|1915 Postcard of Salem Willows Bathing Beach|
This is the 12th installment of my grandmother's diary from 1920. Her name was Gertrude Hitchings (1905 - 2001), and she was living on Elliott Street in Beverly, Massachusetts. Gertrude was a 14 year old school girl when she kept this diary. The book is a tiny 3", and every Monday I publish a new section, with transcriptions of the tiny handwriting. You can read the first installment HERE. I'll post more of this diary every week for Amanuensis Monday.
NOTE: In my last blog post Gertrude was terribly ill. The doctor thought it was a kidney infection. I don't know how she recovered without antibiotics, but fortunately she did! She appears to have missed a lot of school, and her mother was able to get her class pin. I wonder what that pin looked like! Mr. Lowell was the boarder, who appears to only stay at the house occasionally. Helen is Gertrude's sister, married to Ellsworth Robson. Russell is her brother, who married Ethel a few months earlier.
Salem Willows opened as a public park in 1858, and the amusement park there began in 1877. There is also a waterfront pier, a beach, picnic areas and "restaurant row". Many of the amusement rides and the ballroom are no longer there. There is still a merry-go-round, Hobb's Popcorn (since the 1880s), and Lowe's chop suey sandwiches since the 1920s. It was a busier place in the 1920s than today, but Gertrude would recognize Salem Willows today.
I've blogged about Salem Willows several times. You can see Beverly across the water from this park, and Gertrude's grandmother ("Nana" mentioned in the diary) lived on Bartlett Street which is almost visible from Salem Willows. Her grandfather, Peter Hoogerzeil, once invented an amusement park ride in 1907, but I don't think it was ever built at Salem Willows. You can see this patent for the amusement park ride at this link:
Another blog post about Salem Willows:
Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Chop Suey Sandwiches ~ Unique New England Foods", Nutfield Genealogy, posted October 22, 2015