Originally built in the late 17th century for Captain John Turner, this great mansion you see is perhaps better known as the House of the Seven Gables. Yes, indeed – that House of the Seven Gables, made famous by the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel of the same name.
Hawthorne was a relative of the Ingersoll family, who would purchase the house from the Turners after their wealth had run out. By the time Hawthorne was visiting the house, the gables had been mostly removed as a result of generations of remodeling. Nonetheless, evidence of the original structure remained inside, and Hawthorne was taken by the idea, and the phrasing of "seven gables."
Though this story took place in what was then the present-day, similarly to The Scarlet Letter, it was inspired by the gloom, mystery, and supernatural elements of Salem’s past. Hawthorne, himself, had deep roots in Salem -- his ancestors included William Hathorne, one of the first settlers from England to arrive in the Massachusetts Bay Colony; Judge John Hathorne, infamous as the hanging judge of the Salem Witch Trials, who never repented for his actions; and Nathaniel Hathorne Sr., his father, who was a sea captain and member of the East India Marine Society. It is believed that Hawthorne added the "W" to his surname in order to distance himself from his ancestor's participation in the Witch Trials.
In 1958, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace – the smaller red house beside the mansion – became a part of the museum’s campus. The house was originally located on Union Street, only a few blocks away from here. It was in this house that Hawthorne was born, on July 4, 1804. He and his mother and sister lived here until his father died, in 1808. Both houses are open daily for viewing, with varying, seasonal schedules. The house is clearly visible if you take a quick walk down Hardy St -- which also features a beautiful ocean view at its end, for a nice respite if you like, before you continue on your tour.
Please return back the way you came on Derby St. Our next stop will be on your left -- Derby Wharf.