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The New International Encyclopædia/Salem (Massachusetts)

SALEM. A city and the county-seat of Essex County, Mass., 16 miles northeast of Boston; on Massachusetts Bay and on the Boston and Maine Railroad (Map: Massachusetts, F 2). It is situated on a narrow peninsula. Salem is intimately connected with the history of the colonial period, and its quaint old houses and irregular streets are of great interest. Hawthorne's birthplace and early home, the custom-house where he wrote the preface to The Scarlet Letter, and the home of Roger Williams are especially noteworthy. Other features include three attractive parks: the Willows, the Common, and Mack Park; the Essex Institute, with interesting paintings and relics, and a library of 100,000 volumes and 400,000 pamphlets; the Salem Athenæum, with a library of 32,000 volumes; the Peabody Academy of Science, the home of the East India Museum; and the public library, with 40,000 volumes. One of the educational institutions is a State Normal School. There are in the city an almshouse, the Bertram Home for Aged Men, Home for Aged Women, City Orphan Asylum, and Salem Hospital, besides two other hospitals. Formerly noted for its commercial importance, Salem is at present primarily an industrial city, the various industries having in the census year 1900 an invested capital of $7,450,935, and an output valued at $12,257,449. Boots and shoes, cotton goods, leather, machinery, and lumber products constitute the leading manufactures. The government is vested in a mayor, chosen annually, and a bicameral council, and in subordinate officials, who are either elected by the council or chosen by popular vote. For maintenance and operation, the city spends annually about $552,000, the main items being: for schools, $118,000; interest on debt, $52,000; streets, $52,000; charities, $47,000; police department, $38,500: municipal lighting, $37,000; and fire department, $35,000. The water-works are owned by the municipality. Population, in 1890, 30,801; in 1900, 35,956.

Salem (the Indian Naumkeag), after Plymouth, the oldest town in Massachusetts, was first settled by Roger Conant and his associates in 1626. In 1628 Governor John Endicott at the head of a small company came hither from England and in 1629 the present name was adopted. In 1692 the witchcraft delusion appeared in the district later set apart as Danvers, and in the six months from March to September nineteen persons were hanged and one old man was pressed to death. On February 26, 1775, a small body of English troops under Colonel Leslie, sent from Boston to destroy supplies stored at Salem, was met at North Bridge and forced to retire, this being one of the first instances in the colonies of armed resistance to Great Britain. For many years after the Revolution, Salem was an important commercial centre, and it was by Salem merchants that American trade was opened with China, Japan, Africa, and Brazil. But, the depth of the harbor being insullicient for vessels of large draught, Salem's trade was gradually transferred to Boston and New York. Salem was incorporated as a town in 1630 and was chartered as a city in 1836. Consult: Felt, Annals of Salem (Salem, 1845-49); Osgood and Batchelder, Historical Sketch of Salem (ib., 1879); Upham, Salem Witchcraft, with an Account of Salem Village (Boston, 1867); Webber and Nevins, Old Naumkeag (Salem, 1878); Nevins, Witchcraft in Salem Village (ib., 1892); and a sketch in Powell, Historic Towns of the New England States (New York, 1898).