Pentucket Bank Drives the First Spike for the Depot Restoration
Dianne Paquette and Donna Velt with Elementary School winners
The room was alive with excitement Thursday night at Devito on Main as the Depot Restoration could be seen just outside the double doors of the restaurant. In the fall of 2007, the Salem Board of Selectmen authorized Beverly Glynn, chairman of the Historic District Commission, to oversee the train station renovation project. Quickly, Glynn found Salem’s retired town manager Dr. Henry LaBranche to assist her in managing the project. The committee currently consists of Donna Velt of Pentucket Bank, Diane Paquette, Howie Glynn, Tom Gioseffi of Stonehill Builders and Beth Roth, selectmen representative.
Thursday’s event had two special functions, as described by committee chairman LaBranche, which were to formalize the fundraising efforts and to recognize the winner of both the storytelling and artist rendering of the stories they had been told. Roth and Velt introduced the student from the elementary school who had colored a drawing of the Depot by Salem’s own artist Bill Swank. They also introduced the Woodbury School students who created different mixed media representations of the stories the seniors had told them.
The building is now safe for volunteers by the town; asbestos was removed and an unsafe addition to the building was demolished. Private funds are now needed to restore the station and to establish a trust fund for upkeep on the building, without impacting the taxpayers.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation to the Salem Historical Society Depot Fund of a check from Pentucket Bank for $30,000. Smiles and cheers were heard through the restaurant.
From left; Donna Velt, Beth Roth, Scott Cote, Beverly Glynn, Dr. Henry LaBranche
Haigh School had an assembly that is done yearly but each year it ends up being different. This year it was collaboration with the U.S. history teacher Jeanne Newman and Music Director Amy Moldoff. This was put together by fifth-graders after intense study of fallen heroes from way back up to the present day. As the assembly started in total silence, the Salem Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps performed a flag ceremony. After the National Anthem was sung by Moldoff’s daughter, the students took turns reading out loud about real life stories of real people and what they have accomplished. Then they lined up in front of the school and waved flags as they marched to drummers from Salem High School and the Jr. ROTC in the lead.
Getting to the gazebo only took a few minutes, but the students remained quiet. Family members were honored with red, white and blue stars placed on the gazebo. Gold stars had been placed honoring fallen Salem heroes. When done, the students marched back to school and celebrated with popsicles. What a touching event! Good job again, Haigh!
Gold stars for fallen heroes from Salem, red and blue stars for fallen family members
Salem Firefighters Train at Former Depot Baptist Church
by Andrea Ganley-Dannewitz
Salem Fire Department received a last-minute opportunity to train its firefighters in a simulated-to-real fire scenario at the former Samantha’s Restaurant/Depot Baptist Church. The property was bought by Salem Cooperative Bank and the buildings are due to be torn down.
Captain Paul Leischner said each shift commander brought crews for training. “It’s not every day we have a building that is tall like that one,” he said. “It was a great opportunity, considering the height of the building to practice roof ventilating, and last-resort, high-risk, self-rescue techniques that are not used very often.”
The downstairs area is designed as a nightclub, as that was its most recent use, with many obstacles – perfect for firefighters to practice rescues. Firefighters with ropes attached to them performed simulated search and rescue operations and cut openings into closed doors to see into rooms while practicing searches.
The day’s normal flow of real calls to the department for help were fairly light. Leischner all crews had a chance to practice.
Many onlookers were at Depot Plaza across the street and the street corners of Salem Depot. “It was a terrific training day and everyone got a turn to go in, plus it was a high visibility location so the public had the opportunity to witness what we do, and how we train to do it,” Leischner said.
The use of the building known formerly as the Depot Baptist Church was made possible by Dave Beshara of Salem Cooperative Bank. He was contacted by Deputy Chief Jeff Emanuelson for the department to training at the site before the building was demolished.