Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Salem (Mass.)
SALEM, a city, port of entry, and one of the county-seats of Essex co., Mass.; on Massachusetts Bay and on the Boston and Maine railroad; 17 miles N. E. of Boston. It contains a State Normal School for Girls, court house, a reformatory, custom house, an orphan asylum, hospital, almshouse, the Peabody Academy of Science, the Essex Institute (in which are a large library and collection of relics and portraits); the East Indian Marine Society, the Salem Atheneum, Plummer Hall, the Essex Southern District Medical Society, the Essex Agricultural Society, the Marine Society, waterworks, electric lights, several National and savings banks, and the first street electric railroad laid in the United States. It has manufactories of glue, furniture, trunks, shoes, jewelry, chemicals, railroad cars, castings, white lead, lead pipe, jute, cordage, leather machinery, leather, and cotton goods. On Jan. 25, 1914, the city was partially burned by a great fire which destroyed over one-third of its most closely built portion, left 15,000 homeless, and caused a loss of $15,000,000. It quickly recovered, and by 1920 practically all the burned section had been rebuilt. With the exception of Plymouth, Salem is the oldest settlement in New England. It is noted for its many historical interests. Its first house was erected by Roger Conant in 1626, and two years later John Endicott founded the first permanent settlement. The framework of the first church, built in 1634, is still intact. The witchcraft delusion arose here in 1692, and 19 persons were executed because of it. On Oct. 7, 1774, the Massachusetts House of Representatives with John Hancock in the chair met in Salem and declared the independence of that province. On Feb. 14, 1775, the British, in their search for war munitions, were foiled at the North Bridge and forced to withdraw; During the Revolutionary War over 150 privateers sailed from Salem and captured in all 445 English vessels. In 1785 the first vessel from the United States to India and China left this port, and for many years Salem merchants had a monopoly of trade with those countries. Salem is also noted as the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Pop. (1910) 43,697; (1920) 42,529.