Notable Sites in Gallows Hill

This post merely outlines the landmarks of Gallows Hill. Future posts will detail the significance of each.

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Landmarks of Gallows Hill

Proctor’s Ledge – In Jan 2016 the Gallows Hill Project, comprised of five academic researchers from Salem State University and the University of Virginia, reported that the site where 19 unfortunates condemned of witchcraft were publicly hanged is Proctor’s Ledge, a rock outcropping near the front of Gallows Hill. Actually, this report was a re-discovery. Several times before the site had been identified, but then lost to public knowledge, but to residents of Gallows Hill the location was an open secret. One such ‘discovery’ even prompted the City of Salem in 1936 to purchase the land for a memorial that was never constructed. This time a memorial for the site, a wedge of never developed land between Proctor and Pope Streets, has been approved and as this writing is under construction.

Gallows Hill Park – In the center of the neighborhood, between the Gallows Hill and Witchcraft Heights residential neighborhoods, sits expansive Gallows Hill Park, established in 1912. The park contains the pinnacle of Gallows Hill at 100 feet above sea level, and currently contains ball fields, a playground, and a skate park. It is tucked away from all main roads and so out-of-the-way to outsiders, but is readily accessible to residents of both Gallows Hill and Witchcraft Heights.

Water Tower, Gallows Hill Park – Astride a high ledge in Gallows Hill Park sits the Salem Water Tower, an otherwise ordinary water tower made notable by the image of a witch astride a broomstick (see featured image atop this blog).

Memorial to Great Salem Fire of 1914 – on June 25, 1914 at 1:37 pm an explosion at the Korn leather factor at 57 Boston Street triggered a conflagration that swept east and north to Salem harbor before it was finally contained. A memorial to the fire now sits at the same address, in the corner of what is now a Walgreen’s parking lot, in front of Proctor’s Ledge and around the corner from the planned Proctor’s Ledge Witchcraft Trials memorial.

Proctor’s Ledge Memorial to Witchcraft Trials of 1692 – On Jan 26, 2017 the City of Salem announced the final design for the Proctor’s Ledge Witchcraft Trials Memorial, to be set in an a crevice along Pope St. Unveiling of the memorial is planned for June 10, 2017, the 325th anniversary of the hanging of Bridget Bishop, the first of 19 to be executed for witchcraft.

Blubber Hollow Plaque – A plaque relating the history of Blubber Hollow sits at the corner of Goodhue and Bridge Streets, in the parking lot of a Dunkin Donuts. (Regrettably, 21st century chain stores often occupy historical sites). The site sits at the center of what was once Salem’s extensive leather tanning industry.

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