Facts about the Old Town Hall, Salem Mass. Print

Salem Old Town Hall Front

Old Town Hall is the earliest surviving municipal structure in Salem, Massachusetts (dating from 1816-17) and an outstanding Federal Style building. The second floor of the building, Great Hall, has always been used as a public hall, and contained Town offices until 1837. The first floor, originally designed as a public market, is now being used as a public art space, in conjunction with Artists Row in the Marketplace.

The building and its Derby Square site maintain historical associations with Salem’s prominent 18th and 19th century Derby family for whom Derby Square, Derby Wharf, Derby Street and the two Derby houses on the Salem waterfront were named. The building contains elements attributed to both Charles Bulfinch, the most influential Boston architect of the Federal period, and Samuel McIntire, Salem’s renowned architect and woodcarver. The structure was saved from demolition by Salem preservation architect Philip Horton Smith in the 1930s, and underwent a partial restoration in the 1970s.