First Congregation Church in Country, Witchcraft Hysteria, Oliver Cromwell, and Tunnels

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.

Daniel Low Building
231 Essex Street

This was the site of the First Church in Salem and the Old State House. The State House sat on the corner of Washington, Short, and Essex Streets. The Church sat in from here. The church was founded in 1629 and has become the first church regularly organized in the country. Their second building being a one room church was built in 1634. The building was expanded in 1639 and it was last used in 1670. In 1673 the building was moved to Boston Street. Now it is behind Plummer Hall on Essex Street.

Francis Peabody found it behind a tannery on Boston Street and had it moved to its present location. At one time it was used as an tavern and then later a horse stable. So it is safe to say the first church in the country was full of horse shit.

In 1670 they built the third building for worship. In 1718 they built a 4th church on this spot. This is also the location where the first use of a ballot was made in the country.

They were Protestants. Rev. Francis Higginson was the first Teacher and Rev. Samuel Skelton the first minister. In 1634 the church’s third minister was Roger Williams. He lasted 2 years before he was exiled for believing the Native Americans should be compensated for the land the Colonialists stole. So he founded Providence Rhode Island and created the first Baptist church in America.

In 1636 Rev. Hugh Peter took over. In 1641 he left for England and became Oliver Cromwell’s personal Chaplain. What a mistake, Cromwell was an ass. In 1660 Peters was charged with regicide for the first suggestion and assisting in the Execution of Charles I. He was beheaded after being drawn and quartered.

The next Rev. was George Downing who returned to England and became a soldier. Downing Street in London was his property and now the prime minister lives on that road.

Then Rev. John Higginson, Rev. Francis Higginson’s son, presided though the Witchcraft Trials in 1692. His junior minister Noyes was ignoble. It was him who really fanned the flames of the witch hysteria. One of the accused witches told Noyes, “May God give you blood to drink.” In 1717 Noyes choked on his own blood and died.

The church split into the North Church and The First Church in 1772. Rev. Asa Dunbar presided over the First Church. He was Henry David Thoreau’s paternal grandfather. Rev. Barnard who was the minister of the North Church negotiated with General Leslie to retreat from Salem in 1775. Leslie’s Retreat was the first conflict in the Revolutionary War before the Battle on the Green. Canons that day were smuggled out of Salem to Lexington.

The church later became the First Congregational Society of Salem in 1824.
In 1826 the current building was built. The first floor was used for retail and the second floor for religious ceremonies. By 1874 a major remodeling was done. The towers were added and the building extended on Higginson Square. At that time John P. Peabody sold dry and fancy goods while Daniel Low had his jewelry store on the Essex Street Side. The National Exchange Bank had entrances on Washington Street. In 1923 Daniel Low and Company acquired the property in the year the First Church merged with the North Church further down on Essex Street. Daniel Low was also an aid to Grand Marshall of the Essex Lodge.

There is one tunnel exiting the building that leads up Washington toward the train station. It is rumored this went to the Lyceum passing entrances to the city hall and the Kinsman Block. Then leading toward Riley Plaza is a tunnel entrance at the back of a vault leading to the second Asiatic Bank location (The Ledger Restaurant currently). Also Daniel Low fixed up the tunnel leading across Higginson Sq. into his warehouse that sits to the right of Old Town Hall (old Goddess Treasure Chest location).

Low poured a concrete floor in the tunnel to prevent the state from having access to the graves of several runaway slaves. Daniel Low was the jeweler who invented souvenir spoons and he also sold KKK belt buckles, money clips, and lighters.

His warehouse has a storefront below street level. The tunnel enters the back of this building and goes up a staircase to a door on Higginson Square. If you pass the staircase it turns right into the submerged store front.

The past owner of this shop also owns the condo in the Pickman-Derby Block where the tunnel was turned into a wine cellar. Her basement door exhibits how they can remove the ceiling of the tunnel to expose a cellar door. Few other examples of this can be seen in the McIntire District. Previous to this location her store was in the Downing Block which is also connected.

The roof of the tunnel to his warehouse has brick arches under the flat granite top every 3 feet supported on thick metal straps running across the width of the tunnel. When the Essex Lodge was built in 1918, the previous tunnels under the old Derby Mansion site would be refitted in the same manner. Recently I got to tour Low’s house on Essex Street and Botts Court and saw the tunnel coming out of his house too.

