To the editor:

I enjoyed Kate Fox's column "Finding the magic in Salem during a pandemic." I have been walking the Salem Common since March 2020. As I walk around, I think of the history within a half-mile circle.

First, the Hawthorne Hotel. Since July 1925, the grand, elegant, historic hotel of Salem. The great vision of shareholders from 1925 to the present. A place for guests to rest, and many great figures in our history -- presidents, authors, movie stars -- used the hotel as a stage to address the public.

The next stop is the "Java Head House," used in the silent movie "Java Head." The film is now lost, a maritime tale using Derby Wharf and the house near the Common. I passed McIntire's Washington Arch. I think of the 1630s birthplace of the National Guard.

I see President George Washington in 1789. He is greeting his fellow soldiers. Telling them to put their hats on, so as not to get a cold.

To the Joseph Story house, and the early courts that have made our nation a nation of laws.

Now to the 1850 fence and gate; the new industrial age comes to Salem. Stand and view Roger Conant, and think of the settlers who cam from Cape Ann to Salem in the 1620s. 

To the right, the story of the 1692 witchcraft hysteria is told at the Salem Witch Museum. The poor victims.

Now, I am back to the Hawthorne Hotel ballroom. Thinking of all the happiness, weddings, dances, rallies, events of the human heart and mind that took place under its roof. And yes, of my retirement party in 2010.

Oh, what a great time to travel, in a half-mile walk. Just think about what we can find in the rest of the city of Salem

Peter LaChapelle



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