Salem Armory

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  • The Salem Armory was located on Essex and Brown Street, directly across from the Peabody Essex Museum.
  • The Salem Armory was constructed for the Second Corps of Cadets between 1890 and 1980. In 1890, the Second Corps purchased the home and property of Colonel Francis Peabody. The home was adapted to serve as Cadet headquarters. The drill shed, now occupied by the Salem Visitor Center, was erected at that time. In 1908, the former residence was torn down and replaced with a new head house designed by John C. Spofford. This massive brick and stone time castle-like structure has many typical features of Gothic revival armory architecture.
  • The armory was also an important social gathering place for the citizens of Salem. The halls in the armories were often the larges halls built in urban areas, they hosted large gatherings. Salem Armory frequently served as a civic function hall, hosting dinner, dances, fairs and other gatherings. Salem's Cadet Band under the director Jean Missaud often played there.
  • In 1982, the head house of the Salem Armory was destroyed by fire. The drill shed survived, and in 1944 it was converted in the Salem Visitor Center, which is operated by the National Park Service. In 2002, the Peabody Essex Museum created Armory Park on the site of the head house.

See Also