Ropes Mansion

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  • Ropes Mansion on 318 Essex Street was built in 1727 and extensively remodeled in 1894. Purchased by Nathaniel Ropes for his family, the last owners of the family mansion were Eliza Orne Ropes and her sister Mary Pickman Ropes, who left the house to be opened to the public.
  • The mansion is in the McIntire Historic District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The formal garden behind the house is a Colonial Revival-style garden carefully tended every year and visited by many for its beauty.The garden was designed in 1912 by Salem botanist and horticulturist John Robinson and the pond was added in 1930. Andy Bye was the main gardener at the Ropes Garden and worked there since 1931, after graduating from Essex Agricultural School. He also cultivated varieties of flowers in the adjacent greenhouse. Mr. Bye passed away on March 27th, 1994 at the age of 79. At the time of his retirement he had served as landscape gardener for 50 years.
  • The house has been open to the public since 1912 as an independent house museum and then under the stewardship of the Essex Institute since 1978, who officially bought it in 1989.
  • In August 2009, a painter's heat gun started a fire at the house, causing damage to the 3rd floor and attic area. Due to quick response time from fire fighters, the damage was minimal.


See Also

Postcard Image courtesy of

Vertical File in Salem Collection - Ropes Mansion

Ropes Mansion at Salem, Mass. by Nellie S. Messer

"Essex Institute plans Ropes garden party" Salem Evening News, Sept. 4, 1990, p.?

"Andrew T. Bye (gardener) Obituary" Salem Evening News, Mar. 28, 1994, p.8

"Garden Ropes in visitors" Salem News, Aug. 20, 2008, p. 10

"Ropes Mansion:a treasure saved" Salem News, Aug.18, 2009, p.1

"Painters' heat gun sparked Ropes blaze" Salem News, Aug. 17, 2009, p.1