Chestnut Street Days

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  • Chestnut Street Days was a tradition started in 1926, designed to coincide with the Salem Tercentenary celebration. The Chestnut Street neighborhood organized the event and opened and conducted tours of more than a dozen homes in what has been called "the most beautiful street in America." Residents and volunteers dressed in period costumes and some even portrayed famous Salem figures such as Mrs. Spencer, "the Gilbratar lady", sisters of the poet Jones Very, and Rev. William Bentley. Lunch was served in various places and demonstrations abounded in bookbinding, silversmithing and weaving.The Salem Cadet Band played and a stagecoach on loan from Appleton's in Ipswich lent an elegant tone to the proceedings. The event was successful and was repeated four more times over the next 50 years. The proceeds from these were earmarked for specific projects on Chestnut Street.
  • This event was the precursor of the present day "Christmas in Salem" tour put on by the non-profit organization Historic Salem, Inc. They took over the organization of this popular Christmas Tour from the Visiting Nurse Association.
  • The Christmas Tour was originally brought back, borrowing the idea from the original Chestnut Street Days Tour, by the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Salem. It was used as a fund-raiser for about 15 years starting in 1979 and lasting until 1993.

See Also

  • "Salem preservation movement had roots in popular house tours" Salem News, Nov. 29, 2004.
  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Chestnut Street Days
  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Chestnut Street
  • Salem, Massachusetts ed. by K. Turino, p. 28, 41 (photographs of people dressed for Chestnut Street Days)