PHOTOS: Salem Maritime National Historic Site
SALEM – The Salem Maritime National Historic Site joined parks, programs, and partners across the country this past weekend to celebrate National Park Week which runs through April 26. 2015. Visitors to the Salem Maritime NHS enjoyed free ranger-led tours, watched the award-winning film Where Past is Present, and explored the 9-acre site using the audio-walking tour.
The site promotes the maritime history of New England and the United States, and preserves part of the historic waterfront in Salem. The wharves and buildings explain the development of a colonial port town, highlighting the golden age of Salem, its role in international trade, and the importance of maritime activity in the early economy of the United States.
Salem Maritime’s structures date back as far as 1675 with the Narbonne House, stretch into the 17th century with the U.S. Custom House built in 1819 to the 18th century St. Joseph Hall built in 1909. At Derby Wharf, visitors can visit, board, and explore the USS Friendship, a modern replica of a 1797 cargo vessel that departed from the docks during the bygone days of Salem’s shipping industry.
Perhaps the most famous name related to the Salem Maritime NHS is Nathaniel Hawthorne, born blocks from the site on July 4, 1804. Eventually, Hawthorne would come to work at the Custom House after finding it difficult to support his family on his writing which had been flourishing and receiving more attention. His best friend and later President of the United States Franklin Pierce appointed Hawthorne Surveyor in 1846.
Just two years later, he would lose his job due to politics which would lead him to channel his anger into his greatest work, The Scarlet Letter, in which he describes the Custom House in the novel’s introduction. Download a guide to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Salem with the A Walking Tour of Literary Salem.
The three wharves extending into Salem Harbor today are examples of the over fifty wharves in use during Salem’s guilded age of international trade. Derby Wharf, the longest of the three wharves, was constructed in 1762 by one of Salem’s wealthiest merchants, Richard Derby, Sr. In 1806, the wharf reached its current half-mile length, and the Derby Wharf Light Station was built in 1871.
The West India Goods Store was built by Captain Henry Prince, and was likely used as a warehouse for goods like pepper, coffee, water buffalo hides, and tortoise shells imported from the indies. It was first used to sell goods in 1836, and the
The Salem Maritime NHS was the first such site established by the National Park Service under the National Historic Sites Act of 1935. In the mid-1970s, archaeologists found over 130,000 artifacts on the grounds of the Narbonne House at Salem Maritime NHS. Today, the historic buildings, wharves, and collection left behind tell the stories of the sailors, privateers, and merchants who brought the riches of the far world to the communities of Massachusetts and its North Shore.
Visit www.NationalParkWeek.org to learn more, and celebrate the 2016 centennial by sharing your stories at FindYourPark.com. Visit the Salem Maritime National Historic Site on the web, become a fan on Facebook, follow them on Twitter.
Salem Maritime National Historic Site Photo Gallery
All Photos © Keith C. Spencer and NoBo Publishing Group. Do not crop, edit, or reproduce without expressed written permission.
About Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Salem Massachusetts was once one of the most important ports in the nation. The historic buildings, wharves, and replica tall ship at Salem Maritime National Historic Site tell the stories of the sailors, Revolutionary War privateers, and merchants who brought the riches of the Far East to America.
About The Essex National Heritage Area
The Essex National Heritage Area begins just 10 miles north of Boston and includes hundreds of historical sites, miles of intact landscapes, and a coastal region that chronicles the cultural history throughout Essex County.
About The National Park Service
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.