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      Historic Houses

      Ropes Mansion & Garden

      318 Essex Street
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      Ropes Garden is open all year. Self-guided house tours will resume on weekends in May 2024.

      Ropes Mansion & Garden

      Listen now to the PEM Walks episode about this property! Behind-the-scenes audio storytelling that unlocks PEM’s historic houses.

      Ropes Mansion (1727–1729) was built in the Georgian style and renovated in 1894 in the Colonial Revival style by the firm Stone, Carpenter & Willson.

      The stately mansion was home to three generations of the Ropes family​ and is recognized as one of New England's most significant and thoroughly documented historic houses.

      In 1893, three unmarried Ropes sisters living in Cincinnati decided to move to Salem upon learning that the Ropes Mansion, along with a sizable fortune, had been left to them. The sisters conceived an ambitious plan to transform the mansion into a comfortable home for themselves, and make preparations for it to become Salem’s first historic house museum.

      The rooms inside the home witnessed birth, death, friendship, celebration and mourning — all of which left a legacy in the objects the family kept and displayed. Filled with original furnishings, this Georgian Colonial house, which was reinvented as a colonial revival mansion at the end of the 19th century, contains superb examples of 18th and 19th-century furniture, ceramics and glass, silver, kitchenwares, textiles and personal objects. After a fire in 2009, the house was completely restored and reopened to the public in 2015 with a new interpretative experience. Today, visitors are invited to freely circulate throughout 15 rooms of the home, exploring the property at their own pace. Hands-on interactive experiences encourage guests to explore the house's stories layer by layer.

      The tranquil Ropes Mansion Garden was designed and laid out in 1912 by John Robinson. It is a Colonial Revival garden that’s open to the public 365 days a year, from dawn to dusk, at no charge. Dogs are most welcome. Nearly 5,000 annual flowers are planted at the Ropes Mansion Garden each year and the garden is maintained according to Robinson’s original notes, including guidance on perennials and annuals. There is also a beautiful historic greenhouse and potting shed nearby. This property is a lovely spot for garden weddings and can be rented for small events.

      ©2020 Peabody Essex Museum, Photograph by Kathy Tarantola/PEM.

      ©2020 Peabody Essex Museum, Photograph by Kathy Tarantola/PEM.

      Ropes Mansion garden, 1915-1916. Peabody Essex Museum.

      Ropes Mansion garden, 1915-1916. Peabody Essex Museum.

      © 2015 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Walter Silver/PEM.

      © 2015 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Walter Silver.

      © 2016 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Kathy Tarantola/PEM.

      © 2016 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Kathy Tarantola/PEM.

      2018 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.

      © 2018 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert/PEM.

      A hundred year old copper beech tree has been recently tested for disease and is being saved by scientists and staff. Photo by Kathy Tarantola/PEM.

      Photo by Kathy Tarantola/PEM.

      Copper Beech Tree

      We're pleased to report positive news about the status of the copper beech tree in the Ropes Mansion Garden. The results of recent topography scans by UMass plant pathologist Dr. Nicholas Brazee revealed that the decay present appears to be confined to a small area immediately surrounding the location of the conk in the lower trunk and does not encompass a large percentage of the tree. No immediate action is needed at the time.

      As advised, PEM will continue to closely monitor the tree. We ask that visitors please adhere to the posted signage and avoid walking on the roots or carving initials into the trunk. We encourage everyone to come and enjoy the views and the shade of this majestic beauty and the tranquil garden.

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