SALEM MARITIME NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
The Salem Maritime National Historic Site is a National Historic Site consisting of 12 historic structures, one replica tall-ship along the waterfront of Salem Harbor in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem Maritime is the first National Historic Site established in the United States (March 17, 1938). It interprets the Triangle Trade during the colonial period, in cotton, rum, sugar and slaves; the actions of privateers during the American Revolution; and global maritime trade with the Far East, after independence.
Built in 1762 as a wedding present, the Derby House was the home of Elias Hasket and Elizabeth Crowninshield Derby for the first twenty years of their marriage. The Derbys raised seven children in this house. Hasket, Elizabeth, and their children lived here during most of the Revolutionary War. As part of the war effort, Hasket converted many of his family’s cargo vessels to privateers. The wealth that the Derbys amassed from privateering was the foundation of the great East India trade that Hasket and others pioneered after the Revolution. The Derbys sold the “little brick house” as Hasket called it, in 1796, to Capt. Henry Prince, who built the West India Goods Store next to the house around 1800. The Princes lived in the house until 1827. After that time, the house had numerous owners during the remainder of the 19th century. For a while, it was used as a tenement house, and multiple families lived in the building. Many of those families were members of the Polish community who came to work in the nearby mills.
This house was designed by famous Salem architect Samuel McIntire for Elias Hasket and Elizabeth Derby. Construction began on the building in 1780. The Derbys, however, never completed the house. Instead, they moved away from the waterfront to a house in the center of town. The unfinished building was purchased and completed around 1800 by Benjamin Hawkes, who owned a shipyard next to Derby Wharf. The Hawkes House is a fine example of the large Federal style homes built throughout Salem in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. These three-story tall, square buildings usually featured a beautifully carved and painted entrance and many windows to let light and air into the gracefully decorated rooms.
PEDRICKS STORE HOUSE
Pedrick Store House was built in Marblehead, just across the harbor from Salem, in 1770 by Thomas Pedrick, a successful member of the merchant community in pre-Revolutionary War Marblehead. At that time, Marblehead was the most successful fishing port in Massachusetts, and the codfish that were caught and dried on the flakes, or drying racks on shore were shipped from Marblehead and Salem throughout the British empire to be traded for molasses and sugar in the Caribbean Islands, wine in Madeira, and finished goods like cloth, Chinese porcelain, books, and furniture in England.
SALEM CUSTOM HOUSE
The Custom House symbolized the Federal Government’s presence in Salem, requiring the architects to design an impressive building. High ceilings, a sweeping staircase, and beautifully carved woodwork all contribute to a feeling of strength and stability. The Salem Custom House was used by the U. S. Customs Service into the 1930s, and the furnishings reflect the long use of the building.
ST. JOSEPH HALL
• National Historic Site
• State Historic Site (2577)
Polish immigrants began arriving in Salem in the late 19th century, drawn by the opportunity for work in the cotton mills and other factories in the area. By the turn of the 20th century, the western end of Derby Street, where Salem Maritime is located, had become the heart of the Polish community in Salem. The St. Joseph Society was founded in 1897 as a fraternal society that provided aid to its members in the form of assistance in times of illness or financial hardship, as well as funeral benefits. By 1909, the society was strong enough that they were able to build a three story headquarters. The first floor was retail space that could be rented out to provide an income for the support of the building. The large hall on the second floor was the site of hundreds of weddings, dances, plays, and other social events in the Polish community. On the top floor, several apartments were built to house new immigrants until they could get permanently settled.
WEST INDIA GOODS STORE
This building was constructed by Captain Henry Prince about 1804 and was probably first used as a warehouse. Prince may have kept goods like pepper, coffee, water buffalo hides, and tortoise shells here that he imported from the East Indies. The first documented use of this building as a West India Goods Store was in 1836. The structure underwent numerous changes throughout its history, including two moves, before it was rehabilitated in 1928 by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (now Historic New England). The National Park Service acquired the property in 1937.