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Front and rear view of No. 12 [sometimes listed as 10 1/2] Herbert St., Salem where Hawthorne wrote from Hawthorne's Country by Helen Archibald Clarke, The Baker and Taylor Co., 1910, opposite p. 68

The description that Helen Clarke gives of the house which Hawthorne referred to as "Castle Dismal" is very close to the way it looks today. While no longer a "tenement house" it is rental property in some disrepair. Clarke says the house "has none of the charm which belongs to many of the older houses, even when somewhat humble. It is a tall, high-shouldered, wooden structure, with not a line to commend it nor a grace to distinguish it" (69). She notes that the third floor window of Hawthorne's room "is miserably small and jambed up so close to the eaves as to make one think of the interior only as the most unprepossessing of attic rooms" (69). Clarke does point out that in Hawthorne's day the street was less dense and that the house did provide the advantage of being only a block from the sea (69).
(courtesy of Terri Whitney)
citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/images/image.php?name=MMD2489