiest man in American history. Imagine that a millionaire who had more wealth than today’s billionaires? Inflation… Elizabeth married Nathaniel West, a man her father declared a scullion. Well in time Captain West won over his father-in-law and was confided in business decisions more often than not than his own children. So much so that the father willed to his son-in-law Derby Wharf which was the largest and most profitable in town. This little act led to  a no holds bar fist fight between Elias Hasket Derby Jr. and Elizabeth against her husband. later she would probably have such a fight with her brother after he inherited the family mansion on Derby Square which he soon squandered away.

In 1803 the scandal opened in court. Here is a few words from Rev. Bentley (diarist and friend of John Hancock):

Never could Johnson’s words better [be] applied, when a man marries a fortune it is not all he marries. The woman became all that is execrable in women from vanity, caprice, folly, & malignity…

He was an enterprising seaman with no uncommon advantages of education or nature, but his ambition led him to address the eldest daughter of the late E.H. Derby…The mother of Elizabeth was a Crowninshield and well known for vanity which she exposed to constant & deserved ridicule. E. possessed the rigid temper of her father, with all the weakness of her mother.”

and

“…after every quarrel with all her relatives she waged open war against her husband & this day, aided by the unfeeling perseverance of her malignant Br[other] Gen. E.H. D[erby] who has a private quarrel to avenge, she displayed in open court, to prove the incontinence of Capt. W[est], all the sweepings of the Brothels of Boston, & all the vile wretches of Salem, Marblehead, Cape Ann.

The mansion. It remained in Elizabeth’s hands during her life, but she was to die 10 years later. Then one of her daughters gave it to her father, against the wishes in the mother’s will… It was torn apart; a parlor is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, some rooms were on display at the Peabody Essex Museum a few years ago, a summer house is on the Glen Magna estate, and a portion is added to the Phillips House on Federal Street in Salem.  So Oak Hill remains no more, in its entirety, but you can visit the ghost of Captain West at the Salem Inn. Most of the time his spirit can be felt by his bottle of port which you are welcomed to share a glass with him. Plus if you are in the Christmas spirit…you can shop for many gifts at the North Shore Mall on the location of this once famous mansion.

To read more about how Salem shaped American history read Sub Rosa by Chris Dowgin published by Salem House Press.

www.salemhousepress.com

 

Vintage Salem Morning

Jean Missud and his Second Corp of Cadets Marching Band in a parade down Essex Street in Salem MA. Jean wrote famous pieces like the March of the Witches and the Salem Gazebo is dedicated to him. It is even said that his band still can be heard around the gazebo playing a few ghostly tunes….

Send us your favorite vintage Salem photos to info@salemhousepress.com and we will post them and give you a shout out! Also if you have some to add about the photo from family histories, your readings, or your memories, please share them below in the comments section.

Book Early for October in Salem!

Salem Smugglers’ Tour

Chris Dowgin near Salem ArmoryTake the tour based on the books Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City and Sub Rosa by your tour guide Chris Dowgin. Learn how a series of tunnels made for gentlemen who had shaped our country led to fortunes that controlled our nation’s banking, shaped our Constitution, brought the first drunk elephant to America, assassinated three presidents, and much much more!!! Also learn about the real murder behind the game Clue!
More than Witches!!!
Salem Smugglers’ Tour
http://www.salemtunneltour.com

Salem Fagin

The First Boy’s Club and Tunnels…

The First Boy’s Club in the country was held in a building attached to this tunnel. In fact the three locations that the club first resided in were all attached to the smuggling tunnels in Salem MA. The first was the Downing Block next to the Peabody Essex Museum. The second location was in the Salem Lyceum that previous housed a lecture series where Alexander Graham Bell introduced his phone publicly at. The third location was in the old Essex County Bank building built by Charles Bulfinch who became the Architect of D.C. who built all the tunnels under our capitol.

The Boy’s Club learned an important early lesson; keep the kids in a brick building. For the one time they were housed in a wooden building, the Lyceum, they burned it down.  The location where James Russell Lowell introduced the Dante Club’s translation of The Inferno was burned to the ground by these children.

So why was it so important to have these economically challenged children in building attached to the tunnels? Were they helping the sailors and captains smuggle in town? Were they assisting in the runaway slaves attempts at gaining freedom? Or were they run by a Salem Fagin who had them act like the Artful Dodger and break into the homes that also were attached to the tunnels?

Who is to say, but it makes you think…

For more info read Sub Rosa to find out how Salem shaped America and your lives! Available at Remember Salem, Jolie Tea, Wicked Good Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com. Also to learn more stories like this first hand, book a tour with the Salem Smugglers’ Tour!

Salem House Press
http://www.salemhousepress.com