Orne’s Point and the Brick Kiln for the Tunnels

Orne's Point Salem MATimothy Orne the First was a ship owner who gave George Crowninshield and Richard Derby their start in his counting house. Their children Elias Hasket and Mary Crowninshield would be later married and be the first millionaire couple in the country. On Orne’s Point Timothy had a tavern that had long been connected to tunnels in town. If you walk the marsh on the property you will noticed a “Y” appear out of it. This is the high ground after the marsh sunk around the tunnel that splits to the two properties on the point.

Now his grandson Timothy Orne III left behind a widow Elizabeth Seawall Pynchon Orne. Out of desperation she began selling off parts of the large Orne estate. Beginning with a larger than usual sale of land, $1,800, to John Sherry had given her a little influx. Also John Buffum was running the ancient tavern on the site. In 1804, however, her means to support the estate had changed; the Widow Orne embarked on the brickyard business.

It has been 3 years since the Salem Common Improvement Fund subscribers began their extension of the tunnels through town. John Fullerton I believe was supplying the bricks initially. The widow Orne subsequently purchased a shop situated in Marlborough Street (Federal Street) on land of William Hunt and had the building moved to Orne’s Point in January of 1804. She also bought oxen and several shovels. She then contracted with Pickering Dodge for her first order of 300,000 bricks. Several other brick sales, some of them quite large, soon followed. Timothy Pickering, a cousin, orders 200,000. Now it only takes somewhere in between 2,000 and 4,000 bricks to build a home, so these purchases give away their real intent. Her daughter Margaret married Joseph Perkins, light house keeper on Baker’s Island, harbor pilot, and he was a Salem Common Improvement Subscriber.

Her son-in-law, Colonel Thomas Cushing IV became involved in the brickyard. Cushing’s father was John Hancock’s best friend and Lieutenant Governor. Thomas Cushing III might of brought Hancock to Salem to run the Provincial Government on Short, Essex, and Washington Streets in front of Daniel Lowe’s building. Col. Thomas Cushing IV was related to John Perkins Cushing through Thomas Cushing II born in 1663. His house is now the Barking Cat on Essex Street.

He was married to Elizabeth Orne’s daughter, Catherine Seawall Pynchon, in 1802. Thomas Cushing and Elizabeth Orne continued to cooperate the brickyard. While managing the sale, supply and distribution of the bricks, had been Elizabeth Orne and Thomas Cushing’s jobs, the actual clay digging and brick molding was subcontracted to Elihu Eggleston. Beginning in 1806, the year of Thomas Cushing’s death, Elizabeth Orne leased the entire operation to Elihu Eggleston for $500.00 per year, and apparently distanced herself from day to day operations.

The remainder of Elizabeth Orne’s life, from 1806-1821, she returned to the domestic realm. Catherine Cushing remarries, this time to Elisha Mack and the couple moves into Elizabeth’s home. Mack’s sister donates Mack Park to the city and establishes the Mack Industrial School for Girls. Its building is connected to the tunnels in town.

Now if you walk down Orne Street to the point you will pass the public playground and look down at your feat. You will notice the road is so badly humped from the ground settling around the brick arched tunnel below. As you continue you will see that marsh I talked about and notice the “Y” in the field. At this point the road becomes private. When I walked down the road one night I found a lama. The lama looked like he wanted to be pet.

I walked back to the playground and started to play. That is when I heard the guard rooster. I didn’t think much of it at the time. So in due course I stopped playing on the swings and stuff and walked back toward the graveyard.

Before I could get to Lee and Orne Street a pickup drove slowly past looking at me. I was looking for a beach head that night that had stories of a witch head buried in it. So I went down the next road, but to no avail. So I headed back up and then saw the police cruiser. I assume looking for me. I was ratted out by the guard rooster.

I have since been in the basement of their money management business in Jacob Rust’s store on Essex Street and seen six sealed tunnel entrances in their basement. Thanks to the great philanthropist John Boris who introduced me. They received Orne’s point through Rebecca Orne, the daughter of Timothy II and Rebecca Orne, who married Joseph S. Cabot. I believe their son was Joseph S. Cabot the fourth mayor of the City of Salem.

City Hall resides on Joseph’s property. His basement and tunnels still are attached to the current building. Recently the town filmed the tunnels and placed a time capsule in them. Cabot was president of the Asiatic Bank founded by Stephen White and the Salem Savings Bank founded by Edward Augustus Holyoke. Two of the smugglers in town. He was head of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society that owned the Northeast section of the cemetery on Lee Street. He was also the Massachusetts State Bank Commissioner. Many people know Orne’s Point as Cabot Farm today.

Now to connect Jacob Rust’s store to the Greenlawn Cemetery. When you watch Lords Of Salem notice Rob Zombie’s wife’s apartment on Essex Street in the old doctor’s office by the Library. Next door to the left was Jacob Rust’s house. Many houses and stores were connected together through leases in Salem. Connected by leases above board and tunnels below. Also Rob Zombie’s wife will walk in the cemetery at the end of the movie.

Another funny thing about the Jacob Rust House on Essex and Hamilton Streets, it is in a quiet zone. This quiet zone starts after the Salem Athenaeum library and ends before the Salem Public Library. Neither library is within the quiet zone…
The other Orne property of any mention is the old Bowman Bakery which now houses the Barking Cat on Essex Street before the YMCA.

bottomFor more tales like this about how Salem MA has shaped American History read Sub Rosa by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin available at Barnes & Nobel, Amazon.com, and your favorite local independent book seller.
Ask for it by name!

