Inspired by one of my favorite blogs, An Urban Cottage, the relative popularity of one of my posts, “Diminutive Dwellings”, as well as by the houses themselves, I’ve gathered some photographs of some Salem cottages, most of which were built in the early and mid-nineteenth century. One of the best things about living in a small city is the sheer variety of architectural styles, as well as the presence of buildings of very different sizes, sometimes even adjacent to one another. Salem is renowned for its grand Federal mansions, but it certainly has its share of smaller-scaled houses, many of which are equally impressive, in an altogether different way. In fact, it was difficult for me to narrow down my choices; I think I will need at least a part two, and maybe a three and four. I tried to include structures from a variety of neighborhoods, but have left some notable ones out, at least for now. It was also difficult to discern exactly what a “cottage” is, beyond just a small house, so basically I just chose small houses that I liked in a very arbitrary manner.
First up, some “mini mansards”. There are lots of big Victorian houses with mansard roofs in Salem, particularly along Lafayette Street, but there are also several cottages with these roofs, located primarily outside the city center, in North and South Salem. This first house is impressive down to the smallest detail, including its great flower boxes.
Two South Salem mansard cottages are below. The first is a favorite of nearly everyone I know, for its prime harbor-front location (which you unfortunately can’t see from my photograph) , its cupola, and its overall cuteness. It was also featured in the early 90s Bette Midler-Sarah Jessica Parker film Hocus Pocus quite prominently (if I remember correctly).
In the historic center of Salem, there are lots of Georgian colonial cottages, most with gambrel roofs. These little houses are colonial in style, but several of them were built well after the Revolution, as late as 1830; they must have looked quite antiquated when the Greek Revivals started popping up. The houses below are all located on streets running off the Common and Derby Street.
This last group of cottages cannot be tied together by a common architectural style; they represent the variety I referenced above and are all just adorable. There are Greek and Gothic Revival cottages in North Salem, a pair of shingled cottages on Derby, both former stores and connected by their owner by landscaping and paint, and an eighteenth-century cottage moved to its present location on Orne Square after the great fire of 1914.