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Gedney House

Address: 21 High Street, Salem, MA 01970
Phone Number: 978-744-0440
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Ranked #23 of 32 Attractions in Salem
Type: Historic Sites, Sights & Landmarks
Owner description: Salem shipwright Eleazer Gedney built the earliest portion of the Gedney House in 1665. Originally...
More attraction details
Attraction details
Type: Historic Sites, Sights & Landmarks
Owner description: Salem shipwright Eleazer Gedney built the earliest portion of the Gedney House in 1665. Originally, the house was an asymmetrical composition consisting of two rooms on the first floor, a single chamber above, and an attic with a front-facing gable. Significant renovations to the structure in 1712 and 1800 resulted in dramatic changes to the house's appearance.Gedney House was a single-family home until the Gedney family sold it in 1773 to Benjamin Cox, who used it for the next twenty-five years as an investment property. Around 1800, Cox added two townhouse-style ells to the west elevation of the house, converting it into a multi-family dwelling. During the years that followed, it served as a boarding house and tenement in what was then Salem’s Italian-American neighborhood. In 1967, Historic New England acquired the house as it was being prepared for demolition.The house is significant not only for its framing, but also for its evidence of early decorative finishes in the hall chamber and parlor. Three successive color schemes, the earliest of which is believed to date to the house's construction, were discovered in the hall chamber. This evidence was preserved by the addition of plaster ceilings, beam casings, and paneled walls by the mid-eighteenth century.

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4 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Salem, Massachusetts
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2014

The smells and history of home construction surround you as you walk through this treasure of 17th century homelife.A wonderful example of the living history that surronds you in Salem.

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Salem, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
14 attraction reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2012

Lack luster tour, little depth of knowledge and we would have been better off walking through the house alone. Great house, terrible tour.

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PhillipsHouse, Manager at Gedney House, responded to this review

Dear John, I am sorry that you were not pleased with your visit to the Gedney House Museum. We strive to have well-trained and well-informed guides to meet the needs of our visitors in our unique historic house museum settings. If there is anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact me at GedneyHouse@historicnewengland.org. Thank you... More 

Saint Louis, Missouri
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2011

We were looking for more of a home that clearly explains first period architecture. Instead we had a thoroughly uneventful visit. Guide was dull, and made the experience poor. There is no advertising for this in town, and is for people that truly know a good deal about colonial architecture already ... unlike us.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
PhillipsHouse, Manager at Gedney House, responded to this review

We are sorry that the Gedney House staff did not meet your needs in better explaining first period architecture in Massachusetts. We strive not only to have well-informed staff, but also as staff that can meet the many interest and knowledge levels that visit our historic homes. If you find yourself in the area, please feel free to be in... More 

Quito, Ecuador
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2011

this is a must on a visit to salem, to be able to view how a home is designed and constructed ! take the camera and the kids, you will never forget this house thankfully there is a massive historic preservation in salem and with the help of the new mayor driscoll, is on the upswing from years past! this... More 

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