City of Salem Awarded $125,000 from Massachusetts Cultural Council for Preservation Project at Historic Charter Street Cemetery

Funding through Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund will supplement Community Preservation Act and other funds
charter street

The City of Salem has received a $125,000 Cultural Facilities Fund grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which will be used to help complete a substantial historic preservation project planned for the Charter Street Cemetery.

The grant funds will be matched up with a separate $260,000 Community Preservation Act (CPA) grant, also awarded this month, and other funding in order to carry out a multi-phase preservation and restoration project in the City’s oldest burial ground.

“I am so pleased that the City was able to earn this grant funding so this project can continue to move forward,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll. “My thanks go to the Mass Cultural Council and the Governor for their recognition of how important this project is and the need to preserve and improve access for all to sites of cultural and historical significance such as this. I also want to thank our City staff who worked to secure these funds and to keep this project on track. Finally, I want to acknowledge the many volunteers and community historians who are dedicated to protecting this important site and sharing the stories and legacies that it has to tell.”

The restoration work commenced last year with the preservation of 23 historically significant headstones and tombs in the cemetery through a separate $90,000 CPA grant. The remainder of the project includes a variety of elements that will improve the cemetery’s historic integrity and public accessibility. Cemetery pathways will be stabilized and upgraded, in-ground lighting will be installed, historically appropriate fencing will be restored and installed around the cemetery perimeter, and major landscaping improvements will be carried out.

Established in 1637 and located in the heart of the Charter Street National Historic District, the 1.47-acre cemetery is the City’s oldest burial ground and a location that is visited by approximately 600,000 people every year. Notable Salem figures from the City’s history are buried in the cemetery, including Salem Witch Trial judges Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne, woodcarver and architect Samuel McIntire, and Mayflower passenger Captain Richard More.