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Sunday, June 25, 2006

This Weekend's History

This weekend the weather stunk, so I didn't do as much touring as I'd have liked. Luckily, I've got at least 2 more long classes to attend in the Boston area, so hopefully I'll get to do a little more when I'm here for them later this year.

I did, hower, vistit the Salem National Historic Site, in Salem, Ma. The site is centered around Derby Wharf (on the left) on the Salem waterfront. Until the early to mid 19th century Salem was one of the busier ports in New England.

It's was also the first place designated a National Historic Site by the National Park Service.

Unfortunately for Salem, the harbor isn't very deep, and when the clipper ships became the standard bearers of the US merchant fleet, Salem's port fell out of favor.

One of the interesting facts about Salem's port operations is that Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of the Scarlet Letter was the port's surveyor from 1846-1849. It's thought that the bitterness of his dismissal was what inspired his famous novel.

Salem probably best remembered for the Witch Trials of 1692, when a group of young girls started exhibiting strange behavior, and were feared to be afflicted by the devil himself.

The girls started naming people, and, as history tells us, nearly two dozen were tried and hanged for being witches. There is a lot of history on the web about the trials, and their aftermath.
Here's a link to the Salem Witch Trial Memorial, Salem Witch Museum, and the Witch Dungeon, which is a replica of the one that was used in 1692. The original was found in 1956 while the phone company did excavation for a building. Artifacts are in both the Witch Museum and the recreated Dungeon.

Then today I thought I should pay tribute to the Native American's of the region, so I visited the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. While they have a long and rich history, today they have a new claim to fame.

The Foxwoods Casino and resort is the largest casino resort anywhere in the world, and getting bigger. Luckily, I won't be helping to finance that, as I was able come out just enough ahead to buy lunch at their Hollywood Cafe.

So, if you need a trivia question for someone, ask them what state has the two biggest casino resorts in the US. The answer isn't Nevada, or New Jersey, but Connecticut! The second largest is the Mohegansun Casino, which has an arena for the WNBA's Connecticut Sun basketball team. Take that Vegas!

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Blogger Carol said...

On a bus trip to Mystic Seaport several years ago, my hubby and I got snookered into going to both Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods. I don't think the paint was even dry at either of them. Like you, I'm not much for gambling (other than those one arm bandits - LOL), but all the Indian lore and artifacts was very interesting.

Loved Salem too....wonderful place.
Enjoyed this post.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

Yes, enjoyed the post Bob. The Salem Witch Trial Memorial stuff was too cool. Thanks for doing this. Your commentary is great.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I loved Salem, too, but there are some really tacky, asstarded tourist traps there. On the whole, though, it was awesome. And the Peabody Essex is incredible!

6:55 AM  

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