Learn Salem’s History

Spearpoint, c. 11,000 B.C.



Hamilton Hall Salem


Men Looking at the Great Salem Fire


Yin Yu Tang House



Spearpoint, c. 11,000 B.C.

10,000 years ago

The Arrival of Indigenous People in New England

The end of the last ice age, and the arrival of the Indigenous people in New England.

Sometime 12,000 to 9,000 years ago, the first humans entered the land around Salem, as the glaciers receded at the end of the last ice age. These people were the ancestors of present-day Indigenous people. They produced sharp spear points from stone and hunted caribou. One of the largest archeological sites in North America, Bull Brook in nearby Ipswich, was inhabited by groups of paleo-Indians around 11,000 years ago.

New England 1614


John Smith's Voyage

John Smith surveys the coast of New England.


The Great Plague

The Great Plague of smallpox scourges the Indigenous population, killing approximately 90% of the Massachusett.


The Death of Nanepashemet

The Death of Nanepashemet occurs, sachem of the Pawtucket Confederation.


The Arrival of Roger Conant

Roger Conant arrives, settling what would become Salem.


The Arrival of Governor John Endicott

With the arrival of Governor John Endicott of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the settlement takes the name of Salem.

Roger Conant Statue in Washington Square Salem, MA


Trask's Mill Built

William Trask built a mill (“Trask’s Mill”) for grinding grain on the North River.

Photo of the exterior of the first church in Salem, MA


Salem's First Church

The First Church of Salem is organized.


Stranded on Misery Island

Robert Moulton, an early shipbuilder, is stranded on Misery Island for three days.


The First Brick Kiln in New England

Thomas Trusler sets up a brick kiln on the North River, the first in New England.

A black and white rendering of the first fort


Salem's First Fort Built

The First Fort is built in Salem.


Trading Post Established

Four Salem men, including Roger Conant, established a trading post for beaver furs in Maine.


The Arrival of Governor John Winthrop

Governor John Winthrop arrives on the Arbella with his fleet of Puritan migrants, including poet Anne Bradstreet.


General Court Pays a Bounty

General Court pays a bounty to Richard Waterman for killing a wolf in Salem.


Wenepoykin Leads the Pawtucket Band of the Massachusett

A further smallpox plague strikes the Massachusett. Wenepoykin survives, disfigured by the disease, and leads the Pawtucket Band of the Massachusett after the death of his two brothers.


Endicott Cuts Out the Red Cross

Endicott cuts the Red Cross out of the English ensign.


The First Ropewalk

The first ropewalk in America began near Collins Cove.


Minister Roger Williams Escapes Salem

Minister Roger Williams escaped Salem and founded the colony of Rhode Island after he was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

A black & white map of the Great Colonial Hurricane


The Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635

The Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 is the largest in the recorded history of New England.


The Arrival of Minister Hugh Peter

Minister Hugh Peter arrives in Salem, and in 1641 he returns to England and is killed as a regicide.


Anne Hutchinson's Followers are Disarmed

Five Salem followers of Anne Hutchinson are disarmed and several leave the colony.

1637 A full color illustration of The First Muster


The First Muster

The First Muster of the East Regiment.

A black & white photo of the first burial tomb at the Old Burying Point Cemetary


The First Burial in the Old Burying Point Cemetery

The first burial occurred in the Old Burying Point Cemetery, now Charter Street Cemetery.

A black & white illustration of the United States slave trade


The Desire

The Desire, captained by William Peirce, begins the American trade of enslaved people.


Dorothy Talbye Brought to Trial

Dorothy Talbye is tried for infanticide.


Fort Established at Winter Island

A fort was established at Winter Island, an area used continuously as a military installation until 1971.

The exterior of Quaker Meeting House in Salem MA


Quakers Brought to Trial

The Quakers are brought to trial in Salem for disorderly conduct: Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick, Josiah Southwick, Samuel Shattuck, Samuel Gaskin, and Joseph Buffum.

An old photo of The pickering House in Salem, MA


The Pickering House Built

John Pickering builds The Pickering House, the oldest house still standing in Salem.


The Arrival of Philip English

Jersey-born merchant Philip English arrives in Salem.


The House of the Seven Gables Built

John Turner builds The House of the Seven Gables.


