Salem 1897: William McKinley was President of the United States, Roger Wolcott was Governor of Massachusetts, and the Salem Evening News published an Illustrated History of Salem and its Environs, which includes photographs of many mustachioed men, their residences and places of business, and some of the city’s more notable public landmarks. Despite its title, it’s not really a guide to historic Salem (although there is a little narrative history of the city from its founding) but rather a visual “state of the city” in that very year, from a decidedly commercial point of view. Sometimes it is interesting to just swoop in and look at the lay of the land of a particular place and time, so that’s what I’m doing today. I don’t believe that there is a single featured woman in the entire publication: one would think the city was made up of white men except for sights of women and children in the distance: waiting for a train or the beach. And while we see many exterior views of factories—particularly tanneries—we don’t get to peer inside and see any work being done, by men or women. Even with these limitations, it’s an interesting book, especially for one (such as myself) who is interested in built history: it allows us to see Lafayette Street before the Fire, a very busy Bridge Street, and many lost churches—and the engraved illustrations are particularly nice.
@ 225 Essex Street.
It’s always interesting to see anachronistic trades and businesses in publications such as this as well: anything to do with horses, all those tanneries and factories, lead works, house movers (moving houses rather than the contents of houses): there were two in Salem! This was a city full of houses of worship and work, many stores, and many banks–and not so many restaurants. The usual public institutions are featured as well: I think we’ve all seen enough old photographs of the Salem Public Library, the Essex Institute and Peabody Museum, various schools, and our famous, beloved Gothic fortress of a train station, so I have foregone those images in favor of less-broadcast ones here. Salem appears to have been thriving in 1897, though somewhat sparsely-populated in this (re)presentation—except for all those mustachioed men!
Just a few of the businessmen featured: Messers Almy, Bigelow, Washburn & the three Vaughn brothers.
April 10th, 2019 at 6:19 am
These all white male publications stand out like a sore thumb to me now.
April 10th, 2019 at 6:23 am
I know–they didn’t seem as notable to me years ago, but now the exclusivity is the first thing I notice!
April 10th, 2019 at 8:35 am
Fascinating stuff, male dominated or not. Thanks for the photo of the Parker Brothers building. My dad, (Arthur Phelps) worked there for almost fifty years (beginning as a stock boy at 14) For some reason, photos of that building seem to be rare
April 10th, 2019 at 8:58 am
Really? I have to admit that I haven’t really looked for any—will do so in the future!
April 10th, 2019 at 11:38 am
You will regonize the vacant lot as Chestnut and Hamilton streets as the former site of the South Church, no doubt.
April 10th, 2019 at 11:41 am
Yes, our park. It was the location of a Gothic Revival church until the 1950s, but now all the householders of Chestnut Street own it.