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

Advertisements

Vintage Salem Morning!

4 Views of a Secret. This tunnel running from Essex Street to the Tabernacle Church under Washington Street was used to hide the loading of contraband from the smuggling tunnels in Salem. The first track on the frog entering the tunnel was built by George Peabody whose plan has bankrupted our country every 20 years up to 2008. The second track on the frog was owned by Thomas Perkins the opium dealer who would smuggle runaway slaves to his sweatshops in Lowell. Eight tunnels met in the back of the Kinsman Building (Opus Underground) and one left the front to this tunnel in the photos. Kinsman was superintendent of the Eastern Railroad owned by Peabody.

For more info read Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City and Sub Rosa by Chris Dowgin available at Wicked Good Books, Jolie Tea, Remember Salem, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com.

Vintage Salem Morning!

Old Town Hall built on William Brown’s mansion property. William Brown was a Tory and ran to Newfoundland during the Revolutionary War. His kin Lucy Brown Derby inherited it and gave it to her father in Law Elias Hasket Derby Sr. This became America’s first millionaire’s 4th mansion in town. He only got to live in the mansion for a year before he died. Then Lucy got the mansion when her husband Elias Hasket Derby Jr. inherited the property. After spending his portion of the 10th largest estate in American history, Elias started selling off the mansion and grounds little by little.  In 1814 he will sell the property to the town to build Old Town Hall. Tunnel designers Samuel McIntire and Charles Bulfinch worked to create the building. One tunnel leaves the back of the building and connects to the Old Naumkeag Trust Building. It was helpful a few years ago to run cable for internet between the two buildings…

For more info read Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City and Sub Rosa by Chris Dowgin available at Remember Salem, Jolie Tea, Wicked Good Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com.

Vintage Salem Morning!

Greenlawn Chapel and Greenhouse Salem Ma

Greenlawn Cemetery, Chapel, and Greenhouse. Under this chapel 4 tunnels meet. One heading out to Orne’s Point where the Widow Orne sold bricks to keep her property to be used to create the tunnels in Salem. Her kin Secretary of State Timothy Pickering bought 40,000 bricks from her in one order when a house only needed 8,000 bricks.

For more info read Sub Rosa by Chris Dowgin available at Remember Salem, Jolie Tea, Wicked Good Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com.

Jean Missud and the Second Corp Cadets Band

His band is Still Heard on the Salem Commons

The gazebo in the Salem Common is dedicated to Jean Missud. They say he and his band still can be heard on the Salem Common. On the Common the first National Guard unit was formed in 1637. In 1801 they were charged by President Jefferson to help collect duties on imports from the shipping in the harbor. Instead they dug tunnels to help ship captains avoid paying duties. In the 20’s Missud led them to a different tune.

To hear more stories on Salem’s only original walking tour reserve your tickets today for the Salem Smugglers’ Tour of the historic Common.

http://www.salemtunneltour.com
More Than Witches!!!

Salem Secret Underground Used in Librarians TV Show!!!

Smuggling in Boston…

Just watched an episode of the Librarians on TNT and they were citing source material also from Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City in Season 3 episode 1 “And the Rise of Chaos. In the episode they enter a basement and mention smugglers building tunnels in Boston to avoid Jefferson’s taxes. Which is the reason stated in Salem Secret Underground why the tunnels were extended and the ponds in the common was filled to hide the dirt. Cool huh…..

 

Why not read the book Hollywood is reading and find out about the secrets in Salem and how it shaped American history!

Available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and local shops in Salem, MA!

New Tunnel Finds

Tunnels in Salem MA photos

TUNNELS IN SALEM AND BEYOND

  Through the years since Salem Secret Underground has been written I have kept looking for new homes that are connected. Sometimes when I find them they come with funny stories. There was a home on Northey Street that housed a woman who was a horrible cook. Next door was an excellent cook. They would meet in the tunnel in between the houses and the one woman would deliver home cooked meals for her neighbor. These were passed off as her own.

  Around the corner on Woodbury Court I met a family that had a tunnel running ¾ of the length of their home that was used to smuggle to and from the North River. The only thing blocking the entrance was a tall hill of sand.  There was this great kid who would light up every time he would see me. I was that guy who told him he had a pirate tunnel in his basement. I kept hoping he would take his sand shovel and dig the entrance open…

  Other times I would just schedule an appointment to see a house that was on the market. Several real estate agents would hand me their info and I would go and investigate the basements of these homes. Sometimes the agent forgot to bring the keys to the basement.  When they did not I would get images of these sealed up ways. I found more houses on Oliver, Andrew, Federal, and Chestnut Streets. Sometimes I just confirmed homes I speculated about in the first book. With each confirmation I got to make updates to the book. Salem Secret Underground was a living book, it changed from week to week, or month to month for seven years.

