Tunnels Are My Calling Card…
Essex Bank Building
11 Central Street
Built in 1811 by Charles Bulfinch for the Essex Bank. It is rumored that the National Capital Building that he built was connected to a tunnel so that members of Congress can escape through. He also built three levels of tunnels running from the Adams building to the Jefferson Building in the Library of Congress I got to walk through. He was the Architect of D.C. and was on hand to rebuild the capital after the British burned it down during the 1812 War. He also will build the Loobey Asylum where the Essex Institute is today, the TB Hospital on Collins Cove, and Old Town Hall in Salem. He also built many homes on Beacon Hill in Boston, one in which Edgar Alan Poe lived in. He also built the Essex Bank Building.
The Essex Bank was founded in 1792 and was the first in Essex County. William Gray was its first president. In 1795 the Essex Bank was in the Samuel Ward Building where the Gathering Church was on the corner of Essex Street and Derby Square. In 1805 they occupied the Central Building. In 1811 the Essex Bank moved here. In 1817 James King and Shepard Gray , Cashiers, robbed the bank. The Essex Bank folded in 1819. In 1831 two former employees James King and his son James Charles King dies. Their occupations were Cashier and Book Keeper. They both were members of the Essex Lodge. The First National Bank, the office for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Custom House, and the Mercantile Bank were also housed in this building. In 1899 the Salem Fraternity occupies the building and renovates it to their needs. They would be the first boys club in the country. This was their third location after they burned down the wooden Salem Lyceum building down. The first building was brick and the third, so they preserved their arsonist activities.
Tunnels lead from the Naumkeag Block to this building and continue on to where the old distillery and wharf was, built by John Derby. Also the tunnels lead from the Pickman-Derby Building to here. Plus William Gray Jr. had his building on Central Street connected and hired Charles Bulfinch who built the tunnels attached to the nation’s Capital Building. The basement brick walls have been covered. The owner wants me to break into the house through the tunnels…
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Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City!
Available at Barnes & Noble, Remember Salem, and Wicked Good Books in Salem on Essex Street. Also on Amazon.com!