Historic Salem, Inc. (HSI) is a private, non-profit advocacy group dedicated to preserving Salem’s historic resources and educating the community on their value.
Historic Salem, Inc. was founded in 1944 to save the Corwin House. Known popularly as the Witch House, this is the only building extant in Salem with a connection to the witch trials of 1692. Fittingly, HSI’s offices are right next door in the Nathaniel Bowditch House.
Since its inception, HSI has been instrumental in establishing official historic districts within the city and nominating several landmarks to the National Register of Historic Landmarks. It has helped to save the Wendt House (1783) and the Pope House (1740), a rare survivor of Salem’s Quaker community.
HSI’s mission today is to identify endangered sites, raise funds to preserve them, and contribute to the design of new city projects to help insure historical integrity.
Efforts over the past few years have been focused on the J. Michael Ruane Judicial Center and historic court complex—the oldest court system in continuous service in the western hemisphere—and on the conversion to residential and commercial use of the Salem Jail and jail keeper’s house. The granite structure, built in 1811–1813, was the nation’s oldest jail fulfilling its original function up until 1982.
HSI presents annual preservation awards, provides house histories and plaques to identify historic properties throughout the city, and hosts a variety of social and fund-raising events that welcome newcomers to our community.