Besides highlighting local businesses (e.g. African Variety Store, Salem Market, Nightingales), from time to time this blog will also highlight homes for sale on Gallows Hill. Today it is time for the historic 21 Proctor St to strut its stuff, a 5-bedroom 3-bathroom 2300 sq ft jewel listed for sale last week at $499,900.
[Update Aug 6: price reduced to 449,900]
In 1692 19 people were hung to death behind this house for the false accusation of witchcraft, one of them being the farmer and tavern keeper John Proctor of Salem Farms (now Peabody). Decades later his grandson, knowing full well the significance of the site, bought the land and established a farm around the area, building his farmhouse on what became Proctor St. The land and house stayed in the Proctor family for generations. By the mid-19th century industrialization in the form of tanneries impinged on the area making farming untenable, and the site passed out of the Proctor family. In the early 20th century three large homes were built on the site of the former Proctor farmhouse by John Brophy, numbers 21, 23, and 25 Proctor St. Numbers 21 and 23 have since passed out of the Brophy family, but #25 is still occupied by John Brophy, great-grandson of the builder, and retired chief of the Salem Fire Dept.
In 1914 an explosion at the Korn Leather Factory at 57 Boston Street, behind 21 Proctor St, marked the beginning of the Great Salem Fire, which leveled great swaths of Salem.
So if it’s history you want in your residence, this home has it in abundance – Salem witchcraft trials, Salem fire, bygone leather industry, and in 2017 the Proctor’s Ledge Memorial – all steps from the front door. The house appears remarkably the same as it did in 1914, apart from the loss of the wraparound porch. A standout on Gallows Hill.