I actually was filmed in this tunnel with Robert Irvine for his new show that premiered this month on the Travel Channel called Kitchen Expeditions. Check it out, for that is another story!

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 Amazon.com.

Ghosts, the First Phone Call, Dante’s Inferno, and Tunnels

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.

Lyceum
43 Church Street

Joshua Holbrook borrowed a concept from the Mechanics Institutes he had encountered in England and created the Lyceum movement. In 1828 Holbrook started the first lyceum in Milbury, Massachusetts. Soon 100 others sprinkled throughout New England. By 1834, the number of lyceums in America had grown to 3,000.

The Salem Lyceum started in January 1830 when Captain Joseph White was dying from a sickness he could not shake. The mission of the Salem Lyceum was the “mutual education and rational entertainment” for both its membership and the general public through a biannual course of lectures, debates, and dramatic readings. The new hall could accommodate 700 patrons in amphitheater-style seating and was decorated with images of Cicero, Demosthenes and other great orators of the classical period. Lectures were held on Tuesday evenings. Admission was $1 for men and 75 cents for women, who had to be “introduced” by a male to gain entrance.

Over the next 60 years there were over 1,000 lectures. John Quincy Adams delivered a lecture on politics, Agassiz on geology, and Alexander Graham Bell made his first public demonstration of the telephone here. Well sort of…he was a hit at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition first.

Bell had invented the phone on the property that the Salem YMCA now is on Essex Street. In 1873 Thomas Sanders hired Bell to teach his deaf son George in his mother’s house at 292 Essex Street. The house was torn down in 1898. Bell was teaching to the deaf in Boston and working on the phone in a laboratory in Boston. He would take the last train home to Salem and continued to work on his invention in the attic and basement of the Sander’s house. On February 12, 1877 he had his expo at the Lyceum. Thomas Sanders became one of his first investors in his telephone company which became The Bell Telephone Company. The Ma Bells of America. Later it became Atlantic Telephone & Telegraph company. Sanders was their Treasurer.

What was the conversation that happened with that first phone call of any distance:

Bell~ “Mr. Watson, will you speak to the audience?”
Watson~ “Ladies and gentlemen. It gives me great pleasure to be able to address you this evening, although I am in Boston, and you in Salem!”

Thomas A. Watson was at Exeter Place in Boston with musicians, reporters, and artists. Watson and band sang Auld Lang Syne and Yankee Doodle Dandy (a song the Regulars sang as they attacked the North Bridge in Salem) to Bell in Salem with everyone hearing them. This won Bell a 2nd appearance on Feb. 23rd in front of an audience of 500 people netting him $8,500 which was the first money the phone ever made.

Bell was not the only inventor in Salem. Tesla had created a generating facility for Pequot Mills/Naumkeag Steam Cotton Co. in Salem, Moses Farmer created the light bulb purchased by Thomas Edison and was the first to light his home by electricity in the world, Joseph Dixon created a crucible that could withstand high heat for minting coins for the U.S. Mint and the #2 pencil, Charles Grafton Page worked in the patent office in D.C. and created a magnet that could lift a 1,000 pounds, and Louis Packard was making electric cars in the 1800’s. In fact half of the room on electricity in the Smithsonian Institute houses inventions from Lynn, Salem, and Swampscott.

The Lyceum was the destination that people like Agassiz, Thoreau, and Longfellow would walk through the tunnels from Col. George Peabody’s home on the common to give a lecture or try a out a reading before they published a work. Oliver Wendell Holmes had a lecture on “Lyceums and Lyceum Lectures;” and abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave one on “Assassination and its Lessons” shortly after President Lincoln’s murder. The man who got away with the assassinations of three presidents, two in office and one three months after, Daniel Webster was paid the most. He received $100, for his lecture on “The History of the Constitution of the United States”.

Ralph Waldo Emerson gave the most lectures at the Lyceum for a total of 30. Emerson, whose maternal granduncle Jonathan Waldo was the man who refitted the old hill fort and chose to rename it Fort Pickering in 1801.

