Ever been gripped with an interest to know where the center of our City, Salem lies? If you had, then you might have also wanted to know its significance.
Salem Online News from Centre for Community Media begins its journey right from the Centre of our beautiful city by presenting below some interesting forgotten facts about the centre of Salem.
In the middle of the Christ Church (located at the west of Salem Collectorate), we can find a shining bright brass plate embedded on the floor. It reads, “Centre of Salem, 1861”. The story behind the information is this.
Robert Bruce Foote the first Superintendent of the Geological Survey of India was assigned the task of conducting the first survey of Salem. The British officer was then a Surveyor. He began the first survey from the steps of a building that used to be the billiards hall where the officers during the British era, used to recreate. From the steps Bruce Foote drew a triangle with one point extending to the present Salem Government General Hospital, another at the Salem Collectorate at the mean sea level indicator and the first bench mark. The other point of the triangle was the present State Bank of India Main Branch. The Anglican cemetery located to the north of the Collectorate was given the first survey number.
The Christ Church now stands on the compound where the billiards hall once existed and hence it is the centre of Salem. Jessie Thomas Foulkes, the second daughter of second daughter of George Fredrick Fischer, (the then Zamindar of Salem. Salem had a Zamindar from Netherlands much before the British arrived on the scene) owned the billiards hall and the land surrounding it. In 1870 she donated the land for constructing the Christ Church. Built in an exquisite Indo-Sarsanic design tradition the Church is a rare architectural relic of Salem.
The Church was dedicated on October 26, 1875 by Rev.D.G.Clarke when the heritage walks organized by the Salem Historical Society.Thomas Longley was the Collector.
The brass plate indicating the first land survey was removed from the old Billiards room and was embedded in the Christ Church where it still remains. The Church also has many other interesting heritage facts. The site is often visited during the Salem Heritage walks organized by the Salem Historical Society.
(CENTRE FOR COMMUNITY MEDIA)