A Dickens’ Tale Set in Salem

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.

A Salem Fagin and the Artful Dodgers…

These are the tunnels under the Downing Block. In this building the first boy’s club in the country was founded. Now they are called Boy’s & Girls Inc. The Salem Fraternity drew from the poorer kids in town to provide leisure, education, and a library. After they moved out of this brick building they moved into the old wooden building which used to house the Salem Lyceum where Alexander Graham Bell made the first long distance phone call demonstration and James Russell Lowell read Dante’s Inferno. Then they moved into the Essex Bank Building which was made out of bricks built by Charles Bulfinch. They were forced to leave the Lyceum after they turned it into an inferno.

It was safer to keep these kids in brick buildings, but no one might of been safe. Every building in town these kids were in was part of the tunnel systems in town. Was there a Fagin running these artful dodgers through the tunnels into homes connected to the tunnels? Who is to know, but it leaves a lot of speculation open for the mind to wander…

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.

First Boy’s Club and the Tunnels of Salem

Have you heard of Fagin and the Artful Dodger?

Tunnel under Downing Block

Tunnel under the Downing Block in Salem. In this building the Boys & Girls Club was founded. The building on top was recently removed exposing where the tunnel went beyond the iron door. In every location this club was in, the buildings gave these poor boys access to the tunnels in town. Also rooms off of this tunnel was used for the Underground Railroad.

Read Salem Secret Underground The History of the Tunnels in the City to find out more. The book everyone digs!!