Halloween in Spring: a Series. The Architecture of Hocus Pocus in Salem, MA

Edward Balcomb Cottage. Priceypads. Retrieved from https://www.priceypads.com/1870-edward-p-balcomb-cottage-in-salem-massachusetts-photos/

NOTE: This series, "Halloween in the Spring," is based on the posts I wrote for my Halloween 2020 Take-Over of AHNCA's (Art Historians of Nineteenth Century Art) social media accounts. It's a jolly bit of writing and the inspiration for this blog. I've left the posts almost identical to the originals to preserve the rollicking tone; however, I've added links to the original sources, museum websites, or other information you, dear reader, might find interesting. Without further ado, it's time to celebrate Halloween in the springtime!

Who’s ready for a scary tale of three witches who suck the life from children in order to stay young and beautiful forever? Wait, that’s the film, Hocus Pocus (1993), starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the three witches! Did you know that the film not only takes place in Salem, MA, but parts of it were also filmed in Salem, MA? The director, Kenny Ortega, used locations around the city as a back drop for the story and prominently placed two of Salem’s 19th century architectural gems front and center.

Edward Balcomb Cottage. Priceypads. Retrieved from https://www.priceypads.com/1870-edward-p-balcomb-cottage-in-salem-massachusetts-photos/

The Edward Balcomb Cottage (c. 1870) is a wonderful example of Victorian eclecticism, with its French Beaux-Arts mansard roof with bell-cast profile and and an Italianate cupola. Located at 4 Ocean Avenue, this cottage is close to Salem Pioneer Village, which is also used in the movie. The Edward Balcomb Cottage is Max and Dani’s home in Hocus Pocus. Just a note for fans of the movie, the house is a private residence so please be considerate when you go to visit.

AlexiusHoratius, Old Town Hall. CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia CommonsOld Town Hall, The Salem Museum. Retrieved from http://www.thesalemmuseum.org/

Old Town Hall and Market House on 32 Derby Square was used for the Halloween party that Dani and Max’s parents attend in the movie. It was built in 1815 by the local builder Joshua Upham from plans by an unknown architect. Some scholars believe that Charles Bulfinch designed the building based on certain design details and the fact that he was active in the area at the time (Tolles, 86). The ground floor was used as a marketplace and the upper floors was a civic hall. Today, the building is used for an array of functions, including weddings and the play "Cry Innocence."

AlexiusHoratius, Old Town Hall. CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia CommonsOld Town Hall, The Salem Museum. Retrieved from http://www.thesalemmuseum.org/

Tolles, Jr., Bryant F. Architecture in Salem: An Illustrated Guide. Hanover and England: University Press of New England, 1983.
Edward Balcomb photos. Priceypads. Retrieved from https://www.priceypads.com/1870-edward-p-balcomb-cottage-in-salem-massachusetts-photos/
AlexiusHoratius, Old Town Hall. CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia CommonsOld Town Hall, The Salem Museum. Retrieved from http://www.thesalemmuseum.org/

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