The main block of the carriage house was likely added to the property soon after Captain Nathaniel West built 34 Chestnut Street. He likely kept four horses in the stalls on the lower floor, as well as a carriage collection, and used the upper floor for a tack room and hay storage. The cow barn was added on in the late nineteenth century, likely by Malvina Tabitha Ward, who owned the property and ran a school and boarding house between the 1830’s-1870’
When visitors come to the Phillips House today, they are allowed to step back in the history of locomotion and view Anna Phillips’ wicker phaeton and Portland Cutter and young Stephen Phillips’ pony cart. Also housed in the carriage house is a 1929 Model A Ford and two Pierce Arrows.
Every fall, the carriage house is closed to visitors due to extreme cold. All of the vehicles are covered with custom made wraps and the structure is thoroughly cleaned. Staff, neighbors, and visitors alike look forward to the opening of the carriage house in conjunction with the blooming of the bulb gardens in the backyard as a favorite sign of spring.
If you would like to visit the Phillips House, it is open for regular tours on weekends through May 31, from 11-4, with tours on the half-hour. Admission is $5.00 for adults and free for Historic New England members. A stroll on the grounds or self-guided tours of the carriage house are free. For more information or a listing of special spring programs at the Phillips House, please call 978-744-0440 or visit www.historicnewengland.org.
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Historic New England owns and operates two historic house museums in Salem, MA. The Phillips House is located on 34 Chestnut Street and was built in 1821. The Gedney House is located on 21 High Street and was built in 1665.