Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Ambrose Gale House (1663)

The Ambrose Gale House, 17 Franklin Street in Marblehead, is considered to be the oldest surviving house in town. The house was built around 1663 by Ambrose Gale (1631-1708), a fisherman who served as first selectman, testified in the Salem Witch Trials, and owned land that later became Fort Sewall. There are other properties in Marblehead associated with Ambrose Gale, including a c.1700 house on Wadden Court. The house on Franklin Street now has sash windows, instead of the original casement windows.

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The Mason-Roberts-Colby House (1768)

The Mason-Roberts-Colby House is a Georgian Colonial residence at the corner of Federal Street and Federal Court in Salem. The house has an attached Beverley jog to the right of the front facade. Built in 1768 for Capt. Jonathan Mason, the house was originally located where the Forrester-Peabody House (1818) stands today on Washington Square North, but it was moved by a team of sixty oxen to make way for the newer building. The move was supervised by William Roberts, a mason, who would later build the East India Marine Hall and St. Peter’s Church. His descendants then owned the home for many years.

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Hawthorne Hotel (1925)

In 1809, the corner of Washington Square and Essex Street, off Salem Common in Salem, became the site of the Archer Block. Later called the Franklin Building, it was a commercial and residential building constructed under the direction of Samuel McIntire. Destroyed by fire in 1860, it was replaced with an Italianate-style successor. From 1833, the property was owned by the Salem Marine Society, which later agreed to raze the building and sell the land for construction of a new hotel. In return, the hotel built a room for the society’s use on the top floor. The hotel, built in 1924-1925, was named the Hawthorne Hotel, in honor of the famous Salem author. It was designed by architect Philip Horton Smith of the firm of Smith & Walker.

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The Lewis Hayden House (1833)

Lewis Hayden escaped from slavery in Kentucky in 1844 on the Underground Railroad and later settled in Boston, where he owned a used clothing store and became a leading abolitionist. He moved into his house, built in 1833 at 66 Philips Street (then called Southac Street) on Boston’s Beacon Hill, in 1849. With the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, Hayden and his wife Harriet hid fugitive slaves in their home. In 1853, abolitionist Francis Jackson purchased the house, which Hayden occupied as a tenant, to help protect him from harassment for his Underground Railroad activities. Jackson’s estate sold the house to Hayden’s wife in 1865. This important house is a stop on the Black Heritage Trail.

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