Old Custom House, Salem (1805)

Old Custom House

The building at 4-10 Central Street in Salem was built in 1805 as block of stores for William S. Gray and Benjamin H. Hathorne. It was built by John Chandler and Joseph McIntire and possibly designed by Joseph’s brother Samuel. Originally called the Central Building, it now known as the Old Custom House because it was used by the U.S. Custom Service in 1805-1807 and 1813-1819. The arched windows on the first floor were added during a 1970s restoration.

Jonathan Hodges House (1805)

Samuel McIntire designed and built the house at 12 Chestnut Street in Salem for sea captain Jonathan Hodges. It is the only documented McIntire-built house on Chestnut Street. Built as a double house with three doors and three staircases in 1805, it was altered to a single house with a Greek Revival door and entrance porch by new owner J. Willard Peele in 1845. The summerhouse in the rear of the property was photographed for the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1940.

Peirce-Nichols House (1792)

Another renowned three-story residence in Salem is the Peirce-Nichols House, a transitional Georgian/Federal structure at 80 Federal Street. The work of Samuel McIntire, the house was constructed in the Georgian style in 1792, with McIntire also remodeling several interior rooms in the Federal style in 1801. It was built for Jerathmiel Peirce, partner of Aaron Waite in the merchant firm of Peirce and Waite, owners of the East Indiaman Friendship. Behind the house and its stables, a terraced lawn extends back to a small arbor. The property originally extended to the North River, where Capt. Peirce docked his ships. The 1801 remodeling of the house was occasioned by the marriage of Sarah Peirce to George Nichols. At that time, McIntire also crafted the front fence, which has decorative urns. The house passed to John H. Johonnot in 1827, but it was inherited by George Nichols in 1840. The Essex Institute (now the Peabody Essex Museum) purchased the house by subscription in 1917.

Assembly House, Salem (1782)

In 1782, Salem Federalists erected the Assembly House, also known as the Cotting-Smith Assembly House, at 138 Federal Street to serve as a gathering place for social and cultural events. Lafayette and Washington were both entertained there in the 1780s. The original building was most likely quite plain, but it was significantly altered around 1798 by Samuel McIntire, who added elaborate Federal style ornamentation to the front facade. By that time, the building had ceased to be used as an assembly place and was converted into a residence. Jonathan Waldo, an original funder of the Assembly House, had become sole owner in 1796 and sold it to Samuel Putnam, a local judge, two years later. Around that time, Waldo and his partners, William Stearns and Col. William Pickering, built the Stearns Block on Washington Street, which included their own new assembly space called Washington Hall, intended to supercede the Assembly House. In 1919, the Old Assembly House was acquired by Joseph Newton Smith, whose daughter, Mary Silver Smith, gave the house to the Essex Institute, now the Peabody Essex Museum, in 1965. Read More

The Gardner-Pingree House (1804)

The 350th post at Historic Buildings of Massachusetts is the Gardner-Pingree House in Salem, which is considered to be New England’s greatest example of a Federal-style (or Adamesque) town house. It was erected in 1804-1805 at 128 Essex Street for merchant John Gardner, Jr. and is generally considered to be the work of Samuel McIntire, who certainly did create the mansion‘s exterior ornamentation and interior wood carving. In 1811, financial difficulties forced Gardner to sell his house to Nathaniel West, who then sold it three years later to Captain Joseph White. In 1830, Capt. White was murdered in the house, an event that shook Salem and was followed by a sensational trial with a famed oration by Daniel Webster. The story would have an influence on Poe and Hawthorne. In 1834, the house was sold to David Pingree and remained in the Pingree family until 1933. The house was donated in that year to the Essex Institute, now the Peabody Essex Museum. The restored house is open to the public for tours, usually in conjunction with the museum’s nearby John Ward and Crowninshield-Bentley houses.

Hamilton Hall (1805)

Happy New Year!!! Our first building of the new year is Hamilton Hall in Salem, named in honor of Alexander Hamilton. A three-story brick Federal-style building, designed by Samuel McIntire and built from 1805 to 1807 on Chestnut Street at Cambridge Street, Hamilton Hall was built as a gathering place and hall for functions held by Salem’s wealthy Federalist elite. A particularly notable event was the visit by the Marquis de Lafayette in 1824. With its ballroom, Hamilton Hall is still used for social and cultural events, including being rented for weddings. The west end of the building was completed in 1824 and the Greek Revival entrance was installed in 1845.