Restaurant Row - Salem, Massachusetts

Real photo postcard showing Restaurant Row. c. 1920s
In 1858, 35 acres of waterfront on Salem’s Neck was designated a public park. The park was named Salem Willows due to the white willow trees that had been planted in that area in 1801. The trees originally offered shade to smallpox patients as they were treated by a hospital for contagious disease, which stood nearby. When the hospital closed, the trees and waterfront created a great escape from the city’s summer heat, for locals and tourists alike. The park steadily grew as a destination with the Naumkeag Street Railway offering frequent horse-drawn trolley rides from Salem’s downtown. With this success, an amusement park was built on an adjacent lot, which opened in June 1880. Attractions included a skating rink, restaurants, and a theater.
Visitors arrive at Salem Willows by trolley. c. 1920s
Starting In the 1870s, a group of restaurants opened along the Willow’s north shore. This stretch would become known as Restaurant Row and gained notoriety for “shore dinners” which were featured. Restaurant Row was anchored by Chase House, Swenbeck’s, and Ebsen’s, all of which specialized in seafood and ocean views. After nearly eighty years in operation these restaurants began closing their doors in the 1940s. On July 15, 1952, a fire consumed Chase House, the first in a series of fires and storms that ultimately destroyed Restaurant Row.

Dining room of Swenbeck's Park Cafe. c. 1920s

Chase House on Restaurant Row menu. 

Chase House on Restaurant Row. c. 1920s

*This article was written by Jen Ratliff for use by Salem State University Archives and Special Collections. Images above are from their collections. 

Hello Day - Salem, Massachusetts

In 1971, Mayor of Salem Samuel E. Zoll proclaimed Saturday, May 1st to be “Hello Day.” The event was one in a series of month-long initiatives to celebrate the inauguration of new Salem State College president, Frank Keegan. The event was conceived by artist Donald Burgy of Bradford Junior College with the intention to revive kindness in Salem and help acquaint citizens with their fellow neighbors. Zoll and Burgy saw a wane in neighborliness with the rise of mass media and automobile travel and hoped “Hello Day” would better unite the community and possibly spawn future events. The two also requested that photographers capture the occasion and submit their images for multiple displays around town. 
At noon on May 1st, fire stations rang their bells and residents gathered in the streets. On Salem Common a rock band performed while a plane circled to take photos. High school student Marian Sonier reported to the Salem News that the event was one of the “best times [she] had in months.”

"Hello Day" celebrations on Salem Common.

Keegan and Zoll, seated, being interviewed by news outlets on Salem Common.

"Hello Day" celebrators gather on Salem Common for an interview with Channel 5 news.
Keegan and Zoll can be seen, seated.

A group of kids gathered on Salem Common for "Hello Day."
Pedestrians wave hello to each other in celebration of "Hello Day" on Essex Street.

*This article was written by Jen Ratliff for use by Salem State University Archives and Special Collections.

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