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Celebrating 350 Years of Stories

The House of the Seven Gables celebrates a singular milestone this year. Built in 1668, The Gables has stood at the foot of Salem Harbor for 350 years. A symbol of both American promise and literary prowess, the beloved mansion today welcomes more than 100,000 visitors a year.

Rarely has an old house meant so much to so many.

Visitors from around the world will travel to The Gables this year to be a part of exciting 350th anniversary celebrations. Yet most will know only a fraction of the story. They might know, for example, that the house was built in 1668 by a sea captain named John Turner. He was daring and successful and, sadly, he died at sea. His legacy includes the mansion, ambitious for its time. To this day it reflects an entrepreneurial spirit we’ve come to associate with American enterprise.

Most visitors also know that, nearly two centuries later, the great American author Nathaniel Hawthorne published “The House of the Seven Gables.” Conversations with his smart, accomplished cousin Susanna Ingersoll, owner of the house, inspired Hawthorne’s bestseller.

This passage from the novel reveals The Gables’ hold on Hawthorne:

So much of mankind’s varied experience had passed there, — so much had been suffered, and something, too, enjoyed, — that the very timbers were oozy, as with the moisture of a heart. It was itself like a great human heart, with a life of its own, and full of rich and somber reminiscences.” 

What most people don’t know is that this storied house, anchor to five other historic structures in what is now a National Historic Landmark District, has long honored an exceptional dual mission to preserve the structures and use tour proceeds to support the immigrant community. In 1910 The Gables founded a settlement pro

gram that still thrives, thanks to philanthropist Caroline Emmerton’s decision to buy and restore The Gables.

Tours fund social work and educational programs such as thought-provoking Community Conversations. The settlement mission supports English language classes, child care and summer programming for kids, as well as community networking and outreach to help immigrant neighbors gain citizenship.

Yes, The Gables’ is an inspiration and a literary icon. It is also where immigrants beginning with John Turner have found purchase in America.

Don’t miss the 350th celebrations!

The Gables celebrates all year! Programs honoring Nathaniel Hawthorne include a staged reading of the novel in January, a Valentine’s performance featuring the love letters of Nathaniel and his wife, Sophia, and a November writing workshop.

Family programming will include a February vacation family movie night featuring “An American Tail,” a poetry workshop centered on Hawthorne’s work, “The Ocean,” and special Living History Labs.

Exhibitions include “The Bay State: A Multicultural Landscape” featuring the photography of Mark Chester, January 30 – March 2. “These Walls Do Talk,” opens April 6. It looks at how The Gables’ knows what it knows about 350 years of history.

The biggest community event of the year is Four Centuries of Music Festival on August 4. Music starts in the 17th century and ends with modern hits, dancing, food and fun on the seaside lawn.

Today The House of the Seven Gables embraces a dual mission a place of relevance and aspiration. An enduring theme, one that this National Historic Landmark District celebrates in 2018, is that. a place where a dynamic dual mission ensures that new stories are made here every day.

For a complete listing of all of our celebration events and programs, visit our EVENTS CALENDAR.