Lesson Plans - Salem Willows: Then and Now
| Frameworks | Essential
Question(s) | Lesson Objectives
Historical Background Essay | Materials
List and Pre-Arrangements/Preparations Needed
Vocabulary | Lesson
Activities | Student Product or Performance
Assessment Criteria | Possible
Modifications | Possible Extension Activities
Curricular/Interdisciplinary Links/Activities | Sources
Additional Resources for Students and Teachers
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In this lesson, children will compare photographs of Salem Willows, a popular seaside park and arcade on the North Shore, taken at the beginning of the nineteenth century to photos taken recently. Through teacher led discussion, children will talk about the ways in which Salem residents entertained themselves a century ago and compare and contrast those activities to the ones done in Salem today. Children will create word lists for each time period and use those lists use to write acrostic poems.
PRIMARY SOURCES & SOURCE TYPES USED in LESSON:
Photograph from Essex Image Vault, Accessed 31 July 2006. “Hospital Beach, 1891” http://www.esseximages.com/detail.aspx?ID=958
Photograph from Essex Image Vault, Accessed 31 July 2006. “Horse Drawn Trolley” http://www.esseximages.com/detail.aspx?ID=779
Photograph from Essex Image Vault, Accessed 31 July 2006. “Wharf Salem Willows” http://www.esseximages.com/detail.aspx?ID=791
Photograph from Essex Image Vault, Accessed 31 July 2006. “Willows Water Slide” http://www.esseximages.com/detail.aspx?ID=860
Photograph from Essex Image Vault, Accessed 31 July 2006. “Promenade Willows” http://www.esseximages.com/detail.aspx?ID=788
Photograph from Essex Image Vault, Accessed 31 July 2006. “Chase’s Salem Willows” http://www.esseximages.com/detail.aspx?ID=780
Photographs by Anna Kichorowsky, Accessed 20 July 2006. “Salem Willows, 2006.” http://www.saleminhistory.org/links.htm
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- How did people “have fun” in Salem 100 years ago?
- What do present day Salem residents do for fun?
- How are these activities alike?
- How are they different?
- Children will be familiar with the different types of amusement available in Salem Willows in the early 1900’s.
- Children will be able to understand that most forms of entertainment available today were not accessible one hundred years ago.
- Children will observe, interpret and analyze photographs from the past and present
- Children will be able to discuss the similarities and differences between leisurely activities of the past and present in Salem.
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CORRELATION WITH HISTORY STANDARDS FROM the 2003 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK
MA FRAMEWORK STRAND: Grade 3
MA FRAMEWORK UNIT/THEME ADDRESSED:
Massachusetts and Its Cities and Towns: Geography and History
MA FRAMEWORK LEARNING STANDARD(S) ADDRESSED:
3.8 On a map of Massachusetts, locate the class’ home town or city and its local geographic features and landmarks.
3.9 Identify historic buildings, monuments, or sites in the area and explain their purpose and significance.
MA FRAMEWORK CONCEPT AND SKILLS STANDARD(S) ADDRESSED
GRADE AND SUBJECT: Grade 3 History and Geography
NUMBER(S) AND DESCRIPTION(S):
1. Explain the meaning of time periods or dates in historical narratives (decade, century, 1600s, 1776) and use them correctly in speaking and writing.
2. Observe visual sources such as historic paintings, photographs, or illustrations that accompany historical narratives, and describe details such as clothing, setting, or action.
3. Observe and describe local or regional historic artifacts and sites and generate questions about their function, construction, and significance.
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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND/CONTEXT ESSAY:
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At the turn of the twentieth century, a combination of factors led to the development of multiple parks designed for entertainment and mass leisure. Although the most popular in the country was most certainly Coney Island in New York,1 the North Shore of Massachusetts boasted a few of its own. One of the cleanest and most popular in the early 1900’s was Salem Willows, named for the town in which it was located and its enormous hanging Willow trees.2 Salem Willows offered the perfect quick getaway for residents.
