Sep 042015

Gedney (2)Have you seen this house? Well, of course you’ve “seen” The Gedney House as you walk or drive through Salem. It is located at 21 High Street. But have you been inside it?

If you have not, today, Sept. 5th, is your chance, courtesy of Historic New England. You are invited to visit Gedney House during Seventeenth Century Saturdays and see why it is not your typical historic house. View original post-and-beam timbers, brick nogging, and early decorative finishes in Salem’s second oldest historic house.

The house is significant not only for its framing, but also for its evidence of early decorative finishes in the hall chamber and parlor. Three successive color schemes, the earliest of which is believed to date to the house’s construction (The Gedney House was originally built in 1665 by Eleazer Gedney and his new wife, Elizabeth Turner), were discovered in the hall chamber. This evidence was preserved by the addition of plaster ceilings, beam casings, and paneled walls by the mid-eighteenth century.

For a full history of the house from being a single family residence to an investment property to a rental property and eventually a museum, go to this Historic New England web page.

Tours are $5 for adults and free for Historic New England members and Salem residents. The museum will be open from 11am – 3pm with tours available on the hour. Space on tours is limited due to the structure of the house.

For more details call 978-744-0440 or visit . The Gedney House will be open one final time to the public in 2015 on October 3rd for the final Seventeenth Century Saturday.

Apr 282015

It goes without say that when something is nearly 350 years old and still functioning, it has a great deal of history to share. The House of Seven Gables, built in 1668 fits that bill, and the staff have now created a retrospective with a different perspective: A Gracious Host: Visiting the Gables through the Years, is an engaging exhibition showcasing the vibrant history of visitation at The House of the Seven Gables.

Tourism-LadiesYou are invited to journey through the past, and experience the history of one of America’s most famous homes as it transformed from a residence into a cultural icon. Through informational panels and object based exhibits, guests will see the house as they never have before.

The exhibit, running now through August 30th, is in the Visitor Center and is self-guided.

Dan Marshall, Manager of Visitor Services for The House of the Seven Gables explains, “We felt that this comprehensive exhibit highlighting our formation as a museum shared a broad overview of our history, allowing us to focus in on specific aspects of that story in the coming years.”

Most notably, he adds, “some of our upcoming milestones include: the 150th anniversary of our founder Caroline Emmerton’s birth in 2016 and The House of the Seven Gables (The Turner-Ingersoll Mansion) turning 350 years old in 2018.”

A Gracious Host will focus on key moments in the history of tourism at The House of the Seven Gables. From the last residents of the house until today, this exhibition will enthrall visitors of all ages. For more than a century, The House of the Seven Gables has been one of the most iconic historic houses in America. You will discover the beginnings of this historic treasure and how it came to be a popular tourist destination.

Marshall states, “I feel that The House of the Seven Gables offers a unique combination of philanthropic, literary, and architectural history. The museum was founded by Caroline Emmerton in 1910 as the financial support mechanism for her charity, The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association. The proceeds from the mansion tours, funded the classes, daycare and healthcare that she provided to the Polish immigrant population of Salem. While the museum’s historical programs and the Settlement Association have both evolved over time, our profits still support the community through our annual grant programs.”

House of Seven GablesBut the beginnings of The House of the Seven Gables as a historic site date back before the museum’s founding in 1910. The story begins with the construction of the house by John Turner in 1668. Every house has a story worth preserving, and without the early builders and inhabitants, there would be no story to preserve. Fortunately, the story of the early residents is told on the regular guided tour, but to this point has left a gap between that of Susanna Ingersoll, who died in 1858, and Caroline Emmerton who acquired the house in 1908.

During this 50 year period, the house was left to Susanna’s heir, Horace Connolly, then was owned for four years by a series of absentee owners, and was eventually purchased by the Upton family in 1883, who made it a home once again.

It was the Uptons who recognized the historic importance of the house and invited guests to visit for a fee. They took advantage of the house’s storied past and began to generate greater interest in the mansion as a destination. While this was a step towards the house becoming a historical and cultural institution, it would not be until 1910 when Caroline Emmerton officially opened the house as a museum and base for her Settlement Association that The House of the Seven Gables would become the iconic structure that it remains today.

In all that time there have been many visitors, perhaps you or even an ancestor of yours has walked the halls. Time to walk again and see what you may have missed.

As a reminder, Salem residents can visit the museum free of charge, year-round (except in October); just bring proof of residency. For more details, write to or call (978) 744-0991. The House of Seven Gables is located at 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA

Jan 232015

No pro football this weekend. What will you do? What will you do? You could go into a defensive stance and mope around the house. OR, you could call an audible, and go for the option of another house— that is, Salem’s House of the Seven Gables . Make it a team effort and take the entire family for a tour of this historic site.

House of 7 Gables Football InviteThis is their suggested game plan: “Climb the secret staircase, experience living history, and enjoy our beautiful seaside campus!You could even make it an outdoor Family Photo Safari—everyone bring your cell, camera or tablet and spend some creative time snapping photos outside on our campus. Then choose your family’s best photo and send it to us or #h7g.”

They will give away one Family Membership to the winner from all submissions!

When you explore the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, better known as The House of the Seven Gables, professional guides will lead you on a 35 minute tour that introduces two prosperous merchant families, the Turners and Ingersolls, and reveals some of the earliest Georgian-style interiors. Guests also learn about Salem’s maritime history and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s connection to this legendary home.

And then there is the Museum Store, which besides stocking memorabilia and related items, is now also carrying candy selections from two of Salem’s well-known confectioners. Harbor Sweets and The Old Pepper Company. These candy companies have a history with the city of Salem that makes them both a great fit for the Gables store.

Now through June 25th hours for the House of Seven Gables are daily 10 am-5 pm. Closed on Wednesdays from January 1 through March 29, 2015, except for February 18. For more details, call 978-744-0991. The House of Seven Gables is located at 115 Derby Street.

Winter Wonderland Tour

A bit more adventurous? May we suggest the Winter Wonderland Tour being conducted by the fine folks at the Phillips House, Saturday, January 24 from 2 -3 pm.

“Rediscover the stories and the history of historic Chestnut Street this winter during the Phillips Favorites series. Chestnut Street is even more beautiful with a coat of snow. Bundle up and join us for an architectural walking tour, ending at Phillips House with a cup of cocoa and an optional house tour. We invite our visitors to experience the Phillips House staff’s favorite tours, stories, and movies highlighting the historic Chestnut Street neighborhood during the winter season.”

There may indeed be a coat of snow! What more could you ask for?

This tour is one installment in a six-part series of events which is packaged at $50 for the general public and $20 for Historic New England members. Space may be available at individual programs with admission being $10 for the public and $5 for Historic New England members.

Tour gathers at corner of Summer and Chestnut Streets near Hamilton Hall. Registration is required; call 978-744-0440 for more details or go to

McAllister on the Witch House

And if you just can’t get enough of history, we’ve got one more event to share. Jim McAllister, the legend who knows the lore of Salem and the North Shore is into week #4 of “52 weeks, 52 lectures.”

While, according to Jim “The majority of these weekly talks will relate to one or more facets of North Shore history or culture, others to Paris and other important French art centers and themes,” this Saturday, Salem is front and center.

The Witch House/Corwin House, 310 Essex Street will be explored beginning at 6pm.

“An empathetic perspective on the Putnams of Salem Village, an extended family that played a major and unfortunate role in the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, and an examination of the extraordinary social, economic, personal, and political pressures  that may have driven them to do so.”

Due to space limitations, reservations are required. Contact Jim at or call 978-979-5907.

Don’t sit by the sidelines this weekend. Get into the game that is Salem