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History

1600s

1626
Salem Founded

Founded by Roger Conant and a group of immigrants from Cape Ann. The settlement was first titled Naumkeag, but the settlers preferred to call it Salem, derived from the Hebrew word for peace.

1628
Massachusetts Bay Company Arrives

Massachusetts Bay Company arrives and relieves the struggling Naumkeag settlement. John Endicott leads a group of settlers to lay ground for thousands of Puritans.

Salem City Seal

1629
Salem Charter Issued

Town of Salem is issued a charter by the monarch of England, giving them the rights of autonomy and self-rule.

1629
First Congregational Society Founded

The First Congregational Society is founded by Puritan pioneers of the Massachusetts Bay Company.

1630
Colonists Prepare Defense

There is a threat of charter revocation, and the colonists respond by preparing a defense. Governor John Endicott cuts the cross out of the English flag as an act of defiance.

1637
Trade with West Indies

The first Salem ship sails to the West Indies to trade salted cod.

Salem MA First Muster

1637
First Muster

First Militia Muster is organized by Massachusetts Bay Colony Court.

Charter Street Cemetery

1637
Salem's First Cemetery

The Charter Street Cemetery or “Old Burying Point Cemetery” is created, now the oldest burying ground in Salem.

Winter Island

1643
Winter Island

Winter Island is created as a fort, originally named after King William.

1644
Fort Pickering

Fort Pickering, a strategic coastal defense military barracks for Salem Harbor, is established.

1649
Custom House Built

Salem Custom House built. It was responsible for collecting taxes on imported cargoes.

House of the Seven Gables

1668
House of the Seven Gables Built

The House of the Seven Gables (Turner-Ingersoll Mansion) is built by John Turner, a wealthy merchant. The house was lived in by three generations of the Turner family, before being acquired by the Ingersoll family, relatives of Salem-born author, Nathaniel Hawthorne.

1675
Witch House Completed

The Witch House is completed. Judge Jonathon Corwin, a judge who presided over the Salem Witch Trials, resided there, and some of the preliminary questioning for the witch trials was held there.

1686
Land Purchased from Naumkeag tribe

A Salem selectman purchases land, that today is Salem, Peabody and Danvers, from the heirs of the Naumkeag tribe for 20 pounds.

1692
Salem Witch Trials Begin

The Salem Witch Trials begin. This is the event that Salem is most known for, in only three months’ time 19 innocent people, 14 women and 5 men, were hanged, and one man was pressed to death. It was a time of hysteria, when courts believed in the devil, spectral evidence and teenage girls. The trials ceased when Governor William Phipps disbanded the court, after his wife was accused of being a witch herself. A Superior Court of Judicature formed to replace the Court of Oyer and Terminer and did not allow spectral evidence. The new court released those awaiting trial and pardoned those awaiting execution; the trials were over.

1693
Wonders of the Invisible World Published

Cotton Mather publishes his famous book, Wonders of the Invisible World, which contained “proof” of witchcraft.

1700s

Salem MA Witchcraft in Salem Village

1760
Salem Courthouse Torn Down

The Salem Courthouse is torn down after being active from 1677 to 1718.

Derby Wharf

1762
Derby Wharf Created

Derby Wharf is created/begins as one of the busiest, of the nearly 50, wharves in Salem. (It is extended to its present ½ mile length in 1806.)

1774
Political Revolution Begins

Provincial Congress is organized, and the political revolution begins.

1774
General Court Moved to Salem

General Gage moves the General Court from Boston to Salem.

1775
First Armed Resistance

The first armed resistance of the Revolution happened in Salem when the Salem militia blocked British Lt. Colonel Leslie and his men from their mission to capture ammunition stored in Salem.

Schooner Fame at sunset

1776
Privateers

Salem-based privateers capture and sink 445 British vessels during the Revolutionary War.

1785
Old Courthouse Built

The Old Courthouse is built; it was designed by Samuel McIntire.

1790
Sixth Largest City

Salem is the sixth largest city in the country, and the richest per capita.

Friendship

1797
Friendship

The Salem East Indiaman Friendship, or The Friendship as we know it today, was launched. She made 15 voyages during her career to Batavia, India, China, South America, the Caribbean, England, Germany, the Mediterranean and Russia.

1799
Peabody Essex Museum

The Peabody Essex Museum is founded by sea captains. It is the oldest continually operated museum in the country.

