Old Witch Jail

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The site of the Old Witch Jail was 4 Federal St., at the corner of St. Peter Street (then called Prison Lane.) This was built in 1684. In approximately 1763, the wooden jail was rebuilt to replace and enlarge the old jail.

When a new modern stone jail was built in 1813 (on the corner of St. Peter and Bridge Street), this building was remodeled into a home. It is said that some timbers of the jail of 1684 were used in the construction of the jail in 1763, according to the Visitor's Guide (1953 ed.) Alfred P. Goodell opened the house as a tourist attraction in 1935.

This structure were torn down in the May of 1956 to make way for New England Telephone Company's expansion. Before the building was torn down, historians made the discovery of beams from the 17th century that had been the structure of the original colonial period jail cell.


See Also

Vertical File in Salem Collection - Salem Jail (sub-folder Old Witch Jail)

Postcard Image courtesy of CardCow.com

Old Witch Jail and Dungeon blog "History by the Sea"

Salem Visitors' Guide 1953 ed., p. 152

Salem Massachusetts ed. by K. Turino, p. 61

Greetings from Salem by M.L. Martin and N. Wolfgang-Price, p. 17

"Massive timbers taken from old witch jail" Salem Evening News, May 31, 1956

"Old Witch Jail stockade found; traditions proved false as Salem landmark falls" Salem Evening News, May 12, 1956, p. 1

"Old jail was city's first witch museum" Salem Evening News, July 21, 1999, p. A3