The Boy with the Shovel House

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.

I Wished he Dug a Little Harder…

8 Northey Street Court

I was welcomed to this house by a lovely family who had read in an early edition of this book I was looking for homes attached to the tunnels. They gave me the tour of the basement and it was the closest to being opened that I have ever seen. All that was standing in the way was a pile of beach sand. The tunnel ran three-quarters of the house toward Northey Street Court. You could see into the tunnel above the sand pile. All I could think about was I hoped the kid who lived here had a beach shovel…

The little one was so proud he had a tunnel in his basement and he thought I was great. Every time he would see me he would run up with his mother and say hi with the biggest smile. He was an awesome kid. Each time though­—I hoped he would tell me he dug the tunnel entrance open!

No luck though. Also, the town of Salem did suffer a great loss, this family I believed moved back to England where the father was from. They did talk about smuggling to the North River when their yard was on its shores. The house was where the tunnel started from the sea.

This area was where the Old Planter family of the Woodbury’s where from. There were smuggling against the crown’s duties as well. This areas tunnels are older than Derby’s; even though they had brick topped tunnels that become the norm after 1801, but they are not going through the fireplace arch yet. The house next door was built by Israel Woodbury. My Banquet Hall project called Vingolf will be built on 30 acres in Manchester-by-the-Sea where Dr. Israel Woodbury’s and his kin’s woodlot is down to Stephen White’s woodlot he inherited from his brother Henry. Life is strange how things go full circle.

Another story about Northey Street. There was a woman who was a horrible cook. Her neighbor was fantastic; they would meet in the basement and the neighbor would smuggle her meals for her family. The family never caught on.

This was also the road in which the Second Witchcraft Hysteria of 1811 had happened. Well, that is a different story for another time…

Many secrets in Salem!

For more read info 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

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