The East India Marine Society is founded.

1800s

park in downtown salem, massachusetts. usa

1801
Salem Common

The city of Salem transforms the “town swamp,” which is what the Salem Common was often called, into a park with trees and walks.

1807
Embargo

An embargo is ordered that grounds Salem’s fleet for 15 months and is soon followed by the War of 1812.

1810
Salem Athenaeum Founded

The Salem Athenaeum is founded from the merging of two older libraries.

Salem Friendship

1812
Friendship Captured

The Friendship is captured as a prize of war by British Sloop of War HMS Rosamond in September of 1812. (The one we have in Salem Harbor is a replica.)

Salem Harbor

1813
Battle of the Frigates

The battle of the frigates, Chesapeake and Shannon, takes place in Salem Harbor.

1819
Chemical Company

A chemical company is built near the North River.

1825
East India Marine Hall Completed

The East India Marine Hall is completed, with an open hall on the second floor designed to hold the museum of the society.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

1828
Fanshawe Published

Nathaniel Hawthorne self-publishes his first novel, Fanshawe. It was a romantic novel written in Salem while he was staying in the Manning House on Herbert Street.

Lyceum

1830
Salem Lyceum Formed

The Salem Lyceum is formed, a building constructed to provide public entertainment and instruction.

Derby Square in Salem

1836
Salem Incorporated

Salem is incorporated as a city.

1838
Eastern Railroad Line Opened

The Eastern Railroad line from Boston to Salem is opened, and the railroad tunnel is dug under Washington Street.

Salem City Seal

1839
Salem Adopts Motto

The City of Salem adopts the motto “To the Farthest Ports of the Rich East,” paying tribute to its glorious maritime past.

1850
Scarlet Letter Published

The Scarlet Letter is published by Nathaniel Hawthorne to great acclaim everywhere but in Salem, where the residents did not appreciate the depiction of the city and its people.

1851
The House of the Seven Gables Published

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s world-renowned novel, The House of the Seven Gables is published. Inspired by the mansion, it helped make the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion one of the most famous historic houses in America.

Salem State University logo

1854
Salem State College Founded

Salem State College, now known as Salem State University, is founded. A major educational and cultural resource of the North Shore, right here in Salem.

1856
First Methodist New England Conference

The First Methodist New England Conference is held in Salem; the United Methodist Women’s Club greets you with information, advice and refreshments. In addition: sandwiches, coffee, tea, and cold drinks are available.

Lyceum

1877
Phone Conversation

First public demonstration of a long-distance phone conversation is held in the Lyceum Hall on Church Street.

1900s

The House of Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts

1910
House of Seven Gables Museum

The House of the Seven Gables opens as a museum and begins its legacy of providing educational opportunities for newly arriving immigrant families in its settlement house.

River Park Salem Fire

1914
Salem Fire

On June 25, a devastating fire ignited Boston Street in Blubber Hollow, the leather manufacturing district of Salem. Over the course of two days, this massive fire destroyed 1,376 buildings and left 18,000 people (almost half of Salem’s population) homeless and many without jobs. Salem State University has books, pamphlets, and online documents about this tragedy.

Derby Wharf

1938
National Historic Site

The Salem waterfront is designated a National Historic Site under the National Park Service.

Bewitched Statue

1970
Bewitched

Bewitched’s seventh season is filmed in Salem. It’s a very magical time for the city.

Chestnut Street Historic District

1971
Chestnut Street Historic District

The Chestnut Street Historic District is established; it was Salem’s first historic district (known today as the McIntire Historic District).

1982
Haunted Happenings

Salem hosts the first Haunted Happenings festival. It lasted one day.

Bridget Bishop Salem Witch Trials Memoral

1992
Witch Trials Memorial

Witch Trials Memorial is dedicated by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel to commemorate the tercentenary anniversary of the trials.

1993
Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus is released in theatres; it was filmed at numerous locations here in Salem.

1996
National Heritage Area

Congress designates Essex County as a National Heritage Area in order to enhance, preserve and encourage awareness of the county’s historic cultural and natural resources and traditions.

2000s

Friendship

2001
Friendship Replica

Construction on The Friendship, a replica of the 1797 East India Merchant Ship, is completed.

2013
National Guard Birthplace Designation

President Obama signs legislation recognizing Salem as Birthplace of the National Guard.

