Among my collection of Salem stereoviews I have very few of the coastline or harbor, preferring structures to nature, always. But Salem’s coastline–and especially its harbor–has been built almost from its founding as both a settlement and a working port, so I’ve started to look for some shoreline stereoviews. I haven’t had much luck in terms of items for purchase but the other day I dipped into the digital collections of the American Antiquarian Society and came up with several harbor views unknow to me–the only one I was aware of is the first one by Frank Cousins, the others are new (to me) perspectives. These are all undated but I think they are from the late 1880s and early 1890s: it is notable that I’m searching for “Salem Harbor” but finding very few images of the “working” harbor, which would have consisted of rotting wharves by this time. The images below portray a harbor of leisure: the Willows, beaches, docks for day trips. Salem was emerging as a tourist destination at this time because of its carefully-crafted history, but also because it could tap into the draw of the New England seashore. No one wants to see those old wharves at this time, but fortunately artists like Philip Little were capturing them for posterity.
“Pennsylvania Pier” by Frank Cousins, from his “Salem in 1876” series, which was published in the early 1890s.
“Collins Cove” is written on the back.
“Salem Harbor from Naugus Head”.
This last view is the most rare and mysterious: no date, no photographer, no publisher. I think it is from the end of the Willows looking back towards Salem on the Beverly Harbor side but am not sure—any other ideas?
All Stereoviews courtesy the American Antiquarian Society.