Planning Underway for Preservation Improvements to Charter Street Cemetery in Salem

Archaeological review required this spring prior to start of work later this year; public access restrictions will be in effect.

The City of Salem has announced that it will begin landscape restoration at the Charter Street Cemetery, Salem’s oldest burial ground, this spring. This project is funded in part with a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and matched by a Community Preservation Act grant and Capital Improvement Project funds. In advance of the restoration work, City staff, the project landscape architect, Martha Lyon of Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture LLC, and a representative from the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) met to reviewthe state requirements for historic burial ground restorations.

The planned landscape restoration at Charter Street Cemetery includes some site disturbance and the City will therefore hire an archaeologist to prepare an avoidance and protection plan and to conduct limited locational archaeological field work where the plan proposes restoration of existing pathways, installation of lighting, and new plantings. This archaeological field work needs to occur prior to any restoration work in the cemetery. The City will issue a Request for Proposals for qualified archaeologists on January 31, 2018 and expects to bid the restoration project out to a qualified general contractor in the spring. 

Due to both the archaeological work and the restoration project itself, the City anticipates that the site will have limited public access or be closed in its entirety for a significant portion of the year, particularly from March through November, including the October season.

The City will work with Destination Salem and associated businesses to communicate with the public about status of the project and any anticipated closures. The City plans to identify alternative gathering locations outside of the cemetery that will still allow tour groups and the general public to see into the site as work is occurring, to the greatest extent feasible.

Updates will be shared throughout the project on, the BuildingSalem social media accounts, and for major updates, City News and Announcements at