Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Worth a Thousand Words?

Here's a great photo to make up for all the entries I haven't written in the past three months:

The photo comes from the Museum's archive. It has a handwritten caption on the back that reads, "The new house in 1878."

Can you imagine the day, about 131 years ago, when Salem's banker, Asahel Bush II, stopped by the studio of one F.A. Smith on Commercial Street and paid him to take a photograph of the new house out at the south end of Church Street? It must have been early spring, before the oak trees leafed out.

Mr. Bush sent copies of this photo (50 cents each!) in letters to his son and daughter who were in college in Massachusetts at the time, and described the location and purpose of each room in the house. He had already asked his daughter Sally to travel to Boston to make the final selection of furniture for the parlor, and you can still see that furniture in the parlor today.

If you look closely, you can see the original configuration of the front of the house, which included a second staircase and a smaller front porch.

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