Almshouse and Hospital for Contagious Diseases Burial Ground - Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, MA, USA

 Frank Cousins, Almshouse on Salem Neck, c. 1890. Digital Commonwealth, Phillips Library.

The last almshouse to be built in Salem, opened in 1816 on Collins Cove. It was large — five stories — and was designed by Charles Bulfinch of Boston. 

Excerpt from 1815 report requesting a new Almshouse
City of Salem Archives
Bulfinch’s almshouse was intended to house 100 residents, many of whom were expected to work the adjacent farm to offset the cost of their stay. In 1884, after years of overcrowding, an additional building, designed by W.D. Dennis, was built on the property to serve as a hospital for contagious diseases. In all, the site was active for over a century and burials are often referenced in city documents. This cemetery would have served as the only option for patients who were unable to afford a funeral or that had no family to claim their remains. 

Hospital for Contagious Diseases, c. 1980
Jim McAllister

The almshouse building was razed in 1954, and the adjacent hospital in the 1980s to make way for the Collins Cove Condominium Complex. Many locals recall playing among the headstones as children while the site sat unused. During construction of the condo complex, at least five headstones were reported to have been uncovered, yet their whereabouts are unknown. The burial site remains unmarked and is only identifiable by the remnant of a single slate headstone. The names of those who rest here have yet to be discovered, though with additional research their identities may be revealed.

Collins Cove Condominium Complex, 2019

UPDATE: Jen Ratliff, with the assistance of Historic Salem, Inc. has reached out to the City of Salem and Collins Cove Condo Association to request the burial ground be properly marked and honored. This request received the support of the Historical Commission on 11/6/2019. The City is working toward erecting a memorial and informational sign to honor this site.

UPDATE: View the Almshouse Burial Ground Memorial Proposal and Letters of Support


*Please respect this site and do not trespass on private property. 


  1. Very interesting! These are the first photos I've seen of the Almshouse. My great grandmother's brother, Frederick Bill, was an inmate here at age 17. He later died at the Danvers State Hospitial (1911) of tuberculosis, at age 38. He had been a resident at Danvers for 7 years, 6 months, and 26 days. I don't know how long he was in the Almshouse, nor do we know where he was buried.

  2. Hi Heather, I found a death certificate for him. It says he died at Danvers State Hospital and was buried at Hale Street Cemetery in Beverly. I will try to send the death certificate. Hopefully its a match!


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