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.
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