The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Salem Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge Corporation
Salem Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge
3.25 linear feet (4 boxes, 11 volumes)
The records of the Salem
Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge Corporation document the establishment, operation, and
decline of the business from its beginning to its dissolution.
SERIES I. Administrative Records SERIES II. Business Records SERIES III. Toll Records
A. Salem Turnpike Tolls
B. Chelsea Bridge Tolls
Scope and Content Note
The records of the Salem Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge Corporation document the
establishment, operation, and decline of the business from its beginning to its
dissolution. The collection is divided into three series.
Series I. Administrative Records documents actions
taken towards the establishment and running of the corporation. The record books and
correspondence include the Act of Incorporation; rules and regulations, reports of
committees, pertinent notes; proxies; and list of subscribers. Located here is also
a list of the "Original Petitioners for the Salem Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge
Contained in the folder of legal papers are indentures, agreements, legal
notices, and papers covering legal actions taken relative to compensation for
damages to various parties as a result of laying out the turnpike. Also included is
a copy of an opinion rendered by Daniel Webster in 1822 on an indenture entered
between John Pickering and directors of the Salem Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge
Financial papers include yearly summaries of tolls, receipts and expenditures,
net income and related information. These include returns made to the Commonwealth,
conforming to a requirement of the Act of Incorporation that a report of the
receipts and expenditures be submitted annually to the Governor and Council. Also
noted on some of these papers is the original cost for the road and bridge.
Series II. Business Records contains a small amount
of business correspondence (mostly relating to the rental of the Lynn Hotel on The
Salem Turnpike); accounts books for Salem Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge Corporation; a
summary list of cattle, tools, and sundry articles sold at Lynn and Charlestown
auctions; and miscellaneous papers which contain various notes, accounts and
miscellaneous items. Some of these papers appear to be related to the possibility of
the proposed Eastern Railroad harming the Turnpike's business.
Series III. Toll Records consists of the daily,
weekly, and quarterly summaries of toll collections made on both the Salem Turnpike
and Chelsea Bridge. The daily and weekly collection accounts show the number, toll
charge, and types of passage (such as coaches, chariots, carts, wagons, chaises,
etc.,) Although both the turnpike and the bridge each have quarterly summaries, the
toll books included in the collection are much more extensive for the turnpike than
for the bridge.
In 1801, Edward Augustus Holyoke, William Gray, Jr., Nathan Dane, Jacob Ashton, and
Israel Thorndike petitioned the legislature for the construction of the Salem Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge. The proposed turnpike
was to start at Buffam's Corner, Boston and Essex Streets in Salem, and continued
from there through Lynn, along Western Avenue, over the Saugus River, and then to
the Chelsea side, north of and near to the Navy Yard, and from there to the Charles
River Bridge in Charlestown. The construction was to include building bridges over
the rivers and waterways along the route. The bridge to be constructed over the
Mystic River was the Chelsea Bridge and it appears to have been generally where the
present Tobin Bridge is now located.
After a successful campaign, Dr. Holyoke and Associates were able to obtain a
resolution to all the objections. The Act of Incorporation includes a provision that
the Malden Bridge Corporation was to own half of the Chelsea Bridge (but retain no
corporate powers), to receive half of the dividends of the Chelsea Bridge, and to
pay half of the expenses. See the Chelsea Bridge account book, 1808-1845, for the
Malden Bridge Corporation's share of the dividends.
The Salem Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge Corporation continued for many years. On
October 28, 1875, the directors voted that the president be authorized to petition
the Supreme Judicial Court for a dissolution of the corporation. The last entry in
the record book, December 9, 1875, contains a vote by the directors to offer their
books to the Essex Institute.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons,
or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Webster, Daniel, 1782-1852
Chelsea Bridge Corporation
Corporation of Malden Bridge
Chelsea Bridge (Mass.)
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in
writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex
Salem Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge Corporation Records, MSS 217, Phillips Library,
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.
While the majority of the account books are from an unknown source, the 1836-1838
cashbook and the documents that were in a scrapbook were donated by Henry
Fitzgilbert Waters in 1902.
Collection processed by Don Gleason, 1988. Updated by Tamara Gaydos, February
Acts of incorporation (1802) and daily accounts of tolls collected, 1808-1807,
LYNN MAN 273
Thirty-four shares of stock in the Salem Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge Corporation
sold by John W. Fenno to the Salem Bank, 1822, MH
Vote at meeting March 8, 1906 concerning Moses Brown, 1906, Fam. Mss. 861