Before the turn of the twentieth century, people did not spend much leisure time enjoying themselves. Most people had jobs that required them to work long hours, and the few hours that people did have away from work was usually spent relaxing close to home. However, new inventions in the early 1900’s, including new types of machinery and factory equipment, allowed people to have a little more time off of work. Jobs that were previously done by hand began to slowly be supplemented or replaced by machines which allowed people to do the same amount of work in less time. Soon, many workers found themselves with more time off, and they wanted to spend that time enjoying themselves. The invention of the streetcar during the same time period allowed people to travel longer distances in a very short amount of time.3 Parks became more popular during this time period as developers realized that people longed to spend this new found free time away from home where they could spend time with others in an environment that was less crowded than the rest of the city.4
Salem Willows was one such park. The park was located in a popular North Shore city directly on the water, and it offered an intimate, cool, shady and refined picnic and playground area featuring a lively amusement park.5 The park included a sensational shoot-the chutes ride, a steam driven “merry-go-round,” small beaches, a dance hall, bands and plenty of open grassy fields for picnicking.6 Salem Willows relied heavily upon the streetcars for business and many people took advantage of them to travel to the area’s most popular amusement park of the time. The park also relied heavily upon a boat which carried passengers back and forth from Boston to Salem. Unfortunately, the boat crashed just a few years after it began to offer services and was no longer usable.7 Luckily, streetcars remained a popular and safe alternative, and the areas that were serviced by the cars were continually being expanded.
At its peak of popularity in the early twentieth century, over twenty thousand people could be found at Salem Willows on a single day.8 People traveled from all parts of the state using streetcars to visit the Willows and enjoy all that it had to offer. Although the majority of the visitors to the park were working class citizens, people from all social classes could usually be found enjoying themselves there. The rides at the Willows rivaled even the best rides at larger North Shore amusement parks, and the quiet seaside location of the park was very welcoming to young families who did not want to be bothered by the loud and sometimes rowdy crowds of the larger parks.
The invention of the automobile signaled the beginning of the downfall for the park, as well as many other parks of the time. Because the parks were now so easily accessible, they no longer seemed as special and exciting as they once did. The popularity of the streetcar quickly declined as automobiles became the mainstream form of transportation, and attendance at the Willows declined just as fast. Although the park still remained a popular destination, it never regained the popularity that it enjoyed in its early days.
Although the park remains open today, many would argue that it is not nearly as exciting or popular as it once was. In recent years, the high cost of liability insurance has caused the closure of most of the once popular rides at Salem Willows.9 Today, many people still visit the area to enjoy the seaside parks, small beaches, amusements and restaurants, but attendance will probably never again be as high as it was one hundred years ago. The majority of the visitors to the park today are young families looking to provide their children with a fun day of entertainment, but there are still many other visitors from different social groups. Many people agree that while the park will never be the same as it was at the beginning of the twentieth century, it is has many new and exciting attractions which will continue to entice visitors for years to come. This lesson will help children to understand the similarities and differences between the two time periods at the park.
1 John F. Kasson, Amusing the Million, Coney Island at the Turn of the Century, (New York: Hill and Wang, 1978), 3.
2 Joseph E. Garland, Boston’s Gold Coast, The North Shore, 1890-1929, (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1981), 22.
3 Stephen Hardy, How Boston Played, Sport, Recreation and Community, 1865-1915, (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1982), 67.
4 Hardy, 65.
5 Garland, 24.
6 Garland, 32-33.
7 Garland, 24.
8 Garland, 24.
9 News staff report, “Salem Willows, An Amusing Change of Pace,” Salem Evening News, 17 August 1989, 8A.
MATERIALS LIST AND PRE-ARRANGEMENTS/PREPARATION NEEDED
- Laminate photographs if desired to prevent them from becoming damaged.
- Photocopy each poem template.
- Additional photocopies of both sets of photographs will need to be made (three or four copies per student, depending on class size).
*An acrostic poem uses the letters in a word to begin each line of the poem. All lines of the poem relate to or describe the main topic word.
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The teacher will explain to the students that they will be spending time in class discussing ways that people today have fun in Salem. The words leisure and entertainment will be introduced here. Leisure means, “freedom from time-consuming duties, responsibilities or activities,” and entertainment means, “something that amuses, pleases or diverts.” Children will be asked to think about the meaning of both words and how they compare and contrast. Children will be paired with one other (teacher assigned) student and be asked to think about the following discussion questions:
- How do you spend your free time?
- What do you like to do?
- Where do you like to go?
- Do you stay at home, or do you go out?
The first partner will be given three minutes to explain his answers to his partner and then the second partner will be given three minutes to do the same. The children will get back together as a group, and the places that they discussed will be written on the chart paper. Salem Willows will most likely be mentioned at some point. If it is not, the teacher should ask leading questions until someone mentions it.
