Jonathan Corwin House (1675)

The Jonathan Corwin House, also known as the Witch House, is a seventeenth century home located on Essex Street in Salem. When Jonathan Corwin, a merchant, purchased the property in 1675, there was already a partially completed timber frame, left unfinished after being started some years earlier (older estimates put the construction date as 1642). Corwin completed the construction and moved in with his family in 1679. As a prominent citizen of Salem, Corwin served as a magistrate and was a judge during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The Corwin family owned the house into the nineteenth century, during which time a number of alterations were made to the home. In 1856, it was bought by a pharmacist, George Farrington, who built his shop onto one side of the building. He referred to the home as the “Witch House” and attracted tourists with his claims that the Witch Trials had occurred in the parlor. By the twentieth century, the house was being used for a shop, businesses and apartments. Threatened with demolition to accommodate the widening of North Street, Historic Salem Inc was established to return the house to a seventeenth century look and move it to the west. Given to the town, the Witch House first opened as a museum in 1946.

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