Under the Dixon Chapel in the Greenlawn Cemetery

Welcome to the Salem Tunnel Report. Every Monday we will post new and old tunnel finds along with those who built them. In our posts you will learn how Salem has shaped American history from the profits of the smuggling that happened in these tunnels; sometimes for the good, but more often not.

Creepy Tunnel Finds…

The Greenlawn Cemetery had purchased property that once belonged to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s uncle who was a Salem Common Improvement Fund Subscriber. The uncle had a nursery he sold to the town to expand the cemetery. Also, Joseph Cabot who is related to the Orne’s was head of Gardening association in the cemetery. Cabot inherited property from his Orne relations which City Hall stands on now which is attached to the tunnels as well. Orne’s Point was an ancient smuggling point off the river leading to Danvers. Timothy Orne taught Elias Hasket Derby Sr. and George Crowninshield Sr. in his counting-house. Both would become some of America’s first millionaires who were in feuding political parties. Their children married each other to split control in the town fifty fifty between the two families.

A widow who had owned Orne’s Point was selling small parcels of the land off until, she realized that terracotta was on her property. She then began selling brick through the tunnel that led to the old tavern on her property to expand the tunnel system in town. A relation, Timothy Pickering who was Secretary of State to Washington and Adams, bought 200,000 bricks from her when a house on average only needed 8,000.

Also, this neighborhood was once called the North Fields which was planted at one time equally with the Native Americans was a hotbed for Abolitionist activities.

For more read Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City and its sequel Sub Rosa by Chris Dowgin published by Salem House Press. Available at Barnes & Noble, Remember Salem, The Witch House, Jolie Tea, and Amazon.com.

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