January 9, 2016

Salem as Witch City




Image Above: Google Images, Images Below: Salem State University Archives & Collections
Salem’s tourism as we know it today began in the 19th-century, before the bicentennial of the Salem Witch Trials. In 1887, after traveling to Europe and being inspired by the new trend of souvenir spoons, Daniel Low began marketing Witch Spoons at his jewelry shop in downtown Salem. These spoons featured a witch holding a broomstick, and spawned different patterns over the years. At the same time, the Essex County Courthouse offered public viewings of artifacts from the witch trials which included Witch Pins, thought to be weapons of the accused witches. Noticing the success of Daniel Low and Co.’s Witch Spoons, other merchants began adding witch imagery to their products and branding. With the inception of trick-or-treating in the 1920s and the rounding out of Halloween traditions, even more merchants followed this branding and began referring to Salem as “Witch City.”
The city continued to slowly embrace its dark past and by the 1940s, museums such as the Witch House were open to the public and attracting tourists to the area. After the tv series "Bewitched" filmed a series of episodes in Salem in 1970, the shame Salemites felt towards the trials seemed to lift. A decade later Salem’s Haunted Happenings started as a weekend observance, quickly growing into a month-long Halloween celebration. Salem now attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the globe each year.



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