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Hawthorne at Salem

Buildings & Houses

House of Seven Gables

The Turner-Ingersoll House, aka The House of the Seven Gables

Postcard c. 1900; Garden View of The House of the Seven Gables
Postcard c. 1900; Garden View of The House of the Seven Gables
 
An important example of 17th century domestic architecture, the house at 54 Turner St. in Salem, known today as The House of the Seven Gables, was built in 1668 for the Salem merchant, Capt. John Turner. Since its erection, it has been expanded and remodelled frequently. The house had several owners after the Turners during the late 18th and 19th centuries, each of whom made various changes in the house. For example, the Ingersolls, Hawthorne's relatives, removed gables during reconstruction of the front porch. In 1908 when Caroline O. Emmerton, the founder of the House of Seven Gables Settlement Association,
purchased the house, she had the house restored, including the reinstatement of the gables, which actually number eight. Today the house is open to the public and is furnished in the style of 1840, the time when Hawthorne visited his cousins there.

Literature Related to the Turner-Ingersoll House

Postcard c. 1900; Garden View of The House of the Seven Gables
Postcard c. 1900; Garden View of The House of the Seven Gables
 
Although some scholars, such as Margaret B. Moore, believe that Hawthorne was using thePhilip English house in Salem as his model for the house in The House of the Seven Gables, others believe that the Turner-Ingersoll house, where Hawthorne's second cousin, Susan Ingersoll lived, is the model. The Philip English house no longer stands, but the Turner-Ingersoll house does, and accurate or not, it is this house that has acquired the name "The House of the Seven Gables."

Images Related to the Turner-Ingersoll House, aka "The House of the Seven Gables"

Postcard c. 1900; Garden View of The House of the Seven Gables
Postcard c. 1900; Garden View of The House of the Seven Gables
 
The Turner-Ingersoll House, 54 Turner St., Salem, aka \"The House of the Seven Gables\"
The Turner-Ingersoll House, 54 Turner St., Salem, aka "The House of the Seven Gables"
Photograph of the House of the Seven Gables with tulips in bloom. (photography by Dan Popp)
House of the Turner-Ingersoll House, aka \"The House of the Seven Gables\" in Salem from the garden
House of the Turner-Ingersoll House, aka "The House of the Seven Gables" in Salem from the garden
View of the House of the Seven Gables from the garden (photography by Dan Popp)
The Shop Bell at the House of the Seven Gables Historic Site
The Shop Bell at the House of the Seven Gables Historic Site
 (courtesy of Shakespeare and Company)
An architectural rendering of the facade of the Turner-Ingersoll House aka <I>The House of the Seven Gables</I>
An architectural rendering of the facade of the Turner-Ingersoll House aka The House of the Seven Gables
 (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Illustration of the Turner-Ingersoll House aka \"The House of the Seven Gables\" in Rosalind Ashe's<I>Literary Houses,</I> published by Facts on File, Inc., New York, 1982.
Illustration of the Turner-Ingersoll House aka "The House of the Seven Gables" in Rosalind Ashe'sLiterary Houses, published by Facts on File, Inc., New York, 1982. 
illustrations by Roy Coombs (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Postcard (1905) of the Turner-Ingersoll House aka \"The House of the Seven Gables\"--with only three gables
Postcard (1905) of the Turner-Ingersoll House aka "The House of the Seven Gables"--with only three gables
When Caroline Emmerton purchased the house at 54 Turner St., it had lost all but three of its gables. In his lecture on September 14, 2000, Dr. John L. Idol, Jr. noted that Caroline Emmerton "sat about restoring the house, engaging an architect, Joseph Edward Chandler, to help her. He was familiar with Colonial architecture and led her to the discovery of the position of three of the missing gables. They were replaced. Unhappily, for them, as things turned out, they went ahead with the construction of a seventh gable, since, by tradition, the house had sported a seventh one. Further study of the building revealed the presence of another original gable, the authentic seventh.... Despite the evidence before her that Hawthorne's knowledge of the old house was superficial at best, Emmerton pushed ahead with her efforts to transform it into the house that Hawthorne had moved from Turner Street into the pages of his romance. She remodeled the house to give it the requisite number of gables, choosing to keep the one at back rather than to build an authentic seventh over the front entrance, setting up a cent-shop, and furnishing the house in such a manner as to be able to say that a certain room was Phoebe's, that a particular window was the one Clifford had stood at as he gazed upon the street below. As far as possible, life was following art, although she was puzzled to find that Hawthorne had made no apparent use of the secret passage way that the Turner-Ingersoll house has."  (with special thanks to Dr. John L. Idol Jr.)
Illustration of a deteriorated Turner-Ingersoll House aka \"The House of the Seven Gables\" by Roy Coombs
Illustration of a deteriorated Turner-Ingersoll House aka "The House of the Seven Gables" by Roy Coombs 
This illustration appears in Rosalind Ashe's Literary Houses, published by Facts on File, Inc., New York, 1982.  
Depiction of Col. Pyncheon's Mansion by Roy Coombs in <I>Literary Houses - Ten Famous Houses in Fiction</I> edited by Rosalind Ashe (Facts on File, 1982)
Depiction of Col. Pyncheon's Mansion by Roy Coombs in Literary Houses - Ten Famous Houses in Fiction edited by Rosalind Ashe (Facts on File, 1982)
 (courtesy of Facts On File, Inc)
Depiction  of the Floor Plan of the House of the Seven Gables by Roy Coombs in <I>Literary Houses - Ten Famous Houses in Fiction</I> edited by Rosalind Ashe
Depiction of the Floor Plan of the House of the Seven Gables by Roy Coombs in Literary Houses - Ten Famous Houses in Fictionedited by Rosalind Ashe
 (courtesy of Facts On File, Inc)
Postcard c. 1900 of The House of the Seven Gables
Postcard c. 1900 of The House of the Seven Gables
 (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Postcard (1905) of The House of the Seven Gables
Postcard (1905) of The House of the Seven Gables
 (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Postcard c. 1900 of the Parlor in the House of the Seven Gables
Postcard c. 1900 of the Parlor in the House of the Seven Gables
 (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)