As Derby was getting money from Common Improvement Fund subscribers, Waldo just got paid by the War Department. After fighting with them for two years since 1799 for the funds necessary he will refit the fort with strong brick arches. Does the old hill fort have tunnels leading to Richard Derby’s wharf that Elias Hasket Derby Sr. was looking to refit before his death in 1799?

James Russell Lowell, also gave a lecture on “Dante’s Inferno”. He was working with Holmes and Longfellow on a translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy at Harvard. The book The Dante Club goes over the history of that undertaking within a murder mystery where people are being murdered by various punishments found in Dante’s work.

That hill fort, the man it was named after, Timothy Pickering. He was Washington’s Aide to Camp, his Secretary of State, and Secretary of State for John Adams. Pickering after leaving Washington was the head of the Essex Junto. An organization whose sole purpose was giving New England back to the British. He had worked with John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and Aaron Burr in this process that culminated in the Hartford Convention in 1814 that Daniel Webster participated in that threatened cession and siding with the British in the War of 1812. Little did they know the peace treaty was signed in Ghent, Belgium before they left Salem for Hartford…

In 1898, the Salem Lyceum voted to dissolve and give the records and remaining monies to the Essex Institute. The money became the “Salem Lyceum Fund” to be used to maintain a course of lectures.

In fact the Salem Boy’s Fraternity purchased the building next from the Lyceum that was owned by then by the Essex Institute. This was the boy’s second location in town after moving out of the Downing Building and they were the second and last tenants of this old wooden building; for they created their own inferno in it.

The modern brick building built on the location houses Turner’s Seafood. During the reconstruction of the Lyceum/43 Church restaurant to Turner’s the construction crew were disturbed by the “Flushing Ghost”. An entity would enter the women’s room who kept flushing the toilet. After much aggravation, the construction team decided to dismantle the plumbing since they were moving the bathroom anyway; the ghost then proceeded to the men’s room. Pictures of girl materializing out of the floorboards on the second floor also have been taken. Why is she cut in half by the picture? Because she remembers the original floor of the wooden building and not the current one.

Elsie also haunts the ladies room in Murphy’s. Up to the second floor in the back the foundation of the building supports the Old Burying Point. They say two coffins fell through the wall in the building. Since then Elsie has been rattling stall doors aggravating those women preoccupied with nature’s call for years now.

The Lyceum was built in the apple orchard of Bridget Bishop. Her house stood where the Salem Five Bank is now on the corner of Washington Street and Church Street. Her first husband Mr. Oliver had died and left her a house with many gables. Then she married Mr. Bishop. Even though she married a bishop, the church still hanged her as a witch. Her home was an influence on the exterior descriptions of The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne and the interior based on his cousin Susan Ingersoll’s home which at the time was missing a few gables…Hawthorne never spoke at the Lyceum, but acted as their secretary and his father-in-law sold tickets.

Now back to the boys; it is strange that their three locations in town were in buildings attached to tunnels. The boy’s were from the working classes without much affluence, could they have been doing the work of the ‘Artful Dodger’ and ran by some sort of ‘Fagin’. Their third and first location were in brick buildings; I guess they learned quick.

Zack Fagan of Ghost Adventurers and Ghost Hunters have filmed episodes in this building.

Now about Charles Lenox Remond and his sister Sarah training Frederick Douglass within these walls into the Abolitionist Movement; that is another story.

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 Amazon.com.

Fagin in Salem with the First Boy’s Club in the Country

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.

Downing Block
173-175 -177 Essex Street

Built in 1858 for dry good merchants Thomas W. Downing and John Downing on the site of Essex Place. In 1803 the Salem Bank and the Salem Marine Insurance Company resided on the first floor of Essex Place. Its presidents included Benjamin Pickman Jr. and Joseph Peabody. In 1804 the Salem East India Marine Society Museum resided at Essex Place. The Essex Historical Society which is now part of the Peabody Essex Museum was above the Salem Bank in that building.

