The Salem Insider

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

Then & Now: Salem

By on 5 Comments
Categories: art, history, literature

From time to time people send us stuff to talk about, some of it makes the cut while the rest gets “recycled”. Today we have a gem that anybody who lives in might be interested in.

Then & Now: Salem
Author:  Jerome M. Curley, Nelson L. Dionne
Publisher:  Arcadia Publishing (February 16, 2009)
Amazon link: Then & Now: Salem

Then & Now: Salem

Then & Now: Salem

As you might expect Then & Now: Salem compares life in the Witch City through the photographers lens.  Luckily for us, Salem has been a wealthy city which lead to it being photographed extensively through out the years.   Then & Now: Salem focuses on  the structural, architectural and subsequently the environmental changes which have occurred mostly over the last century.

The photographer replicated images of Salem using the same vantage point as a previous photographer had and displays them side by side allowing the reader to delve into the changes, sometimes an improvement and other times to the detriment of our fair city.  As a photographer myself I would have preferred if the shots were reproduced using the same kind of cameras.  Many of the updated shots were taken with what appears to be a small or medium format camera not allowing the photographer to correct for perspective (which is why in some of the old photos the buildings look straight up and down where as the new shots appear to be leaning).   This discontinuity of perspective in no way effects the impact of how time has treated Salem, it is pure photographer snobbery.

As you know, we at occasionally do “then & now” posts, it’s a great way to track how our city changes its face from year to year.  Then & Now: Salem allows you to track those changes on a grand scale and gives you and insight to live in a bygone era.

If you are anything like me you will lament the loss of some of these buildings and regret that in the name of progress we demolished true craftsmanship in favor of  a bit more living or working space.  The flip side of that coin is an enlightenment to the downfalls of our forefathers and the ability and responsibility we now have with the current and future projects in town.

Then & Now: Salem is a must have for any true Salemite.  Wether you are a history buff or just want to see the Witch City in a new light as you walk about town, this book gives you a look at our past and a glimpse into our future.

5 Responses

  1. Rick says:

    Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to check it out.

  2. Love then and now photos of any kind, particularly when it comes to Salem. You’re right about the perspective aspect about the photos, but only a photo snob would notice!

    Great book. The photo of the old train depot is fantastic!

  3. Nelson Dionne says:

    Some of the best & most interesting Salem scenes / photos are now the location of parking lots ! The MBTA commuter lot was once the site of a 12 stall round-house with large coal bunker & water tower. All long gone but photos live on. Perhaps, the next book or Rotary Club calendar with show some of Salem long gone transportation facilities. Remember the seaplanes or helicopters at the long gone Salem Coast Guard Air Station at Winter Island. The Mason St street car garage ?

  4. Nelson says:

    Pay attention to the former Elks home on North St; part of the restoration will result in the rebuilding of he long gone, lost to a fire, 3rd floor, with all the Victorian trim ! A bit of Olde Salem returns !

  5. Nelson Dionne says:

    If you like the “Salem; Then & Now” format, please buy a copy of the Salem Rotary Club’s yearly calendar. It has the same “Then & Now” format, with the addition of a number of bit of Salem collectibles like matchcovers, trade cards ( colorful 1880’s merchants hand-outs )and postcards, in addition to interesting old & new Salem photos. In addition, each callendar is numered, and if the slip on each calendar is sent in, a drawing is held at one of the group’s weekly meetings for $100 The 2001 calendar will feature retailing in Salem. Funds brought in from calendar sales are used for scholarships to Salem HS grads yearly.

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