The Salem Courthouse was used for municipal and judicial purposes from 1677 to 1718, including by the Court of Oyer and Terminer as the site of the trials and indictments of many persons in the Salem witch trials of 1692. The original building was torn down in 1760, and a marker was put on the wall of the Masonic Temple opposite the original site.
The marker reads:
“Nearly opposite this spot stood, in the middle of the
street, a building devoted from 1677 until 1718 to municipal and judicial uses.
In it, in 1692, were tried and condemned for witchcraft most
of the nineteen persons who suffered death on the gallows. Giles Corey was here
put to trial on the same charge and, refusing to plead, was taken away and
pressed to death.
In January 1693, twenty one persons were tried here for
witchcraft of whom eighteen were acquitted and three condemned, but later set
free together with about 150 accused persons, in a central delivery which
occurred in May.”