House of the Seven Gables                           Back to Transcendentalism  
the house of the seven gables
A house which Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote about as being
haunted, today sits restored in Salem, Massachusetts.  It is also
known as the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion and is the oldest,
surviving wooden mansion in New England, being built in 1668.
Son of a sea captain, Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem,
Massachusetts on the Fourth of July, 1804.  A great, great
grandfather was one of the judges at the Salem Witch Trials in
1692, which is most likely why Nathaniel added a “w” to his last
name.  He would later write about the House of the Seven Gables
in 1851.  What’s the history of the famed house and is it haunted?
The House of the Seven Gables began with not as many
gables, as it originally only had three.  It was the home of
sea-faring Captain John Turner who built it.  As Captain
Turner and his family added onto the home many times over
the ensuing years, it eventually became quite large and had
seven gables.   Three generations of Turners lived in the
home until John Turner III lost the family fortune and sold it in
1780 to Captain Ingersoll.  Many families lost their fortunes as
ties to England were severed due to the Revolutionary War.  
Captain Ingersoll was also a wealthy, sea-faring Captain like
his predecessor Captain Turner.  Both men owned many ships
and hired their own Captains to pilot them.  Captain Ingersoll
was pleased to acquire such a fine home and remodeled it,
removing four of the seven gables.    Also See: House of Seven Gables Ghost Picture !

After Captain Ingersoll’s death, his daughter Susanna inherited not only the prized shipping
business of her father’s, but his house.  Susanna became a very good business woman and more
importantly a friend of Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Young Hawthorne struggled as an author, as many
believed he should give it up.  Susanna was one person who encouraged Nathaniel, and it was that
encouragement that helped Nathaniel to continue to pursue his literary craft.  He would sit for hours
with Susanna and hear about the house and how it had formerly looked with seven gables.  
Susanna told Hawthorne about the secret staircase and other oddities of the house.  Nathaniel
Hawthorne later moved to Concord, Massachusetts and became friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson
and Henry David Thoreau.
Eventually, Nathaniel Hawthorne became a famous author and in tribute to
Susanna he wrote the famous book in 1851 entitled, “The House of the Seven
Gables.”   The novel by Hawthorne told the story of a house that was haunted
from its inception, due to shady dealings, witchcraft and death.  In 1910, the
book was so popular that a Miss Emmerton was inspired to purchase the
original house and restore it for public display in Salem, Massachusetts.  She
worked hard to try and make the house fit the book’s description, though some
of the add-ons were not original to the home.  

Today you may visit the House of the Seven Gables along with the birth home
of Nathaniel Hawthorne which has been moved to the site.  Do burdened
characters haunt the home, today?  Where did Hawthorne receive the ideas of
the haunting characters from the original story?  Were there ghost stories
about the house that were told to Nathaniel by Susanna that inspired the tale
told to us by Hawthorne?
“Halfway down a by-street of one of our New England towns stands a rusty wooden house, with
seven acutely peaked gables, facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered
chimney in the midst. The street is Pyncheon Street; the house is the old Pyncheon House; and an
elm-tree, of wide circumference, rooted before the door, is familiar to every town-born child by the
title of the Pyncheon Elm.”
 - Excerpt from The House of the Seven Gables
house of the seven gables house of the seven gables
Watch a short video showing the House of the Seven Gables below:
Bottom photos courtesy of and are believed to be public domain.
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