Beverly Becomes Independent from Salem

The neighboring town of Beverly achieves its independence from Salem.


A Second Meeting House (and More) Constructed

The wood from Salem’s first meeting house is used to construct a second meeting house, a watch house, a townhouse, and a school. Daniel Epes is the first schoolmaster.


Doraty Cromwell Buried

Doraty Cromwell, whose headstone is the oldest surviving in Salem, is buried in the Old Burying Ground.


Salem Militia Fights in King Philip's War

The Salem militia company fought in King Philip’s War, one of the bloodiest wars in American history, and erected a palisade along the western wall of the town.

An old photo of Bakers Island in Salem, MA


Bakers Island

Bakers Island is leased to John Turner.


The First African-American Birth Recorded

Joseph Read, Jr., the first African-American birth recorded in the Vital Records of Salem.


Simon Bradstreet Becomes Governor

Salem resident, Simon Bradstreet, becomes governor.


The Friends Meeting House Built

Thomas Maule builds the Friends Meeting House.


Quonopohit Deeds Salem

Quonopohit, a sachem of the Massachusett, deeds Salem to the English.

An artistic portrait of William Phips


King William's War

King William’s War rages across New England, Salem ships are drafted by William Phips for his expedition.

An old Witchcraft book


The Salem Witch Trials

The Salem Witchcraft Trials begin.


Thomas Maule Acquitted

Thomas Maule is acquitted of blasphemy of the publication of  Truth Held Forth and Maintained.



The Arrival of John Cabot

John Cabot arrives from Jersey in Salem, beginning an American dynasty.


Queen Anne's War

Queen Anne’s War– many Salem men are involved in the fighting.


Captain John Quelch Pirates

Captain John Quelch pirates Portuguese ships.


The First Known Brick House Built

George Cabot of Boston, builds the first known brick house in Salem at the corner of Essex and Crombie streets, for merchant Benjamin Marston.


The East Church of Salem Founded

The East Church of Salem is founded.


Salem's First Almshouse Constructed

Salem’s first almshouse was constructed on Broad Street adjacent to Broad Street Cemetery.


The Ropes Mansion Built

The Georgian-style Ropes Mansion is built in Salem.


Salem's First Anglican Church

St. Peter’s Church, the first Anglican church in Salem, is founded.

"The Old Plantation" watercolor painting


Negro Election Day

The first recorded Negro Election Day.


Timothy Pickering Born

The soldier and politician Timothy Pickering is born.


The Salem Pest House Opens

The Salem Pest House for infectious diseases opened on Collins Cove.


Danvers Becomes Independent

Danvers achieves its independence from Salem.

The Chair designed by Samuel McIntire located in the Cleveland museum of Art


Samuel McIntire Born

Architect Samuel McIntire is born.

The exterior of the Derby House on a clear blue sky day


The Derby House Built

The Derby House is built, the oldest surviving brick house in Salem.


Elizabeth Elkins Sanders Born

Indigenous rights advocate Elizabeth Elkins Sanders is born.


Salem Marine Society

The Salem Marine Society is established.


John and Abigail Adams Visit

John and Abigail Adams visit Salem and witness Pope Night celebrations. The couple visit the spot of the Witchcraft Trial executions.

A photo of the original Essex Gazette Vol. 1 Numb. 3


The Essex Gazette

The inaugural publication of The Essex Gazette, Salem’s first newspaper.


The Essex Hospital Built

The Essex Hospital for smallpox built on Children’s Island, a mob burned it down the following year.

Illustration of Salem Old North Bridge Leslie Retreat


The American Revolution

The American Revolution begins.


The Tabernacle Church Built

The Tabernacle Church, a more conservative Congregational church, is built.


Lucy Hiller Lambert Cleveland Born

The writer and social reformer Lucy Hiller Lambert Cleveland is born.

The exterior of The Peirce Nichols House on a beautiful blue sky day


The Peirce-Nichols House Completed

The Peirce-Nichols House, considered one of McIntire’s masterpieces, is completed.

Artistic Portrait of William Bentley


William Bentley Ordained

William Bentley ordained as minister of the East Church.

A rendering of The Grand Turk Ship


The Grand Turk

The ship Grand Turk opens New England trade with China.


Prince Farmer Born

Birth of Prince Farmer, a successful Black oyster dealer and sailor.

