, Salem, MA


June 22, 2013

Letter: Let’s find a way to save Pioneer Village

To the editor:

As a 5-year-old participant in the pageantry surrounding the dedication and opening of Pioneer Village in 1930, I read with interest the decision of Gordon College to end its affiliation with Pioneer Village.

I am certainly grateful to Gordon College for assuming responsibility to operate this valuable educational tool and important historical icon for the past five years, and for its upkeep of some of the buildings. But I have great concern about the future stewardship of this valuable memorial to Salem’s history. Will it be neglected? Deteriorate? Disappear?

Well, I just returned from a visit there, and it appears it has already experienced some degree of deterioration. Not that I could see much, since it is so overgrown with every bit of flora Salem has to offer. Most striking was the lack of thatch on the cottage roofs. I remember years ago how experts in thatching were hired from Ireland to maintain the handsome, thatched roofs of Salem’s little village.

I’m not sure how many Salem residents are aware that Pioneer Village is America’s first living history museum — the prototype for Williamsburg, Plimoth Plantation and many, many others. Built on 3 acres, nestled between forest and ocean in South Salem, it contains various examples of 17th century Colonial architecture: wigwams, dugouts, thatched roof cottages, and the governor’s house. Early Colonial life is re-enacted by the blacksmith, fishermen drying fish on rustic frames, husbandry with a variety of animals and fowl, medicinal and culinary gardens, spinning ladies, and primitive kitchens featuring huge kettles bubbling away over open fires. I remember vividly how punishment was meted out — a dipping stool, the offender on a stool at the end of a long pole, dipped repeatedly into the pond — or for lesser offenses, confined to the stocks.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

AP Video
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel
Comments Tracker
Roll Call
Helium debate