Salem, Ohio was founded by Zadok Street, a clockmaker from New Jersey, and John Straughan (pronounced Strawn), a Pennsylvania potter, on April 30, 1806. At that time, over 200 years ago, there were approximately 100 people living in Salem and there are now over 12,000 citizens living in the city today.
The city was named after Salem, NJ, where Zadok Street originally immigrated. The word ‘Salem’ comes from the word ‘Jerusalem’ which means ‘City of Peace’ and many of the early townspeople belonged to the Religious Society of Friends, known as the Quakers. Salem was incorporated in 1830.
Salem was a major hub in the American Underground Railroad and was the headquarters for the Ohio American Anti-Slavery Society, later known as the Western Anti-Slavery Society that published THE ANTI-SLAVERY BUGLE. These papers were printed in Salem and are available for research at the Salem Historical Society.
In April 1850, Salem hosted the first Women’s Rights Convention in Ohio, the second such convention in the United States.
Over its history, Salem thrived on an industrial-based economy, advantageously located between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. For several decades, the largest corporations located in Salem included American Standard, Eljer, Mullins Manufacturing, Deming Pump, and Salem China.