An illustration of President Washington's lasting impression on the common


George Washington Visits

George Washington visits Salem.


The Salem Gazette Published

The first issue of The Salem Gazette is published.


The Columbia Redeviva

The Columbia Rediviva, owned by John Derby, is the first western vessel to enter the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.


Uprising Onboard Salem Ship Felicity

The unsuccessful uprising by enslaved people onboard Salem ship Felicity.


William H. Prescott Born

Historian William H. Prescott is born.

Bonne Map


Captain John Carnes and a Shipload from Sumatra

Captain John Carnes brings back a shipload of pepper from Sumatra, beginning one of Salem’s most lucrative trades.

Old illustration and article about an elephant on board


The First Elephant

The first elephant in the United States is exhibited in Salem, brought by the ship America.

The Friendship Salem Ship on a beautiful blue sky day at sea


The Original Friendship

The original Friendship was launched.


Twin Lighthouses

Twin Lighthouses go into service on Bakers Island.


The Arrival of John Remond from Curaçao

John Remond arrives in Beverly from Curaçao at ten years old and soon moves to Salem where he becomes a caterer and patriarch to an influential abolitionist family.


Naval Frigate Essex

The important naval frigate Essex was built in Salem.


The Death of Elias Hasket Derby

Elias Hasket Derby, one of the richest men in America, dies.



Alexander Hamilton Visits

Founding father Alexander Hamilton visits Salem.


Salem Common Improved

Salem Common is leveled and fenced in a series of improvements sponsored by Elias Hasket Derby, Jr.


Howard Street Cemetery Interments

Interments begin in Howard Street Cemetery, which included a segregated section for the burial of African Americans.


Jacob Crowninshield Elected

Salem merchant Jacob Crowninshield, a Democratic-Republican, is elected to Congress, where he served until his death in 1808.


The American Practical Navigator Published

Nathaniel Bowditch publishes The American Practical Navigator, which revolutionizes navigation.


Nathaniel Hawthorne Born

The birth of writer Nathaniel Hawthorne.


The Death of Caesar

Death of Caesar, a Black mathematician with a remarkable memory.


Howard Street Church Built

The Howard Street Church, which would become a center for abolitionism in Salem, built.

A picture of the front exterior of Hamilton Hall in Salem, MA on a cloudy day


Hamilton Hall Opens

The important gathering place and landmark of federal architecture Hamilton Hall opens.


The Arrival of Mary Spencer

Mary Spencer, creator of the gibraltar candy, arrives in Salem.


Elementary School for Black Students Opened

An elementary school for Black students is opened.


Salem Shipping Industry Devastated

President Jefferson signs the Embargo Act which devastates Salem shipping industry.


Salem's First Universalist Church

The First Universalist Church is built in Salem.


Sophia Peabody Born

Painter Sophia Peabody is born.


The Death of Rose Derby

Death of Rose Derby, formerly enslaved by the Derby family, Sabe leaves Salem shortly thereafter.


Benjamin Peirce Born

Benjamin Peirce, an important mathematician and one of the first great American scientists is born.

A photo of the Salem Athaneum at night


The Salem Athanaeum Founded

The Salem Athenaeum, an independent membership library, is founded from two earlier library societies.


Abiel Abbot Low Born

China Trade merchant and clipper ship pioneer Abiel Abbot Low is born.


Joseph Story Nominated

Joseph Story is nominated for the Supreme Court by President James Madison.


Adoniram Judson Selected to be One of the First Missionaries

Adoniram Judson of the Tabernacle Church is selected to be one of the first American Missionaries, first in India and then Burma.


Charles Grafton Page Born

Electrical engineer Charles Grafton Page is born, inventor of the first high-voltage induction coil.

Image of the artwork "Fame & the War of 1812" feauturing the Ship the Schooner Fame of Salem, MA


Salem Ships take to Privateering

During The War of 1812, many Salem ships take to privateering, including the Schooner Fame.


Jones Very Born

The birth of poet Jones Very.


Benjamin Williams Crowninshield Appointed

Benjamin Williams Crowninshield appointed Secretary of the Navy.


America's First Luxury Yacht

Building of Cleopatra’s Barge, considered America’s first luxury yacht.


The Last Salem Almshouse

The opening of the last Salem almshouse.


