In January 2016, local scholars and researchers confirmed the location where the innocent victims of the Salem Witch Trials were executed at Proctor’s Ledge. In the years since the tragic events of 1692 many believed that the hangings occurred at Gallows Hill, but the earliest maps still accessible today never showed a clear marker for the execution site. By the 1920s, historian Sidney Perley suggested that the executions occurred on Proctor’s Ledge, which sits at the bottom of Gallows Hill. It was not until 2010 when researchers and historians began to reconsider Perley’s evidence, concluding that Proctor’s Ledge was indeed the site where the executions took place.
The memorial at Proctor’s Ledge was dedicated by the City of Salem on July 19, 2017, the 325th anniversary of the executions of Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, Rebecca Nurse, and Sarah Wildes. Designed by landscape architect Martha Lyons with input from Salem residents and local historians, the memorial is made up of a circular stone wall featuring engravings of each of the victim’s names.
Proctor’s Ledge is located approximately one mile from downtown Salem in a residential neighborhood. Parking to visit Proctor’s Ledge is not permitted at the nearby Walgreens parking lot there is no motor coach parking at Proctor’s Ledge. During your visit to Salem, we recommend reflecting on the events of 1692 at the Salem Witch Trials Memorial which is located downtown adjacent to Charter Street Cemetery.
The Salem Witch Trials Memorial was dedicated on August 5, 1992 by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel for the tercentenary of the Salem Witch Trials. James Cutler and Maggie Smith designed the memorial with as three-sided granite wall with benches displaying the names and execution dates of each of the victims. The stonework on the ground by the entrance to the memorial is inscribed with the victims’ pleas of innocence that are interrupted mid-sentence by the wall to symbolize the indifference to oppression that existed in 1692.
Visitors may access the Witch Trials Memorial from Liberty Street (between Charter Street and Derby Street) from dawn until dusk. The memorial is wheelchair accessible and appropriate for all ages. Voices Against Injustice maintains the Witch Trials Memorial, and more information about its history and design as well as guidelines for visiting are available on their website, voicesagainstinjustice.org.