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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Custom House - Salem, Massachusetts

The Custom House is located on Derby Street in Salem, Massachusetts. It is part of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, which was the very first historic site maintained by the National Park System.

The Custom House is now a museum that is open for guided tours. All of the furnishings are original, which is pretty rare to find. The Custom House was built in 1819 and was run by the United States government. The inspectors who were employed there were responsible for weighing and inspecting cargo, as well as filling out all the documentation that goes along with those duties.
The Custom House is very well known because it was mentioned in the beginning of The Scarlet Letter, a book by Nathaniel Hawthorne that was published in 1850. Hawthorne worked at the Custom House as a surveyor from 1847-1849. He was fired from the job when it was discovered that he spent all his time there working on his novel!
Many claim that the Custom House is haunted. There have been reports of people hearing the voices of ship captains talking about their treasures. Others have heard footsteps, seen strange lights, or even floating orbs. The ghostly visitors aren't mentioned on the tour :)

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