Where do we even begin? We at Historic Salem, Inc., are beyond thankful for the outpouring of love + support for this year's Christmas in Salem. It's an exceptional time in our beautiful city to celebrate the community and the rich legacy of historic homes in town. We're filled with gratitude; from the generous homeowners, who welcome our community into their private abodes, to the talented florists and decorators who create gorgeous holiday designs, to our musicians who fill the homes with holiday cheer. To the hundreds of volunteers who help make the weekend so special, we say 'thank you and happy holidays.' To our partners (Karen Scalia of Salem Food Tours, Salem Garden Club, Salem Wine Imports, historian Jim McAllister, and Hannah Diozzi of Salem Strolls), the weekend would simply not be the same without you. You donate your time and energy to make this weekend a unique event in Salem. New to this year's tour, we introduced vendors on the Common, and we'd like to give a special shout out to those that braved the cold (SalemSpice, Jodi Bee Bakes, Partridge in a Bear Tree Salem, Knyte & Riley Jewelry, La Crêperie de Stéphanie, Popped Gourmet Popcorn & Ice Cream, Beverly Bees). A special thank you to the Hawthorne Hotel for serving as our headquarters for the entire weekend! And to our numerous sponsors, thank you for your support of such a special weekend. This weekend would not be possible without your support. Please visit christmasinsalem.org for a full list of sponsors. A very special thank you to John Andrews of Creative Salem for taking the beautiful photos we are thrilled to share here. All photo credits belong to Creative Salem. May all your days be merry and bright. Happy holidays!
For this holiday season, we are happy to have collaborated with Windows of Salem artist, Elissa Von Letkemann to offer a curated collection of historic home-inspired greeting cards! Cards can be purchased on Etsy. Check out the press release below to learn more.
Our own Simeen Brown and Stefanie Howlett chatted with Mayor Kim Driscoll about Christmas in Salem past & present.
On August 21st, HSI celebrated members with a garden party at the Assembly House. Not only did we have beautiful weather and “revolutionary” guests in the persons of George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette, but we were thrilled at such a wonderful gathering of Salem residents and preservation supporters in attendance, too. Although the garden and grass were a little dry from the drought, the abundance of smiling faces and colorful friends made the event picture perfect. Click here to check out photos from the event.
July 27, 2016, Salem, MA – Historic Salem, Inc. (HSI) will begin this summer to expand its plaque program for Salem’s historic houses into “the Point,” a neighborhood that has been home to new immigrants since the late 1800s. The project is funded in part through the Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program.
“The Point was added to the National Register of Historic Places last year, and these plaques are a logical next step,” observed Jennifer Firth, HSI President. “They will help tell the story of generations of immigrants who helped make Salem the thriving community it is today,” she added.
The North Shore Community Development Coalition (CDC) will be HSI’s partner in the initial phase of this project. The CDC owns a number of properties in the Point, and these buildings will be the first plaque recipients in the neighborhood.
In addition to the Essex Heritage grant, this project will be supported by funds donated in honor of Mary (McGlue) Herbert-Chenery, mother of Jessica Herbert, chair of Salem’s Historical Commission. After Mary’s death in 2012, the family requested donations to HSI in lieu of flowers. A preservationist herself, Mary believed that when a historic plaque went up on a house, people tended to appreciate and care more for the property. Of the program in the Point, Jessica noted, “Tourists read signs, and the plaque program will be important to the Point because many people don’t know the history.”
This project also will be supported by revenue from HSI’s annual Christmas In Salem house tour and by HSI membership dues.
HSI’s historic house plaques are placed on buildings after a professionally researched historical report on the structure has been prepared for HSI and delivered to the homeowner. Research on eight CDC properties in the Point will begin this summer. The plaques will be in French and Spanish, in addition to the usual English, in recognition of the primary ethnic groups that have settled in the neighborhood.
Formed in 1944, HSI’s mission is to ensure that the historic resources of Salem, Massachusetts – which are the key to its identity, its quality of life, and its economic vitality – are preserved for future generations, and that new development complements the historic character of the city.
Phone: (978) 745-0799
The Peabody Essex Museum recently released their newest PEMcast episode which highlights historic buildings and why their retention matters to places like Salem. This episode features conversations with preservation and architecture specialists, such as Elizabeth Padjen and HSI’s very own Emily Udy, that are geared towards the buildings in a community and the stories that these building tell.
50 years ago, urban renewal plans almost ruined the built heritage of Salem. But through the actions of Ada Louise Huxtable, the proposal to severely alter the streetscapes of downtown was broadcast through the New York Times and Salem was spared from the wrecking ball. However, it was not just Huxtable who saved the day. “There’s not ever one person who can save a place or a building; it’s a community process” said Emily.
One of the community projects that HSI has been taking on for years which fosters engagement and appreciation of older buildings is the Historic House History & Plaque Program. The plaque allows neighbors and visitors a glimpse into the history of the house by noting the name and occupation of the builder, along with the date of completion. The real significance of the House History & Plaque Program is to enrich the community’s understanding of the history of the city.