Great Stories Begin Here
Monopoly was made here
George, Edward, and Charles Parker built the Parker Brothers factory in the late nineteenth century, producing games including Monopoly, Clue, Risk, the Ouija Board, and Rook. Their games were based on current events and are recognized around the world. George Parker died in 1952, and his brothers kept the company going until it was purchased in 1968 by General Mills. George Parker’s home still stands on Essex Street today.
“Hocus Pocus” was filmed here
Scenes from “Hocus Pocus” were filmed on Essex Street and around Salem Common. The Sanderson Sisters are legendary around Salem, and the film is shown – for free – on Salem Common each year during Salem Haunted Happenings. You can get up close with Bette Midler’s Winifred Sanderson at Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery.
Bewitched was filmed here
Often credited with Salem’s modern “Witch Tourism,” several episodes of the television show Bewitched were filmed in Salem in 1970. After the show’s Hollywood studio was damaged by a fire, the show came to Salem and Gloucester to film the “Salem Saga” episodes. The cast and crew stayed at the Hawthorne Hotel, where you can see articles from the show’s experience in the lobby. In 2005 the TV Land network installed a statue of Samantha Stevens in Lapin Park (corner of Essex and Washington Streets) which is one of the most photographed spots in Salem today.
The first long distance telephone call was made here
“Mr. Watson can you hear me?” In 1877 the first public demonstration of a long distance phone conversation was held in the Lyceum Hall on Church Street. Alexander Graham Bell called his assistant Thomas Watson, who was from Salem but received the call in Cambridge. The plaque at the Lyceum (or the building that houses Turner’s Seafood) explains that the first news dispatch sent by telephone originated at the Lyceum, was received by the Boston Globe, and published the following day. Watson, by the way, could hear Bell, and in response he sang a song for the audience in Salem.
Literary icons reside here
Nathaniel Hawthorne began Salem’s trend of literary greatness in 1850 with the publication of The Scarlett Letter, which although quite popular in Hawthorne’s time was generally disliked by the people of Salem. 19th century Salem residents may not have been fans of The Scarlett Letter, but today the story creates connections to Salem with readers from all over the world. Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables (1851) helped the Turner-Ingersoll mansion become one of the most beloved historic homes in America. In more recent years, authors like Brunonia Barry, Kathleen Kent, Katherine Howe, and Adriana Mather all contribute to Salem’s thriving literary scene.
The National Guard was born here
In 2013, President Obama signed into law a bill that designated Salem as the birthplace of the National Guard. Though the specific date is unknown, historians have confirmed that the first muster of the North, South, and East Regiments of the Massachusetts Bay Colony took place on Salem Common in 1636. In recognition of this moment in history, a muster with the Massachusetts National Guard takes place on Salem Common each April.