The Counting House (c.1830) is typical of the small buildings which dotted the working waterfront, and was where ship captains and supercargoes (people responsible for cargo and its sale) completed much of their business However, the structure likely began its life as a garden shed. Earliest photographs of the building place it close to the center of our site in what would have been the Upton’s gardens. After the museum opened in 1910, this small building was turned into a tea room and moved closer to Turner Street. Finally, it was moved to the other side of the property and christened the Counting House.
Typically located at or near a busy wharf, counting houses were places to balance accounts, pay fees due and figure profit before or after a sea journey. Ours now houses interactive exhibits about Salem’s maritime past.