Early on the morning of December 16, two boards met at the Registry of Deeds in Salem to record a momentous, bittersweet event: the conveying of the building at 211 Bridge Street from the First Universalist Society of Salem to the 211 Bridge Street Corporation. This represents the end of an era, but we're looking forward to and excited about what comes next for this 19th century landmark as it evolves into a hub for artistic, cultural and social events.
A bit of history: Originally, the First Universalist Society of Salem was formally organized on December 24, 1805, 211 years ago. The building was supposed to be erected on land that had been donated on St. Peter Street, but it was considered too close to the prison. So that land was sold and the present land purchased for $1,500. The cornerstone to the building was laid in 1808 with the inscription on a silver plate: "August 17, 1808. This day the corner stone is placed by Brother Hosea Ballou of Vermont." The cost of the building itself was $16,742.
The First Universalist Society of Salem was incorporated by an act of the Mass General Court (legislature) on June 20, 1826, and the original deed to the building was filed the same day. The conveyance was the first time the ownership has been transferred.
The builder was Perley Putnam, who also built Salem’s Custom House in a similar Federal style.
We are a hub for artistic, cultural and social events in a 19th century landmark.
We are repurposing a former church to offer programming that will entertain, engage and enrich the community, in music and the arts, while honoring the building's rich heritage. We are a nonprofit organization providing a home to a number of community service groups, including The Salem Pantry.
Our address is 211 Bridge Street, Salem, but the way to our front door is the courtyard entrance between 20 and 28 Federal Street. The most convenient parking is the municipal lot between Church and Federal Streets. Another option is the Museum Place Garage at 1 New Liberty Street.
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