Daniel Bray House // 1766

Here is a preservation success story for you all! The Daniel Bray House in Salem, MA was built around 1766 as a two-and-a-half story wood-frame vernacular house with side-gable roof. Captain Daniel Bray, a master mariner, was born in 1735 in Salem, eventually marrying Mary Ingalls in 1760, and six years later the couple built this house for their growing family, on his family’s land, which he later purchased in 1770. Bray’s work as a master mariner gained him connections in town, especially since he sailed as captain on several vessels owned by merchant John Derby. After retiring from the sea, Bray managed Derby Wharf in Salem until his death in 1798. The home was willed to Daniel’s son, Daniel Jr., who was also a master mariner. By the early 1900s, the home was converted to commercial use, as a grocery and later as a candy store. The home was given storefront windows to showcase the goods inside. The home was eventually purchased by the Peabody Essex Museum in the 1980s. They undertook a massive restoration of the home using forensic study and research and skilled restoration carpenters and masons.

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