Old Town Hall Built

Old Town Hall is built.


James Monroe Visits

President James Monroe visits Salem.


Salem's Final Custom House Built

The thirteenth and final Salem Custom House built.


William Wetmore Story Born

Sculptor William Wetmore Story is born.


St. Mary's Church Opens

St. Mary’s Church, the first Catholic Church in Salem, is opened.

A photo of the front exterior of the Phillips House in Salem, MA on a clear blue sky day


The Philips House Moved

The Phillips House moved to Chestnut Street from South Danvers (today Peabody, Massachusetts).


The Marquis de Lafayette's Second Visit

The Marquis de Lafayette makes a second visit to Salem, where he is celebrated as a hero of the Revolution and the highway through the south fields is named Lafayette Street in his honor.

Old portrait photo of Sarah Parker Remond in sepia


Sarah Parker Remond Born

Abolitionist Sarah Parker Remond is born.


The Annals of Salem Published

Joseph B. Felt publishes the first volume of The Annals of Salem, an antiquarian history of the town.


Salem's First Theater Built

The first theater is built in Salem on Crombie Street.


Harriet Low Enters Canton, China in Disguise

Harriet Low enters Canton, China, off-limits to foreign women, disguised as a man.


The Death of Edward Agustus Holyoke

Pioneering doctor Edward Agustus Holyoke dies at age 100.


The Murder of Captain Joseph White

The murder of Captain Joseph White occurs, inspiring the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne.


The Salem Lyceum Founded

The Salem Lyceum, a significant lecture hall used for the exchange of ideas, is founded.


The First Sumatran Expedition

First Sumatran Expedition, one of the first foreign expeditions of the US Navy, happens in Sumatra due to the raiding of a Salem ship, the Friendship.


The First Load of Gum Copal

John Bertam’s Black Warrior brings back the first load of gum copal from Zanzibar to Salem.


Joseph Hodges Choate Born

Prominent lawyer Joseph Hodges Choate is born.


The First Female Abolition Society in America

The first female abolition society in the United States, the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society is founded.


Henry Prince Jr. Serves in the Second Seminole War

Henry Prince, Jr. commissioned as an officer of the Revenue Cutter Service, serves in the Second Seminole War.


Salem Sends the First American Ship to Australia

Salem sends the first American ship to Australia, the Tybee, shortly thereafter Salem ships visit New Zealand and Hawai’i.


Andrew Jackson Visits

President Andrew Jackson visits Salem.


Fidelia Bridges Born

Artist Fidelia Bridges is born.


The Dream Published

The Dream, or, The True History of Deacon Giles’ Distillery, an early temperance pamphlet, is published.


Salem Officially a City

Salem is officially designated a city, Leverett Saltonstall is elected first mayor.


William Apes Delivers his Invective

William Apess delivers his invective in favor of Indigenous rights, “Eulogy for King Philip” at the Salem Lyceum.


Salem Street Directory Published

The first Salem Street Directory is published.


Salem City Hall Built

The Salem City Hall is built, the oldest continually inhabited city hall in the nation.


The Railroad Reaches Salem

The railroad reaches Salem with the completion of the first leg of the Eastern Railroad, connecting Salem and Boston.


The Mechanic Hall is Constructed

The Mechanic Hall is constructed. This was a popular theatre in Salem until it was destroyed by fire in 1905.


Harmony Grove Cemetery Founded

Harmony Grove Cemetery, in the rural cemetery style, is founded.


The Largest Steam Cotton Mill in the World

Naumkeag Steam Cotton Company starts operating in Salem, the largest steam cotton mill in the world.


The World Anti-Slavery Conference Attendees

Charles Lenox Remond and William Lloyd Garrison attend the World Anti-Slavery Conference in London.

A old colored illustration of the Philips School in Salem MA


The Nation's First Racially Integrated Public School

Thanks to the efforts of Black activists, Salem public schools are racially integrated, the first in the nation.


Brigham Young Visits

Early Mormon leader Brigham Young visits his daughter Vilate Young while she is living in Salem.


Salem's Last Direct Shipment of Pepper

The Lucille delivers Salem’s last direct shipment of pepper from Sumatra.


Salem's Train Depot

Salem’s train depot was built with its Gothic Revival facade, demolished in 1955.


