Taylorsville City Councilman Curt Cochran discovered this fall, Halloween is big business in Salem, MassachusettsNov 30, 2023 01:28PM ● By Carl Fauver
Taylorsville City Councilman Curt Cochran (right) says October is the busiest time of year, not surprisingly, in Salem, Massachusetts. (Courtesy Curt Cochran)
One of the benefits of being a well-accepted elected official is that, once in a while, you can be reelected to a new leadership term without facing any opposition.
In the Taylorsville City Council races this fall, two of the three on the ballot – Curt Cochran in District 2 and Anna Barbieri of District 3 – enjoyed that status as they ran unopposed and will each be back for 4-year terms, running through 2027.
For Cochran, being unopposed made it easier for him and his wife, Wendy, to travel two time zones away during what would have been the heat of an election battle. The pair made their way to Boston and Salem, Massachusetts, Oct. 11 to 18.
“It was mostly a vacation – and, of course, we paid our own way,” Cochran said. “But whenever we travel to other parts of the country, I like to talk with business people and observe things about their infrastructure. I always see and learn a few things I think might work here – or at least deserve a little thought.”
For starters, Cochran learned Halloween is big business in the city infamous for its Salem Witch Trials 330 years ago.
According to Wikipedia: “The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. More than 200 people were accused. Thirty people were found guilty, 19 of whom were executed by hanging (14 women and five men). One other man died under torture after refusing to enter a plea. At least five other people died in jail.” (wikipedia.org)
“Obviously it’s a very negative history; but that was also a long time ago,” Cochran added. “The people in Salem and the businesses embrace it – they own their history. We went to the Salem Witch Museum and it was very interesting. It explains very well what happened and why it happened.”
As if being in Salem in October, wasn’t enough… the Cochrans found themselves there on Friday the 13th.
“We were in Salem Thursday and Friday and there were five times as many people in the city on that Friday the 13th,” he added. “But Salem is a great town. It’s much more modern than I expected, given its many hundreds of years of history.”
And forget about the “Christmas rush” for Salem merchants. The storekeepers he spoke with told Cochran they do 90% of their business in October.
In Boston, Curt and Wendy Cochran walked the 2.5 mile “Freedom Trail,” which passes some 17 locations significant to the history of the United States, from the Boston Common to the “Old North Church” to Bunker Hill Monument.
“In our five days on the ground, we calculated that we walked about 36 miles – so we were busy,” Cochran added. “The Freedom Trail in Boston is easy to follow because the city has invested the money to make the entire walking path out of unique red brick. I saw this as something we might be able to try in Taylorsville.”
Cochran admits, it’s probably too cost prohibitive to create a red brick walkway. But he believes paths might be marked with some type of colored designation, or signage, to lead pedestrians past things like the Taylorsville Cemetery (4567 S. Redwood Road) and the city’s two entries on the National Register of Historic Places: Al-rasool Islamic Center (1247 W. 4800 South), built originally in 1894, and the Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center (1488 W. 4800 South), constructed in 1906.
“(My wife) Wendy is a member of the Historic Preservation Committee, so she and I will at least discuss (the appearance and signage of Boston’s Freedom Trail) with them,” Cochran added. “It might be a way to create more interest in our Taylorsville historic sites.”
Finally, the Cochrans also found parking to be an ongoing challenge in Massachusetts – just as it can sometimes be back here at home.
“Parking is a real problem in some of our Taylorsville neighborhoods – and it’s something the city council has discussed several times,” he concluded. “I’m not sure what the solution is. Maybe only allowing parking on one side of a street. Or maybe it’s simply banning on-street parking altogether. In Massachusetts, we found parking garages. But we’re still working to solve parking issues here in Taylorsville.”
The Cochrans returned to Utah in plenty of time to pass out their own Halloween candy on Oct. 31. The councilman spent a little time confined in a pillory (Google it – just like I had to) …but got out in time to make his return flight. λ