1626
Salem Founded

Founded by Roger Conant and a group of immigrants from Cape Ann. The settlement was first titled Naumkeag, but the settlers preferred to call it Salem, derived from the Hebrew word for peace.

1628
Massachusetts Bay Company Arrives

Massachusetts Bay Company arrives and relieves the struggling Naumkeag settlement. John Endicott leads a group of settlers to lay ground for thousands of Puritans.

Salem City Seal

1629
Salem Charter Issued

Town of Salem is issued a charter by the monarch of England, giving them the rights of autonomy and self-rule.

1629
First Congregational Society Founded

The First Congregational Society is founded by Puritan pioneers of the Massachusetts Bay Company.

1630
Colonists Prepare Defense

There is a threat of charter revocation, and the colonists respond by preparing a defense. Governor John Endicott cuts the cross out of the English flag as an act of defiance.

1637
Trade with West Indies

The first Salem ship sails to the West Indies to trade salted cod.

Salem MA First Muster

1637
First Muster

First Militia Muster is organized by Massachusetts Bay Colony Court.

Charter Street Cemetery

1637
Salem's First Cemetery

The Charter Street Cemetery or “Old Burying Point Cemetery” is created, now the oldest burying ground in Salem.

Winter Island

1643
Winter Island

Winter Island is created as a fort, originally named after King William.

1644
Fort Pickering

Fort Pickering, a strategic coastal defense military barracks for Salem Harbor, is established.

1649
Custom House Built

Salem Custom House built. It was responsible for collecting taxes on imported cargoes.

House of the Seven Gables

1668
House of the Seven Gables Built

The House of the Seven Gables (Turner-Ingersoll Mansion) is built by John Turner, a wealthy merchant. The house was lived in by three generations of the Turner family, before being acquired by the Ingersoll family, relatives of Salem-born author, Nathaniel Hawthorne.

1675
Witch House Completed

The Witch House is completed. Judge Jonathon Corwin, a judge who presided over the Salem Witch Trials, resided there, and some of the preliminary questioning for the witch trials was held there.

1686
Land Purchased from Naumkeag tribe

A Salem selectman purchases land, that today is Salem, Peabody and Danvers, from the heirs of the Naumkeag tribe for 20 pounds.

1692
Salem Witch Trials Begin

The Salem Witch Trials begin. This is the event that Salem is most known for, in only three months’ time 19 innocent people, 14 women and 5 men, were hanged, and one man was pressed to death. It was a time of hysteria, when courts believed in the devil, spectral evidence and teenage girls. The trials ceased when Governor William Phipps disbanded the court, after his wife was accused of being a witch herself. A Superior Court of Judicature formed to replace the Court of Oyer and Terminer and did not allow spectral evidence. The new court released those awaiting trial and pardoned those awaiting execution; the trials were over.

1693
Wonders of the Invisible World Published

Cotton Mather publishes his famous book, Wonders of the Invisible World, which contained “proof” of witchcraft.

Salem MA Witchcraft in Salem Village

1760
Salem Courthouse Torn Down

The Salem Courthouse is torn down after being active from 1677 to 1718.

Derby Wharf

1762
Derby Wharf Created

Derby Wharf is created/begins as one of the busiest, of the nearly 50, wharves in Salem. (It is extended to its present ½ mile length in 1806.)

1774
Political Revolution Begins

Provincial Congress is organized, and the political revolution begins.

1774
General Court Moved to Salem

General Gage moves the General Court from Boston to Salem.

1775
First Armed Resistance

The first armed resistance of the Revolution happened in Salem when the Salem militia blocked British Lt. Colonel Leslie and his men from their mission to capture ammunition stored in Salem.

Schooner Fame at sunset

1776
Privateers

Salem-based privateers capture and sink 445 British vessels during the Revolutionary War.

1785
Old Courthouse Built

The Old Courthouse is built; it was designed by Samuel McIntire.

1790
Sixth Largest City

Salem is the sixth largest city in the country, and the richest per capita.

Friendship

1797
Friendship

The Salem East Indiaman Friendship, or The Friendship as we know it today, was launched. She made 15 voyages during her career to Batavia, India, China, South America, the Caribbean, England, Germany, the Mediterranean and Russia.

1799
Peabody Essex Museum

The Peabody Essex Museum is founded by sea captains. It is the oldest continually operated museum in the country.

