The Nathaniel Hawthorne Statue was designed by American sculptor Bela Lyon Pratt (1867 - 1917) in 1916 and was installed on Hawthorne Boulevard in 1925. Pratt was an American sculptor whose works can be seen at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and in Boston at the Opera House, in front of the Boston Public Library and in the Boston Public Garden. Pratt received the commission for the Nathaniel Hawthorne statue in 1910 and he completed the clay model for the statue in 1916 with approval from two of Hawthorne's granddaughters. The statue features Hawthorne seated on a rock that appears to be covered with seaweed. A tree stump grows behind the rock. Hawthorne wears an overcoat opened to reveal his clothes and his left hand holds a hat and walking stick. He is depicted later in life based on a photograph taken in 1861. After Pratt's death in 1917, the model was cast in bronze by the Gorham Manufacturing Company. In 1925, the statue was brought to Salem where it was installed on a granite base designed by the architectural firm Smith & Walker, designers of the nearby Hawthorne Hotel (1925). The Hawthorne Statue was dedicated by the Hawthorne Memorial Association on December 23, 1925 at a ceremony attended by Hawthorne's great-granddaughter.

In 2017, the City allocated Community Preservation Act funds to restore the Hawthorne Statue, which was exhibiting discoloration and bronze corrosion. The City hired conservators from Skylight Studios to clean the granite base, repair and re-patinate the bronze statue and apply a protective coating. The City is now exploring options for lighting the sculpture at night.