Essex Institute Founded

The Essex Institute was founded as a historical society for Essex County.


Salem Ships Set Sail to California

Sparked by the California Gold Rush, several Salem ships sailed for San Francisco.


The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne finished The Scarlet Letter while living at 14 Mall Street.


Frank Cousins Born

Photographer and tradesman Frank Cousins is born.


Gothic Revival House

Timothy Brooks commissioned a Gothic Revival house at 260 Lafayette Street, one of the finest still standing in the country.

Black & white photo of the exterior of the Salem Normal School


Salem Normal School Founded

Salem Normal School was founded as a women’s teaching college.


Some of the Earliest Color-Printed Lithographs in the U.S.

John Fiske Allen published a book on growing the Amazonian water-lily Victoria Regia, likely the first color-printed lithographs in the United States.


John Bertram House Built

John Bertram House, later the Salem Public Library, was built.


The Massachusetts Women's Suffrage Annual Convention

The Women’s Suffrage Club of Salem hosts the Massachusetts Women’s Suffrage annual convention, Julia Ward Howe and Lucy Stone are speakers.


William Filene's Clothing Store Opens

Jewish businessman William Filene opened a clothing store on Essex Street, his son Edward Filene, who founded Filene’s Department Store in Boston, was born in Salem in 1860.


Plummer Hall Built

Plummer Hall is built for the Salem Athenaeum and Essex Institute.


The Immaculate Conception Church Built

The Immaculate Conception Church is built in Salem, the city’s second Catholic parish the oldest surviving today.


Salem Willows Established

Salem Willows, a popular amusement park, is established on Salem Neck.


Salem Explorer Creates Lander Road

Salem explorer and surveyor Frederick W. Lander creates the Lander Road through Wyoming and Montana, the first government-sponsored trail to Oregon or California.


The Invention of a Form of Incandescent Light

Moses G. Farmer, invents a form of incandescent light, becoming perhaps the first person to light a room in their house with electricity.


Charlotte Forten Teaches Formerly Enslaved People

Charlotte Forten travels to Port Royal, SC to teach formerly enslaved people

Gritty Photo of the 23rd Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Boulder in Salem MA


The American Civil War

American Civil War


Frank W. Benson Born

Frank W. Benson is born.


Frederick Townsend Ward Killed

Salem mercenary Frederick Townsend Ward is killed while working for the Qing Dynasty during the Taiping Rebellion.


Frederick Douglass Speaks at the Lyceum

Frederick Douglass speaks at the Lyceum on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.


Caroline Emmerton Born

Philanthropist Caroline Emmerton is born.


The First Jewish Office Holder in Salem

Merchant David Conrad is elected an alderman, the first Jewish office holder in Salem.


Daniel Low & Co. Opens

Jewelers Daniel Low & Co. open is Salem, they later sell Salem Witch Trials souvenirs including the popular Witch Spoon.


Salem Witchcraft Published

The two-volume Salem Witchcraft by Charles W. Upham is published.


Salem Fraternity Founded

The Salem Fraternity, a predecessor the Boys and Girls Club of Salem is founded, the oldest in Massachusetts.


The First Salem Hospital

The first Salem Hospital created.


The St. Joseph Parish Founded

French Canadian immigrants found the St. Joseph Parish in “La Pointe.”


The Woman's Friend Society

The Woman’s Friend Society begins.

A black and white sketch by E.R. Morse of Professor Alexander Graham Bell at Lyceum Hall in Salem, MA


The First Public Demonstration of the Telephone

Alexander Graham Bell showcases the first public demonstration of the telephone.


The Last Salem Merchant Ship Returns from a Voyage

Mattie F., the last Salem merchant ship to return from a voyage calls in Salem harbor with a cargo from Cayenne, French Guiana.


The First Edition of Salem Evening News

First edition of The Salem Evening News is printed.


Salem Fire Station #2 Built

Salem Fire Station #2 on North Street built, said to be the third oldest still standing in the country.


Matthew Arnold Lectures at the Lyceum

Victorian English poet Matthew Arnold lectures at the Salem Lyceum as part of lecture tour of North America.

Colorful illustration of original Parker Games logo


Parker Games Founded

George Swinnerton Parker founds Parker Brothers game company.


The Lowell Island House Built

Lowell Island House, a hotel built 1852 on Children’s Island, becomes a Sanitarium for children with diseases such as rickets.

