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Entrance to the Salem Common

The Salem Common was known as the "town swamp" before its conversion in 1801 into the park it is today. Today, as in Hawthorne's time, the Common is surrounded by grand mansions on Washington Square such as the one owned by Nathaniel Silsbee, father of Mary Crowninshield Silsbee. Hawthorne wrote about the July 4, 1838 celebration on the Common: "A very hot, bright, sunny day; town much thronged; booths on the Common, selling gingerbread, sugar-plums, and confectionery, spruce beer, lemonade.... On the top of one of the booths a monkey, with a tail two or three feet long.... He is the object of much attention from the crowd, and played with by the boys, who toss up gingerbread to him, while he nibbles and throws it down again. He reciprocated notice, of some kind of other, with all who notice him. There is a sort of gravity about him."
(photography by Bruce Hibbard)
citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/images/image.php?name=MMD2070