Charter Street Cemetery To Be Closed To Public

September 28 - November 3

In anticipation of upcoming landscape restoration work and to protect the burial ground’s fragile headstones, the City will close the historic Charter Street Cemetery to public visitation from September 28, 2019 through November 3, 2019. The second phase of restoration work in the cemetery is scheduled to begin in Spring 2020 and will include pathway stabilization, fence restoration and perimeter lighting. Please continue to check this website for more information about the upcoming project and to view historic and current images of the cemetery.

Charter Street Cemetery

Located in the heart of the Charter Street National Register Historic District, Charter Street Cemetery is Salem’s oldest burial ground. This 1.47 acre public green space contains one of New England's finest collection of 17th, 18th and 19th century gravestone art with the oldest stone dating to 1673. Notable burials include Judge John Hathorne, who had a prominent role in the witchcraft trials of 1692, Governor Simon Bradstreet, Salem woodcarver and architect Samuel McIntire, and many of Salem's most prominent 18th century merchant families including the Forrester, Fiske and Derby families.

For a FAQ sheet about the cemetery, please click here

phase I - Headstone and Box Tomb Restoration

Charter Street Cemetery is a highly visible, well documented site that is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. This popularity has threatened the integrity of the burial ground’s headstones by compaction and widening of the stone dust pathways from visitors to the site. Vandalism has also been a significant and direct threat to the preservation and protection of the burial ground’s historically significant headstones and tombs. In 2016, the City embarked on a multi-phase restoration of the burial ground.  During Phase I, the City utilized CPA funds to hire Monument Conservation Collaborative to restore 23 headstones and 8 box tombs (Click on button below to read full report or see slideshow below).

During this phase, the City also hired landscape architect Martha Lyon to conduct an assessment, create landscape plans and make recommendations to conserve the site. Phase II - Landscape Restoration is scheduled to begin in Spring 2020. For more information click here.

For more information about Charter Street Cemetery restoration, please contact Patti Kelleher, Department of Planning and Community Development at 978-619-5685.