The Scarlet Letter > Page 4 > King Derby
Credits Frequently
Asked Questions Site Map Home

Home page

Literature

Architecture

Life & Times

Site Introduction

Explore & Discover

Scholars' Forum

King Derby

King Derby refers to Elias Haskett Derby (1739-1799), son of Captain Richard Derby, the maritime merchant who started the business that helped establish Salem as an important center of maritime trade in the late eighteenth century.

27 Herbert St. where Elias Haskett Derby grew up. Photo by Aaron Toleos.

Derby House, 168 Derby St. built in 1761-62 by Captain Richard Derby for his son, Elias Haskett Derby, and Elias' bride, Elizabeth Crowninshield. Photo by Aaron Toleos

Bryant F. Tolles, Jr., former executive director of the Essex Institute and author of Architecture in Salem (1983) on the Derby House:

Similar in form to the Crowninshield-Bentley House is the Derby House (168 Derby St.), on the grounds of the Salem National Maritime Historic Site. The oldest brick house in Salem, this striking two-and-one-half story Georgian Colonial building was erected in 1761-62 by Captain Richard Derby for his son Elias Haskett Derby and Elias's new wife, Elizabeth Crowninshield. Over the next century other members of the city's leading merchant families (Nichols, Prince, and Ropes) owned and occupied the house. It then fell on hard times, but was rescued in 1927-28 by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, partially restored under the direction of George Francis Dow, and completed by the Park Service since [sic]1938. Worthy of note is the superb brick detailing and the Tuscan Doric classical doorway with triangular pediment above. The kitchen ell was added in about 1790. Overlooking Salem Harbor, the Derby House, with its furnished, richly paneled interior rooms, constitutes a major park of the Park Service's riveting story of Salem's maritime heritage.

( From "The Historic Architecture of Salem" by Bryant F. Tolles, Jr., pp. 66+ in Salem Cornerstones of a Historic City)