New Jersey: A Guide to Its Present and Past

By Federal Writers' Project (N.J.) | Go to book overview

Salem
Railroad Station: Grant St. and Hubbell Ave. for Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines.
Bus Station: E. Broadway and Market St. for Public Service.
Taxis: 15¢ and 25¢ within city limits.
Traffic Regulations: 2-hour parking on Broadway (business district).
Accommodations: 2 hotels; tourist homes.
Motion Picture Houses: Two.
Tennis: Johnson Park.
Annual Events: Muskrat skinning contest in February, County Courthouse, Broadway and Market St.

SALEM (16 alt., 8,048 pop.) is like an old, old sampler with a few bright spots; but it is time-worn and frayed. The old brick Georgian Colonial houses facing the brick-paved streets would stir envy in a Williamsburg reconstructionist, and the square, heavy, frame structures, typical of the Civil War era, are a living memorial to another historical period. Modern history, too, is represented by the semicircling rim of factories and faded workers' homes.

Because of its geographical position, 3 miles east of Delaware River and off main highways, Salem has developed as a relatively isolated community. The moorland quality of its surroundings adds to this sense of isolation. From the west the approach is over great tidal flats, partially submerged at spring tide and swampy always. The flats end abruptly with a small navigable stream known locally as Salem Creek, or Fenwick Creek, or oftener just "The Crick." This is Salem's western boundary, lined with wharves and modern factories that produce glassware, canned foods, linoleum and chemicals. Crossing a drawbridge the highway becomes a street that leads into West Broadway, the city's main thoroughfare. North, east and south the boundaries fade imperceptibly into miles of flat farm lands, across which modern highways reach Salem from Philadelphia and the Atlantic coast.

The streets are broad, shaded with venerable trees. Once they were muddy or covered with oyster shells, and traversed by feet bent on historymaking errands. They are quiet streets seldom touched by the stream of traffic that cuts across the State.

The houses are built close to the sidewalk. Sometimes there is a tiny lawn, closely cropped, set off from the pavement by an intricately scrolled wrought-iron fence, or a row of iron staples about 3 feet high. Large, luxuriant gardens bloom at the rear of the homes.

It is the decorative system of its homes, however, that gives Salem a quality all its own. Some builders of a past generation seem to have been

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New Jersey: A Guide to Its Present and Past
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Sponsors' Forewords v
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Illustrations xv
  • Maps xxi
  • General Information xxiii
  • Calendar of Events xxix
  • Part I - New Jersey: the General View 1
  • A New Jersey Silhouette 3
  • Natural Setting 7
  • Archeology and Indians 28
  • History 35
  • Government 55
  • Industry and Commerce 69
  • Labor 79
  • Agriculture 89
  • The Press 110
  • Racial and National Groups 118
  • Folklore and Folkways 126
  • Education 134
  • Religion 142
  • The Arts 151
  • Part II - Cities and Towns 187
  • Atlantic City 189
  • Bayonne 201
  • Bordentown 207
  • Burlington 216
  • Camden 225
  • Elizabeth 238
  • Freehold 250
  • Hackensack 256
  • Hoboken 262
  • Jersey City 270
  • Morristown 283
  • Mount Holly 292
  • New Brunswick 298
  • Newark 312
  • The Oranges and Maplewood 339
  • Passaic 345
  • Paterson 349
  • Perth Amboy 361
  • Princeton 370
  • Salem 390
  • Trenton 398
  • Part III - Tours 415
  • Part IV - Appendices 687
  • Bibliography 697
  • Index 705
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