One of our nine 2017 Preservation Awards Winners was the Pickering House fence and Balustrade Restoration. The 1660 Pickering House has seen American history unfold at its front steps. Front steps that have no doubt been repaired and rebuilt many times in the ensuing 357 years – no structure survives that long without seeing careful and regular maintenance.
The Pickering Foundation is continuing this tradition of stewardship most recently with the reproduction and replacement of its unique acorn fence and ornamental columns along the perimeter of Broad St. Similarly an ornamental quatrefoil balustrade above the front portico was replaced in every detail. And in within the last decade the Gothic Revival fence was also reconstructed to reproduce the original fence exactly. The Pickering House was the home of one family for three and a half centuries and that family took an important role in the rehabilitation of this exterior wood work.
We celebrate this restoration with a Historic Salem Preservation Award, presented to The Pickering Foundation.
One of our nine 2017 Preservation Awards Winners was 19 Nursery Street, also known as the William H. Hunt House. The detailed Queen Anne-style house at 19 Nursery Street was built and occupied by William H. Hunt, a popular Salem architect who was known for “designs furnished at short notice”. This 1896 house sits in a North Salem neighborhood where key historic details are being slowly lost. But not so at 19 Nursery.
Former owner Theodore (Teddy) Smith got lucky when he acquired this house for renovation in 2015. Behind a lifetime of debris from the previous owner, Teddy found original doors with original locks and knobs, original 5 ½” belly casing around the windows and 10” baseboards that he had stripped and repainted. He restored the banister and handrails, and the floors throughout the house needed only to have the carpet removed and be sanded and varnished to be brought back to their original glory.
Teddy replaced broken panes in a stained glass window and in the moon window in the attic. On the exterior, the new paint scheme highlights the dentil molding and other wooden details. 19 Nursery Street’s landscaping and the repair of the rear garage complete the project.
The work that Teddy did, inside and out, add one more well manicured house to the street, perhaps turning the tide for improved preservation initiatives in this neighborhood.
We celebrate this renovation with a Historic Salem Preservation Award, presented to Theodore Smith.
One of our nine 2017 Preservation Awards Winners was Salem's Old Town Hall window restoration project. In 2014, the City sought funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund and Community Preservation Committee to undertake a full restoration on 12 windows, including repairing sashes, repainting interior and exterior wood features, re-glazing damaged panes, replacing broken panes with antique glass, and installing bronze weather stripping. 44 other windows were repaired in less extensive ways. All 56 windows received new bronze sash chains to improve function and appearance and are now restored to their original beauty and function.
The City contracted with Gray Architects, Inc. of Salem to develop a scope of work, drawings, and specifications. Study consultation was provided by John Goff. Campbell Construction of Peabody managed the construction process, which was completed in the spring of 2016.
The windows of Old Town Hall are a key visual component of downtown Salem that act as the backdrop for many activities and gatherings, both inside and outside the building.
We celebrate their restoration with a Historic Salem Preservation Award, presented to the following: the Department of Planning & Community Development for the City of Salem, the Community Preservation Committee, Grey Architects, Campbell Construction, and John Goff.
We treasure our historic buildings in Salem. We love taking them in as we stroll by on foot, imagining them in their original context. The public spaces and passageways that allow us this experience are an integral part of what defines cities. Throughout history it has been the cities that have contained spaces that are the least presumptive about who should be there and what they are doing – spaces that truly embody what it means to be public. The porous boundaries of public spaces allow people to come and go without having to announce themselves or their intentions either formally or by their dress and demeanor. These are the vital interstices of the built environment: open plazas, squares, parks and other green spaces, promenades--and even ordinary streets and their sidewalks.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the Lewis Hunt House, one of Salem’s lost architectural treasures, is that it survived long enough to be photographed. The two-and-a-half story first period house stood on the corners of Washington and Lynde Streets until it was razed in 1863. The house was built on land acquired by Capt. Lewis Hunt in 1698. Hunt was a mariner and surviving records show that he captained the ketch Industry to St. Kitts in 1687 and the brigantine Adventure to Barbados in 1713.
The house remained in the Hunt family for five generations. It passed to William Hunt (1701-1780), a mariner and merchant, then to his oldest son, Deacon Lewis Hunt (1746-1797), a baker. After Deacon Lewis Hunt’s death, his two oldest daughters, Eunice and Sarah, sold the property to their brother, William. William died ten years later, and in 1823, William’s only child, Lewis Hunt III died in an accident at the age of 18. The house was then owned Eunice’s son John Russell, Jr., who sold the property to his sister, Sarah Orne Russell, in 1863. It was Sarah, living in the gambrel-roofed house to the north of the Lewis Hunt House, who had the old structure built by her great-great grandfather torn down.
We're currently reading "The Past & Future City" by Stephanie Meeks, the President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In it, Meeks explains the critical importance of preservation for all our communities, the ways the historic preservation field has evolved to embrace the challenges of the twenty-first century, and the innovative work being done in the preservation space now.
Nestled behind a row of houses on Mason Street and a row of businesses on Commercial Street sits an industrial building that is, for the moment, empty. It started life in 1917 as a Hood ice cream plant before it became an adhesive factory and most recently a metal fabrication shop. Soon it will be rehabilitated to house 10 condos, with its grounds home to an additional 19 townhouses. This type of project is really exciting for Historic Salem for two reasons. The first is that this project seizes the vision of the decade old North River Canal Corridor plan, and the second is, of course, the that it reuses a historic, industrial building.
But why does the reuse of this rather nondescript and relatively unknown old building matter?
“I love everything about Salem, but some things need to change.”
Do you like where you live?
We took this question to our membership in a “Coffee Conversation” format as part of the city-wide Imagine Salem initiative. When we address preservation issues at Historic Salem we try to start from the premise that the people who live in Salem love Salem like we do. This was proven in our conversations with members and the wider public.
The federal Historic Tax Credit program (HTC) is our government's largest investment in historic preservation and since its inception, the program has leveraged nationally over $120 billion in private investment and revitalizing often abandoned and underperforming properties. Over 400 preservation projects have been financially supported by the HTC since 2002. The HTC creates jobs, increases local tax revenue, leverages private dollars, is a catalyst for investment in our communities and is often a critical financial component of restoration projects that may otherwise not have happened.
Review this letter then add your signature today! Preservation Massachusetts, Boston Preservation Alliance, and others will take this letter to Washington DC in two weeks to meet with Massachusett's congressional delegation. The deadline to sign onto the letter is 5:00 PM on Friday, March 10.
Sunday, February 26th marked the 242nd anniversary of Colonel Leslie's retreat & over 200 people came out to celebrate with a reenactment! Thank you to Reverend Jeffrey Barz-Snell and the First Church congregation for hosting the reception. Thank you to Stacia Kraft for helping organize the event and thank you to our actors Charlie Newhall, Jonathan Streff, Eric Rodenhiser, Jeff Barz Snell, and Alicia Diozzi. Thank you to Hamilton Hall & Murphys Funeral Home for providing meeting locations. And thank you to our friends & neighbors for showing up and having fun with history!