Salem Arts Association

159 Derby Street is a testament to the rich commercial and immigrant history that the old houses of Salem contain. Warwick Palfray, a wealthy merchant, leased this land in 1782 to William May, a paper stamper, who likely built part of the present building. Palfray’s heirs sold the property to shipbuilder Benjamin Hawkes in 1821, who likely expanded the house. Hawkes ran into financial difficulties and in 1844 trader Daniel B. Gardner purchased the house, which he then leased to various tenants. Gardner defaulted on his mortgage by 1850 and for the next 70 years, the property was owned by various Irish immigrant families.

In 1921, Victoria and Harry Lesiuk, immigrants from Ukraine, purchased the home. The John Franco Society, Assembly 703 of the Ukrainian Workingmen’s Association, a social club and mutual aid society, owned the property from 1927-1934. From 1987 until 2019, the building served as the law office of Paul Nathan. After his retirement, Nathan invited The Salem Arts Association, founded in 2007 to support and promote local artists, to use the building as its headquarters and gallery space.

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