Postcard of the House of the Seven Gables 
Postcard, probably c. 1900, of the Jonathan Corwin House, called the \"Old Witch House,\" 310 1/2 Essex St. at North St. in Salem, MA
Postcard, probably c. 1900, of the Jonathan Corwin House, called the "Old Witch House," 310 1/2 Essex St. at North St. in Salem, MA
Jonathan Corwin, a Salem merchant, purchased the house from Nathaniel Davenport of Boston in 1675. Davenport had never finished the construction of the house, so Corwin had the work completed. Corwin was living here in 1692 when he and John Hathorne served as the magistrates of Salem Town, issuing warrants for the arrest of those accused of witchcraft, and on the Court of Oyer and Terminer that sentenced accused witches to death. There is a tradition that some of the accused "witches" of the Salem hysteria were examined in the lower front room on the right, and today the house is know as the "Witch House." The house was unfinished when Corwin purchased it, but when completed, it had a central chimney plan, projecting two-story front central porch, peaked gables, and a rear lean-to. Around 1746 Sarah Corwin, the widow of Jonathan Corwin's grandson, George, enlarged and remodeled the house in the Georgian Colonial style. The house was further altered between 1856 and 1885 when George P. Farrington, the owner, added a drugstore to the front. In 1945 Historic Salem purchased the property, saving it from being demolished, and had it restored. (special thanks to Margaret B. Moore)
Hawthorne's Country
Hawthorne's Country
 
Hawthorne's Country
Hawthorne's Country

Critical Commentary Related to the Turner-Ingersoll House (aka "The House of the Seven Gables")

Postcard c. 1900; Garden View of The House of the Seven Gables
Postcard c. 1900; Garden View of The House of the Seven Gables
 

Multimedia Related to The House of the Seven Gables

Postcard c. 1900; Garden View of The House of the Seven Gables
Postcard c. 1900; Garden View of The House of the Seven Gables
 
  • Panorama of the exterior of The House of the Seven Gables Historic site

House of the Seven Gables Historic Site: Related Websites

House in Salem where Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804
House in Salem where Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 (photography by Aaron Toleos)