The City of Salem is located North of Boston on the Massachusetts North Shore between Beverly to the North and Marblehead to the South. It is both a residential community and a popular tourist destination.
Salem was originally settled by fisherman in 1626 at the mouth of the Naumkeag River from which it derived its original name of Naumkeag. The name was changed to Salem in 1629, the year Salem was incorporated. Salem was a major seaport in early America and by 1790 Salem was the sixth largest city in the country.
Salem Witch History
One of the things for which Salem is most well know is the Salem witch trials. This chapter of Salem’s history started in the winter of 1692. A couple of Salem girls fell ill and the doctor’s diagnosis was bewitchment. This lead to other accusations of witchcraft. Over 150 people were arrested and imprisoned. Trials of witches started in June of 1692 resulting in the hanging of 19 men and women. Another man was crushed to death for refusing to confess to witchcraft, and several more people died in jail.
The Salem witch trials reverberate in Salem to this day and provide the basis for many of more popular tourist attractions in Salem such as: the Salem Witch Museum, the Salem Wax Museum of Witches & Seafarers, the Witch Dungeon Museum, the Witch History Museum, and the Witch House.
More than Witches
There is much more to attract people to Salem than just witches. Other very popular attractions in Salem include:
- The FAME of Salem, a replica of a schooner that became a successful privateer in the War of 1812.
- The Friendship of Salem, a replica of a 1797 East Indiaman ship that is one of the attractions in the Salem Maritime National Historic Site
- Numerous historical houses dating from the 1600s and 1700s. This includes the House of Seven Gables which dates from 1668. The House of Seven Gables is a colonial mansion that served as the inspiration for author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel The House of the Seven Gables. The Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace is also now next to the House of the Seven Gables.
- The Peabody Essex Museum, the oldest continuously operating museum in the United States that can trace its origins all the way back to 1799. The museum maintains a significant collection of maritime and other art.
- The Salem Maritime National Historic Site which was the first National Historic Site in the United States when it was authorized in 1937.
- Salem Pioneer Village which was the first living history museum in the United States when it opened in June of 1930.
The weather in Salem is pretty much the same as it is in the Boston area. Winters are cold with frequent snow, and the North Shore tends to get more snow than Boston. Summers are warm and often humid. Fall on the North Shore is a beautiful time of year to take in the attractions in Salem.
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Photo credits: The picture of the South River in Salem is from the the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection in Flickr. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. The picture of the Salem Witch Museum is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. The picture of the tall ship Friendship is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.