Jonathan Corwin House (The Witch House, 310 1/2 Essex Street at North Street

Jonathan Corwin, a Salem merchant, purchased the house from Nathaniel Davenport of Boston in 1675. Davenport had never finished the construction of the house, so Corwin had the work completed. Corwin was living here in 1692 when he and John Hathorne served as the magistrates of Salem Town, issuing warrants for the arrest of those accused of witchcraft, and on the Court of Oyer and Terminer that sentenced accused witches to death. There is a tradition that some of the accused "witches" of the Salem hysteria were examined in the lower front room on the right, and today the house is know as the "Witch House." The house was unfinished when Corwin purchased it, but when completed, it had a central chimney plan, projecting two-story front central porch, peaked gables, and a rear lean-to. Around 1746 Sarah Corwin, the widow of Jonathan Corwin's grandson, George, enlarged and remodeled the house in the Georgian Colonial style. The house was further altered between 1856 and 1885 when George P. Farrington, the owner, added a drugstore to the front. In 1945 Historic Salem purchased the property, saving it from being demolished, and had it restored.
(photography by Bruce Hibbard) close window