Sunday, September 12, 2010

Images from Salem's South River Walking Tour

While an awful lot of people were watching the Patriots win their first game of the season, about 25 of us were enjoying a fascinating walking tour hosted by Historic Salem, Inc. The tour, led by historian Margherita Desy, was entitled, "Looking South: Salem's South River."

We began at the Gedney House on High Street, which once faced the water, and walked to Central Wharf, which we learned was once called Forrester Wharf, at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. The tour was fact-filled, focusing on the changing topography of Salem over the past 200+ years, and touching on some of the devastation of the Great Salem Fire of 1914.

In the photo above, we are standing in the municipal parking lot in Riley Plaza. Much of the tour took us over landfill. This spot looks up to Mill Hill and over toward the police station which was once the Mill Pond. The mills in Salem ground wheat, snuff, and chocolate (not at the same time, we hope).

Here we are on the corner of New Derby Street and Lafayette Street. The building on the top left of the image where Engine House Pizza is located is the only building on this block that survived the Salem Fire.

From this spot (above) on the South River Harbor Walk, adjacent to Finz, we learned about the Pequot Mills (now Shetland properties), which was the largest building under one roof when it was built.

Adjacent to Shetland Properties is the Pequot House, above. This house was built for the 1930 tercentenary of the settling of Massachusetts. It is not a First Period structure. When it was built by the Pequot Mills, it was for interpretive purposes. They had costumed guides and decorations that they believed represented the 17th century (but apparently they really represented the 18th century).

I always new this house was a replica, but I never knew why. The information is particularly useful because we have received letters at Destination Salem from visitors who are horrified to see the picture window in a 17th-century structure!

And we ended on Central (formerly Forrester) Wharf, adjacent to the tall ship Friendship (which is on Derby Wharf).

This was one of two Sunday in September Walking Tours. The second tour will be on Sunday, September 26 at 2:00 pm at Salem State University. The tour will include the history of Salem State, from Normal School to Teaching School to Salem State College, now University. The September 26 tour will also go to the Forest River conservation area to talk about the former Salem Lead Mills.

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