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Salem, Massachusetts is a city in Essex Countymarker, Massachusettsmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 40,407 at the 2000 census. It and Lawrencemarker are the county seats of Essex County. Home to Salem State Collegemarker, the Salem Willowsmarker Park and the Peabody Essex Museummarker, Salem is a residential and tourist area which includes the neighborhoods of Salem Neck, The Point, South Salem and North Salem, Witchcraft Heights, and the McIntire Historic District (named after Salem's famous architect and carver, Samuel McIntire).

Salem was one of the most significant seaports in early America. It has the first National Historic Site designated by Congress, Salem Maritime National Historic Sitemarker, which protects Salem's historic waterfront.

Featured notably in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, much of the city's culture is reflective of its role as the location of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692: Police cars are adorned with witch logos, a local public school is known as the Witchcraft Heights Elementary School, the Salem High School football team is named The Witches, and Gallows Hill, a site of numerous public hangings, is currently used as a playing field for various sports.

Tourists know Salem as a mix of important historical sites, New Age and Wiccan boutiques, and kitschy Halloween or witch-themed attractions. The most recent (and controversial) addition of significance is a bronze statue of the Samantha Stephens character (played by actress Elizabeth Montgomery) of the Bewitched television program in Salem's Lappin Park on June 15, 2005.


People working along shore and wharf on the waterfront in Salem, Massachusetts circa 1770s
Salem was founded at the mouth of the Naumkeag River in 1626 at the site of an ancient Native American village and trading center (it was originally called Naumkeag and was renamed Salem three years later) by a company of fishermen from Cape Annmarker led by Roger Conant, and incorporated in 1629. The name "Salem" is also the name used for Jerusalemmarker in Genesis 14:18, and related to the Hebrew word shalom, meaning 'peace'. As the future Massachusetts was intended to be the Puritan New Israel in the New World, it was deemed appropriate to name Massachusetts' intended seat of government after Jerusalem - Salem.

Naumkeag was first settled in 1626 by the Dorchester Company with Roger Conant as Governor. That settlement was located east of the present day Salem commuter rail station.

A year later, Governor John Endicott arrived in Naumkeag and a patent was solicited by the Massachusetts Bay Company in England. Endicott moved the Great House from Cape Anne reassembling on what is now Washington Street north of Church Street. And a year later, the Massachusetts Bay Charter was issued creating the Massachusetts Bay Colony with Thomas Craddock as Governor and Endicott as a Governor's Assistant. A challenge to Endicott's authority in Naumkeag arose in London and was settled within the Massachusetts Bay Company. One week later, Governor John Winthrop was elected Governor and John Endicott was re-elected Governor's Assistant, followed by the Great Puritan Migration/Fleet of 1629/30. Endicott's greeting of Winthrop is the subject of a plaque on the Boston Common.

In 1639, his was one of the signatures on the building contract for enlarging the meeting house in Town House Square for the First Church in Salem. This document remains part of the town records at City Hall. He was active in the affairs of the town throughout his life. In 1679, he died at the age of 87. Salem originally included much of the North Shoremarker, including Marbleheadmarker. Most of the accused in the Salem witch trials lived in nearby 'Salem Village', now known as Danversmarker, although a few lived on the outskirts of Salem. Salem Village also included Peabodymarker and parts of present-day Beverlymarker. Middletonmarker, Topsfieldmarker, Wenhammarker and Manchester-by-the-Seamarker, too, were once parts of Salem. One of the most widely known aspects of Salem is its history of witchcraft allegations, which started with Abigail Williams, Betty Parris, and their friends playing with a Venus glass and egg. Salem achieved further legal notoriety as the site of the Dorothy Talbye trial, where a mentally ill woman was hanged for murdering her daughter, because at the time the Massachusetts common law made no distinction between insanity and criminal behavior.

On February 26, 1775, patriots raised the drawbridge at the North River, preventing Britishmarker Colonel Alexander Leslie and his 300 troops of the 64th Regiment of Foot from seizing stores and ammunition hidden in North Salem. A few months later, in May 1775, a group of prominent merchants with ties to Salem, including Francis Cabot, William Pynchon, Thomas Barnard, E.A. Holyoke and William Pickman, felt the need to publish a statement retracting what some interpreted as Loyalist leanings and to profess their dedication to the Colonial cause.

During the Revolution, the town became a center for privateering. By 1790, Salem was the sixth largest city in the country, and a world famous seaport—particularly in the Chinamarker trade. Codfish was exported to the West Indiesmarker and Europe. Sugar and molasses were imported from the West Indies, tea from China, and pepper from Sumatramarker. Salem ships also visited Africa, Russiamarker, Japanmarker and Australia. During the War of 1812, privateering resumed.

Prosperity left the city with a wealth of fine architecture, including Federal style mansions designed by one of America's first architects Samuel McIntire, for whom the city's largest historic district is named. These collection of homes and mansions from Colonial America are now the greatest concentrations of notable pre-1900 domestic structures in the United States.

