SHINE is a look backward from the present to Salem's 1860 charter. In each year we have four sections: glimpses of what was happening around the world, a special event in Salem, what you see when you visit that site today, and other Salem events of interest that year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

SHINE on Salem

In early 2010 the city of Salem will be 150 years old. Instead of celebrating the day a charter was signed, let’s recognize events and people that have shaped our civic life as Salem developed during this whole century and a half.
Selecting a 150 day period during our beautiful months of April through October, let’s bring attention to one (or more) historical occasions of each calendar day in either business, civic institution, church, school or family life. This special recognition could be part of a routine public occasion: a sign in the business window downtown, an open house at a historic property, a mention during a elementary school activity or high school music performance, a recollection during a church service, an artist’s exhibit, visiting a neighborhood different from one’s own or taking an interpreted walk through one of our parks.
The list of activities would be published in the Statesman Journal, TravelSalem and Chamber of Commerce newsletters, on city and historical, cultural or educational institution websites. It could develop into a Scavenger Hunt for clues all over town. It might result in a historical document. (There is no written history of this remarkable city ~ isn’t that amazing?)
Employing low-cost, citywide and all-inclusive activities in a format similar to this, there are endless opportunities in 2010 to honor Salem’s past, celebrate life here today and anticipate future opportunities. And we have a whole year to plan it. What do you think? Please comment.


JasonBrandt said...

Celebrating Salem's 150th birthday could be a great way to help boost pride in our community and get younger generations more excited about the rich history here. I think its a great idea to incorporate Salem's big birthday in 2010 with a coordinated effort that brings fanfare and excitement to our residents. Let's boost our image!

Bonnie Hull said...

Keeps everybody in the 2020 group stepping lively to get events on the calendar! Good idea VG.

Joy Sears said...

This is an excellent idea! If no written history of Salem exists, then we definitely need one! Maybe something that the Salem Landmarks Commission should help with, too!

Anonymous said...

I think Salem should use every opportunity to highlight its history and heritage. -- Kyle Jansson

John Hawkins said...

The Salem Public Library ought to play a lead role in the collaboration to produce a meaningful Salem history. Focusing on the 150th anniversary offers an excellent peg upon which to hang the history project. The library has some of the resources needed for the history, but it probably will take considerable volunteer effort to pull it all together, given the library's limited staffing.

This history is not just a feel-good product. It affects businesses, individuals, families, governments and institutions. The history will contribute to the economic vitality of the city, and, therefore, it is good for all of us.

John Hawkins

Eric said...

Though it's not exactly comprehensive, there is a history of Salem the library organized. Readers may not be aware of this. Here's the page on its sesquicentennial, which they reckoned as having its origin in 1840/41 rather than '59. The left hand navigation will get you to other pages in the history. Perhaps this resource could be built out rather than duplicated. (Wheels seem to get reinvented often online!)

Virginia Green said...

Eric ~ I hope my post about the 1841 founding of the settlement and the 1860 incorporation of the city has cleared up the question of 150th anniversary.
The salemhistory website (to which you provided a link)was active for five years, ending in 2005. We need to revive that,adding information and giving it to a more attractive and useful format. See the Seattle product at This could be a model.

Jim Scheppke said...

I think it would be wonderful to celebrate the incorporation of Salem in 2010. All the ways that have been suggested would be great. But I would really also like to see a new printed history of Salem produced by 2010. It could be a short history with lots of illustrations -- but well-written and authoritative. There is an illustrated history written by Harry Stein that came out in 1998, but it's not very good, and it appears to be out of print. Salem needs a new history!