Our 2017 ornament depicts The Preston Place, the Historic Home located at 1936 West Main Street, Salem.
The house now known as Preston Place was built circa 1821 by John Johnston. The original house was a four-room brick home—the front portion of the current structure—that sat on acres of farmland. The home’s well still exists in the back, but the kitchen and other original outbuildings are gone. An indoor kitchen was added to the back of the house in the mid-1800s.
The Johnston family and their descendants lived in the home until 1879 when Charles Isaac Preston purchased the home for $600. Mr. Preston was a man of many trades: farmer, town sheriff, and Confederate war veteran who, according to family history, was a courier for General Robert E. Lee. He and his wife Mary had eight children. The property passed down through the generations to Dr. Esther Clark Brown, Salem’s first female doctor. At her request, her family donated the property to the Salem Museum & Historical Society in 2014 after her death.
From 2014-2017, the Historical Society worked hard to extensively renovate and preserve what is thought be Salem’s oldest home.