The Salem Insider

Insiders guide to food, entertainment & living in Salem Massachusetts for tourists and residents.

Salem’s Old Town Hall

By on 2 Comments
Categories: community, history

If you spend any time in Salem you will notice that various events are held at the Old Town Hall. This beautiful federal structure has stood in Derby Square (aptly named as the land was donated by E. H Derby) since 1816. Today in the Salem News an Op Ed piece talked about the possible potential for use of the Old Town Hall.

Old Town Hall

The following paragraph stood out to me

The upstairs hall makes an impressive venue for public functions, and it’s been suggested in this space on several occasions that the City Council should consider it as a permanent location for major public hearings and inaugural observances. Local promoter David Pelletier has suggested that a retail tenant be found for the ground floor and the city seek to make the function hall home to one or more cultural institutions that would offer regular performances there.

As you know, we at don’t comment on the politics of Salem, there are other blogs that do a good job of that, however this is more of a cultural comment. I love the idea of having the city council hold hearings here, and I think it would be great to see inaugurations happen at this location. I can almost picture it now, the new mayor standing in front of this building and everyone in the court yard watching the ceremony. It sure beats people stuffed into some municipal building.

What I’m not fond of is Mr. Pelletier’s suggestion of a retail tenant taking up space on the ground floor. I have to admit I don’t know the specifications of his proposal but I do know that this is a large space that works well being open to the public for a variety of events. Recently I’ve been there for a blood drive, the Spring Fling event, art shows and live music. I am all in favor of the Old Town Hall being used more often but, it would be a shame for other Salem organizations to loose this historic space.

2 Responses

  1. David Pelletier says:

    Not retail. A gallery cafe that also serves as the lobby for the upstairs. This keeps it open to the public, gives you something to look at or buy and you can also get refreshments while attending upstairs or downstairs events.

  2. admin says:


    It doesn’t surprise me that the News is a bit off in reporting your suggestion. My thoughts regarding the addition of a “gallery cafe” are:
    Does the building have the space needed?
    How would that impact the current usable space?
    Would this be a worthwhile investment?

    Thanks for chiming in.

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