Derby Square

Old Town Hall, built in 1816 and 1817, is the oldest surviving municipal building in Salem. This desirable stretch of land which once fronted on the South River was the site of a luxurious mansion built by merchant Elias Hasket Derby in 1799, when he was one of the richest people in America. He died the same year and his descendants gave the land to the city of Salem in 1815 on the condition that a town hall and market house be constructed here. Architectural historians have detected attributes of the work of architects Charles Bulfinch and SamuelMcIntire in its design. The upper floor was used as a public hall with the first floor serving as a market, similar to the original use of Faneuil Hall in Boston. The building housed city offices until 1837, when a new City Hall was constructed nearby on Washington Street. Today the public building is used for events and cultural programming.

Skip to content