  In one of those houses I confirmed on Pickman Street had turned one of the tunnels into a bomb shelter. All of the stored water from the 40’s or 50’s were still in large wine bottles. Where the addition was added in the back there was a well in the basement where they used to drop gold fish into. This property was on the edge where Collins Cove used to be on the corner of Milk and Pickman streets, so the tunnel in the back of the house was flooded.

   I have been under the chapel in Greenlawn Cemetery. We filmed those tunnels for a documentary. Another documentary on the tunnels airs on YouTube and Winthrop Cable. A tunnel led 20 feet from the basement heading southeast under the old greenhouse. A greenhouse, I wonder if it was the one Elias Hasket Derby Jr. sold in 1811 that was part of the Derby Mansion on Derby Square. The tunnel is blocked off at a staircase. This tunnel at one time was lit by electricity, much like the one coming out of the old Naumkeag Trust building on Essex Street. Heading Northwest from the basement is a long corridor leading to a chamber that used to house corpses in the winter. Now its stalls houses weed whackers. There is another tunnel leading south. Next to it is a toilet that had a ton of bricks dropped on it. I hope no one was using it at the time.  One tunnel leads to Orne’s Point.

  Other Tunnels in the Nation

There are many tunnels in Georgetown, another Peabody hunting ground. On the  3300 Block of O Street Col. Alf Heidberg found an arched tunnel when digging out the basement for a bomb shelter.  He lived there in the 50’s. His wife’s second husband was General Douglas MacArthur.  Also the Halcyon House in Georgetown has what they call a slave tunnel which is haunted. Plus, Healy Hall Georgetown University.

  Then the Water Street Custom House and under Federal Hill in Baltimore. This was the town Peabody moved to before he left for London.

  Then the most interesting is Joseph Bonaparte’s mansion in Bordentown, NJ off of the Delaware. He moved to NJ in 1815 buying 1,800 acres in town. He was once king of Spain and Naples when his brother loomed over Europe. In 1816 he built his mansion Point Breeze that burned to the ground in 1820, but not before creating a paradise. An avid gardener Bonaparte installed a park on the grounds which was the forerunner to Central Park that he kept open to the public. The park was improved with trees, twelve miles of bridle paths and carriage drives, and an arched brick causeway across a man-made lake was constructed, all at a cost believed to be over $300,000 (over four and a half million in today’s dollars).

  Many powerful people would visit his home. One was Stephen Girard. Stephen Girard who purchased most of the stocks of The First Bank of the United States when it lost its charter opened his own bank known as Girard’s Bank in the same building. He underwrote 95% of the loans to pay for the War of 1812. He then became a major stockholder and director of The Second Bank of the United States in Philadelphia along with Joseph Story. Girard bought Joseph Bonaparte  a 16 oar barge to row his guests up the river.

  Henry Clay Sr. had just took the last room in the City Hotel in NYC when Bonaparte arrived in America. Clay just returned from the signing the Treaty of Ghent to end the War of 1812. Upon hearing Joseph was in the hotel he offered him his dinner and suite. This was the beginning of their friendship.  Could of Clay brought Daniel Webster and John Quincy Adams to Point Breeze. All have known to visit, but at the same time? If they did indeed visit together, I wonder if they compared the quality of his tunnels to the ones in Salem?

  Then the Hoosac Tunnel outside of Fitchburg, MA in 1819. Originally proposed as a canal to connect Boston to Upstate New York via the Deerfield River on the east of the Hoosac Range and the Hoosic River on the west. That project was shelved, and later reborn as part of the new Troy and Greenfield Railroad. The project was nicknamed “The Great Bore” by future Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who said he’d like to “wall up a dozen lawyers at one end of the tunnel and put a good fee at the other.” One of which is the lawyer Elias Hasket Derby III. He was the lawyer for the Fitchburg Railroad. His father might have engineered long tunnels, Junior was set to make huge tunnels.  The Hoosac was built after Derby received a loan for $650,000 to build it. His other railroad from Boston to New Bedford was the Old Colony. The Old Colony rail will soon be restored as a commuter rail by my friend Adam who is working on the engineering plans for the State.

  I looked up this reference after an acquaintance in the basement of an old underground smuggling train station now called Opus Underground in Salem. He had mentioned walking in long tunnels in Fitchburg and ending up under a grocery store.  Also Fitchburg State University has a tunnel leading from Palmer House through the new Hammond Campus Center second level to the Thompson Hall’s basement. Thompson Hall was the original building built in 1896 that the college was housed in at its beginning. It is much like the Loring Mansion (St. Chretienne Academy) now part of Salem State University South Campus with the tunnel leaving the basement through the side of the hill to the old girls high school.

Here are some of their pictures:

To find out more and other fabulous stories about how Salem, MA shaped American History read Sub Rosa by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin published by Salem House Press.