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Old Town Hall –Function Rental Information and Application
32 Derby Square, Salem, MA 01970

The Old Town Hall is a beautiful federal style building located in the heart of downtown historic Salem, Massachusetts. Nestled between the Essex Street pedestrian mall and cobblestoned Front Street, the Old Town Hall is the crowning jewel of Derby Square and the earliest surviving municipal structure in Salem (dating from 1816-17). Our venue is a two-story, brick structure featuring Palladian windows, carved wood details, antique chandeliers, decorative columns and wooden floors. The building is owned by the City of Salem and managed by Gordon College’s Institute for Public History.

Rental Details:
The Great Hall is available year-round, seven days a week for rental. The hall can accommodate up to 75 people for a seated dinner; and 160 for row or theater seating. Due to decorative columns on the ground floor, and the presence of display pieces for the Salem Museum in the Old Town Hall, this space is better suited for exhibits, standing receptions or auxiliary uses to Great Hall.

Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for Event Pricing and Packages

General Parameters of Use:
The building may be used for parties, ceremonies, performances and other events. Food and beverages are permitted in the Old Town Hall. Alcohol may be consumed responsibly while a police detail is present. It is the responsibility of the renter to hire and pay for a police detail for any event where alcohol is consumed (Salem Police Department: 978 744 0171). Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the building or within 30 feet of the structure. Please be advised of city sound ordinances that enforce noise restrictions between the hours of 11pm and 7am. No animals (except service animals) are permitted in the building.

Set Up, Decorations and Clean Up:
The responsibility for careful set up and removal of furniture, decorations, and other event related equipment falls entirely on the renter. Before departure, the building must be returned to the state in which it was found, including furniture configurations. The renter is responsible to bag and remove their trash. Clean up for a function must end by 12:00am - Midnight. The Old Town Hall is a historic structure; decorations must leave no marks. Taping, tacking, nailing, drilling, and gluing are not allowed. It is the renters’ responsibility to remove all decorations and personal belongings before departure. The cost of the rental includes bathroom supplies, a cleaning fee and a staff fee.

Museum Removal:
The museum panels and display pieces will be in the building at all times. While they can be moved from display locations, they cannot be removed from the building or certain rooms. Renters are responsible for bringing screens if they feel it is necessary to conceal these items during an event.

Building Temperature:
The building is heated during the winter months. Due to the size of the building and percentage of windowed wall space, the building is able to maintain a temperature in the mid-60s. The Hall does not have air conditioning. Guests are welcome to rent AC units and/or fans and request that a member of the staff open the windows for ventilation during warmer summer months.

Sound Ordinances:
The Old Town Hall is located in Derby Square, a residential area of Salem. In consideration of Declared City Sound Ordinances, events must maintain respectful noise levels. DJ’s, musical ensembles, and other disruptive noises must decrease their volume to a respectful level at 11 pm, ending before 12 am.

Handicapped accessibility:
The building is wheelchair accessible. The entrance ramp is located on the Essex Street side of the building. The second floor can be accessed by staircase or elevator. There is one bathroom located on the second floor, which is accessible to wheelchairs. The main restrooms are located in the basement.

Parking:
The Old Town Hall does not have reserved parking. Parking for patrons, vendors and employees is available at adjacent municipal lots and local parking garages. Standard rates apply.

October in Salem:
October is the peak of tourist season in Salem, please ensure your guests and vendors are aware that due to heightened activity in the city, traveling to the Old Town Hall may take longer than usual. Due to increased traffic, allowing extra time to travel to and from Salem is encouraged. Limited downtown street parking should be expected. For accommodations, we advise that you and your guests book several months in advance. The Old Town Hall Management takes no responsibility for traffic, lack of parking, costumed visitors, or other seasonal interference during the month of October. Thank you for your flexibility.

Building Specifications:

Occupancy Limit:

250 Full building

First floor:

row seating - 150
seated dinner - 70

Second floor:

row seating - 150
seated dinner - 100

Dimensions: Great Hall: 1,677’ sq = 29’7”x61’ + Stage: 197’ sq = 18’10”x10’7”
First Floor: 2,171’ sq 36’7”x59’6” - pillars
Elevator is available

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A signed contract and a non-refundable security deposit in the amount of $100 are due before a reservation is considered official. The deposit must be made via check, addressed to Gordon College with the event name and date listed in the memo line. Deposits may be delivered in person to the Operations Manager, or sent to:

Salem Old Town Hall
PO Box 4551
32 Derby Square
Salem, MA 01970

The contract must be completed and signed by an individual who is over 21 years of age, takes full responsibility for behavior of guests, execution of the event and will be present for the duration of the function. Please see Page 7, Section 13: Indemnification.

An email from the Operations Manager confirming arrival of the signed contract, $100 deposit, and necessary supporting documents (insurance rider, copies of catering or liquor license, etc.) will officially confirm a reservation.

The entire balance is due, at the latest, one week (7 days) before the event and must be paid by check to Gordon College. Renters who do not follow the guidelines listed within this contract will be billed for damages, trash removal or any extra hours required of our staff.

Caterers Information:
All caterers must comply with state and city laws. They must also be approved for and maintain current City of Salem and State of Massachusetts Catering and Liquor licenses in order to serve at the Hall. The Old Town Hall facility does not have a caterer’s kitchen at this time. Caterers may request a vehicle permit from the city, to park alongside the building for food preparation during events.

Caterers’ Checklist:
•    Catering Permit from the City of Salem
•    Vehicle Permit from the City of Salem for any vehicles adjacent to the building during an event
•    State of Massachusetts Liquor License (and a liquor permit - which can be obtained through the City of Salem, if alcohol will be sold at the event)
•    Police Detail - must be hired by caterer/renter if alcohol is served. Salem PD: 978.744.0171
•    Permission for use of Derby Square must be acquired three months in advance (email inquiry should be sent to the following four Derby Square contacts)
If a caterer or renter intends to use any outdoor equipment (tent, stove, grill, propane tank, vehicles), they must obtain the appropriate corresponding permits from the City of Salem one month prior to the event at the Salem Old Town Hall. This will include fees ranging from $20 to $100 and must be paid by check (payable to the City of Salem). All permits and information can be found on www.salem.com.

Please direct your questions regarding Old Town Hall rentals to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Photo courtesy of Ned Jackson