1886 & 1887

Polish Immigrants Arrive in Salem

Polish immigrants begin to to arrive in Salem, including Herman Tyburc and Felix Sobocinski.


The Winne-Egan Hotel Opens

Dr. Nathan R. Morse opens the Winne-Egan Hotel built on Bakers Island, a popular resort until it burned down in 1906.


Salem's Fame as "Witch City"

Salem’s fame as “Witch City” begins with the popularity surrounding the bicentennial of the Salem Witch Trials.


The Last Square-Rigged Ship to Call in Salem

The Mindoro, built in 1864, is the last square-rigged ship to call in Salem, where she sits at Derby Wharf before being purchased in 1897.


The Death of Sarah Narbonne

Sarah Narbonne, who runs a cent shop in her family’s old house, dies at the age of 101.


Japanese-Inspired House Built

Bunkio Matsuki, an immigrant from Japan, builds a Japanese-inspired house on Laurel Street.


Aaron Richmond Born

Aaron Richmond, a manager and impresario for classical musicians is born.

Black & white Temple Shalom Photo


Temple Shalom Founded

Temple Shalom of the Congregational Sons of Jacob is founded, the oldest continually-operated synagogue on the North Shore.


The Spanish-American War

Spanish-American War: About 300 Salem residents serve, including John P. Riley, who received the Medal of Honor for his bravery while on a naval mission to cut an underwater communications cable in Cienfuegos, Cuba.



A Primarily Polish Church Forms

St. John the Baptist parish separates from the Immaculate Conception parish, forming a primarily Polish church in Salem.


South Congregational Church Destroyed

Samuel McIntire’s South Congregational Church (built 1804-5) is destroyed in a fire.


St. Nicholas Orthodox Church Built

The St. Nicholas Orthodox Church is built in Salem.

A black and white photo of St. Joseph"s Hall Social Club in Salem, MA


St. Joseph Hall Built

St. Joseph Hall built on Derby Street as a social club for Salem’s large population of Polish immigrants

A very olde black and white photo of the exterior of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion with a leafless tree in front - House of the Seven Gables in Salem, MA


The House of Seven Gables Opens to the Public

The House of the Seven Gables opens to the public for tours.


Population Exceeds 43,000

Population of the city exceeds 43,000, roughly the same as it is today.


Robert Rantoul Hired for The Philips House Restoration

Anna Wheatland Phillips and Stephen W. Phillips hire Robert Rantoul to undertake a colonial revival restoration of  The Phillips House.

A very old black ad white photo of the John Ward House in Salem, MA


The Preservation of Early American Houses

The Hooper-Hathaway House is moved to the campus of The House of the Seven Gables. One year later, the John Ward House opened to the public and landmarks in the preservation of early American houses.


Mary Harrod Northend Publishes Her First of Many Books

Mary Harrod Northend publishes Colonial Homes and their Furnishings, the first of her many books about Early America.


The Salem Pageant

The Salem Pageant is staged.


The Salem Chamber of Commerce Established

Salem Chamber of Commerce is established as an advocate for the city’s businesses.

An old photo of men looking at the Great Salem Fire of 1914.


The Great Salem Fire

The Great Salem Fire.

A very old black and white photo of Caterer Edward Cassell in his later years in front of a white house in Salem, MA


The Death of Edward Cassell

Caterer Edward Cassell dies, aged 84, after a prestigious career as a caterer at Hamilton Hall dating back to at least 1860.


Salem Adopts its Current Government Structure

Salem adopts its current government structure, with a mayor, four city councillors at large, and a councillor from each ward.


World War I

World War I: Salem men go to fight, women train as Red Cross nurses, and those at home practice for civil defense.


The Lydia Pinkham Memorial Clinic Built

Aroline Gove builds the Lydia Pinkham Memorial Clinic.


"Java Head" Filmed in Salem

George Melford’s silent film Java Head, now lost, is filmed in Salem.


The First Volume of The History of Salem, Massachusetts Published

The first volume of The History of Salem, Massachusetts by Sidney Perley is published.

A very old black and white photo of the Grand opening of Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, MA


Hawthorne Hotel Built

The Hawthorne Hotel is built.


The Salem Tercentenary

The Salem Tercentenary is celebrated.


