Y to restore Ames Hall and open an arts center
By Tom Dalton
SALEM — Ames Hall, with its marble staircase and stained-glass windows, is one of those grand relics of Salem past that survived time and the wrecking ball.
This 1898 concert and lecture hall inside the Salem YMCA, where President William Howard Taft once spoke, has certainly changed over the years. The balcony is gone, and, years ago, the hall was converted into a gymnasium. But unlike the Paramount Theatre and other architectural treasures that have disappeared, Ames Hall stuck around long enough to make a comeback.
This week, the Salem YMCA announced a $3.5 million capital campaign to restore the historic hall and to make it the centerpiece and performance space of a Creative Arts Center at the Salem YMCA. The board of directors began investigating this fundraising goal more than a year ago, during the dark days of the recession, and emerged convinced there is community support for this historic restoration.