Vintage Salem Morning

Washington Street and the First Train Tunnel in America

4 Views of a Secret. This tunnel running from Essex Street to the Tabernacle Church under Washington Street was used to hide the loading of contraband from the smuggling tunnels in Salem. The first track on the frog entering the tunnel was built by George Peabody whose plan has bankrupted our country every 20 years up to 2008. The second track on the frog was owned by Thomas Perkins the opium dealer who would smuggle runaway slaves to his sweatshops in Lowell. Eight tunnels met in the back of the Kinsman Building (Opus Underground) and one left the front to this tunnel in the photos. Kinsman was superintendent of the Eastern Railroad owned by Peabody.

For more info read Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City and Sub Rosa by Chris Dowgin available at Wicked Good Books, Jolie Tea, Remember Salem, Barnes & Noble, and

Send us your favorite vintage Salem photos to and we will post them and give you a shout out! Also if you have some to add to the photo from family histories, your readings, or your memories, please share them below in the comments section.

Come back every Wednesday morning to see another glimpse into Salem’s past.

Cool Trips to Bucks County PA

It’s your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler, once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

Welcome back to my blog about all of the cool places in America I have lived. My parents the software engineers, they live contract by contract so I never know where I am going to live from month to month. One month it is the deserts of Arizona and the next it is the freezing cold of Montana?

Today I am going to tell you about this cool county in PA. Buck’s County is where Washington had Marblehead MA fishermen row him across the Delaware. They have this cool town called New Hope where Salvidor Dali used to sign blank scrolls asking you to forge paintings on them. Also in Bucks County there are two castles filled with cool tile and the strangest and largest stuff I ever have seen hanging from a ceiling. Then there is the cool steam engine we would ride on every weekend! We kept trying to get a frequent flyer pass, but we failed desperately….

In the winter we would go cross country skiing at the Washington Crossing Park in NJ. Also people in the area would reenact Washington crossing the Delaware every Christmas Eve. That was real cool to watch. Then on the PA side we would climb Bowman Hill. This was a cool tower built on the site in which scouts for Washington was posted on. You could see the whole valley and the Delaware River for miles. At the bottom of the hill the tower stood on what was this real cool garden.

Then on summer weekends we would go to New Hope. I loved going into this one shop where they sold real swords from the 1500’s.  During Christmas they had carolers and people dressed up like characters from Dicken novels walk around. In their shops you could find anything in this old Victorian town which got a face lift from the arts and craft movement! I also loved going to the Night Owl which rested above the canal and I would get some real cool Led Zeppelin albums there. They had Native American shops, shops for Star Wars geeks like myself and my father, and head shops with cool posters. Plus we would sit in this tavern called John & Peter’s and I would see posters of people I just bought albums of who played there. The last time we went there was a poster that members of the Parliament Band was playing that night, way after my bed time….

Then nearby was Mercer Castle. The Mercer Museum was built to house Henry Mercer’s extensive collection of objects representing everyday life in the pre-industrial age. The Museum’s permanent exhibits remain dedicated to this purpose, displaying more than 40,000 tools and artifacts in the Museum’s original core. Over 60 early American trades are represented, including woodworking, metalworking, agriculture, and advertising; plus furnishings and folk art. Never are two visits the same to this unique “preserved” museum that includes a fire engine suspended from the balcony, a complete gallows, and much more. I loved this place, but I kept waiting for something to fall on someone….It never did. Plus we would go to Mercer’s house too. Fonthill Castle is Henry Mercer’s concrete castle house with 44 rooms, 18 fireplaces and over 200 windows of varying size and shape. The interior walls, floors and ceilings are elaborately adorned with Mercer’s handcrafted tiles. Tiles and prints from around the world also show the collecting interests of this Bucks County native. The majority of Mercer’s furnishings and personal effects remain where he placed them, and guided tours explore the various aspects of his remarkably creative life. A tour of Fonthill truly offers a window into Henry Mercer’s unique architectural and artistic vision. My mother loved all of the tile.

But my all time favorite was the steam train ride from New Hope to  Lahaska on the New Hope and Ivy Land Railroad. Once I got to ride up in the caboose! My father used to tell me when he was little he would ride the train in Flemington NJ and then get this fresh baked chocolate chip cookie before going into this cool model train store which had trains running on the walls and in the front window. I love riding old trains. I have been on that one in Flemington and another in Durango CO.

Well we stayed there almost a year before we moved again…. Check back later and I will tell you about some more cool places in America, because I have lived in them all!!!


To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy his latest book:
Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida which is available on Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might just surprise you by becoming the best vacation you ever had!