Salem Maritime National Historic Site | WEST INDIA GOODS STORE

West India Goods Stores

West India Goods Stores

The West India Goods Store was built around 1800 by Henry Prince, a sea captain and wealthy merchant who owned or had stakes in nine ships. The building originally served as his warehouse, and it was located on the other side of the street. Prince sold the building in 1827. It is not known what the new owners first did with it, but ten years later there was a reference in print that it was a West India Goods Store, a term used for any retail store that sold imported goods from around the world. It continued as a West India Goods Store until the early 1850s, at which time maritime trade was no longer a viable industry in Salem, so no West India-type goods were being imported into the city.

The building has been preserved as a historical structure since the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities acquired it in 1928. It was donated to the National Park Service in 1937 for inclusion in the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. Up until just recently it was actually run as a West India Goods Store, selling tea, coffee, herbs, and spices. It is now closed, and the Waite and Peirce Information Center and Museum Store on Central Wharf now sells such goods.

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Last updated on June 15, 2020
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