Salem is full of incredible sites filled with historical significance. One of the most impressive is the Maritime National Historic Site, made up of 12 historic structures and a replica tall-ship just like the ones that used to cruise in and out of the harbor daily. These buildings span around 9 acres of absolutely stunning waterfront property on Salem Harbor.
This was the first national historic site ever established in the United States, way back in 1938. Salem was a bustling trade port during America’s infancy, and these buildings serve as a monument to the fascinating maritime roots of our little town. They also happen to be right across from our cafe on Derby Street!
These 12 maritime artifacts, collections and structures include a variety of stories and moments in the history of Salem.
The Derby house was erected by Captain Richard Derby, the first millionaire in America, back in 1762. Derby dedicated the house and all it’s fine Georgian architecture to his son as a present during his lavish wedding.
Open Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00am to 4:00pm. Mondays at 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Guided tours available Wednesday – Sunday at 3:00pm, reservations required.
The Derby Wharf has been Salem’s longest wharf since it was extended in 1806. It was first built in 1762, the same year as the Derby House. It supported warehouses for various goods imported and exported around the globe.
Friendship of Salem
The Friendship of Salem is a replica of an East Indiaman ship from 1797. The replica was manufactured in Albany, New York in 2000 and now operates as a museum ship. Visitors can learn all about the history of the maritime trade in Salem while exploring a vessel that very closely resembles the original trading ships.
Samuel McIntire is the most famous architect in Salem history. He started building the Hawkes House in 1780, but the project was abandoned before he could finish. Benjamin Hawkes took over and finished the house into its current state in 1800.
The Narbonne House has a unique story. The house was first built in 1675, with its iconic pitch roof added later on. Additions to the south and back sides were put in place at the same time. The first occupants are unknown, but Capt. Joseph Hodges occupied the premises from 1750 to 1780. Later, it was purchased by Joseph Andrew and owned by his family until it was sold to the National Park Service in 1964.
Open Wednesday – Sunday, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. Guided tours available Wednesday – Sunday at 3:00pm, reservations required.
Pedrink Store House
This three story storehouse was built around the year 1770 and served as a rigging and sail loft. It wasn’t originally located in Salem Harbor, but the National Park Service moved it here due to historic relevance in 2007.
Salem Custom House
The Salem Customs House served as the place where taxes were collected upon importation of cargo. The customs house served an important purpose in any harbor and was always a busy place to be.
St. Joseph Hall
St. Joseph Hall is the original home of the St. Joseph Society. This organization supports and is made up of Polish immigrants. The first floor was a retail space, allowing the building to make a little income to pay for the property fees. The second floor was a very popular event space, and apartments were added on top as wave after wave of Polish immigrants arrived to the New World.
West India Goods Store
The West India Goods Store was first established by Captain Henry Price in the early 19th century. At first, it was simply used as a warehouse for Price’s imported goods like pepper, animal hides, shells, and of course – coffee! Who could forget that. More shops started setting up in the building, and soon it was a makeshift mall for people to buy all sorts of goods, trade items, and trinkets from across the world.
Come check out this amazing National Historic Site today and swing by Derby Joe after for a cup of coffee! Let us know what you thought of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site while you’re here.