SALEM — Join the staff of The House of the Seven Gables in honoring Caroline Emmerton, its founder and generous philanthropist, on Sunday, April 24. Come for cake between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Those interested may stay for one of two special women’s history tours scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. As you tour the historic house that dates to 1668, you’ll learn about the indigenous women who lived on the land before it was developed, as well as the enslaved women and indentured servants who worked at the mansion. The cake and special tours are included with the purchase of the grounds or regular tour tickets. Register on the website’s events calendar.
Caroline Emmerton, who was born on April 21, 1866, was a generous contributor to the city of Salem. She restored the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion and renamed it The House of the Seven Gables, a stroke of promotional genius. Named after the popular novel by native son Nathaniel Hawthorne, the mansion drew visitors that paid for guided tours. Proceeds funded the Settlement program Emmerton directed.
She took on leadership roles in many charitable movements, especially those involving children. She established several stations throughout Salem to weigh babies and help parents monitor health and development of their children. This effort led to the founding of the Lydia Pinkham Memorial Clinic that provided free services to families with children.
Emmerton was also a founding member of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, now called Historic New England. She was director of the Seaman’s Widow and Orphan Society and of the Family Service Association (formerly Salem Welfare Society). She was a trustee at the Plummer Farm School, a boy’s reform school and orphanage. During World War I, she funded many War Chests, as well as Liberty Bond and Red Cross drives.
The Gables continues Emmerton’s work by offering educational opportunities and citizenship classes as well as relevant programs and events. Emmerton’s leadership and service has inspired generations of Salem leaders and entrepreneurs and has established a lasting legacy of caring and community service.