Witch House

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Situated on the corner of Summer and Essex Streets, the Witch House, also know as the Corwin House, was built in the 1670's (or earlier) and is one of the oldest dwellings in the United States. Jonathan Corwin, a magistrate during the witchcraft hysteria of 1692 held many pre-trial examinations here of the accused witches. Corwin bought the house in 1675 from Capt. Nathaniel Davenport, who built it. The building underwent more changes when George P. Farrington owned in in the mid 1800's. The apothecary shop was added to the east side front in 1856.

In 1944, when threatened with destruction, The Witch House became the catalyst that launched a wave of restoration in Salem. Historic Salem Inc. raised the $42,500 needed to move and restore the building. The new museum officially opened to the public in 1948 as a furnished historic site. It is owned by the city today and operates seasonally as a museum with guided tour.

The building was moved in the winter of 1945 to allow widening of North Street. Also as part of that project, the Bowditch House was relocated on North Street next to the Witch House. The Corwin House (Witch House) was moved back 35 feet and a new pitched roof (a recreation of the original)was put on at this time. The 1945 building restoration was carried out by Boston architect, Gordon Robb, in consultation with historical architect, Frank C. Brown.

In 2008, grant money was received for repairs and to make the house wheelchair accessible.

The Park and Recreation Commission denied a request by the group "Spirit Finders" to check the house for paranormal activity in the winter of 2008.



See Also

  • Postcard Image courtesy of CardCow.com - Witch House 1901
  • Postcard Image courtesy of CardCow.com - postmarked 1908
  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Witch House
  • "Salem to market Witch House: city wants to make the most of its historic attraction" Salem News, Apr. 11, 2003, p. A1
  • "Pitch roof soon to replace Witch House gambrel" Salem Evening News, Nov. 23, 1945, p. 15
  • Witch House restoration speeded up" Salem Evening News, Nov. 6, 1945, p.?
  • "Witch House gets money for repairs, wheelchair access" Salem News, July 21, 2008, p. 2
  • "Salem's Witch House slams door on ghost hunters" Salem News, Dec. 19, 2008, p. 1