All American Road Trip {Part 3: Salem}

Leaving Illinois, Ashley and I headed to Massachusetts, excited to explore the historic city of Salem. While I knew about the Salem Witch Trials, I didn't know anything else about the city and was surprised that it has a population of roughly 42,ooo. I had been expecting a town about a quarter of that size. We parked near the visitor's centre and caught the Salem Trolley that took us on a narrated tour of the city, showing us Pickering Warf, Winter Island Park, Salem Willows, and Salem Common.

We disembarked the trolley at the Witch House which was the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, one of the judges involved in the Salem Witch Trials, and is the only standing structure left in Salem directly tied to the trials. From there we went to the Witch Dungeon Museum where we saw a reenactment of a witch trial and learnt of the horrid conditions the accused were subjected to while imprisoned. In 1962, twenty innocent people accused of witchcraft were executed over 5 days, and two other accused perished in prison.

The  Salem Witch Trials Memorial, our next stop, consists of 20 inscribed granite benches jutting out of a U-shaped stone wall - each inscribed with the name, method, and date of execution of a victim of the Trials.  On the ground at the front, victims' protests of their innocence are stamped in the concrete.  The memorial was dedicated by Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel in August, 1992, 300 years after the Trials. Behind the memorial sits Old Burying Point Cemetery, the second oldest recorded colonial burial ground in the US, and the site of Judge John Hathorne's grave. The graves stand divided from the memorial by the wall, a reminder of all those who stood by without interfering as the Trials and executions took place.

An interesting fact considering the horrific events that would later occur in the city, the name Salem is derived from the Hebrew shalom and Arabic salaam, meaning peace.

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This was installment 3 of my All American Road Trip. The next installment will be {Part 4: Boston}