"If you step from the Union Depot in Troy into a Delaware and Hudson car attached to the 5p.m. express on the Fitchburg Railroad, you will find yourself in the prettiest town in Northern New York." These words, written by a correspondent to the Troy Daily Press in 1888 about Salem, still ring true.
The Salem of today, with its village of Salem and communities of Shushan and Eagleville has changed little. Only people and commerce of an earlier time have come and gone, while the automobile has replaced regular passenger train service
The historic community of Salem was settled in 1762 by pioneers from Massachusets and Scotland. In 1776, Salem became the home of the Charlotte County and White Creek Revolutionary War militia, and later in 1862, the recruiting home for the Civil War New York State Volunteer 123rd Regiment. Monuments and graves of these wars are found in the Revolutionary War and Evergreen Cemeteries in Salem.
Salem village, with its 18th and 19th century architecture, contains a variety of businesses. Found in the Salem area are restaurants, gift shops, antique centers, farm stands and art galleries.
The area abounds in activities and entertainment. Family fun includes outdoor experiences of canoeing, swimming, camping, hiking and fishing. Live performances for adults and children are found at the Fort Salem Theatre, The Mettawee Theatre and Music from Salem. Three classic wooden, covered bridges span the Battenkill and are open to the public.
Agriculture continues to dominate the rural setting, but modern farming and related agribusinesses now dot the countryside in addition to dairy, potato and sheep farming. Farm stands selling sweetcorn, raspberries, blueberries, maple syrup, dried flowers, wool and angora spinning materials, offer local products to Salem visitors. The famous Battenkill River and White Creek supply Salem with pure Green Mountain water.
Salem has two municipal governments to service its citizens: the Village Trustees and Town Board. Formerly, a part of the county government, but presently owned by the town and undergoing restoration work, a historical courthouse is also located here. Public services include the Bancroft Library, Salem Fire Department and Salem Rescue Squad.
Professional services include lawyers, doctors, a dentist and McClellan Health System Health Center. A K - 12 Central School System serves the needs of all Salem School District children.
Salem is not without churches. A community founded on religious freedom, Salem is the home of Holy Cross Catholic Church, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, United Presbyterian and Methodist churches plus Shushan's Presbyterian and Methodist churches.