Holiday Gift Guide #2

Salem, MA, USA

Shopping small this holiday season is a great way to support local businesses and find that perfect gift for  the history lover in your life. Salem is filled with shops, museums, and restaurants that all add to the city's unique and magical character. Here are few picks to help you check off your list or treat yourself, while helping our community.

1. The Woman's Friend Society has been supporting and empowering women since 1876. This year they are offering a beautiful limited edition ornament of their famed Emmerton House to new or renewing members that make an end of year donation before December 15th. Don't miss out on this stunning gift and opportunity to continue this impactful mission! 

2. Historic Salem, Inc's annual Christmas in Salem house tours have gone virtual this year! Stay warm and cozy while getting an inside look at the city's most stunning and unique homes and get a little gift while you're at it. Once again HSI has partnered with Black and Brindle to create these adorable mini house plaque ornaments. The perfect present for the history lover or new home owner on your list.

3. Speaking of Christmas in Salem, History by the Sea and Herbal Candle Co. partnered with Historc Salem, Inc. to create a deliciously fragrant candle inspired by this annual Salem tradition. The scent takes cues from the classic holiday orange pomander and has an all-natural essential oil blend of orange, clove, cinnamon, and chamomile.  It’s an uplifting aroma that will keep your holiday season bright and merry! (Psst. Salem residents, use code: SALEMFREE for free Etsy shipping) Bonus: a portion of the proceeds are donated directly to Historic Salem to support their mission. The History by the Sea candle collection is also available at Moody's Home + Gifts

4. Salem has an incredibly rich history with roots in the spice trade. Past centuries saw the city's wharves brimming with exotic spices. Salem Spice on Pickering Wharf helps keep this tradition alive, offering a large assortment of spices. herbs, and blends that you can't help but love. My pantry is filled with their jars but my must-have is their Hawaiian Alaea Salt, once you try it, you'll never want to use another salt again. Get a few for yourself and the cooks in your life.

5. There are so many amazing artists capturing this city's charm but one of my favorite pieces are the historic house paintings on natural wood by Lucia Loveless at Coon's Card and Gift Shop. The amount of detail in each painting is incredible and the resin finish makes them extra durable, so you or your loved one can enjoy them anywhere! Also, did you know Coon's dates back to 1953? You're not only shopping small but supporting a part of Salem's history!

Holiday Gift Guide #1

Salem, MA, USA


Shopping small this holiday season is a great way to support local businesses and find that perfect gift for the history lover in your life. Salem is filled with shops, museums, and restaurants that all add to the city's unique and magical character. Here are few picks to help you check off your list or treat yourself, while helping our community.

1. What do you get a history buff that loves to cook? A Salem cookbook of course! What Salem Dames Cooked was originally printed in 1911 to support Salem's Esther C. Mack Industrial School, run by the Woman's Friend Society. It features recipes submitted by local women, as well as classic dishes from cookbooks dating back to 1683. Higginson Book Company has a wonderful selection of rare and out of print local history books. 

2. The Witch House candle by Herbal Candle Co. and History by the Sea captures the essence of this famous first period home using an all-natural essential oil blend of bay, sage, chamomile, and pine. This scent was made in partnership with the museum and is inspired by plants that would have been familiar to colonial life. A portion of proceeds are donated to Historic Salem, Inc. to support historic preservation. 

3. Book lover? Historic Streets of Salem, Massachusetts is the latest book by local author and historian Jeanne Stella. Follow along as the author shares lesser-known tales and unique stories of Salem's well-worn paths. Need more books? Wicked Good Books has everything you need, from local authors to classics, and New York Times best sellers. Support Salem's very own independent book shop this holiday season!

4. The House of the Seven Gables is so much more than a historic house museum, it's a community center, a preservation advocate, and an education hub for immigrants seeking ESL and citizenship classes. Purchasing a membership to The Gables not only gets you access to their gorgeous seaside campus, it gets you invites to events such as their member's only 4th of July celebration, and free or reduced tickets to presentations on local history and social reform. A membership is the perfect gift for any Salem lover. 

5. Want to support Salem's oldest businesses, while eating some delicious snacks? Ye Old Pepper Candy Companie's Gilbralters and Black Jacks are a great way to indulge in 19th century Salem and they make great stocking stuffers. Love finding popcorn tins under the tree? Get a batch of E.W. Hobb's world-renowned popcorn. They've been making Salem's favorite treat since 1897.