The East India Marine Society is founded.

park in downtown salem, massachusetts. usa

1801
Salem Common

The city of Salem transforms the “town swamp,” which is what the Salem Common was often called, into a park with trees and walks.

1807
Embargo

An embargo is ordered that grounds Salem’s fleet for 15 months and is soon followed by the War of 1812.

1810
Salem Athenaeum Founded

The Salem Athenaeum is founded from the merging of two older libraries.

Salem Friendship

1812
Friendship Captured

The Friendship is captured as a prize of war by British Sloop of War HMS Rosamond in September of 1812. (The one we have in Salem Harbor is a replica.)

Salem Harbor

1813
Battle of the Frigates

The battle of the frigates, Chesapeake and Shannon, takes place in Salem Harbor.

1819
Chemical Company

A chemical company is built near the North River.

1825
East India Marine Hall Completed

The East India Marine Hall is completed, with an open hall on the second floor designed to hold the museum of the society.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

1828
Fanshawe Published

Nathaniel Hawthorne self-publishes his first novel, Fanshawe. It was a romantic novel written in Salem while he was staying in the Manning House on Herbert Street.

Lyceum

1830
Salem Lyceum Formed

The Salem Lyceum is formed, a building constructed to provide public entertainment and instruction.

Derby Square in Salem

1836
Salem Incorporated

Salem is incorporated as a city.

1838
Eastern Railroad Line Opened

The Eastern Railroad line from Boston to Salem is opened, and the railroad tunnel is dug under Washington Street.

Salem City Seal

1839
Salem Adopts Motto

The City of Salem adopts the motto “To the Farthest Ports of the Rich East,” paying tribute to its glorious maritime past.

1850
Scarlet Letter Published

The Scarlet Letter is published by Nathaniel Hawthorne to great acclaim everywhere but in Salem, where the residents did not appreciate the depiction of the city and its people.

1851
The House of the Seven Gables Published

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s world-renowned novel, The House of the Seven Gables is published. Inspired by the mansion, it helped make the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion one of the most famous historic houses in America.

Salem State University logo

1854
Salem State College Founded

Salem State College, now known as Salem State University, is founded. A major educational and cultural resource of the North Shore, right here in Salem.

1856
First Methodist New England Conference

The First Methodist New England Conference is held in Salem; the United Methodist Women’s Club greets you with information, advice and refreshments. In addition: sandwiches, coffee, tea, and cold drinks are available.

Lyceum

1877
Phone Conversation

First public demonstration of a long-distance phone conversation is held in the Lyceum Hall on Church Street.

The House of Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts

1910
House of Seven Gables Museum

The House of the Seven Gables opens as a museum and begins its legacy of providing educational opportunities for newly arriving immigrant families in its settlement house.

River Park Salem Fire

1914
Salem Fire

On June 25, a devastating fire ignited Boston Street in Blubber Hollow, the leather manufacturing district of Salem. Over the course of two days, this massive fire destroyed 1,376 buildings and left 18,000 people (almost half of Salem’s population) homeless and many without jobs. Salem State University has books, pamphlets, and online documents about this tragedy.

Derby Wharf

1938
National Historic Site

The Salem waterfront is designated a National Historic Site under the National Park Service.

Bewitched Statue

1970
Bewitched

Bewitched’s seventh season is filmed in Salem. It’s a very magical time for the city.

Chestnut Street Historic District

1971
Chestnut Street Historic District

The Chestnut Street Historic District is established; it was Salem’s first historic district (known today as the McIntire Historic District).

1982
Haunted Happenings

Salem hosts the first Haunted Happenings festival. It lasted one day.

Bridget Bishop Salem Witch Trials Memoral

1992
Witch Trials Memorial

Witch Trials Memorial is dedicated by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel to commemorate the tercentenary anniversary of the trials.

1993
Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus is released in theatres; it was filmed at numerous locations here in Salem.

1996
National Heritage Area

Congress designates Essex County as a National Heritage Area in order to enhance, preserve and encourage awareness of the county’s historic cultural and natural resources and traditions.

Friendship

2001
Friendship Replica

Construction on The Friendship, a replica of the 1797 East India Merchant Ship, is completed.

2013
National Guard Birthplace Designation

President Obama signs legislation recognizing Salem as Birthplace of the National Guard.