The Williams-Brown House was built about 1845 by merchant, hotelier, and amateur architect William C. Williams to serve as his residence and mercantile. Distinguished by its unique double porches, the structure originally sat at the corner of Main Street and Craig Avenue, welcoming travelers to the eastern end of downtown Salem. After Williams’ death in 1852, his daughter Mary and her husband Joshua Brown acquired the house and their family owned it for the better part of the next century. The store moved from the building in the late 1800s, but the house remained the Brown’s residence for many years. By the 1930s, the house was being rented, and over the years it served as apartments and office space, and even as a fraternity house for Roanoke College. In 1970, it became the first building in Salem placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Nevertheless, by the 1980s, the grand old house was a vacant, dilapidated eyesore threatened with demolition. Fortunately, the Salem Historical Society intervened to relocate the house into Longwood Park and opened it as the Salem Museum in 1992.