Located within the Pickman House, part of the Peabody Essex Museum‘s architectural collection, the welcome center features exhibitions about the cemetery and the Charter Street Historic District, as well as a small gift shop and maps and information for visiting the cemetery. Established in 1637, Charter Street Cemetery is Salem’s oldest cemetery. The Pickman House is almost as old, with its first-period structure dating back to 1665.
With the renovation of the Pickman House to include the Cemetery’s welcome center, the site will now be staffed by interpreters from the Witch House and Pioneer Village. Staff are onsite daily from 10 am to 6 pm during the summer season (and 12 pm to 4 pm from November 16 to May 14). In addition to offering maps and souvenirs inside the welcome center, staff outside are able to answer visitor questions as they explore the sites.
Charter Street Cemetery is the final resting place for at least two members of the Court of Oyer and Terminer, including physician Bartholomew Gedney and magistrate John Hathorne, who was the great-great grandfather of writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. Also buried here is Mary Corey, the second wife of Giles Corey, who died in 1684. Giles’ third wife, Martha Corey, was hanged for Witchcraft during the trials. (Giles Corey, and the other victims of the Salem Witch Trials did not receive proper burials, however the adjacent Salem Witch Trials Memorial honors all of the victims from 1692 and includes a bench for each person who was wrongfully executed.)
As you visit the cemetery during your next trip to Salem, be sure to enter from Liberty Street. From there, you can visit the exhibits and shop inside the welcome center, then reflect at the Salem Witch Trials Memorial before entering the cemetery.
While inside the cemetery, please be sure to stay on the paths, and avoid leaning and pushing on tombs. Note that gravestone rubbings are strictly prohibited (but you can find lots of unique gifts inspired by Salem’s tombstone artwork in the welcome center’s gift shop).
Categorised in: Learn