Friday, December 12, 2014

Pickering House

After living in Salem for nearly 16 years, I finally ventured in to the Pickering House on Broad Street this week.  I was invited to an event that was held there, and I am so glad that happened.  I am somewhat ashamed of the fact that it took me so long to even realize that this house was open to the public, let alone to actually go there.

 I hope this blog post will encourage you to make this lovely old home a stop on your next visit to Salem. Here are a few photos I snapped while I was there, along with some information from their website:

When seeing Salem, start where it all began. The Pickering Foundation welcomes you to an extraordinary place.

It is not only Salem's oldest House, but also America's oldest Home: home to a single family for over three and a half centuries; home to carpenters, farmers, patriots, military leaders, deacons, diplomats, linguists, and statesmen. And as homes will, it changed with the times.

Built in 1651 by settler John Pickering and his wife Elizabeth, it was a two-room farmhouse on a vast plot of land that ran all the way down to the seaport on the North River, encompassing what is today Chestnut Street and the McIntire District.

Over the next 350 years, the succeeding John Pickerings and their wives added wings, gables, and Gothic peaks. They raised ceilings, extended the roofline and created the distinctive fence. The Pickering House evolved into the warm and gracious home it is today.

Step in and enjoy the trip from the front door to the kitchen, which takes you through not only 300 years of history, but also through the middle of the main chimney. On your right is the library, the original room in the house. It contains Revolutionary War documents and a copy of a dinner invitation in President George Washington's hand to Timothy Pickering and his wife, Rebecca.
On your left, note how John Pickering, the 6th, who spoke 20 languages, and his wife Sarah White raised the ceiling height for a party, to keep up with the fashion of the early 1800's. 

Look into the garden and imagine "Colonel Tim" in his retirement planting the copper beech, the English oaks, the European larch, and the tulip tree, all of which survive today, almost 200 years later. 

Timothy Pickering spent all of his adult life in the service of his country. One of the few of his peers to actually take up arms, he marched on April 19, 1775 at the head of 300 men to cut off the retreat of the British from Lexington. Appointed by Washington as Quartermaster General in the Revolutionary War, he was present at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown and at Cornwallis' surrender. Pickering is the only person to serve three cabinet posts: Secretary of State, Postmaster General and Secretary of War which included administration of the Navy and Indian affairs. He oversaw the building of three noble frigates, the "USS Constitution", "United States", and "Constellation", starting a love of things marine for succeeding generations. 

Walk from the 18th century dining room alcove out onto the stone patio and in the spring appreciate the flowering kousa dogwood. Extend your stroll across Broad Street into the cemetery where you will find old stones of Pickerings and others. Turn and admire the Pickering House and consider participating in the preservation of this historic homestead.

Here is some basic information:

The Pickering House
18 Broad Street
Salem, MA 01970
Open Sundays June through November: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

At other times by appointment:

Phone: (978) 744-4777

Here is a list of coming events:

List of Events 

Watch this space for more information!
  • JANUARY 11TH @ 12:30PM
    The Revolution of 1716:
    The Pickerings vs. Salem's Aristos

    Robert Booth, Author & Historian
  • FEBRUARY 8TH @ 12:30PM
    Stitching Her Story:
    Needlework at the Pickering House

    Paula Richter, Curator for Exhibitions & Research, Peabody Essex Museum
  • MARCH 8TH @ 12:30PM
    A Storm of Witchcraft:
    The Salem Trials and the American Experience

    Professor Emerson "Tad" Baker, Salem State University
  • APRIL 12TH @ 12:30PM
    Timothy Pickering:
    Creating the New Nation

    Professor Dane Morrison, Salem State University

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