The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association was founded in 1910 by Salem philanthropist and early historic preservationist Caroline Emmerton. Capitalizing on the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion's connection to Nathaniel Hawthorne (who used it as the setting for his 1851 novel, The House of the Seven Gables), Emmerton rescued the 1668 mansion, restored it, and opened it to the public as a museum, using ticket sales specifically to fund social services for Salem's newly arrived immigrants. Over the past century the Trustees of The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association have followed Emmerton’s leadership and stewardship example. Over time they have acquired and maintained additional historic structures, including the Retire Beckett House (1655), the Hooper-Hathaway House (1682), Hawthorne's Birth Place (c.1750), and the Phippen House (1782). In 2007, the campus was designated a National Historic Landmark District, signifying its high level of historic integrity and the significant role it plays in interpreting 3 ½ centuries' worth of stories relevant not only to the heritage of the region, but to the architectural, economic, literary, and social history of the nation. Most recently the Settlement Association has undertaken stabilization of the Summer beam in the Gables, allowing the dining room to be open to the public as well as more practical projects including four new roofs. Through the efforts of the House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association we see an important example of stewardship of our shared history and culture. This year the Gables is proud to celebrate the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion’s 350th anniversary and HSI was proud to present them with an award for a Century of Stewardship.
Another charming accessory structure is found behind the Ropes Mansion. The impeccably restored potting shed accessed through the back gate of the garden adds stature to the professionally kept Ropes garden. The shed started life as a garage in the early 1900s and was moved back from the street when the greenhouse portion was added around the 1930s. After storm damage in 2015, the restoration efforts focused on sourcing old growth tidewather “sinker” Cyprus to replace damaged framing for the glass. Any unbroken material was able to be reused. Proving that details matter, the restoration “wavy” glass installed on vertical surfaces is simple yet stunning. This season the greenhouse and shed will be used for education, plant propagation and winter plant protection. The Peabody Essex Museum assembled an all-star team for this elegant project including: American Steeple and Tower, Cassidy Bothers Forge, Robert Ouellette, Weaver Glass, John Jeffers and Precision Painting.
The Greek Revival building located at 55-57 Federal Street was constructed c. 1836 by Joshua Loring as a double residential home. The building located at 59 Federal Street was constructed c. 1850 as a residential property. By 1890 the buildings were connected by a two-story ell. Portions of both buildings were later renovated for office use and over time the buildings fell into disrepair.
When Salem Renewal LLC purchased the buildings, they continued their proud tradition of rehabilitation. In partnership with Seger Architects of Salem, they converted the buildings into 9 residential units. The exterior materials including the siding, trim, windows, and roof were all restored or replaced and the interior woodwork, fireplaces, and staircase were completely refurbished. Proposed work qualified for Historic Tax Credits, which require stringent adherence to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and the buildings are now a proud complement to the historic neighborhood of the Federal Street district.
The owners of the historic Harris-Webb House at 265-267 Lafayette Street began restoring it in 2017. After they repainted the wooden clapboards, incised corner pilasters, paired curvilinear cornice brackets with pendants, open pediment dormers, and thin segmental-arch window caps, they began work on the front entrance porch, which was in serious disrepair. The owners took the opportunity to restore the historic appearance of the porch – what Bryant Tolles called “pleasantly light and understated.” New mahogany turned balusters were created to match others found on Lafayette Street. New handrails and column bases were also installed. Typically the Historical Commission does not nominate a restoration project until all work has been completed, however, in this instance, the commission recommended honoring the property owners’ efforts to date as a means to address conflicts between historic building designs and modern building codes. After the owners of 265-267 Lafayette Street installed the new porch railings, they were notified that the railings did not comply with current code requirements for railing height, even though they matched the original porch design. The Massachusetts State Building Code allows exemptions for museum buildings only; there are no exemptions for buildings listed in the National Register or designated within a local historic district. The Historical Commission will be assisting the owner in seeking an appeal of the building code requirements to allow the retention of the historically appropriate railings.
Homeowners Tim Obert & Matt Obey facilitated a complete rehabilitation of the exterior of 170 Federal Street. A few highlights include the restoration of all original wooden sash windows, the complete restoration and extension of the original wrought iron fence, and the installation of a brick sidewalk and driveway. In addition, the original stained glass entrance doors were restored, reconstructed, and re-leaded, and arched second-floor windows previously hidden behind rectangular storm windows were exposed. The granite entrance steps and the original carriage step were reset and the garage restored, with new swing-out wooden doors fabricated and installed. Deteriorated soffit woodwork was also restored around the entire roofline. Many people were responsible for 170 Federal’s transformation, most notably McLaughlin Masonry, DeAngelis Iron Work, and carpenter John Obey.