In 1818 the Institute for Savings in the Town of Salem and Vicinity occupied the building. This was founded by Dr. Edward Augustus Holyoke. In 1830 there was an attempt to break into the their vault. Dr. Edward A. Holyoke, Benjamin Pickman Jr. , Timothy Pickering, Benjamin W. Crowninshield, Daniel A. White, and Nathaniel Silsbee were members. In 1843 the bank changed its name to the Salem Savings Bank. In 1844 the Salem Savings Bank will move into Kimball Block on the corner of Derby Square which burns down in 1899. In 1900 W.E. Hoyt Company builds the current building on the corner of Derby Square and the Salem Bank will be in it also in 1909. The Essex County Natural History Museum was housed in Essex Place when it merged with the Essex Historical Society to become the Essex Institute in 1848. Essex Institute would be the basis for the Miskatonic University in H.P. Lovecraft’s narratives.

In 1869 the Salem Fraternity which is the oldest boy’s club in the country was founded within the Downing Block. It was created to provide evening instruction and wholesome amusement for those “who were confined to their work during the day who needed recreation at the end of their labors”. Physical training, general education, and arts and crafts were offered. They had a library, a reading room, and amusement room. These services were provided to boys and girls for free.

Then they move into the Lyceum on Church Street. That wooden building suffered a fire. Then in 1899 the Salem Fraternity buys the Joshua Phippen’s Essex Bank Building on Central Street. After being housed there they merge with other national clubs to become the Boys & Girls Club. This time the children were not able to burn the building down. All three of their locations were attached to the tunnels in town. It makes you wonder if Fagin ran the boys cub… Their current Salem location is in the hall next to the Immaculate Conception Church, another brick building…

This Downing Block has a curious set of tunnels. Under the entrance that leads to the stairs to the 2nd and 3rd floors is a long hall way in the building. On the back of the building in this basement hall is an iron door covered in thick glass. At this point the long sliding latch is rusted shut. I was able to pull the doors hinges free from the wall, but the concrete wall behind it is well mortared. From this point to the front are several arches on the left and right. In one arch you can look through a hole and look into the basement under Turtle Alley. Before you get to the stairs there are a pair of metal doors. These open into rooms on either side of the hallway. Two shoots can be seen entering them from the ceiling. Behind the stairs is the original neon sign for Bernard’s Jewelers. Past the stairs there are arches with old furnace doors in them. Then right before the Essex Street entrance to the tunnel there are a pair of arches with doors in them. The one to the left has a mail slot in the bottom of it. On the other side of this door is a metal bracing composed of a series of “x”s. In this room the tunnel entrance extends 5 feet into the basement.

In the other arch opposite of this is another door that leads to the basement under Witch T’s. This storefront was once home to the Goddess Treasure Chest. The Goddess Treasure Chest used to resides in the old Daniel Low warehouse which has a tunnel leading to it. Also the old owner’s home in the Derby-Pickman Building is also connected.

Now the tunnel entrance to Essex Street has been bricked closed, but there is a hole big enough to climb through. This section of tunnel was filled with ash and pumice which has caved in from the right and the left. Above is a granite slab which you can see in the sidewalk in front of the door.

The corridor is about 3 feet wide and 7 feet tall. Roots were growing through the tunnel from the direction of the Hawthorne Hotel. The tunnel extended past the granite slab and had water pipes running through it. Soon after the first printing of this book the Peabody Essex Museum buys this building to protect their secrets.

During Salem Con., a paranormal convention, they had a ghost investigation that resulted in a ghost talking through a ghost box (an app that records white noise which voices manifest through) pretending to be the ghost of Tituba.

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 Amazon.com.

TIMOTHY PICKERING AND THE HARTFORD CONVENTION

Welcome to tales of Nineteenth-Century

Salem. A time in which Salem was the richest city and the most influential in shaping our young country. In our posts you will learn how Salem has shaped American history from the profits of the smuggling that happened in her tunnels; sometimes for the good, but more often not.

Timothy Pickering

HE WAS ONCE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TWO PRESIDENTS….

The Hartford Convention. The first time secession was planned was way before the Civil War and it was led by Salem’s Essex Junto. Timothy Pickering who had served Washington and Adams as Secretary of State led this group at Hartford during the War of 1812. Massachusetts already pulled financial and military aid from the war when the Junto went to the convention. By the time they left to gather in Hartford Connecticut, the peace treaty was signed in Ghent across the ocean. By the time they got to Washington D.C. with their resolutions Jackson and Lafitte just defeated Wellington’s army in New Orleans. By the time they returned to Salem everyone knew the war was over. When did Hartford and New Haven become a central for British conspiracy? The last conference George Washington had with Benedict Arnold was at the Hartford Conference and Arnold was a successful New Haven businessman who attended the Mason lodge that Skull & Bones alumni go to.

