Sunday, January 17, 2010


"Salem with a little under eight thousand inhabitants, was the sixth city in the United States in 1790. Her appearance was more antique than even that of Boston, and her reek of the salt water, that almost surrounded her, yet more pronounced. For half a mile along the harbor front, subtended by the long finger of Derby Wharf, ran Derby Street, the residential and business center of the town. On one side were the houses of the gentry, Derbys and Princes, and Crownshields, goodly gambrel or hip-roofed brick and wooden mansions dating from the middle of the century, standing well back with tidy gardens in front. Opposite were the wharves, separated from the street by counting rooms, warehouses, ship-chandlers' stores, pump-makers' shops, sailmakers' lofts; all against a background of spars, rigging, and furled or brailed-up sails. Crowded within three hundred yards of Derby street, peeping between the merchants' mansions and over their garden walls like small boys behind a police cordon, were some eighteen or nineteen hundred buildings, including dwellings of pre-witch-craft days, with overhanging upper stories, peaked gables, small-paned windows, and hand-rifted clapboards black with age." (

The Friendship of Salem (rmr)

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