Congress Street Residences is a significant neighborhood revitalization initiative in the Point neighborhood by the North Shore Community Development Coalition. Through the restoration and preservation of eight distressed historic buildings in the neighborhood, the North Shore CDC created 64 quality affordable homes and a community center. The organization acquired the buildings in December 2014, began the project in Spring 2016, and completed the restorations in November 2017. The rehab of the buildings included roof, mechanical systems, and window replacement, extensive masonry repairs, all new kitchens and baths, and unit reconfiguration in most buildings. Once overlooked, North Shore CDC has transformed these decrepit buildings into affordable housing that people want to call home. Before, these 66 units rehabbed– apartment layouts were not suitable for modern living and there was a lack of overall care for the buildings. Today, 64 modern, affordable homes have been restored to incorporate the historic charm of the buildings like built-in cabinets and decorative trim. North Shore CDC also transformed two former units into a community space called Espacio, located at 105 Congress Street. This 2,000-square -foot space fully restored the exterior look of the building, bringing back the commercial storefront and updating the brick façade. Espacio is also home to the nonprofit’s Family Resource Center – a place for free programming for community members to take ESL classes, dance lessons, Immigration Services, and more. This multi-functioning space brings back the original layout of the building, and includes modern amenities such as a colorful kitchen and conference room. This project is an excellent example of long-term planning and maintenance of historic buildings, to the benefit of the entire community.
Christopher and Stacey Norkun’s search for the perfect home took over two years and 80+ showings. Finally, 53 Summer Street emerged - a weather-beaten 1756 gambrel that surely scared away most buyers. This house was once considered for demolition during the 1914 Salem Fire as a way to interrupt the path of the conflagration. Though spared that fate, it had been neglected in the intervening century and to say the house was in “rough shape” is an understatement. Nevertheless, all Chris and Stacey saw was potential. They could see past the rotted windows, the marred floors, and the ceilings that were caving in from years of water damage. They were bravely ready to take it on and become stewards of its history; to give something back to Salem, the city that has always held a special place in their hearts. Exterior work completed on 53 Summer Street includes the repair and replacement of the roof; the repointing of the fieldstone foundation; the replacement of 26 windows and all surrounding trim and sills; the removal and repair of all exterior dry rot; the painting of the exterior; and the rebuilding of the front steps. Interior work includes the repair of plaster damage from sill rot; the repair of plaster ceilings due to heavy water damage; the repair and restoration of the hardwood floors; and the renovation of the Front Parlor, Dining Parlor, Bathroom, Master Bedroom, and Guest Bedroom.
We'd like you meet our 2018 Preservation Award Winners, so we'll be highlighting one every day for the next eight days. Special thanks to Ty Hapworth (@hellosalem on Instagram) for lending his talents and photographing this year's winners!
35 Chestnut Street
When Dan Randall and Phil Gillespie realized that 35 Chestnut Street, a grand rowhouse recently vacated and next to their own home, could potentially be stripped of its historic interior details, they redefined good neighbors by purchasing the rowhouse and undertaking a complete restoration of the Federal-style residence, in partnership with their architect, Helen Sides and carpenter, Jef Grinarml. Dan and Phil received Massachusetts Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits for the project, which is an innovative solution for a smaller scale residential rehabilitation and requires careful protection of historic materials. The project included restoration of the building’s 6 over 6 wood window sashes, repointing of the brick and brownstone exterior, and preservation of the interior woodwork. In addition, the owners restored the property’s original carriage house, including removal of wood shingle siding to reveal and preserve the building’s original wood clapboards and trim. The restoration of the carriage house included preservation of interior woodwork and an entry that was installed when the carriage house was converted to residential use around 1912. These architectural elements were moved from a house that once stood at 21 Federal Street. A new historically appropriate porch was also added to the south (Warren Street) elevation of the carriage house and a new fence was installed along Warren Street. The entire project is beautifully completed but the selection committee was particularly charmed by the care given to this small accessory dwelling.
Our Annual Meeting on Friday was a fun and well-attended event with plenty of Flying Saucer pizza to go around! We'd like to thank our outgoing President Jennifer Firth for her hard work and dedication to the organization, and congratulate our new President, Tim Jenkins. We'd also like to extend a warm welcome to our seven new board members and introduce you all to this talented bunch:
Polly Wilbert has been actively involved in neighborhood and community issues since her 1981 move to South Salem. She is a long-time member of the South Salem Neighborhood Association and has been president since November 2016. She also serves on the Salem State University Neighborhood Advisory Committee and as a member of the City Council’s LORAX Task Force, which has drafted a municipal ordinance in support of Salem’s urban forest.
She helped found the Alliance of Salem Neighborhood Associations to foster communication on city issues among Salem’s neighborhoods. She is a member of the Friends of Greenlawn, assisting with historical research on and tours of Salem’s 1807 cemetery and participating in preservation advocacy and fundraising for the Dickson Memorial Chapel at Greenlawn.
During her business career, Polly was on the administrative staffs of several Boston investment firms. She is a gardener and a long-time collector of art and antiques. As a great-granddaughter of a founder of America’s leading 19th-century manufacturer of majolica -- Griffen, Smith & Hill -- she is a collector of that and other historic ceramics.
