Located in the center of Salem's Historic District, the half-acre site consists of two parcels forming a public square and a pedestrian corridor. Armory Square occupies the former site of the Second Corps Cadet Armory building and is named in its honor. The Public Garden corridor occupies what was once the site of a parking lot and derelict building.
The design is a contemporary composition honoring the historic setting of Salem, the military heritage of the Armory Square site, and the Peabody Essex Museum's dedication to fine art and craftsmanship. All the plant materials used in the landscape are native to Asia, reflecting the museum's focus on trade and exchange with China, Japan, and Korea. Bricks from the Armory building were salvaged and reused to form a new arch and walls for the site, forming a welcoming gate for the town’s residents and visitors. Traditional materials common to Salem's architectural heritage, such as brick, bluestone, limestone, and granite, are combined to create a setting that is familiar and inviting. The legacy of the Second Corps Cadets is honored by the inclusion of a granite inscription wall that pays homage to its members and a carved stone bearing the Corps’ name that is incorporated into the new brick wall. The Revere Bell, a pewter casting made by the Paul Revere foundry in the same period that the Second Corps Cadets was formed, sits at the center of a small amphitheater.
Peabody Essex Museum