Sunday, November 29, 2020

Salem's "Old Bakery" and bean pots

The Old Bakery of Salem, Mass. was originally built in 1683 as a home by Benjamin Hooper, a cordwainer, became a bakery from c1865 at 23 Washington Street and moved in 1911 to the House of Seven Gables complex.

The 1683 “fireplace was one of the largest of its time and was removed many years ago.” [Essex Antiquarian, 1904] It remained in the Hooper family for over a hundred years, several owners including the natural daughter of George Crowninshield, Jr., enlarged until it was deeded to Eliza J the wife of Eleazer Hathaway, a baker and the home became a bakery about 1865.

Bean pots
"It was an old Salem custom to fetch pots of beans to the bake shop on Saturday, and to linger a while to talk over news and gossip. The picture, of about 1900, was used by George Hathaway, who had a bake shop on Washington street. It’s now “The Old Bakery” of the House of Seven Gables settlement."
Gannon, Fred A., Nicknames and Neighborhoods and Album of Pictures of Old Salem [1920]

"And here [the photo] are the bean pots which have made Boston famous, ancient and modern. The old-time pot at the left had a flaring top, so that it might be used in making pan dowdy.
The question of the bean pot is of importance in the successful baking of beans, although this utensil has undergone several changes and modifications. Whether the first American bean pot was of iron or earthenware is still a subject for discussion and argument in New England. A crock of some sort it must have been, says Boston; but Plymouth declares it to have been an ordinary iron pot which, because of the lack of baking facilities in the early days, must perforce be buried in hot sand and have coals and embers heaped upon it. How ever that may be, the original of the present-day narrow-necked bean pot was a flaring, rolled-edge vessel, made of pottery and used by the New England women not only for the Saturday beans, but for the baking of their Indian puddings, when a large quantity was required, and their pot roasts."
King, Caroline. "Down East Cookery." Ladies Home Journal. Jan. 1923

The house and "The Old Bakery"

"Estate of Benjamin Hooper House. This was a portion of the Governor Endecott field, so called, Governor Endecott having died possessed of it in 1665. … for twenty-five pounds, conveyed this lot to Benjamin Hooper of Salem, cordwainer. Oct. 27, 1682. Mr. Hooper immediately erected the house now standing upon the lot.

The original portion extends only as far as the second story overhangs the first, the large chimney being at the eastern end. The fireplace was one of the largest of its time, and was removed many years ago. The spaces between the upright timbers are filled with bricks set in clay, and laths split from the log are still found in the attic stairway. The timbers are heavy and of oak, the posts are shouldered and more ornamented than any others that the writer has ever seen. The Essex Antiquarian 1904

…for twenty-eight hundred dollars, conveyed the estate to Miss Elizabeth Rowell [had been mistress of Gg Crowninshield, Jr, a wealthy merchant/ship who died 1817 and left her, and their daughter money] of Salem May 1822. She married John Gardner of Salem fifteen days later; and died, his widow, intestate, and possessed of the property May 5, 1862, at the age of seventy-four. Her heirs were her children, George A. Gardner of Salem and Clara C. [Crowninshield 1811-1907], wife of Louis Thies [PhD worked at Harvard] of Cambridge. Mr. and Mrs. Thies conveyed her half of the estate to Eliza J., wife of Eleazer Hathaway of Salem, baker, Aug. 25, 1865  George A. Gardner died May 28, 1865, at the age of thirty-eight, leaving two young children, Ann R. and Clara J. Gardner ; and their guardian conveyed their half of the estate to Mrs. Hathaway Aug. 25, 1865 Mrs. Hathaway died, a widow, Sept. 22, 1884, having devised the estate to her son George G. Hathaway, who still conducts the bakery business here that was carried on by his father prior to 1864."
The Essex Antiquarian 1904

"Eleazer Hathaway, a baker by trade, resided in Salem. He held, in 1855, the position of captain of the Salem City Guards, which was connected with the Seventh Regiment, Fourth Brigade, Second Division, M. V. M. He was fifth sergeant of the Artillery Company in 1859, and resigned his membership in the Company, May 14, 1883. Capt. Hathaway (1856) died in Salem."
Roberts, Oliver Ayer. History of the Military Company of the Massachusetts now called…. v3 Boston: 1898

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