Gary R. Leach recently retired as the senior vice president and group head of the Community Development Lending business line for Eastern Bank. In that capacity he oversaw Eastern’s tax credit investment business ( for historic, LIHTC and New Market tax credits) as well as the financing of non-profit business enterprises and affordable housing, including tax exempt bond financing. He served Eastern Bank as a manager in the commercial banking business from 1997 to 2018.
Prior to joining Eastern Bank, Gary’s forty-plus year real estate finance career included assignments at Fleet Bank, Bank of New England and the First National Bank of Chicago.
Gary earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Suffolk University and a Master of Arts degree in Urban Studies from Loyola University, Chicago.
Gary is a board member and past President of the North Shore Community Development Coalition and a member and past President of the Real Estate Finance Association of the Greater Boston Board of Realtors. He is also a member of the Urban Land Institute. Gary is a founding member of the Boston Chapter of the Lambda Alpha International Land Economics Society and its Regional Vice President for the Eastern US.
Barbara Cleary is the Principal of Cleary Advisors, which provides consulting services regarding real estate financing to non-profit organizations. The firm’s clients include health care organizations, educational instititutions, YMCAs, child care providers, and developers of commercial real estate, among others.
She is responsible for arranging and negotiating the terms debt, equity, public and quasi-public funds, and especially New Markets and Historic Tax Credits. She was previously President of Affirmative Investments, a social investing firm based in Boston.
Barbara has a Masters of Art History and Museum Practice and her interest in historic architecture and decorative arts dates from her previous work at Historic Deerfield and Historic New England. She is a past President of Historic Salem and was recipient of Historic Salem’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Gavin Gardner is the Chief of Resources for Salem Maritime and Saugus Iron Works National Historic Sites. He was born in Maryland, moved out west for college, then began a career as an archeologist for the National Park Service, working at parks in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Alaska, Colorado, and Washington. His adventures have included finding prehistoric pueblos at the Grand Canyon, protecting historic Spanish missions and the pueblos they exploited in New Mexico, recording gold rush sites in Alaska, repairing cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, and possibly locating the cremated remains of Marlon Brando in Death Valley. He met his wife in Death Valley, they added two children in New Mexico, then moved to Massachusetts, even though he strongly dislikes winter.
Gavin worked at the Springfield Armory, home to the second largest collection of firearms in the world, then moved to Salem national park, where he is Chief of Resources for Salem Maritime and Saugus Iron Works National Historic Sites. He has worked to build a resource management division tasked with preserving and protecting the park's amazing history, museum collection, and natural resources. He has no idea when the Friendship will return.
David Henry is an investment professional with over 35 years of experience. David has an MBA from the University of Houston and a BBA from University of Cincinnati. He is a member of Certified Financial Advisor and has held numerous roles within the CFA Society of Boston.
He has served in a client relationship / business development role for P/E Investments. He was Chief Investment Officer for the Family Office of the late Richard Egan, founder of EMC. He has been an investment consultant with the Wellesley Group, and advisor for the CCC Alliance, a Family Office collaborative. He has also worked for John Hancock, The Boston Company & Interactive Data.
Mr. Henry is active in his community. David recently joined Essex County Community Foundation Investment Committee. He volunteers with the Career Collaborative, a non profit that assists unemployed and under-employed individuals develop career skills. He is a board member of Northeast ARC. In the past, Mr. Henry served on Immaculate Conception Finance Committee and Parish Council. He was also an Assistant Scout Master for Troop 24. Mr. Henry is a previous board member, Treasurer, and President of HSI and facilitated the grant for the original renovation of the Bowditch House. He considers his greatest accomplishment to be when he and his wife won for costume at the HSI Black and White ball.
Walter Herbert has been a career banker in both the Corporate and Investment areas for 35+ years and has developed networks with corporations, developers and investors on both a business and social level. In working with Swampscott Historical Society and as a Swampscott Town Meeting member he contributed to solving real estate development and funding issues in a collaborative environment. Since moving to Salem, he has joined Historic Salem, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Athenaeum, the Pickering House Trust, and the House of Seven Gables. Learning about their missions has made him want to become more actively involved in Salem. He has restored historic buildings that include and Edwardian building at 110 Burrill Street in Swampscott and a Second Period building at 105R North Street in Salem. He is also active in the Harvard Club of Boston, the Harvard Varsity Club and St. John’s Prep Alumni Association.
Michael Selbst has been living-in and restoring old houses his entire adult life. He started restoring his first antique house when he was 24, and hasn’t stopped since. He was on a number of local boards in Boston and now is on the board of Hamilton Hall, chairing the building committee. He has been a resident of Salem since 2014. Michael received a Bachelors degree in Economics as well as a Masters of Business Administration, both from Cornell University. He lives in Salem with his partner Brad on Chestnut Street in their most recent old house. He is a realtor with Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, specializing in Boston and the North Shore. Michael is also known for his enthusiasm and welcoming nature, which will be an asset to any project in which he is involved.