Thaddeus Buczko Born

Politician Thaddeus Buczko is born.

A very old photo in sepia of the Pioneer Village in Salem, MA


Pioneer Village Created

Creation of Pioneer Village for Massachusetts Tercentenary.


Steve's Market Opens

Italian-American-run Steve’s Market opens.

An old black and white photo of the Pequot Mills in Salem, MA


The Wildcat Strike

Wildcat Strike by workers at the Pequot Mill.

A very old black and white photo of the Salem State Coast Guard Air Station


Coast Guard Air Station Founded

A Coast Guard Air Station is founded at Winter Island in Salem.

A photo of the Salem Maritime Historic Site with green grass overlooking the blue water on a clear blue sky day


The First National Historic Site in the Country

Salem Maritime National Historic Site becomes the first National Historic Site in the Country.


Mark Slade Born

Mark Slade, an actor best known for the 1967-1971 TV Western “The High Chaparral” is born.

A very old black and white photo of the front exterior of the Witch House in Salem, MA during the 1940s


Historic Salem, Inc.

Historic Salem, Inc. is founded.


World War II

World War II


The Salem Frigate Published

John Jennings’ The Salem Frigate, set aboard the Essex, is published.


The Longest Mayoral Tenure in Salem's History

Francis X. Collins is elected for the first time to what would be the longest mayoral tenure in Salem’s history. He serves until 1969.


The Third St. Joseph Church Built

The third St. Joseph Church is built in the International Style, demolished in 2012.


Pequot Mill Operations Move South

The operations of the Pequot Mill move to South Carolina.

A live scene from the Arthur Miller play The Crucible


Arthur Miller's The Crucible

Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible popularizes the Witch Trials for a new generation.


The Old Witch Gaol Demolished

New England Telephone Company demolishes the Old Witch Gaol to build their office building.


Libby Reardon's Pickman House Discovery

Preservationist Libby Reardon discovers that the Pickman House was built in the 1600s.


The National Register of Historic Places Implemented

National Register of Historic Places is implemented. Salem Maritime, the Peabody Museum, and the Nathaniel Bowditch House listed in the first year.


Bewitched Filmed in Salem

Several episodes of Bewitched are filmed and set in Salem.

A black and white photo of Salem witch Laurie Cabot in the 1970s in front of her shoppe


Salem's First Witch Shop Opens

Laurie Cabot opens Salem’s first witch shop.


Ada Louise Huxtable's Helpful NY Times Article

Ada Louise Huxtable’s article in the New York Times helps end large-scale urban renewal plans in Salem.


The Salem Witch Museum

The Salem Witch Museum opens.

A black and white print of the North Shore Gay and Lesbian alliance Acronym (NSGLA) over where the wording "Since 1978"


NSGLA Founded

The North Shore Gay and Lesbian Alliance (NSGLA) is founded.


A String of Arsons in Salem

A string of arsons destroy and damage buildings around Salem and lead to the death of firefighter Raymond McSwiggin.


Haunted Happenings Begin

The first Haunted Happenings.


NAGLY Founded

NAGLY, the North Shore Alliance of GLBTQ Youth is founded.

A close up of the Salem Witch Trials Memorial's large stone wall


The Salem Witch Trials Memorial

The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is dedicated by Elie Wiesel.


The Peabody Essex Museum Forms

The Peabody Essex Museum formed from the merger of Essex Institute and the Peabody Museum.


Hocus Pocus Debuts

Now-classic film Hocus Pocus debuts.

Drone photo of all of Bakers Island from above on a beautiful blue sky day


Essex National Heritage

Essex National Heritage Area created.


Destination Salem Founded

Destination Salem is founded to promote tourism.


Yin Yu Tang House


Yin Yu Tang Relocated to Salem

Late 18th-century Chinese house Yin Yu Tang relocated to Salem and opened to the public as part of the Peabody Essex Museum.

A house originally built in the late 1700s in Anhui Province, China, and lived in by eight generations of the Huang family, was purchased by the Peabody Essex Museum and reassembled piece by piece in Salem, opening to the public in 2003. The house is built around a central courtyard, each room outfitted with finely carved wooden shutters. Today the house is a centerpiece of the museum and an opportunity to learn about life and architecture in rural China.

