Black and orange are the predominant colors of the season but I was looking for pink this weekend. Pink houses, large and small, can be found all over Salem but primarily in the outlying neighborhoods away from the center historic districts. While colonial houses can look lovely in pink, this custom seems to apply more to Charleston and Savannah than it does to New England: pink is just not a Puritan color! So most of Salem’s pink houses are Victorians, with the exception of a very bright Greek Revival on Winter Street just off the Common, and a little Georgian house in dusty salmon pink right off Derby Street.
And on the other side of Derby Street, overlooking Derby Wharf, the Friendship, and the Custom House, a pink triple-decker, another iconic New England architectural style.
I kept walking east: downtown was full of tourists and motorcycles, the weather was beautiful, and I knew that I’d find some pink house in the Willows. Salem Willows is a late Victorian park with an adjacent residential neighborhood of structures that were built as seasonal cottages in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. All of these houses have been transformed into year-round residences, and it’s a colorful neighborhood with few preservation encumbrances. There was a full spectrum of pink here, from shocking Schiaparelli to the very pale color of the Gothic Revival cottage overlooking Juniper Point Beach.
Back in town, I turned left and walked down Lafayette Street, which was a grand boulevard of painted ladies before the great Salem Fire of 1914. Some survived, and Colonial Revival residences replaced those that did not: one has a conspicuous pink and light gray color scheme that you cannot fail to notice. On a side street Lafayette, there’s a lovely late 19th century pink house, with an adjacent three-car garage, also in pink. And way down the road, almost on the Marblehead line, is a “Scooby Doo” eclectic Victorian overlooking Salem Harbor dressed in faded pink. I was losing the light by this time, as you can see.
These are all great houses, but I must admit that my two favorite pink houses are not in Salem. One is the Justin Morrill homestead in Strafford, Vermont, which I’ve already featured in a post, and the other is the Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, Connecticut, which is owned and operated by Historic New England. Both are assertively Gothic Revival structures–”Gothic” and pink are two descriptive terms which are seldom linked together, but in these two cases we have notable exceptions!
Roseland Cottage, Woodstock, Connecticut, 1846. Historic New England.