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.

The Murder that Inspired the Game Clue and Edgar Allan Poe

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.

Gardner Pingree House
128 Essex Street

Built in 1804-1805 for John Gardner Jr. by Samuel McIntire. Jeremiah Page provided bricks, David Robbins was the mason, Joseph Fogg the lumber, Epes Cogswell was housewright, and William Luscoomb III painter. Gardner had owned 6 ships. All but 2 had different captains and co-owners. He never captained any of his ships. The only economic venture he went on twice with anyone was with his relative Simon Gardner who had owned two ships with him and captained both.

Next door was the site of the Captain Joseph Gardner home where the Plummer Hall now stands that houses the Essex Institute. The Captain was killed by Narragansets in 1675 at the Great Swamp Fight. At the Captain’s death his wife Anne inherited her father’s Emmanuel Downing’s house which was west of Plummer Hall and married Gov. Simon Bradstreet and lived there. This house was torn down in 1750 and Francis Peabody built his mansion. This book was written across the street from where the first American poet wrote her books, Anne Bradstreet.

In 1811 John Gardner Jr. ran into financial problems and sold the house to Nathaniel West. Could he have received a bribe from Russell Sturgis as well? Nathaniel West was a captain who owned many ships with Nehemiah Andrews, Crowninshields, Derbys, Benjamin Pickman, and Francis Boardman. Nathaniel West bought the John Turner mansion, next to the Peter Palfrey House to the right, opposite Central Street in 1833 and opened it as a tavern called “The Mansion house” in time for President Andrew Jackson’s visit. Later it would be called the “West Block”. Nathaniel West sold the Gardner-Pingree House three years later to Captain Joseph White. He was murdered in this house.

“It’s raining, it’s pouring.
The old man is snoring.
He went to bed bumped his head,
and he couldn’t get up in the morning.”

Captain Joseph White who bought the Come Along Patty from Elias Haskett Derby with the Cabot brothers and renamed it the Revenge became the first privateer from Salem. He was in the slave trade. He was heavily invested in The Second National Bank of the United States. He had questionable feelings towards a young niece who lived with him. He hated the man whom she would marry and made a fortune of $3 million dollars before 1830, which he was not going to give her any. In the winter of 1829-1830 Captain Joseph White was feeling ill and had his lawyer Joseph Waters draft him a new will. In 1830 someone snuck through the tunnel and murdered him.

This murder would inspire Edgar Allen Poe’s to write the Tell Tale Heart. It is reminiscent of Agatha Christies’s Murder on the Oriental Express. The intrigue of the murder and the sudden death of Judge Parker might of led Parker Brothers to buy the U.S. rights to the 1949 Cluedo/Clue game because it reminded them of the strange tale that happened in this Salem house! I wonder if it was a literature fan who moved the Crowninshield-Bentley House to the right from its old home in the Hawthorne Hotel’s parking lot. That house was in H.P. Lovecraft’s story The Thing on the Doorstep. Also Rev. Bentley wrote his memoirs of Salem in the Crowninshield-Bentley House.

Captain Joseph White was not kind to his relations that had worked for him in his house. He only showed a special form of kindness to his young attractive niece. The announcement of her engagement to a captain that was just released from Joseph Jr. & Stephen White Co.’s employment just sent him into a furor.

At 82 he has been abandoned by his niece for 3 years and is ill during a hard winter. His favorite nephew has been dead for some years but his brother is still at the old captain’s side. Was Stephen jealous of the attention his uncle gave to his female cousin or the attention she deprived him? Did Stephen foster some hatred towards his uncle for favoring his dead brother over him? Did the old Captain plan a mercy killing that would blame the Knapps and Crowninshields of murder to remedy the capture of a ship he once owned and a public insult? Remember Joseph J. Knapp Jr. was born the same year his father had lost the captain’s baby the ship Revenge.

We will not know, but we do know who ever snuck into to kill the old man knew of the tunnels. The tunnels connect the White/Story compound to the old man’s mansion. The old man bankrolled Joseph Jr. & Stephen White Co. and the construction of his nephews houses with the tunnels attached to them. I have been in the White brothers homes and seen the sealed up entrances to the tunnels and I have friends who have played in the tunnels attached to Judge Story’s House.

