The Witch House (Jonathan Corwin House)

Salem, Massachusetts
The Witch House, officially known as the Jonathan Corwin House, stands as a historic house museum at 310 Essex Street in Salem, Massachusetts.
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About This Location

The Witch House, officially known as the Jonathan Corwin House, stands as a historic house museum at 310 Essex Street in Salem, Massachusetts. With a storied past and direct connections to the Salem witch trials of 1692, this house has become a prominent and beloved landmark in Salem, drawing both locals and visitors.

The Witch House, originally the residence of Judge Jonathan Corwin (1640–1718), is the only structure in Salem with direct ties to the infamous Salem witch trials. Judge Corwin acquired the house in 1675 when he was 35 years old and lived there for over 40 years. This historic house remained in the Corwin family until the mid-19th century, adding layers of historical significance to its already rich heritage.

The house itself is a prime example of 17th-century New England architecture, with its exact construction date a subject of scholarly debate. While Corwin family traditions suggest a construction date of 1642, some historians argue that it might have been built in the 1620s or 1630s. There’s even a claim that Roger Williams may have lived in the house before founding Providence Plantations.

In 1692, the Witch House gained notoriety when Judge Corwin, heir to one of the most substantial Puritan fortunes in New England, became involved in the Salem witch trials. He was among the magistrates appointed to investigate the reports of witchcraft in Essex County. With John Hathorne, another local magistrate, Corwin held hearings that included the first three women accused of witchcraft, namely Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne. Judge Corwin played a role in signing arrest warrants and transcribing some of the hearings. Although it is difficult to establish his complete involvement and views on the use of spectral evidence in court, the special court ultimately convicted nineteen individuals of witchcraft, with many of them sentenced to the gallows before the court was disbanded in October 1692.

The house itself underwent a notable move in the 1940s when the adjacent street was widened, relocating it approximately 35 feet to its present position. Restoration efforts have been made to replicate its 17th-century appearance, though some alterations, including the gambrel roof, were necessary.

Today, the Witch House operates as a museum under the administration of the City of Salem. It offers tours to the public, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history that surrounds the house. Tours are available throughout the year, with different hours depending on the season. In the summer, from April 16 to November 14, tours run daily from 10 am to 4:30 pm. During the winter season, from November 15 to April 15, tours are offered from Thursday to Sunday between 12 pm and 4 pm. The house is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. It’s important to note that the month of October is especially busy at the Witch House, and tickets for tours during this time should be purchased in advance online.

The Witch House earned its place on the National Register of Historic Places on August 28, 1973. It is part of the Chestnut Street District, which includes several other historic structures surrounding the Witch House. The reference number for the Chestnut Street District on the National Register is 73000312, a testament to its historical importance in Salem, Massachusetts.

Location

Address: 310 Essex Street, Salem, Massachusetts
Place GPS Coordinates: 42.521514, -70.898891
Parking GPS Coordinates: 42.521514, -70.898891
Parking Notes: There are a number of different roadside parking options and lots located near the house. Right across from the home, along Summer Street, free roadside parking can be found. Salem does get extremely busy, so sometimes visitors must look for lots that charge fees as roadside parking fills up quickly.

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