• Salem Maritime National Historic Site

    Salem Maritime

    National Historic Site Massachusetts

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  • Central Wharf Restrooms Closed

    The Central Wharf public restrooms will be closed on Thursday and Friday, September 18th and 19th for exterior door replacement. They are scheduled to reopen on Saturday at 9am.

  • Fishing Prohibition on Hold

    On 8/20/14 the park issued a rule change prohibiting fishing throughout the park due to concerns over water quality and visitor safety. The fishing prohibition is now on hold, pending further review - click for more information. More »

128 Derby Street

A view down Bentley Street in Salem after a heavy snowfall. The plow drift is probably about two feet high.
A view down Bentley Street looking south towards the old fire house on the corner of Bentley and Derby.
Courtesy of Joseph Kulik

This former firehouse at the corner of Derby and Bentley Streets was a meeting place for several of Salem's Polish organizations between the 1920s and the time it burned down in the 1960s. These groups included the Polish Falcons in the early 1920s, the Chopin Choral Society in the later 1920s and 1930s, and veterans’ groups, including the Polish Legion of American Veterans, starting in the 1940s.

Click on the links above to learn more about these groups, which reflected different time periods and generational experiences in Polish Salem.

a brass plaque mounted in granite

The plaque marking Swiniuch Park on the corner of Bentley and Derby Streets.

Courtesy of Cathy Stanton.

After the firehouse burned, the lot remained empty for several years. Then, in February of 1974, former city councilor and Polish community leader Louis Swiniuch died at the age of 60. His son Richard had just been elected to his own first term on the city council, and Richard found it sad that his father was not there to see his son’s inauguration into the city’s political world. One of Richard’s first projects as a city councilor, along with others who had served with his father for many years, was to turn the former firehouse site into a small park dedicated to Louis Swiniuch. Tourists and local people often stop to enjoy the beautifully landscaped spot.

Back to Salem's Polish Community

Did You Know?

Portrait of Nathaniel Hawthorne, circa 1855.

In addition to being a world-famous author, Salem native Nathaniel Hawthorne also held three government positions: Measurer for the Port of Boston, Surveyor of the Port of Salem, and U.S. Consul to Liverpool. The Custom House in Salem where he worked is now part of Salem Maritime NHS. More...