SJSF/Berklee College of Music Summer Series on Derby Square

SJSF/Berklee College of Music Summer Series on Derby Square

This public space positioned between Essex and Front Streets contains the most 
historically significant municipal building: Salem Old Town Hall. Its convenient, central 
location sets it apart from all other points of interest as it is seemingly accessible from 
most of downtown Salem. 

The square is associated with the prominent 17th and 18th century Derby family for whom 
it and several other historic sites across the City are named. Old Town Hall contains 
architectural elements of both the influential Boston architect Charles Bulfinch and 
Salem’s own Samuel McIntire. The building contained Town Offices until 1837. The 
one-time public market on the first floor is now used as a public art space that is also 
home to the Salem Arts Festival. 

The structure was nearly lost, but was luckily left in tact after work by preservation 
architect Philip Horton Smith in the 1930s saved it from demolition. It received partial 
restoration in the 1970s, and continued maintenance in the subsequent decades. 

The outdoor area encroaching Old Town Hall is filled in warmer months every Thursday 
as people flock to the Salem Farmers’ Market that bring together farms, seafood, spices 
and sweets and much more throughout summer and fall. Visitors can sit on park benches, 
tables, and chairs in the welcoming, open space that is seemingly covered with red brick 
from top to bottom. 

The square is also adjacent to Artists Row, the shops of Front Street, and the Essex Street 
Pedestrian Mall making it a must-see destination for history buffs and creative alike. 
Recently, Wicked Good Books opened at the top of the square on the Essex Street 
Pedestrian Mall, and will build on the four-decade tradition of its predecessor and its 
owners, Derby Square Books and the Monroe family.