What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?
“A large convenient House … finely situated on the main Street.”
Location! Location! Location! Francis Symonds highlighted the location of the “front Part of a large convenient House” that he offered for sale or rent in the June 12, 1770, edition of the Essex Gazette. He noted that the property was “finely situated on the main Street in Danvers, within about a Quarter of a Mile of the Rev. Mr. Holt’s Meeting-House.” Symonds also reported an array of goods and services available in close proximity to the house, inserting a census that was not a standard feature of eighteenth-century real estate notices. Within a quarter mile, buyers or renters would be “accommodated with a very capable Schoolmistress, a Victualler, a Baker, 2 Merchants, 4 Shopkeepers, 2 Doctors, 1 Surgeon, 3 Carpenters, 2 Masons, 3 Blacksmiths, 3 Potters, 2 Tanners, 2 Curriers, 1 Saw-Mill, 1 Weaver, 2 Tailors, 1 Barber, 1 Chaisemaker, 2 Saddlers, 2 Joiners, 1 Glazier, and 8 Cordwainers.” In addition, they had access to “a good Grist-Mill within half a Mile.” Although not nearly as bustling as nearby Boston, the town of Danvers was “so growing, that most of the said Tradesmen have lately set up their Businesses.” Symonds suggested that buyers or renters would reside in an up-and-coming neighborhood.
While that made daily life more comfortable, it also contributed to the prospects of earning a livelihood in the area, especially for anyone interested in the “Shop on the lower Floor” of the house. In addition to prospective customers who lived nearby, Symonds declared, “It is thought about three Quarters of the Marketing that goes into the two great Towns of Salem and Marblehead passes by said House.” Furthermore, the house was “situated within a Mile and an half of Salem Court-House” as well as “near the Bell Inn.” Anyone who intended to operate a business in the shop would not lack for foot traffic. Prospective customers passed by on their way to market, court, and a popular tavern.
Unlike others who advertised real estate, Symonds offered only a brief description of the house and land. He focused primarily on the location and the businesses located nearby, his extensive account of the area conjuring images of a lively neighborhood where residents could readily access services and entrepreneurs could easily engage customers. Considering that many of the local “Tradesmen have lately set up their Businesses,” he may have considered this necessary to attract buyers or renters unaware of the recent growth in the town of Danvers.