18 Crombie Street
Holyoke Mutual Insurance Company bought the house at 18 Crombie Street in 1986 for $169,000. Though originally planning to use the house for a conference center, the company decided the rehab would be too expensive. The decision was made to tear the house down and build parking spaces.
In 1990, Historic Salem, Inc. started an effort to preserve this historic house. Salem Redevelopment Authority ultimately decided to block the demolition. 18 Crombie Street was part of the historical register. The Crombie Street National Register District contains seven houses all on Crombie Street. The neighbors on Crombie Street also got involved and staged peaceful vigils and hung banners "Save No. 18" outside the house.
This house, called the Wendt House was built in 1783 and moved to its Crombie Street location in 1830. The small, brown clapboard house is part of one of the smallest but oldest neighborhoods of Salem. It miraculously survived the fire of 1914.
According to Essex County Deeds records researched by Rory Goff, this house has had many historically important residents such as Samuel Curwen, Prince Farmer, William B. Pike, Dr. Shadrach M. Cate and Leonard J. and Rufina M. Jefferson.
In 2003, the city purchased the house from Holyoke for a nominal sum and with plans to sell it to someone who would preserve it and find someone to live in it. In return, Holyoke got 13 dedicated parking spaces on the streets near their company's building.
In 2004, the Salem Redevelopment Authority weeded through 4 applications from groups interested and picked Habitat for Humanity to rehab the house. After 3 years of rehab, the home on 18 Crombie Street was dedicated to a new family who moved in before Christmas of 2006.
Vertical File in Salem Collection - 18 Crombie Street
"Preservationists, firm feud over old downtown house" Salem Evening News, Nov. 8, 1990, p. 11
"Crombie Street dwelling has distinguished history (Letters to the editor by Rory Goff)" Salem Evening News, Jan. 24, 2001, p. B4
"Neighbors hope to save neglected historic home" Salem Evening News, Jan. 19, 2001, p. A1
"City, Company, near pact to rescue historic house" Salem News, Aug. 4, 2003, p. A1
"City officials and neighbors save house on Crombie Street" Salem News, Oct. 24, 2003, p. A3
"Habitat for Humanity to restore house" Salem News, Jan. 15, 2004, p. A2
"Habitat preparing to rehab 18 Crombie Street" Salem News, Apr. 5, 2004, p. A2
"Habitat dedicates new home on Crombie Street" Salem News, Dec. 11, 2006, p. A2