Last Friday evening I was fortunate enough to tour four beautifully historic homes that were part of the 32nd Annual Christmas in Salem Historic House Tour that is presented by Historic Salem, Inc. In addition, I was granted special permission and given the extreme privilege of being able to take photographs in the houses - something that is not normally allowed on the tours.
The houses were all located in the beautiful McIntire District of Salem which contains the greatest concentration of notable pre-1900 Federal and Colonial Revival style domestic structures in the United States. The district is named for Samuel McIntire, a woodcarver by trade who developed into one of the very earliest architects in America.
For those that weren't aware, Salem was once the sixth largest city in America and one of the richest in all of the country due to its reputation as a world famous seaport and involvement in the China Trade. Appropriately the city's motto, adopted in 1839, is "Divitis Indiae usque ad ultimum sinum", Latin for "To the farthest port of the rich Indies."
To be able to tour some of the beautiful houses from Salem's heyday was a real treat for me - to be able to take pictures (or pass the picture-taking duties over to my friend Juli due to my lack of planning skills!) was a real honor. I hope you'll be able to take a moment to visit The Distracted Wanderer and take a small tour of the houses yourself with my posts, Christmas in Salem Historic House Tour, Part One and Part Two.
I'll have one more post in the series soon with photos from the 1895 Clarence S. Clark House that Juli and I were even more fortunate to get a private tour of on Friday afternoon. The home is a beautiful Colonial Revival style house that also just happens to currently be owned by the President of Montserrat College of Art - Amanda's school of higher education for one wonderful year and where I'd really like her to be able to go back to someday - and his wife who is one dynamic woman! It's a gorgeous home that was beautifully decorated for Christmas by the homeowner herself who has a collection of thousands of Santas in all shapes and sizes.
Speaking of which, I do believe I need to get to work on that post now what with my triple double shifts looming on the horizon! Sigh, this darned real life job of mine is always getting in the way of my love of history but I guess I need it to keep paying for gas for my wanderings! And I do love to wander!
Oh, and lest I forget, I am very happy to say that one of the photos that I submitted for the 2011 Destination Salem Photography Contest made the list of finalists. First, second, and third prize are decided by voters like yourself so if you've got a moment, I'd love to have you go over to their website linked above and take a look at the seven finalists and then cast a vote for your favorite - no registration is required. If my picture just happens to be the one you choose then 'yay!' but if not, I'm sure that whoever took the picture you did vote for will be happy. I've got my fingers crossed that my picture of the Tall ship Friendship will make the cover of the 2012 Salem Guide as that would just be uber-fantastic but if not, I'll keep plugging away at it and try again next year. Gives me more good reasons to go back up to Salem which I have adopted as my very favorite city in the country!