Salem Tunnel Report~ Benjamin Webb House

Have a Drink on Me and a Powder for the Morning…

Benjamin Webb Jr. was a tavern keeper and Apothecary. He had an apothecary on Herbert and Essex Streets. His tavern was on the site of the Salem Five Bank on Essex Street. When William Gray bought the property, he tore down the tavern and it opened in a new location where the Bowker Block is now used as the Peabody Essex Museum’s offices on the corner of Liberty and Essex Streets. His son Jonathan continued the tavern in the new location. It was originally called the King’s Arm and after the Revolutionary War, it became the Sun Tavern. It was in this tavern that Richard Crowninshield Sr. insulted Joseph White upon their mutual loss of 3 ship in Naples at the removal of the Embargo Act he favored; this would cost his son his life in an elaborate murder plot implicating his son Richard in the murder of Joseph White for revenge of this insult. Richard Crowninshield Jr. was found hanging in his cell from a low window with his knees almost touching the ground, the jailers slit his throat to see if he was alive, and he died from exsanguination. This murder is the murder behind the Parker Brothers Clue.

His home here was at 98-100 Bridge Street. Later he would own the Sage-Webb-Wilkins House across from Daniels Street at 52 Essex Street. Both homes are connected to tunnels.

He was a member of the Salem Common Improvement Fund which disguised the tunnel project behind a large public work. They filled in 5 ponds and a river in the Common to hide tunnel dirt. He also was an incorporator with many of subscribers in the Merchant Bank and the Salem Savings Bank. John Hodges, also a subscriber, shared many ships with him and George Hodges marries his daughter Elizabeth. George Hodges was surveyor of the port of Salem from 1809 to 1817. The Custom House where he worked also has tunnels leading from it. The Hodges were the founders of the East India Marine Society who founded the Peabody Essex Museum. Every location the museum was in was connected to the tunnels as well.

Benjamin was a fireman who drove the engine Reliance which was housed at the corner of Hardy and Derby Streets.  His grandfather John Bray and his uncle Daniel Bray were also subscribers. The father was a shoemaker with his shop on Hardy opposite Essex Street. Bray was a consultant to the Salem Savings Bank.

Benjamin was connected in many ways…

Take a look at the tunnels:

You can see the Basement entrance from outside. At the time when the house was built, they had no use for an external entrance. These come later by taking the roof off the tunnel and putting a staircase to block the tunnel from entering the house. The idea was to use a hole in the foundation that exists already. You can see the long hall leading from that entrance which was part of the tunnel. The tunnel might have actually turned to the right across the back of the house also.

There was another entrance through the floor of what could have later been used as a place to store coal. The house was built prior to coal furnaces. In fact, only smugglers had full basement in Salem. You only needed a full basement after boilers were made. Also, later furnaces would utilize spots the tunnel was connected to. You can see the difference in brick between this spot and the rest of the foundation.

Keep coming back to find more tunnels in Salem and how this all shaped American history!

Also, read Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City and Sub Rosa to get all the dirt that is under the streets of Salem available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com; and in Salem at Remeber Salem, Jolie Tea, The Witch House, and Artemesia Botanicals.

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Salem Tunnel Report~Thomas Brown House

Still, need to look this gentleman up, but I got to go into the basement and open the trapdoor and take a flexible camera and look at the roof of this tunnel. There were metal strapping holding up the brick floor in the roof of the tunnel. Further in there where mysterious gears; More to come later.

Above you can see the basement entrance converted from an old tunnel. These entrances were not historical and just utilized the entrance the tunnel used instead of poking a new hole in the foundation. For years I have been looking at elaborate sump holes in basements that were all brick lined and finished, this is the first one that proved there were tunnel entrances. You seen pictures of that as well above

For now check out Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City which is in its third edition! Available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and your local booksellers. In Salem, it is available at Remember Salem, Jolie Tea, The Witch House, and Artemesia Botanaicals.

Cool Places in America~ Where Ducks Walk On Carp?