Greenlawn Cemetery Tunnels, and Lords of Salem

Dead Men Tell No Tales

Greenlawn Chapel and Greenhouse Salem Ma

A beautiful memorial chapel and conservatory, erected in 1894, by Walter Scott Dickson in memory of his wife, is located here. Dickson Chapel is a High Victorian Gothic work of architecture, made with light-brown granite with trim of olive stone. The conservatory was taken down in the 1970’s after it suffered damage. In 1887 the cemetery was enclosed with an iron fence and gates, 1,087 feet long. Major improvements were initiated in 1933 and 1934 with W.P.A. workers planting many botanical specimens. F. Carroll Sargent, noted arborist, brought many varieties of trees and shrubs from all over North America, China, Japan, Europe, Manchuria, Siberia and Korea to plant at the cemetery. Notable speciments are the following trees: Amur Cork, Dawn Redwood, Osage Orange, Yellowwood, and Katsura Trees. In 1934 the Workers Progress Administration (WPA) workers planted hundreds of trees. Over the years that followed, seeds of shrubs and trees were received from the Arnold Arboretum and started and nurtured in the cemetery greenhouses for eventual planting on the grounds. Longtime Cemetery Commissioner F. Carroll Sargent was instrumental in continuing the tradition of planting and propagating trees and shrubs for the cemetery. There are two bodies of water, Sargent Pond and Fountain Pond.

MA Salem Greenlawn Cemetery Pond and Bridge Color

Pond

Dickson Memorial Chapel is a hidden treasure nestled in North Salem’s Greenlawn Cemetery. The highly significant and impressive Gothic Revival, stone Dickson Memorial Chapel (1894), was designed by Newton architect George Meacham. What is truly hidden are the tunnels under it.

GreenLawn Cemetery Chapel Tunnels Salem MA

GreenLawn Cemetery Chapel Tunnels Salem MA

GreenLawn Cemetery Chapel Tunnels Salem MA

GreenLawn Cemetery Chapel Tunnels Salem MA

GreenLawn Cemetery Chapel Tunnels Salem MA

GreenLawn Cemetery Chapel Tunnels Salem MA

GreenLawn Cemetery Chapel Tunnels Salem MA

GreenLawn Cemetery Chapel Tunnels Salem MA

GreenLawn Cemetery Chapel Tunnels Salem MA

The tunnel blocked off by the stairs you enter upon would lead to Orne’s Point where a widow would sell bricks to build the tunnels in town. Another headed toward Manning’s house, a Salem Common Improvement Fund members house. The other led to that creepy crypt, now storing weed whackers. Plus there is an old crapper under a pile of bricks, I bet that was one hell of a shit.

Toilet covered in brick in the Dickson Chapekl Salem MA

Now Rob Zombie filmed Lords of Salem in this cemetery, but he did not see any of these tunnels. Not even the crypt…

Lords of Salem 14

Get the book everyone digs before its sequel comes out!
Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City!
Available at Barnes & Noble, Remember Salem, and Wicked Good Books in Salem on Essex Street. Also on Amazon.com!

Then for a great time take the Salem Smugglers’ Tour to find out all of the secrets one can dig up in town!

Orne’s Point, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Uncle, and the Tunnels Under the Greenlawn Cemetery Chapel

The Greenlawn Cemetery in the North Fields of Salem, MA was once owned buy Nathaniel Hawthorne’s uncle Manning. Manning was one of 158 subscribers who paid for the beautification of the local common which was a disguise for an elaborate plan to connect most of the town to a network of deceit. A series of smuggling tunnels ran under the city and some of them went through Manning’s old tree nursery which is now the cemetery.

This picturesque cemetery has recently been a location in the Rob Zombie’s film Lords of Salem. The film crew received access to the chapel and graveyard, but they did not gain access to the tunnels below and the crypts…

Then this tunnel is blocked off by a modern set of stairs (cellar stairs not being historically accurate to a building of this age usually were converted tunnel entrances.) that once led to the Cabot Farm. The Cabot Farm was first owned by 3 generations of men named Timothy Orne. The last of the three gentlemen dies young and leaves behind a widow who remains penniless until she starts selling bricks in 1804. The brickyard was run by her son-in-law Thomas Cushing who builds a house on Orne’s Point. He would also own the building in which becomes the Bowman’s Bakery on Essex Street.  Cushing would die in 1806 leaving the operation to Elihu Eggleston who had been making the bricks for them for several years. The widow Cushing had to only collect the money.

 

 

One of the widow Cushing’s first orders was to Pickering Dodge. He had purchased 300,000 bricks. Now lets look at the numbers. Here is an estimate from one site on the web:

If it is assumed that the entire exterior of a 2,400-square-foot house is brick, then it would take about 5,226 bricks in a single layer to cover 2,400 square feet of space.

Mr. Dodge’s order was roughly 60 times what would be needed for one home. Dodge’s home at 29 Chestnut Street might be a large home, but not that large. He was the nephew of Timothy Pickering who was one of Washington’s generals and Secretary of State. Timothy Pickering was the infamous writer of the Alien & Sedition Acts.  Mrs. Cushing was said to have had several large orders like Mr. Dodge’s in the years to come.

Where were all of those bricks going? Could someone have propositioned the desperate widow who was selling off property after her husband died to furnish bricks for the clandestine tunnels in town? The Orne’s were a merchant family with property on the river. A convenient location for smugglers. You can see the tunnels split like a Y in a field on Orne’s Point. Also Orne Street is badly humped from the erosion around the tunnels below it. Here are the pictures of the tunnels running under the old hot house next to the chapel.

The North Fields were also said to be a hotbed of abolitionist spirit. Many homes could of been connected in this area to help runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad.  Here are a few more pictures.

Green_HouseFor more information make sure you read Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin. Also look out for its sequel Sub Rosa coming out this summer! How the men who built the tunnels in the city conspired to have two presidents killed, crash the nations economy, reinterpret the Constitution, and started the drug war in the nineteenth century.