Mayor Kim Driscoll


First Female Mayor

Kim Driscoll is elected the city’s first female mayor, a position she held until 2023.

Kim Driscoll was elected Mayor of Salem, the first woman to hold the position. She was reelected four times and served until 2023, becoming the second-longest-serving mayor in Salem’s history. Her tenure was marked by the revitalization of downtown and controversies about development. She now serves as the 73rd lieutenant governor of Massachusetts.

A close up of the Salem Ferry in the water on a blue sky day


The Salem Ferry

The Salem Ferry begins service.

A colorful photo of Salem Main Street with a street filled with people


Salem Main Streets Established

Salem Main Streets is established to revitalize downtown as a vibrant year-round retail, dining and cultural destination.

A rendering of the exterior front of the North Shore Community Development Commission in Salem, MA


North Shore Community Development Commission

North Shore Community Development Commission is founded.

A photo of Salem State University with an Autumn tree with orange and yellow leaves to the left side on a beautiful blue sky day in the Fall


Salem State University

Salem State College becomes Salem State University.

A photo of the Salem Public Library under construction with teal green tarp over the structure


The Community Preservation Act

Salem adopts the Community Preservation Act (CPA).

A Behind the Scenes photo of the director and camera man on the set of Hubie Halloween on Washington Street in Salem, MA surrounded by patrons


Salem in Pop Culture

The 2010s and 20s brought a renewed focus on Salem in mass media, with many films and television shows drawing very loosely on the city’s history, such as ParaNorman, The Lords of Salem, Salem, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Hubie Halloween, Motherland: Fort Salem, and Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities.

3 white horses and one brown horse in a row with members of the national guard sitting on them during the 386th Anniversary of The First Muster rendering


Salem Designated the Official Birthplace of the National Guard

President Obama designates Salem the official Birthplace of the National Guard.

The congressman representing Salem, John Tierney, introduced legislation designating Salem the official birthplace of the National Guard, in memory of the First Muster of the East Regiment in 1637. President Barack Obama signed it into law in 2013. Every April service members, veterans, historical reenactors, and the general public commemorate that historic event on Salem Common.


Salem United Founded

Salem United is founded.

A photo of the coal and oil plant on a blue sky day in Salem, MA


Salem Harbor Station Built

Footprint natural gas power station built in Salem, replacing the coal-fired Salem Harbor Station built in the early 1950s.

The deep maroon, black and white logo for the Satanic Temple


The Satanic Temple Opens

The Satanic Temple opens in Salem.

A photo of Proctor's Ledge in Salem, MA surrounded by green trees and bussesh with a No Entry sign to the bottom left hand side by the ledge


Proctor's Ledge

A team of experts confirm the location of the executions during the Salem Witchcraft Trials was at Proctor’s Ledge.

The words NO place for HATE in black block lettering with a bright yellow background


Sanctuary for Peace

Salem becomes a Sanctuary for Peace following the approval of an ordinance by the Salem City Council and Salem voters.

A colorful mural filled with pinks, purples, and blues of a Latina woman with dark hair in an updo on the side of brick building in Salem, MA


El Punto Urban Art Museum

El Punto Urban Art Museum begins with 50 murals in The Point.

A woman reading at a glass table at The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum


The Collection Center Opens

The Peabody Essex Museum opens a 120,000-square-foot Collection Center in Rowley.

The exterior of the Peabody Essex Museum in the heart of Salem, MA on a beautiful clear sky day


PEM Expands

The Peabody Essex Museum opens a 40,000-square-foot expansion.

A photo of a traditional fishing weir in the water at Salem Harbor on a beautiful blue sky day


Traditional Fishing Weir Recreated on Salem Harbor

Members of the Massachusett at Ponkapoag recreate traditional fishing weir in Cat Cove.

For the first time in centuries, members of the Massachusett constructed a fishing weir on Salem Harbor. A fishing weir is a fence of interwoven sticks around wooden stakes designed to trap fish as the tide goes out and serve as a passive form of food collection. Members of the Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag worked with fifth graders from the Bentley school to build a weir on Cat Cove in April 2023 and returned in September to build two more weirs with the fourth graders from all of Salem’s public schools. The project is a work of cultural reclamation, reviving a traditional craft, which also seeks to educate youth about the continued Indigenous presence in the area.