Helpful questions would be:
- Does anyone go outside in Salem to have fun?
- Where can you go to watch boats and play in the sand?
- Are there any outdoor places in Salem where you can get ice cream and pizza?
- Are there any arcades in Salem?
If Salem Willows was not mentioned previously, it will probably be mentioned by now. The discussion for today should end here.
The teacher will gather the children together as a group and ask them to raise their hand if they think that Salem Willows is a place where people go for entertainment in Salem. All children will be given a chance to contribute their knowledge about present day Salem Willows to the discussion. When everyone has had a chance to share, the teacher will take out the six photographs of present day Salem Willows and slowly show them to the class. Children will be encouraged to raise their hand if they recognize the area in the photograph or have something that they would like to tell the class about a particular photograph.
Based upon their observations of the photographs, the teacher will ask children to consider the following guiding questions:
- What do you see in these pictures? Name some of the items that you see.
- What is the landscape like?
- What colors do you see?
- How many people are there? What are they doing?
- What season is it? What is the weather like?
- Do the people look like they’re enjoying themselves? How can you tell?
- Are there other activities that you can imagine people doing there that are not shown in the images?
- How do you think people get to Salem Willows? (car, train, walk, boat, etc.)
The children will then be asked to close their eyes and imagine what it’s like to spend the day at Salem Willows today. When they open their eyes, all children will be asked to give one word that describes what they thought of. The words will be written on a piece of chart paper, and those words will be used to write one part of the acrostic poem. The teacher will end the discussion by explaining to students that Salem Willows has been a popular place for people to go for over one hundred years, and tomorrow they will be viewing photographs of Salem Willows from the beginning of last century (the meaning of the word century will be discussed here, and the word and its definition will be written on a new piece of chart paper hanging in the front of the class).
Today the children will begin by gathering into a group. The teacher will ask the children what they think people did for entertainment and leisure a century ago in Salem. After a few children have shared their ideas, the teacher will explain which things were (music, parks, boats, beaches, sports) and were not (video games, airplanes, cars, televisions, malls) readily available one hundred years ago. The teacher will slowly show the six pictures of Salem Willows one hundred years ago.
The same guiding questions that were used in yesterday’s lesson can be used again today to help children imagine exactly what it might have been like to spend a day at Salem Willows one hundred years ago. If the students are familiar with observing and interpreting visual primary sources, the teacher will then ask students some additional guiding questions to help students begin to compare the two sets of photographs.
- Do you recognize any of the scenes in these pictures? Does anything look similar to what you saw in the photographs yesterday?
- What are the people in these photographs wearing? How is it different from what the people were wearing in the pictures we looked at yesterday?
The children will then be asked to close their eyes and imagine what it would have been like to spend the day at Salem Willows at the beginning of the twentieth century. When they open their eyes, all children will be asked to give one word that describes what they thought of. The words will be written on a piece of chart paper, and those words will be used to write the second acrostic poem.
The children will begin today’s lesson by viewing the present day photos of Salem Willows next to the set of photos from the early 1900’s. The children will be asked to spend a few minutes looking at the photographs again, and they will be encouraged to add new words to their lists. The teacher will explain to the students that they will be creating two acrostic poems: one for each time period (children will have had experience writing acrostic poems). The teacher will model the correct way to complete their poem. She will explain that the words on the chart should be used to create short phrases beginning with the appropriate letter. Children will begin with the poem for the older photographs. They will be able to work at their own pace, and the teacher will be available if needed. When they have finished writing the first poem, they will move on to the second poem.
Days 5-6 (stop when all children have finished writing their poems):
When all children have completed both poems, they will be able to choose a photograph from the appropriate time period for each poem. The teacher will hand out large pieces of construction paper, and the children will glue each poem and its corresponding photograph to one piece of paper. The children will be able to share the poems with classmates, and the teacher could hang them up if desired.
ASSESSMENT/STUDENT PRODUCT or PERFORMANCE:
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Students will be assessed when they have completed both poems using the assessment criteria. Participation in oral discussions will also be used to assess their understanding of the lesson.
The poems that the children create will be assessed using the following scale:
Students used words from the correct list or phrases that were appropriate for the corresponding time period all of the time. All phrases are detailed and begin with the correct letter. Work is organized and neat.
Student used words from the correct list or phrases that were appropriate for the corresponding time period most of the time. All phrases begin with the correct letter. Work is mostly organized and neat.
