Salem Maritime National Historic Site

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The Salem Maritime National Historic Site is in the Derby Wharf area of Salem and is run by the United States National Park Service. Designated by the Secretary of the Interior on March 17, 1938, the Salem Maritime National Historic Site became the first national historic site in the National Park System. It consists of 9 acres of land, 12 historic buildings, and a visitor center along the Salem waterfront.

Some of the historic sites it maintains are:

Derby and Central Wharves, the Derby House, the Custom House(built 1818), Hawkes House, Narbonne House, the West India Dry Goods Store, the Friendship, a recreated three-masted ship, and St. Joseph Society Hall (the Polish Club).

In 2008, a new (old) building was added to Derby Wharf. The Pedrick Store House,(ca. 1770) moved from nearby Marblehead was preserved to look like a period store house. In 2003, the National Park Service acquired the structure and dismantled the frame. After repair, the frame was

reassembled here on Derby Wharf, using period building techniques. A new roof, windows, and clapboards restored the structure to its 19th

century appearance.

Harlan P. Kelsey had many important legacies in Salem. In 1930, he was responsible for providing all the original plant

material for Salem 1630: Pioneer Village and in 1938, he had the lead role in Derby Wharf being preserved as the Salem Maritime Historic Site.

Many of the features of the sites reflect Salem's association with maritime history.

Every summer since 1990, the site has hosted an annual Maritime Festival, usually in August. See Salem Maritime Festival for more.

In 2009, long-time park employee Peter LaChapelle retired after a 33-year career at the National Park Service. A Salem native, LaChapelle was

chief of visitor services for 20 years and also helped form the Friends of the Salem Maritime Site, which worked on the restoration of the

Derby Wharf Light.

See Also

  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Salem Maritime National Historic Site (#1, #2)
  • West India Goods Store Salem Maritime National Historic Site
  • Vertical File in Salem Collection- Custom House
  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Narbonne House
  • "Narbonne House: a treasure chest of historical objects" Salem Evening News, Dec. 31, 1990, p. 9
  • "Trash pits and natural rights in the Revolutionary Era: Excavations at the Narbonne House in Salem, Mass." Archaeology Magazine, Summer 1976
  • "Era ends as Peter LaChapelle exits Maritime Site" Salem News, Dec. 31, 2009, p. 4