, Salem, MA

Local News

October 26, 2012

Heard Around Town: It’s a long way from Pakistan to Salem


“If music be the food of love, play on.” (“Twelfth Night”).

Rocky road

Finally, the city is getting around to fixing Canal Street, that roller-coaster ride in South Salem. This week, a state agency announced a $6.1 million reconstruction project scheduled to begin in 2014.

The real problem with Canal Street, of course, is that it never should have been built. Is there a dumber idea than building a road over a canal and then complaining about flooding?

This street has been a disaster since it was built more than a century ago over the old Dutch Gap Canal. For proof, we turn to Jeanne Stella, a retired teacher and one of the city’s greatest natural resources. She has researched every wild flower in Salem Woods, most of the graves in city cemeteries and the stories behind about a zillion city streets.

Here’s an old clipping she found about Canal Street in an 1891 Salem Evening News after a large granite block placed over the Dutch Gap Canal cracked and fell into the water: “The road has been the source of much talk as to the safety of constructing it in such a manner over a canal,” the paper wrote.

No kidding.

A death

Russell Means, an American Indian activist, died Monday at 72.

As a young man, he took part in the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, S.D., a bloody encounter that left several dead. Later in life, he became an actor, appearing in “Last of the Mohicans,” “Natural Born Killers” and other films.

A leading member of the American Indian Movement, Means spoke at Salem State College more than two decades ago.

First car

There is big news at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

In 1938, this 9-acre park became the first national historic site in the National Park System. Although it’s kind of a secret, it has law enforcement rangers who carry guns, but has never had a patrol car.

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