Riley Plaza

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  • Riley Plaza, in the center of town near Washington and Margin Streets in Salem, was named after John Phillip Riley, the only Salem resident to be presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor.
  • He received this honor for his role as a Navy man. On May 11, 1898,as one of the crew of the gunboat, Nashville, John Riley severed a cable linking Cuba and Spain, "distinguishing himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty."
  • A large boulder engraved with his name, dates and quote is surrounded by flagpoles define the perimeter of Riley's monument. The dedication took place on June 7th, 1959.
  • A re-dedication was made of a newly renovated John. P. Riley memorial on Oct. 24th, 1993 after the roads were reconfigured in this area to deal with heavier traffic.
  • John P. Riley was born on Jan. 22, 1877 in Allentown, Pa. and died on Nov. 16, 1950 in Salem, Ma.
  • Riley lived at 3 Warner St. and spent his working days as a city employee until his retirement in 1944.
  • At Riley's funeral, a solemn high mass was read at the Church of the Immaculate Conception with internment in Greenlawn cemetery.

See Also

"City pays final tribute to medal of honor man Riley." Salem Evening News, Nov. 18,1950. p.1

Vertical File in Salem Collection - Riley, John

Vertical File in Salem Collection - Riley Plaza

Chronicles of Old Salem by F. D. Robotti, p. 88