House of the Seven Gables

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  • The House of the Seven Gables was built in 1668 for Capt. John Turner, a successful merchant, and remained in his family for three generations. "Facing south toward the harbor, it was at first a two-room, two-and-one-half-story, central-chimney plan with two "Gothic" cross-gables in front" according to Tolles in his book, Architecture in Salem.
  • The house was altered and added onto over the years, adding a wing and a garret with three gables.
  • We are perhaps most familiar with the house through The House of the Seven Gables published by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1851, his third novel. Hawthorne constructed his novel around the real house- once owned by his cousin Susannah Ingersoll.
  • In 1908, the house was bought by the House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association, founded by Caroline O. Emmerton, who used the admission fees to help support the Association's nearby settlement house. The Association was set up to help support immigrant's families, especially Polish immigrants, with services like literacy and job placement and was a community center for social activities as well. The Association has many active programs today.
  • Over time Emmerton and the organization’s trustees acquired and moved to the site five additional 17th, 18th and 19th century structures: The Retire Becket House (1655); The Hooper Hathaway House (1682); Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Birthplace (c1750); The Phippen House (c1782); and The Counting House (c 1830). The House of the Seven Gables’ campus constitutes is own national historic district on The National Register of Historic Places.
  • The House of the Seven Gables was selected in 2007 to be placed on the list of National Historic Places, the highest designation the federal government gives to historic properties.
  • Anita Blackaby became the newest director of the site beginning in 2008, bringing 30 years of professional museum experience.
  • In 2010, the Gables elimated some of its programs due to financial challenges. The after-school and camp programs were costly to run and had declined in enrollment.

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See Also

  • Postcards courtesy of CardCow.com
  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - House of the Seven Gables

  • "New visitor center opens at House of the Seven Gables" Salem Evening News, Aug. 13, 1994, p.1
  • "New Gables director wants to reconnect with North Shore" Salem News, Apr.3, 2008, p.2
  • "Gables to celebrate pick as national historic landmark" Salem News, Sept. 17, 2007. p.A2