Its your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler,  once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

This was an interesting stop we had traveling in Pennsylvania. Near this spillway in Linesville is a horde of carp who are fed bread all day. Their school is so thick it has been rumored that ducks walk over them to steal the bread. This place was creepy, but amazing. I could only imagine if they were barracudas down there. If I had a little brother, I might of been tempted to see what happens if he fell in. Good thing I do not…

We threw in this Salvador Dali loaf of bread in. It took five of us to walk it to the water. All standing behind each other. We got it from Seaside Heights, NJ. That is another strange place I will never mention in this blog. When we threw it in the fish were jumping out of the water on top of the group and started squirming their way to get their lion share of it. It is amazing how when there is a huge surplus of food to see all of these fish still fight for it.

It is said the only thing in Pennsylvania that gets more visitors is the Liberty Bell. There was so many fish I wondered if this is how Jesus walked on water?

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com. It is now available in paperback at most bookstores. Ask for it by name.Keep checking back for great cheap vacation ideas that might become your best vacation ever!

Oliver Cromwell’s Chaplin and his First Church and Robert Irvine’s New Show

Hugh Peter’s Could of Kept his Head if he Stuck to this Church…

Hugh Peters was the fourth priest at the First Church. Peters may have been the first to propose the trial and execution of Charles I and was believed to have assisted at the beheading. This would loose him his head when Charles II regained the throne and executed him for regicide. Above is the building he would of preached in, on its third location where it was used by John Proctor’s son as a tavern and a horse stable. For it is safe to say the first church in America was full of horse shit.

This location is on the same property that John Proctor was hanged on just outside of the photo to the left.

Below are the tunnels under the original location of the First Church and the building above. These tunnels have been used in the filming of Robert Irvine’s new show for the Discovery Channel.

Movie scouts looking for Boston and North Shore locations to film; check out these tunnels! Visit the Salem Smugglers’ Tour to contact Chris Dowgin to make arrangements. Authors who want more information on the tunnels and Salem history are welcome to take the tour .

For more information on the tunnels read Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and other great booksellers like Wicked Good Books, Jolie Tea, The Witch House, and Remember Salem in town. Support local businesses!!!

Cool Places in America~ The House on the Rock

What an Amazing House…

Yep, my parents had moved me to another town again. Now I am in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. It was going to be really a cheesy move…but I found this awesome house. I got to meet the caretaker and now I go and play in this place ever day after school. It is the House on the Rock.

They say Jordan had a gift for the blarney. Many things in the house are exaggerated. Some are not original and others are. It was said Jordan would pay more for a good copy than an original just to keep people guessing.  I had a ball trying to guess which things were real and what were not. This house is the house the father from Big Fish dreamed of!

Here are some of the pictures of the boring stuff…

Now for the really Cool…

Now go check out the rest of their gallery. It will definitely make you smile!

Photo Gallery
http://www.thehouseontherock.com/HOTR_Attraction_PhotoGalleryShow.htm

House On the Rock site
http://www.thehouseontherock.com/

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com. It is now available in paperback at most bookstores. Ask for it by name. Keep checking back for great cheap vacation ideas that might become your best vacation ever!

An Original Tour of Salem, MA Beyond the Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692

 

 

 

What fun stuff will you learn about Salem, MA?

 

All this and more you will find on the Salem Smugglers’ Tour! Tuesdays at 8PM and Thursdays through Sundays at 3PM and 8PM. Buy your tickets online! Tickets are $18. Meets on the Salem Common by the Hawthorne Hotel.

Horace Mann Laboratory School Closing and the Fate of their Tunnels

A School House Rocks now Closing

The Horace Mann Laboratory School is now closing. In the years past, this building had open access for children to walk from the school to the University to access their gym and cafeteria. Many fond memories, including first kisses, has been had in this tunnel of early love lined with asbestos.

I almost got this location to be filmed in the Flatliners remake when I gave a tour to movie scouts. It also almost made it into Robert Irvine’s new show on the Discovery Channel, but they did not grant permission in time… We did film the episode in Rockefeller’s tunnel instead.

So how will these tunnels be used by the new occupants of the building. Time will only tell? Maybe it will make it into a TV show or movie?

For more information on the tunnels read Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and other great booksellers like Wicked Good Books, Jolie Tea, The Witch House, and Remember Salem in town. Support local businesses!!! Also if you are a TV or movie scout looking for tunnel locations to film contact Chris Dowgin at the Salem Smugglers’ Tour.