Located northeast of Boston, Massachusetts, along the coast of Salem Harbor, the town of Salem houses a National Park System unit preserving the maritime way of life that is over 300 years old. The System has preserved the buildings, wharves, merchant’s houses, warehouses, and the Custom House. Salem grew from a simple cod fish trade to the Eastern Luxuries trade and became one of the most prosperous cities in America. The abundance of timber provided lumber for ship building and many good harbors provided ports to ship and receive goods.
The shipping trade provided workers with a variety of jobs and trades. Fishermen, sailors, ship builders, merchants, and custom officers to name a few. All prospered during the time after the Revolutionary War when trade with the East became popular.
A visit to Salem would allow one to sense the important role this town played in the lives of all who lived, worked, and died during this booming age of trade. The National Park System has an excellent guide to the Salem Maritime National Historic site. It gives the history of Salem along with photographs, maps, drawings, nautical, and cultural history of the merchants and sailors of that contributed to the town financially and culturally.