What We've Lost - Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, MA, USA

25 Carlton Street (Built c. 1803)

In June 2015, my then soon-to-be husband and I made the move from my childhood home on Cape Cod to the “Witch City.” At that point, I had been visiting Salem for eight years and like many, had fallen in love with the city’s charm. The winding streets with ancient architecture and vast waterfront all beckoned to be explored. The energy of the seasonally crowded streets and magic of the brick lined promenades made moving to Salem irresistible. We settled in the Historic Derby Street Neighborhood, just steps away from The House of the Seven Gables, where we got engaged a few months earlier.  Prior to moving to our new neighborhood, I began researching the area to quell my excitement.

During my research, I stumbled upon a blog post about the demolition of 25 Carlton Street, one of the oldest structures on the street. The c. 1803 home was built for shipwright, Thomas Magoun during the area’s prosperous maritime age. The modest home met its end in 2014, when it was drowned by a developer who removed the roof prior to a rainstorm. Previously having received backlash from preservationists, this move by the developer seemed like a calculated way to justify the replacement of the historic home with a new build. The plan worked and the 19th century home was soon deemed unsalvageable and demolished. By the time my husband and I moved to the area, the finishing touches were being installed in the luxury condos of the new, towering building. Although I felt the loss of the previous historic home, I thought this incident was rare in such a historic city as Salem.

Unfortunately, over the next five years I would learn that demolition by neglect and the loss of historic architecture in favor of big development was more commonplace in Salem than I could have ever imagined.  This charming, city by the sea was in a constant battle of old and new. Despite the pleas of outspoken citizens, visitors, and historians, when it came to development, Salem’s leadership has seemed to favor new development over preservation and adaptive reuse for decades.

As Salem continues to expand at an alarming rate to cater to its growing residential and visiting population, seeking the same charm and magic that once attracted me, I take a moment of pause to ponder what we’ve lost.

This is just a select handful of buildings in Salem deemed significant by the Massachusetts Historical Commission and ultimately demolished between 2015 and 2020.

331 Lafayette Street (Built c. 1935)
(Salem State University Archives Photograph)

5-7 West Avenue (Built 1886)

65 Washington Street (Built 1976)

219 Washington Street (Built 1926)

231-235 Washington Street (Built c. 1930)

70-90 Boston Street (Built c. 1910)

333 Lafayette Street (Built c. 1880)
(Salem State University Archives Photograph)

Carriage house belonging to 6 Federal Court/95 Federal Street (Built c. 1880)
(City of Salem Photograph)

7 Curtis Street - Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, MA, USA

7 Curtis Street, 1985 (MACRIS SAL.2569)

Historic Salem, Inc. House History - 7 Curtis Street

Horatio B. Perry Gunsmith
and his wife Sarah Ashton
Built c. 1856

The address of Seven Curtis Street is first listed in the city directory in 1857, when it was owned by Horatio B. Perry, a gunsmith. The current home’s exterior contains Georgian elements, a popular style between 1715-1780. However, the home faces North, which is uncharacteristic for a Georgian home. This may be evidence that the home was moved to this site. According to Vijay Joyce, a member of the Salem Historical Commission, the home does contain timber framing, which was still in use in the 1850s. Maps from 1851 and 1872 show a similarly shaped structure positioned flush with Curtis Street. It is possible the home was later turned to face North to create space for additional homes to be built. Based on available evidence, what is now Seven Curtis Street may have previously been referred to as Four Orange Street. Between 1850 and 1856 mariner, Joseph Karier lived at this adjacent address, which disappears from city directories the same year that Seven Curtis Street is first listed. Deeds for Seven Curtis Street cite an 1849 sale of land to Joseph Karier as the origin of ownership.  A connection between Karier and the Perry family is unknown but by September 1856 the ownership of this land was transferred between them and a home was present. By 1874, Seven Curtis Street was in its present, north-facing orientation. 

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Memoirs - Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, MA, USA

A collection of memoirs written by Salemites that have been digitized and made accessible online.


Salem, MA, USA

History by the Sea is excited to participate in Salem Together. A community based initiative highlighting how Salem's history can inspire during difficult times. Each week, we will be partnering with local institutions and historians to share stories of strength and resiliency from Salem's past.

"Salem has faced hard times in the past - fires, storms, epidemics, wars, economic crisis, etc. - but throughout these dark periods, residents displayed collective strength, resiliency and perseverance. As the city once again faces a time of fear and uncertainty during COVID-19, these stories from the past of the city coming together to overcome terrible times can help to inspire us as we seek to overcome our current circumstances. The Mayor has teamed with the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem State University, The Salem News and local historians to share these stories through on individual websites and blogs and collectively through #SalemTogether and on the Preserving Salem website. Every week a new theme will be explored beginning with stories from the Great Salem Fire of 1914." - Preserving Salem

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Salem History Exchange


History by the Sea Candle Collection 

 A collaboration with 
Herbal Candle Co., the History by the Sea candle collection captures the essence of historic Salem, Massachusetts. Each candle is hand poured using soy wax and all-natural essential oils, inspired by the "witch city." A brief history of the inspiration behind each scent can be found on the label.

