|Salem Willows is named for the European white
willow trees planted here in 1801 to form a shaded walk for patients
convalescing at the old smallpox
hospital. Later the area became a park. During the first half of the
20th Century Restaurant Row on the park's North Shore served fresh
seafood favored by locals and visitors alike. The last of these once
popular restaurants closed in the late 1960's. A Carousel with carved
flying horses was another special attraction at Salem Willows which
then, as now, operated an amusement center. Although the restaurants and
flying horses are gone, visitors still flock here in the summer to enjoy
the seashore, the arcade, and the ample picnic grounds and recreational
Directly ahead, the expanse of Salem Sound is dotted with numerous islands belonging to the city. The largest is Bakers Island, which boasts a sizable summer community and has been the site of a navigational beacon since 1798. To the south of Salem Willows, across the entrance to Salem Harbor, lie the headlands of Marblehead. To the north, across Beverly Harbor, the shore stretches toward the rugged coast of Gloucester and the rest of Cape Ann.
Salem Willows provides a seaside promenade popular throughout Essex County, Boston, and beyond. The area also possesses residential and historical importance. A tenting ground established in the mid 19th century gave way to summer cottages which are now the center of a distinctive year round neighborhood. Beyond this neighborhood, across the causeway lies Winter Island. Over the years it has served a multitude of purposes, including fish drying, shipbuilding, and public executions. Since the 1640's a fort there now known as Fort Pickering has defended the mouth of Salem Harbor. From the Civil War until 1971 most of Winter Island was under federal authority: it was used most recently as a Coast Guard base. Inland on the high ground in the center of Salem Neck, lies Fort Lee. Originally built in the 1740'sFort Lee joined Fort Pickering in providing protection for Salem's sea approaches for more than two centuries.
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The Beverly Gold Coast
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