This wealth of architecture in Salem can be directly attributed to the Old China Trade, which was ongoing for years with America and Great Britain.

Incorporated as a city on March 23, 1836 , Salem adopted a city seal in 1839 with the motto "Divitis Indiae usque ad ultimum sinum", Latin for "To the farthest port of the rich Indies." Nathaniel Hawthorne was overseer of the port from 1846 until 1849. He worked in the Customs House near Pickering Wharf, his setting for the beginning of The Scarlet Letter. In 1858, an amusement park was established at Salem Willowsmarker, a peninsula jutting into the harbor. It should be noted that up until the War of 1812, the port of Salem was a major center of trade in America.

But shipping declined throughout the 19th century. Salem and its silting harbor were increasingly eclipsed by Bostonmarker and New Yorkmarker. Consequently, the city turned to manufacturing. Industries included tanneries, shoe factories and the Naumkeag Steam Cotton Company. More than 400 homes burned in the Great Salem Fire of 1914, leaving 3,500 families homeless from a blaze that began in the Korn Leather Factory. The fire ripped into one part of the city, but historical places including City Hall and the historic concentration of Federal architecture on Chestnut Street were spared; the fire left mostly all of Salem's architectural legacy intact, which helped it develop as a center for tourism.

The book "The Salem-India Story" written by Vanita Shastri narrates the adventures of the Salem seamen who connected the far corners of the globe through trade. This period (1788-1845) marks the beginning of US-India relations, way before the 21st century wave of globalization. It reveals the global trade connections that Salem, Massachusetts had established with faraway lands, which were a source of livelihood and prosperity for many.

Image:George Peabody House, Salem, MA.jpg|Peabody House, c. 1905Image:Harbor from Salem Willows.jpg|Salem Harbor in 1907Image:Lafayette Street, Salem, MA.jpg|Lafayette Street in 1910Image:Naumkeag Steam Cotton Company.jpg|Naumkeag Mills, c. 1910Image:Roger Williams house in Salem MA USA.jpg|Roger Williams House (or The Witch House) c. 1910File:1791 sampler.jpg|Sampler made in Salem in 1791. Art Institute of Chicagomarker textile collection.


Salem is located at (42.516845, -70.898503).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.1 square miles (46.8 km²), of which, 8.1 square miles (21.0 km²) of it is land and 9.9 square miles (25.8 km²) of it (55.09%) is water. Salem Harbor faces north onto the Danvers River, a tidal inlet of Massachusetts Baymarker. Besides driving, there are two ways into Boston, Commuter Rail or Salem High Speed Ferry .


Essex Street in c.
As of the census of 2000, there were 40,407 people, 17,492 households, and 9,708 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,986.0 people per square mile (1,926.1/km²). There were 18,175 housing units at an average density of 2,242.7/sq mi (866.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.37% White, 3.15% African American, 0.22% Native American, 2.00% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 6.74% from other races, and 2.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.24% of the population.

There were 17,492 households out of which 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.8% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.5% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.95.

Pickering House in c.
In the city the population was spread out with 20.2% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 33.4% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 86.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $44,033, and the median income for a family was $55,635. Males had a median income of $38,563 versus $31,374 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,857. About 6.3% of families and 9.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.2% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.


Salem State Collegemarker is the largest state college in Massachusetts (note that State Colleges are separate from the University of Massachusetts system), with 7,000 undergraduates and 2,500 graduate students; its campus comprises and 33 buildings. It hosts a regular Speaker Series, featuring major invited speakers. It was originally founded as the Salem Normal School (for teacher training) in 1854, thanks to the efforts of Horace Mann who is considered the "Father of American Public Education."

Public elementary schools include the Bates, Bentley, Carlton, Horace Mann, Nathaniel Bowditch, Saltonstall and Witchcraft Heights schools. Collins Middle School, Nathaniel Bowditch School, and Salem High School are located on Highland Avenue. Private schools are also located in the city, including two independent, alternative schools, the Phoenix and the Greenhouse, as well as the Salem Academy Charter School.

Salem also once had a very strong Roman Catholic school system. Once home to almost a dozen schools, the last school in the city, St. Joseph, has announced it will close in June 2009. St. James High School, St. Chretienne Academy, St. Chretienne Grammar School and St. Mary's School closed in 1971, St. James Grammar School closed in 1972, St. Thomas the Apostle School closed in 1973, St. Anne School closed in 1976, St. John the Baptist School closed in 1977 and St. Joseph High School closed in 1980.

In late 2007 and early 2008, the city's public school system garnered regional and even national attention after officials announced a $4.7 million budget shortfall that threatened the jobs of teachers and other staff members. The Massachusetts General Court passed legislation, and residents raised enough money, that averted teacher layoffs. Several dozen support workers were still laid off. Police were investigating what happened to the money in a search for criminal violations of the law.


The Salem Ferry approaching its dock off Blaney Street.
Salem has a stationmarker on the MBTA Commuter Rail's Newburyport/Rockport Line, and is served by numerous MBTA Bus lines which connect to the train station. The cost of a Commuter Rail ticket to Boston is $5.25.

