Two Amazing “Accessories”

All summer long I was obsessed with sheds—I wanted one, an old one of course, for my garden but never found the perfect one or the owner of the perfect one, except for the case of a southeastern New Hampshire shed whose owner would not sell to me (and frankly, if she had said yes, I’m not sure how I would have dislodged and transported it to Salem as my husband does not share my shed obsession). Sheds, carriage houses, even mundane garages, are all just accessory units to their main structures according to architectural classification, and I’ve got two AMAZING accessory units today: a permanent structure in Salem and a temporary “folly” in Marblehead. Here they are:



Yes, one man has constructed a Samuel McIntire tea or summer house as a permanent accessory to his Salem Federal house near the public library, while another has built a fantasy ghost ship into/ out of his Marblehead garage—for the Halloween season only! Two disciplined and talented visionaries in adjoining towns! Marblehead architect Tom Saltsman, who you can read about here, is responsible for the ghost ship Oceanna, while my friend John Hermanski has been building the McIntire tea house over the past few years: I’ve been waiting, waiting, and waiting to feature it here, and finally last month it looked perfect, except for the McIntire urns he wants to add along the roofline. His inspiration is readily apparent in extant drawings of the McIntire outbuildings flanking the fabulous—and fleeting—-Derby mansion which once stood on Essex Street where Derby Square now is, as well as a couple of surviving McIntire pavilions: the Derby or McIntire Tea House at Glen Magna in Danvers (1793-94), and the Derby-Beebe Summer House (1799), which was originally located in Wakefield, Massachusetts and removed to the Essex Institute in Salem in the twentieth century.



Accessory MansionThe new McIntire-Hermanksi Tea House on Monroe Street, the old McIntire Tea House on the grounds of the Peabody Essex Museum, and Charles Bulfinch’s sketch of the Derby Mansion by McIntire, with its flanking outbuildings, c. 1795, Phillips Library, PEM.

I’m not sure what Mr. Saltsman’s inspiration was: Pirates of the Caribbean, perhaps? It’s an ephemeral creation that will likely be gone by the time you read this (he says that he “loves that it goes away”), but fair warning for next Halloween as he has a 15-year track record of diverse constructions.



We in Salem are fortunate to be able to gaze at John Hermanski’s mini-McIntire House in all seasons, either from across the driveway of the beautiful Federal house which adjoins it or from Essex Street, as the house sits right in back of the Salem Public Library’s side lawn: in fact, my favorite photograph of the house, an Arthur Griffin black-and-white from circa 1950, has this vantage point. But that view doesn’t show the ultimate accessory which stands there now.


Monroe StreetThe John Hermanski-Barbara Taylor House on Monroe Street in Salem, 2019 (+accessory) and c. 1950, Digital Commonwealth.

10 responses to “Two Amazing “Accessories”

  • Helen Breen

    Hi Donna, that lovely “tea house” being built by your friend John Hermanski caught my eye. What a worthwhile project. You then mentioned “the Derby-Beebe Summer House (1799), which was originally located in Wakefield, Massachusetts and removed to the Essex Institute in Salem in the twentieth century.”

    The beautiful Beebe Federalist mansion (sans tea house) still stands majestically at 142 Main Street, Wakefield on the shores of Lake Quannapowitt. Tradition suggests that the original farmhouse was remodeled by famed Salem architect Samuel McIntire.

    The Beebe family was quite influential in Wakefield. For example, in 1916 the town had purchased a desirable lot in the center of town for a public library. Junius Beebe then offered $60,000 to build the structure in memory of his father Lucius Beebe. He engaged the services of Ralph Adams Cram (1863-1942), famed architect associated with the design of so many buildings at Princeton. This building is a gem and worth a visit to Wakefield for architectural enthusiasts to explore it.

  • Helen Breen

    Donna, to my knowlege, the property is privately owned. You might check with the Wakefield Historical Society to find out more.

  • az1407t

    That “shed” is stunning. I hope it will be there for generations to come. It fits in beautifully in that area.

  • Brian Bixby

    I’m reminded of the Shirley Shaker “infirmary” building, originally an early 19th century shop building, that was moved and restored several years ago as a residential building.

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