The First Boy’s Club and Tunnels…
The First Boy’s Club in the country was held in a building attached to this tunnel. In fact, the three locations that the club first resided in were all attached to the smuggling tunnels in Salem MA. The first was the Downing Block next to the Peabody Essex Museum. The second location was in the Salem Lyceum that previously housed a lecture series where Alexander Graham Bell introduced his phone publicly at. The third location was in the old Essex County Bank building built by Charles Bulfinch who became the Architect of D.C. who built all the tunnels under our capitol.
The Boy’s Club learned an important early lesson; keep the kids in a brick building. For the one time they were housed in a wooden building, the Lyceum, they burned it down. The location where James Russell Lowell introduced the Dante Club’s translation of The Inferno was burned to the ground by these children.
So why was it so important to have these economically challenged children in the building attached to the tunnels? Were they helping the sailors and captains smuggle in town? Were they assisting in the runaway slaves’ attempts at gaining freedom? Or were they run by a Salem Fagin who had them act like the Artful Dodger and break into the homes that also were attached to the tunnels?
Who is to say, but it makes you think…
For more info read Sub Rosa to find out how Salem shaped America and your lives! Available at Remember Salem, Jolie Tea, Wicked Good Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com. Also to learn more stories like this first hand, book a tour with the Salem Smugglers’ Tour!
Salem House Press