|Hamilton Hall, 9 Chestnut at Cambridge St.|
This important example of Adamesque Federalist architecture in the U.S, designed by Salem's famous architect-carver, Samuel McIntire, was built from 1805-07 and named in honor of Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the treasury. Its north side wall is particularly notable with its McIntyre carved eagle and the swags in panel inserts above the windows. In 1824 the west end of the building was completed, all except the doorway and Greek Revival portico, which were installed in 1845. Hamilton Hall was built as a place for Salem's wealthy families to socialize. In 1824 a ball was held in the second-floor assembly room to honor the visiting Marquis de Lafayette. Today the building features a ballroom with a "spring" dance floor and a curved musicians' balcony. It continues to be a center of social and cultural activity for the area. Margaret Moore in The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, describes one Salemite's memory of the dances held in Salem at Hamilton Hall in the late nineteenth century. According to Moore, Mrs. Eben Putnam, a resident of Salem in the late nineteenth century, "remembered the old Assemblies when dancing 'commenced at six and finished precisely at twelve'-even if in the middle of a dance" (88). According to Moore, Hawthorne took dancing lessons in 1818 from William Turner, who held an annual exhibition by his students, and again in 1820 from John M. Boisseaux (89), but there is no evidence that these lessons took place in Hamilton Hall. The caterer at Hamilton Hall was John Remond. He and his wife, Nancy, a noted cake maker, lived in an apartment on the first floor of Hamilton Hall and managed one of the two stores located in the Hall. Remond had come to Salem at the age of ten in 1798 on the ship Six Brothers and was employed as a baker by the brother of the ship's master. Two of the children of this respected black couple, Charles Lenox Remond (1810-1873) and Sarah Parker Remond (1824-1873), played important roles in the Abolition movement (139).
|(courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum; special thanks to Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.)||close window|