Salem's Point neighborhood was originally known as Stage Point for wooden fish-drying "stages" along the peninsula.
Stage Point was a center for Salem's early maritime business, and key to her historic economic development.
The area around this peninsula was gradually filled in over the eighteenth century, forming what became known as "La Pointe."
It was home to mostly French-Canadian mill workers from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries.
Numerous leather and shoe workshops operated in Salem in the early nineteenth century, but it was the Naumkeag Steam Cotton Company,
(top and middle photos) founded by several Salem merchants in the 1830s at the edge of the harbor to take advantage of easy access to coal imports and cotton exports, which assumed economic dominance in the city. As workers' streamed in to the mill, the point neighborhood filled with boarding houses and company-owned tenements.
Immigrant-owned business catered to the growing community.
Both the mill and the neighborhood were destroyed in Salem's 1914 fire, but were quickly rebuilt.
While other New England mills moved south, Naumkeag's new facilities became a paragon of labor-management collaboration until a wildcat strike in 1933 brought national attention to the mill's labor struggles.
mill's Pequot brand sheets became a household name.
Naumkeag began to shift production to South Carolina in the 1940s and closed in 1953. The Point's French Canadians began to move from the neighborhood and a new generation of immigrants, first from Puerto Rico, and then the Dominican Republic, moved in (bottom photo). New Caribbean restaurants, groceries, and other small businesses now dot the neighborhood, which is known in Spanish as "El Punto."