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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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.

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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.

Vintage Salem Morning

Corner of Essex Street and Saint Peter’s Street

Corner of Essex Street and St. Peters Street with Sign reading Ted Coles

This is the second location of Ted Cole’s Music shop. The first I believe was on the corner of Front and Central Street in a building replaced by a cherry dogwood tree and an air conditioner unit. Previously in the location above was an Eaton Pharmacy. Now the East India Mall and the fountain have closed off Saint Peter’s access to this corner. Can you name where Ted Cole’s final location was?

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.

I am Daniel Webster

Sam the Eagle was Inspired by Me

Daniel Webster photo

I shaped the Constitution, I was one of the three most powerful senators, director of two branches of the Second Bank of the United States, prosecutor of the real murder Clue is based on, the real Sam the Eagle from the Muppets, a traitor at the Hartford Convention, agent of Barings/ Bank of England, and I assassinated 3 presidents. Senator Henry Clay helped, but along the way we killed off members of each other’s family…

For more info read Sub Rosa by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin!

I am Chief Justice Isaac Parker

I Never Missed a Day on the Bench Till..

Isaac Parker painting

I was the Chief Justice of Massachusetts and one of the original High Federalist. I died 3 days after I said I never felt better and never missed a day on the bench. I was to preside over the murder case that inspired the American version of Clue by Parker Brothers. The murder happened 3 months earlier in 1830 and 3 days after Daniel Webster supposedly came to Salem to prosecute the case. Previously I was the judge accusing him of been a traitor in the 1812 War. The Parker Brothers were the grandson of my cousin William Parker.

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

I am J.P. Morgan

I Took over Peabody & Co.

J.P. Morgan

I took over the bank my father inherited from George Peabody. They plotted the creation of a third national bank to hand our economy to the British. They failed, but I succeeded in 1913 when I had the Federal Reserve created and in time stripped all species from it’s banking. My bank has been fined for creating the 2008 Financial Collapse. In fact starting in 1837 Peabody & Co.and JP Morgan & Co. (JP Morgan Chase) have been crashing the economy on purpose every 20 years and choosing which Banks get bailed out.

For more read Sub Rosa by Chris Dowgin published by Salem House Press.
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