Salem Common Historic District (Salem, Massachusetts)

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Salem Common Historic District
Salem Common.JPG
Wintertime view of historical homes
Salem Common Historic District (Salem, Massachusetts) is located in Massachusetts
Salem Common Historic District (Salem, Massachusetts)
Location Salem, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°31′22″N 70°53′28″W / 42.52278°N 70.89111°W / 42.52278; -70.89111Coordinates: 42°31′22″N 70°53′28″W / 42.52278°N 70.89111°W / 42.52278; -70.89111
Built 1667
Architectural style Colonial Revival, Late Victorian, Federal
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 76000303[1] (original)
02000694[1] (increase)
Significant dates
Added to NRHP May 12, 1976
Boundary increase June 27, 2002

Salem Common Historic District is a historic district bounded roughly by St. Peter's, Bridge, and Derby Sts. and Collins Cove in Salem, Massachusetts.

The Common was founded in the 17th century. Before 1800 there was no enclosing fence and livestock were free to roam across it. The present wrought iron fence around the Common was built in 1850 and has undergone restoration. The white archway that stands near the north entrance was originally a design of Samuel McIntire, but it had to be removed because of its condition. The current archway is a replica established in 1976.[2]

The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and further expanded in 2002.[1] The district boundaries include the Essex Institute Historic District, a cluster of buildings along Essex and Brown Streets owned by the Peabody Essex Museum.

Close to the Salem Common Historic District is the Chestnut Street District with grand Federal Mansions designed in the Federal architecture style that trace the roots to the Old China Trade with many designed by Samuel Mcintire. Other nearby historic districts are the Federal Street District, Downtown Salem District, Charter Street Historic District, Salem Willows Historic District, Crombie Street District, Derby Waterfront District, Bridge Street Neck Historic District and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, consists of 12 historic structures and about 9 acres (36,000 m2) of land along the waterfront in Salem and is the first American National Historic Site, and interprets the triangular trade during the colonial period; privateers during the American Revolution; and sea trade, especially with the Far East, after independence.

Joseph Story House[edit]

Joseph Story House

The Joseph Story House was built in 1811 for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story. The house is a National Historic Landmark located at 26 Winter Street and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Andrew-Safford House[edit]

The Andrew-Safford House

The Andrew–Safford House was built in 1819 and was designed in the Federal style by an unknown architect for a wealthy Russian fur merchant. It is located at 13 Washington Square and owned by the Peabody Essex Museum, and when constructed was reputed to have been the most costly house erected in the United States to that date. The massive vertical façade and the four large columns rising from the ground to the third story on the south side make this one of the most impressive houses in Salem. The house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of this district, and is also part of the Essex Institute Historic District.

John Bertram House[edit]

Originally built for John Forrester in 1818-19, this Federal Mansion is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. [1] Captain John Bertram purchased the Federal mansion from John Forrester and later sold it to George Peabody in 1834. George Peabody lived in the mansion for 60 years and while there made the mansion larger by an addition of the one-story dining room. Around 1930 the home was purchased by the estate of Captain John Bertram & is now called the John Bertram House and is now a home for the elderly.[3][4]

Salem as the Birthplace of the National Guard[edit]

Salem - 1820

In 1637 the first muster on Salem Common took place where for the first time, a regiment of militia drilled for the common defense of a multi-community area,[5] thus laying the foundation for what became the Army National Guard. On August the 19th 2010, the Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, signed HB1145, "An Act Designating the City of Salem as the Birthplace of the National Guard."[6] This is the first step and then was later approved by the House in Washington in March 2012.[7][8] President Barack Obama on the 10th of January 2013 signed executive order HR1339 "which designates the City of Salem, Mass., as the birthplace of the U.S. National Guard."[9]

Each April, the Second Corps of Cadets gather in front of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, where their founder, Stephen Abbott, is buried. They lay a wreath, play Taps and fire a 21-gun salute. In another annual commemoration, soldiers gather at Old Salem Armory to honor soldiers who were killed in the Battles of Lexington and Concord. On April 14, 2012 Salem celebrated the 375th anniversary of the first muster on Salem Common with over More than 1,000 troops taking part in ceremonies and a parade.[10]


See also[edit]