Stephen Phillips House – Salem, Massachusetts - Atlas Obscura

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Stephen Phillips House

Built in 1821 using rooms from another estate, the Phillips House is the only historic home on scenic Chestnut Street open to the public.  


When visiting Salem, the most common attractions are those related to the witch trials of 1692. Multiple museums, numerous cemeteries, historic streets, and local markets cement the lore and legend of the city. However, not everything in Salem is related to the infamous trials and the Stephen Phillips House is a great example.

The story of the Phillips house begins with Elias Hasket Derby, a sea merchant and the owner of a fleet of privateers. At one point he was considered one of the richest men in the United States. When he died in 1799, his daughter Elizabeth inherited his farm and estate in the nearby town of Danvers. She and her husband Captain Nathaniel West moved into the estate, but West left after their divorce in 1806. Elizabeth passed away in 1814 and the estate was left to her three daughters. When one of them died in 1819, West inherited one-third of the estate. 

West had four intact rooms transported from Danvers via ox sled and combined with another home on Chestnut Street to form a Federal-style mansion. At that time, he had added a hallway, a third floor, and a back ell section. 

In 1911, Anna Phillips bought the house and launched a 14-month renovation project in the Colonial Revival Style. Phillips moved into the home with her husband Stephen and their five-year-old son bringing with them five generations of family furnishings. Stephen died in 1955 and the house remains as it looked at the time.

Today, the home is owned and operated by Historic New England and is the only home on historical Chestnut Street that’s open to the public. If you’re interested in historic American architecture, New England history, and would like to see something different from the witch trials, the Stephen Phillips House is definitely worth checking out.

Know Before You Go

Parking on Chestnut Street is extremely difficult so it's best to find a spot nearby and walk the rest of the distance. 

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November 26, 2021

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