A portion of sales are donated to Historic Salem, Inc. to support historic preservation.

October in Salem
patchouli, clove, cinnamon bark, chamomile, and balsam fir needle

Old Burying Point
clove, cedarwood, frankincense, patchouli, line, tea tree, lavender, anise, and cinnamon bark

Salem Willows
vetiver, lemon, myrrh, ylang ylang, lavender, and tea tree

Winter Island
sandalwood, cedar wood, vanilla, orange, and lime

Salem Common
patchouli, orange, cedarwood, lemon, and anise

Pioneer Village
cinnamon leaf, rose, orange, and pine

The Witch House
bay, sage, chamomile, and pine

Christmas in Salem
clove, orange, and cinnamon

Salem's Oldest Businesses - Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, MA, USA

Essex Street, c. 1920
Salem State University Archives and Special Collections

Salem has long been a shopping and dinning destination. During the Great Age of Sail, Salem was a center of trade and access to foreign goods. In the 20th century, the city was home to the area's destination stores, attracting shoppers from Boston and throughout the North Shore to Salem's downtown. Although department stores have moved out of the city in favor of area shopping malls, multiple 19th century businesses and restaurants are still a mainstay in Salem. This list focuses on public facing businesses and restaurants that have provide goods or services for over 50 years.

  1. Ye Old Pepper Candy Companie, 1806
  2. Eastern Bank, 1818 (Formerly Salem Savings Bank)
  3. J. J. Welch, 1852
  4. Salem Five Cents Savings Bank, 1855
  5. O'Rourke Brothers Memorials, 1890
  6. Waters & Brown, 1895
  7. E.W. Hobbs, 1897
  8. Soucy Insurance, 1907
  9. Thomas Mackey and Sons, 1907
  10. Salem Lowe, 1912
  11. Winer Brothers Hardware, 1919
  12. Salem Auto Body, 1924
  13. Hawthorne Hotel, 1925
  14. Puleo's Dairy, 1928
  15. John J. Walsh Insurance Agency, 1929
  16. Walyo's Variety Store, c. 1930
  17. Steve's Market, 1932
  18. Gardner Mattress, 1933
  19. Bunghole Liquors, 1933
  20. Bertini's Restaurant, 1943
  21. F.W. Webb, 1944 (Salem Location)
  22. Red's Sandwich Shop, 1945
  23. Gagnon Shoe Repair, c. 1945 (Removed to Beverly, 2021)
  24. Dairy Witch Ice Cream, 1952
  25. Coon's Card and Gift Shop, 1953
  26. Dotty & Ray's, 1958
  27. Eaton Apothecary, 1958
  28. Tri City Sales, 1959
  29. Dube's Seafood, 1961
  30. Mandee's Pizza, 1962
  31. The Daniels House Bed and Breakfast, 1962
  32. Ziggy & Sons' Donuts, 1964
  33. Bill & Bob's Roast Beef, 1969

17th Century Architecture - Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, MA 01970, USA

17th Century Architecture in Salem, Massachusetts

First Period Architecture (approx. 1626-1725) is often characterized by a steeply pitched roof and a central chimney. This colonial style is strongly associated with New England, particularly North America's earliest European settlers which built homes along the coast of Massachusetts. Many of these homes have been greatly altered from their original 17th century construction or re-imagined as they once were. This list focuses on 17th century homes, additional First Period homes built in the early 18th century still exist in Salem.
  • Samuel Robinson-Michael Chapleman House, c. 1650
    69 Essex Street
    Unsubstantiated -This home has been greatly altered.
  • Retire Becket House, c. 1655
    54 Turner Street
    Moved to current location in 1924
  • Pickering House, 1660
    18 Broad Street

    Oldest house in original location
  • Pickman House, 1664
    43 Charter Street
  • Gedney House, 1665
    21 High Street
  • Stephen Daniels House, c. 1667
    1 Daniels Street
  • Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, 1668
    (The House of the Seven Gables)
    54 Turner Street
  • Ransom Boarding House, c. 1670
    14 Becket Street
  • Jonathan Corwin House, c. 1675
    (The Witch House)
    310 Essex Street
  • Narbonne House, 1675
    71 Essex Street
  • Hooper-Hathaway House, c. 1682
    54 Turner Street
  • John Ward House c. 1684
    Brown Street
  • William Murray House, c. 1688
    39 Essex Street

Resource Guide - Photographs of Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, MA, USA
54 Washington Street, c. 1920
Salem State University Archives and Special Collections
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Historical Photographs of Salem, Massachusetts

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