Preservation at Work
The Historic Burial Grounds in Salem are some of the oldest in the country. The burial grounds include the Charter Street Cemetery, also known as Old Burying Point, the Howard Street Cemetery, the Essex Street Cemetery and the Broad Street Cemetery. They were placed on the Most Endangered List in 2000 due to deferred maintenance and vandalism They are currently considered Improving.
History and Significance:
The Historic Burial Grounds in Salem are some of the oldest in the country and a number of local and national significant figures are buried in the five cemeteries: Greenlawn Cemetery, Charter Street Cemetery, Howard Street Cemetery, Essex Street Cemetery (also known as the Quaker, or Friends, Cemetery) and Broad Street Cemetery. The Charter Street Cemetery, also known as Old Burying Point, is the oldest of the five and is a commonly visited by tourists due to its proximity to downtown.
Description and History of Threat:
The burial grounds located across the city suffered for years from deferred maintenance and vandalism. In 2002 Richard Rennard, now Director of Public Service, was awarded a Hawthorne award in recognition for his efforts to restore the City’s nationally significant historic burial grounds and cemeteries and the Salem Witch Trials Memorial. At this time the burial grounds were moved from Endangered to Improving.
Progress &/or Setbacks:
The city is continuing to maintain the burial grounds by contracting a company to continue the process of preserving the headstones in the burial grounds and have also increasing the control of the hours in which the public can access the historical burial grounds. In 2010 stone work was done at the Charter Street cemetery. The City is planning on completing stone repair work at the Howard Street Cemetery this year and will also be completing some work at the Broad Street Cemetery next year. An informational plaque is to be installed at the Essex Street Cemetery, also known as the Quaker or Friends, Cemetery. This is work is being overseen by the city’s Cemetery Commission which “oversees and implements policies regulating the City’s five Cemeteries.”
How You Can Help