No limited-access highway serve Salem, but Massachusetts Route 1A passes through downtown, and the city is close to Interstate 95, Route 1, and Route 128.

Between late spring and early autumn, the high-speed Salem Ferry operates between Salem and the New England Aquarium.


Witch-related tourism

People lined up to visit the Witch Museum on Halloween
Since the decline of the city's industrial base, tourism has become an increasingly important part of Salem's economy. Tourism based on the 1692 witch trials dates back to at least the first half of the 20th century, when dry goods merchant Daniel Low sold souvenir spoons with witch images. Such tourism expanded significantly in the 1970s, when the television comedy Bewitched filmed several episodes here. Witch-related tourism expanded significantly in the 1990s, and the city added an official "Haunted Happenings" celebration during the October tourist season. In 2007, the city launched the Haunted Passport program which offers visitors discounts and benefits from local tourist attractions and retailers from October to April. The goal of the program is to get visitors to come back to Salem after Halloween and experience businesses that may not be directly tied to Halloween. Thousands watched in 2007 as Mayor Kim Driscoll started a new trend with a massive fireworks display that kicked off at 10:00 pm on Halloween.

In recent years, tourism has been an occasional source of debate in the city, with some residents arguing the city should downplay witch tourism and market itself as a more upscale cultural center. In 2005, the conflict came to a head over plans by the cable television network TV Land to erect a bronze statue of Elizabeth Montgomery, who played the comic witch "Samantha" in the 1960s series Bewitched. A few special episodes of the series were actually filmed in Salem, and TV Land said that the statue commemorated the 35th anniversary of those episodes. The statue was sculpted by StudioEIS under the direction of brothers Elliott and Ivan Schwartz. Many felt the statue was good fun and appropriate to a city that promotes itself as "The Witch City", and contains a street named "Witch Way". Others objected to the use of public property for what was transparently commercial promotion. Some felt that the statue trivialized history by encouraging visitors to recall a sitcom rather than the tragic Salem witch trials. The statue was later vandalized with red spray-painted "X"s over the face and chest, and flags placed in the statue's hands.

Salem is also the setting of the play, The Crucible by Arthur Miller written in the early 1950s.

Other tourist attractions

Salem is home to the oldest National Historic Site in America, Salem Maritime National Historic Site, [17948] which is managed by the National Park Service. Salem Massachusetts was one of the most important ports in the nation prior to the War of 1812, when ships were still small enough to fit into the rather small inner harbor. Lining the downtown are historic buildings, wharves, and the customs house where Nathaniel Hawthorne penned The Scarlet Letter. Other historical tourist attractions include Hawthorne's birthplace, the House of the Seven Gablesmarker which inspired Hawthorne's novel of the same name, and a reconstructed late 18th-century warehouse from neighboring Marblehead.

The Friendship replica docked off of Derby Street
In 2000 the replica tall ship Friendship was finished and sailed to Salem Harbor, where she sits today. The Friendship is a reconstruction of a three-masted Salem East Indiaman trading ship, originally built in 1797, which traveled the world over a dozen times and returning to Salem after each voyage with goods from all over the world. The original was taken by the British during the War of 1812 then stripped and sold in pieces.

The Peabody Essex Museummarker is a leading museum of Asian art and culture and early American maritime trade and whaling; its collections of Indian, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese art, and in particular Chinese export porcelain, are among the finest in the country. It is now America's oldest continuously operating museum, having been founded in 1799. The museum owns and exhibits a number of historic houses in downtown Salem. In 2003, it completed a massive renovation and expansion, designed by architect Moshe Safdie, and moved a 200-year-old 16-room Chinese home from Xiuning County in southeastern Chinamarker to the grounds of the Museum.

The Pioneer Village, created in 1930, was America's first living-history museum. The site features a three-acre, recreated Puritan village, and allows visitors the opportunity to participate in activities from the lives of Salem's earliest English settlers.

As of the fall of 2009 the Old Salem Jail, an active facility until 1991, and once housed captured British soldiers from the War of 1812, is now under a complete multi-million dollar renovation. When completely finished the Old Salem Jail will be a mixed use development with condos, a dining establishment & small attraction on the history of the Old Salem Jail.

Points of interest

File:House of the Seven Gables (front angle) - Salem, Massachusetts.jpg|The House of the Seven GablesmarkerImage:GallowsHillPark Salem Massachusetts.jpg|Gallows Hill Park. Popular legend places the execution of the Salem Witches near this site.Image:SalemCommon Salem Massachusetts.jpg|Salem Common in 2006Image:PickmanHouse Salem Massachusetts.jpg|The Pickman House, c. 1664, located on Charter Street and believed to be Salem's oldest surviving building

Notable residents

Sister cities

Further reading

  • In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692, Mary Beth Norton, Knopf, 2002, hardcover, 432 pages, ISBN 0-375-40709-X



External links

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