Eventually, those original arches deteriorated and were removed. A century later, a new Washington Arch was erected across from the Hawthorne Hotel as part of the bicentennial.
When it, too, began to deteriorate, it was moved to its present location, virtually hidden away on a back side of the Common near Winter Street.
This renewed focus on Washington’s Arch comes as the park itself is getting more attention. A few years ago, the Salem Common Neighborhood Association led an effort to restore the statue of city founder Roger Conant, which sits on the edge of the Common. Currently, there are plans to fix part of the damaged ornate fence around the park.
Salvaging the Washington Arch, LaChapelle feels, would be a fitting tribute to the park and to the nation’s first president, who was revered in this city, which named a street and square in his honor.
“I’m always amazed that the people back then would make such a beautiful piece of art in tribute to our nation, the first president and the first commander in chief,” he said. “I just want to perpetuate this for future generations — the magnitude and the grandeur.”
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.