Old Town Hall Historical Facility Assessment

MuseumThe purpose of this report is to give an overall summary of the existing condition of the property and make recommendations for future treatments and maintenance. This report is intended to be included in a Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) grant application. It has been funded in part through a grant by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance. The Old Town Hall has an interesting history of alterations and renovations since its construction in 1738. This report documents the history, evolution, and structural condition of the building and identifies its character-defining features. It will provide context and information necessary to make informed decisions for future planning. The Town of Salem and Salem Historical Society are to be commended for the care they have given the building to date, and they should continue their ongoing maintenance using the attached guidelines for the treatment of historic properties according to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties. Preservation Briefs for the treatment of specific materials are also included to guide the restoration and maintenance work going forward.

The Salem Old Town Hall was constructed in 1738, serving originally as the Salem Meeting House. It was a traditional meeting house with a large single meeting space with galleries above the main level. It served both religious and civic functions as the meetinghouse for the early inhabitants of Salem until 1838, when it was moved to its present location and used as their Town Hall. The single space was divided into two stories. Since then, it has undergone several some other changes, most notably in 1900 when a renovation was sponsored by Edward Searles and designed by architect Henry Vaughn giving it Tudor Revival elements. It was listed on the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places in 2009 and at the same time was determined individually eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. In 2011 it was listed as contributing to the Salem Commons Historic District. The property is owned and maintained by both the Town of Salem and Salem Historical Society as the town's museum and meeting place for the Salem Historical Society and the Salem Historic District Commission.