Aesthetics of Proctor’s Ledge Memorial

Now that months of planning and construction are finally past, it’s time to take a breather and appreciate the memorial, as solemn art and as timeless history.

The site was chosen in 1692 for its convenience to central Salem and its prominence along the main road to Boston, the bodies left hanging all day to serve as warning to travelers and townspeople. Towards evening the remains were cut down and flung into rocky crevices along the ledge, where they were recovered by distraught family members under cover of darkness and eventually given decent though covert burial.

It seems fitting and proper then, that one of the remaining crevices (others having been obliterated by erosion and by a 19th century rail freight spur run along the base of Proctor’s Ledge) was chosen to site the Memorial. More than fitting that it’s a stone memorial, harkening the stony ledge. Concerns of the neighborhood were that the memorial be kept simple and unassuming, expectations more than met by the final Memorial. Simple stone wall, simple stone floor, simple stone seating, simple stone engraving. Landscaping to grow in to eventually obscure the homes abutting the site.

A memorial to reflect. A memorial to grieve, even centuries later. Not a memorial to explain, for to explain, what happened there, will never be possible.