Henry McIntyre's elaborate, decorated survey map of the City of Salem in 1851 is a portrait of an already densely developed city. Seven large architectural vignettes convey the institutional strength of civic, business and religious institutions. City Hall is drawn in the top left corner, the Court House at the bottom center of the map built in 1841. The large facade of the Eastern Railroad Station marks Salem as a major shipping and transfer hub domestically and beyond in America's rapidly expanding railroad network and worldwide shipping. Four vignettes of churches project the strong Protestant foundation of Salem in 1851. When we examine the map at close range, one religious congregation is located in the center city: the Friends Meeting House.
The railroads in Salem shown on the map are the Essex R.R. and the Eastern R.R. There is a spur line labeled Essex Marine Railway that runs out onto the S.C. Phillips wharf. Large railroad depots are located and labeled. A freight depot is labeled near the wharf area. Built far out into the harbor is Derby Wharf, likely designed to accommodate large ships. Manufacturing occupies much of the waterfront, otherwise occupied by freight related structures. The Naumkeag Steam Cotton Factory occupies the equivalent of multiple city blocks.
Civic buildings include schools such as the Salem Latin High School. Amidst all of this industrial and trading wealth is the Alms House with its small orchard and garden. Large residential estates remain around the city's perimeter, one labeled as Leavitt's Farm.
Color is used to outline the perimeter of the city in red, the shoreline in blue and cemeteries are colored with green. The surface of the map in is in good condition and presents the art work and fine details with clarity. Original colors and period green reinstated by hand, enhance the composition and create a visual field and "ground" for this city surrounded by water.
While the map is a survey and drawn with sufficient detail for siting buildings and navigation, its decorative elements suggest that this map would have been hung in both homes and places of business. The map's illustration of a double masted sailboat with two sailors heading southward in Salem Harbor is a decorative motif that invites the viewer to imagine entering Salem as a visitor to the city with its wharfs, streets, homes and urban charm.
Henry McIntyre's Map of the City of Salem Mass. From an actual Survey 1851 is a scarce map held only in several institutional collections.