Salem could easily have been one of the many nondescript Boston suburbs. They are plenty of them, many of them with some tangential tie to America's revolutionary era or historically interesting architecture, but I personally can not muster enough enthusiasm to pay them a visit.
Where Salem distinguished itself was by giving itself fully up to religious lunacy in 1692.
This was not just the usual topical, fire and brimstone variety of god-inspired cray-cray. The Salemites went all out. In the midst of an perennially-feuding village, a new minister who had the questionable distinction of having failed at all prior vocational endeavors, managed to unite everyone in a massive game of "Find the Witch".