The Proctor’s Ledge Memorial is a simple monument dedicated to the 19 people who were hanged during the Salem Witch Trials. For centuries, historians believed that the executions of the accused took place at the summit of Gallows Hill. However, seventeenth century Salemites didn’t list the exact site of the hangings. So for years, the exact spot where the hangings occurred remained a mystery. In 1921, a local historian – Sidney Perley – determined that the spot of the executions must have near the base of the hill on Proctor’s Ledge. So, considering his conclusion, the city purchased a part of the hill and called it “Witch Memorial Land”.
Proctor’s Ledge wasn’t officially confirmed as the location of the hangings until January, 2016 when a group of academics made the determination after nearly six years of research. One year later, the city erected the memorial, a full 325 years after the end of the Salem Witch Trials.
What Does the Proctor’s Ledge Memorial Look Like?
Nineteen engraved stones embedded in a semi-circular granite wall make up the memorial. On each of these stones, you’ll find an engraved name and the date of the execution. The memorial doesn’t list victim Giles Corey. Unlike the other 19 victims, the Court of Oyer and Terminer pressed Corey to death much closer to the middle of present-day downtown Salem.
An oak tree in the center of the memorial reminds visitors of the endurance and dignity of the accused.
Touring The Proctor’s Ledge Memorial
The place is a beautiful tribute to those who lost their lives during the Salem Witch Trials. As the site of the hangings, the memorial is a must-see in the city. Also, it’s the perfect place to pause, reflect and remember. Many visitors to the memorial claim to have felt a real connection with the events of 1692.
Hours of Operation
You may visit the memorial everyday, from 8 AM to 8 PM.