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 Amazon.com.

Parker Brother’s Smuggling Monopoly Grandfather

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.

 

William B. Parker House
33 Pleasant Street

William B. Parker built his home kitty corner of Parker Court in 1851. Parker Court has a tunnel running from Winter street to the Isaac Smith House on the corner of Pleasant and Bridge Streets. William Parker also owned large tracts of land on March Street and lots composing of Beacon (East Watson Street then) and Barton Streets. He will own the Hawkes House for a short period too. The E.W. Abbot House which will be described next was once his property as well which is connected to the tunnels.

William B. Parker was the grandfather of the Parker Brothers, George and Charles, who started the toy company in the Franklin Building. It was tales of his cousin mysteriously dying the night before the trial of the Knapp brothers and his belief in the first blackmail letter that spurred his grandson to purchase Cluedo and rename it Clue with the truth buried in the game.

William had owned ships with Joseph “Jr.” White, John Andrews, and Benjamin Felt. He also was brought into a libel case in 1830 accusing Col. Upham as a Federalist smuggler during the Embargo Act (Report of Timothy Upham vs. Hill and Barton of New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette). Hill and Barton also accused Upham of being a corrupt Collector of Customs in Portsmouth. The whole time Upham declared himself as much a Democratic-Republican as Crowninshield was. Remember the tunnels under George Crowninshield Sr. house which became the Customs House in Salem…Benjamin W. Crowninshield when he was Collector of Marblehead had a cavern under his property used to smuggle into on Peach’s Point in Marblehead from the sea. He was also called to testify in the case.

When I first searched this basement in the first version of this book the deceased owner’s son had the basement filled with large furniture after his mother’s death. Then I returned during his estate sale and the basement was cleared out. Then I found the tunnel entrance that had led under the granite stairs in the front of the house. Similar to the Dr. Peabody’s House next to the Old Burying Point. This sealed entrance also had the usual raised cold sill. Not too long before I found the entrance it had a iron door still on it. So it makes you wonder where the fortune started from that set up the Parker Brothers toy company?

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 Amazon.com.

TECUMSEH’S CURSE

Welcome to tales of Nineteenth-Century Salem. A time in which Salem was the richest city and the most influential in shaping our young country. In our posts you will learn how Salem has shaped American history from the profits she made by the smuggling that happened in her tunnels by the most wealthy and powerful in their day; sometimes for the good, but more often not. So join us every Monday for new tales!

Tecumseh

WHAT IS IT?

I’m Tecumseh. I led the successful defeat of the Americans at the Battle of Detroit for the Natives of the Northwest Territory during the War of 1812. President William Harrison was in charge of the forces that had killed me and he was the first to befall my curse. It is said I had affected all presidents who died in office from my curse. Reagan was the last to suffer it and the only to survive. His attempted assassin was confined to Saint Elizabeth up to this year. The doctor who helped kill President Harrison built St. Elizabeth.

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.

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 Amazon.com.

BULFINCH TUNNELS

Welcome to tales of Nineteenth-Century Salem. A time in which Salem was the richest city and the most influential in shaping our young country. In our posts you will learn how Salem has shaped American history from the profits she made by the smuggling that happened in her tunnels by the most wealthy and powerful in their day; sometimes for the good, but more often not. So join us every Monday for new tales!

Bulfinch Tunnels

 

TUNNEL DIGGER

Charles Bullfinch gave a tour of Boston’s and Salem’s underground through their tunnels to President James Monroe and was hired to dig Washington D.C.’s tunnels. In Salem Bulfinch built the Poor Farm on Collins Cove, Looby Asylum, Essex Bank, and Old Town Hall. They were all attached to the tunnels in Salem. In Boston he built India Wharf, Bunker Hill Monument, Mass General Hospital, Federal Street Theater, and the State House. In 1797 he engineered a public work project to take down the Tremont and fill in the mudflats of the Charles River. He did this to hide the tunnel dirt he was digging to attach the various mansions in Beacon Hill. Six years later Elias Hasket Derby Jr. would copy his plan as he filled in the ponds and river in the Salem Common to hide his tunnel dirt.

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.