Students used many words that were not on the correct list or phrases that were inappropriate for the corresponding time period when creating their poems. Many phrases do not begin with the correct letter. Work is disorganized and not neat.
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- Children could work with partners to complete the poems.
- Children could complete only one word from the acrostic poem.
- Children could type their poems on the computer.
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POSSIBLE EXTENSION ACTIVITIES:
- Additional words could be added to the acrostic poem
- Children could write a short paragraph about each time period after completing the poem.
- The class could take a field trip to Salem Willows before writing the poems to experience firsthand what Salem Willows is like today.
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CROSS CURRICULAR/INTERDISCIPLINARY LINKS/ACTIVITIES:
- Students could write a short paragraph about Salem Willows in the early twentieth century (English Language Arts).
- Students could create drawings of each time period instead of using copied photographs (Art).
- Students could figure out how many years ago some of the photographs were taken by subtracting them from the current year (Math).
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SOURCES AND RESOURCES
PRIMARY SOURCES USED
USED IN LESSON:
Photograph from Essex Image Vault. Phillips Library Collection. “Hospital Beach, 1891” Online at http://www.esseximages.com/detail.aspx?ID=958 [visited 7/31/2006].
Photograph from Essex Image Vault. Phillips Library Collection. “Horse Drawn Trolley” Online at http://www.esseximages.com/detail.aspx?ID=779 [visited 7/31/2006].
Photograph from Essex Image Vault. Phillips Library Collection. “Wharf Salem Willows” Online at http://www.esseximages.com/detail.aspx?ID=791 [visited 7/31/2006].
Photograph from Essex Image Vault. Phillips Library Collection. “Willows Water Slide” Online at http://www.esseximages.com/detail.aspx?ID=860 [visited 7/31/2006].
Photograph from Essex Image Vault. Phillips Library Collection. “Promenade Willows” Online at http://www.esseximages.com/detail.aspx?ID=788 [visited 7/31/2006].
Photograph from Essex Image Vault. Phillips Library Collection. “Chase’s Salem Willows” Online at http://www.esseximages.com/detail.aspx?ID=780 [visited 7/31/2006].
Six photographs from the Essex Image Vault are used in this lesson. All photographs were taken at Salem Willows in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. In the photographs, children will be able to clearly see the different buildings and types of architecture found in Salem Willows one hundred years ago. Many photos also show adults and children wearing outfits typical of the day. Although I chose these particular photographs, there are many more available on the website, and additional photographs could be used instead of the ones listed here if desired.
“Salem Willows, 2006” Salem in History Online at http://www.saleminhistory.org/links.htm Photographs by Anna Kichorowsky. [visited 7/20/2006].
These six photographs are also of Salem Willows but were taken in 2006. The changes that have occurred over the past one hundred years at Salem Willows are clearly visible in these photos, which show current structures and people relaxing at the park.
SECONDARY (PRINT) SOURCES USED IN LESSON:
Stephen Hardy. How Boston Played, Sport, Recreation and Community, 1865-1915. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1982.
Connects sports history to the larger context of urban and social history, focusing on Boston sports and recreation between the Civil War and World War I. This book describes the development of parks in and around the Boston area at the turn of the twentieth century, the time period in which Salem Willows became a popular amusement park.
Joseph E. Garland. Boston’s Gold Coast, The North Shore, 1890-1929. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1981.
This book describes the social and physical changes in the North Shore of Boston in the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s. Many photographs are included. The town of Salem and Salem Willows are mentioned frequently in this book, and their significance during the time period is described.
John F. Kasson. Amusing the Million, Coney Island at the Turn of the Century. New York: Hill and Wang, 1978.
This book examines the growth, popularity and decline of the amusement parks in Coney Island at the beginning of the early 20th century. The book contains many photographs. Although Salem Willows is not mentioned in this book, there are many similarities between Coney Island and Salem Willows, and the book provides wonderful insight into the rapid growth and sudden decline of the amusement parks in America at the beginning of the twentieth century.
News staff report, “Salem Willows, An Amusing Change of Pace,” Salem Evening News 17 August 1989.
This article discusses the changes that occurred in Salem Willows from the mid twentieth century to the late twentieth century. Many interviews are included.
WEB RESOURCES USED IN LESSON:
SECONDARY (PRINT) SOURCES USED TO CREATE LESSON:
WEB RESOURCES USED TO CREATE LESSON:
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS AND/OR STUDENTS:
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