Geography of Gallows Hill

Running roughly along an elongated northeast to southwest axis, the hill is not a single peak, but a series of intermeshed ledges and ridges, extending roughly from Highland Ave (Route 107) at the northeast end to the Salem-Peabody line at the southwest. The highest point is in Gallows Hill Park, in roughly the center of the area, from which a view of the downtown and harbor regions of Salem is afforded. The most famous of the several ledges is Proctor’s Ledge, now established as the site of the hangings of the Witchcraft Trials in 1692. Proctor’s Ledge will be the focus of many later posts of this blog. Incredibly, the 2nd indelible event in Salem history, the Great Salem Fire of 1914, which wiped out nearly half of Salem, is also associated with Proctor’s Ledge, the ignition point being a tannery next to the witch hanging site. The Great Fire will also be the focus of many later posts of this blog.



The neighborhood of Gallows Hill itself is roughly the area on or near Gallows Hill, from Highland Ave to the Salem-Peabody line on the long axis and from Boston Street, a major commercial road, to a line coincident with the pack of Gallows Hill Park. Neighborhoods in Salem are not formally defined, so these boundaries are delineated by convention, and it is this convention that this blog shall follow.