Bonfires were held at Gallows Hill area of Salem for many years at the turn of the century to commemorate Independence Day (July 4th)
The bonfires would be set off at midnight the night before the fourth. Many of them were as high as 90 feet high. The stacks were made up
of old barrels from businesses like the Tanneries in town would have.
They became very popular in the 1890's and continued through the 1950's or 1960's.
- Battle of the Bonfires Street of Salem blog