SHINE on Salem 150, celebrating the sesquicentennial of our city's 1860 charter, continues (and concludes) with the 2012 entry.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Salem in 1866

World Events
  • The Reconstruction begins in Tennessee, the first Confederate state readmitted to the Union.
  • Monet and Degas are painting in Paris.
  • Nobel invents dynamite.
  • A new US coin, the "nickel," is circulated.
In Salem
In 1851, a log cabin on the southwest corner of Marion and Commercial Streets became Salem's first school, supported mainly by tuition. By 1857 a larger school was needed, and Central School (above) was built by the county near High Street between Center and Marion Streets. By 1859 there were 227 school age children in the district, but there is no record of how many children actually attended school. Ten-year-old T. T. Geer, a future Governor of Oregon from 1899 to 1903, attended Central School in 1861. By 1865 the number of children in the district had grown to 632 with 200 students in attendance at Central School.
By 1866 there are 600 children of school age in Salem, 200 of these crowded into Central. For the photograph above, they leaned out of windows and clustered outside. This year the district levies a 5-mill tax to build two new schools. One was built in north Salem and the second school, South School, as it was named, was originally located at Fir and Myers Streets, but was moved to South Commercial Street in 1892. The school building was later used in turn as a cider mill, machine shop and as the W. A. Barkus Feed Mill. The building existed as late as the 1960s.
Between the years of 1866 to 1869 "Little" Central School and East Salem School were built. "Little Central," " School was near the original Central School with fifteen non-Anglo students taught by Mrs. R. Mallory. It would be Salem's only segregated school. (This may be the smaller building seen in the photograph above.)

When you visit: Central School site
These 1866 school buildings do not exist today. In 1906, Central School gave up its site for the new Salem High School. This school was demolished in 1954 for the Meier and Frank Department Store, now Macy's.

Other Events
  • The Oregon State Penitentiary is moved to Salem with inmates transferred from Portland to a temporary wooden facility in Salem and set to work manufacturing bricks for a permanent prison structure. The photograph above was taken in the 1880s when the brick establishment was completed. This building has been replaced by a new, heavily enclosed, buildings on a large property in the 2600 block of State Street. It is adjacent to the Oregon State Hospital with an entrance on Center Street. 
An instrument used in these early years to restrict prisoners from escaping was the "Oregon Boot," a weighted shoe to hamper prisoners' walking. One of these can be seen in an exhibit at Oregon Corrections Enterprises at 3691 State Street. Call (503) 378-2677 for an appointment.
  • In this same year, an editorial in the Oregon Statesman called for the establishment of a County infirmary to care for "the aged and infirm who are thrown upon the charities of the world". A Poor Farm account on a farm near Silverton was set up in 1870.
  • New businesses in 1866 include Capitol Lumber on Front Street along the Willamette River (submerged by flood of 1890) and Pioneer Oil on the property that in 1889 would house the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill.Westacott Brewery was established on Commercial Street at the site of the present Meridian Building.
  • Individuals chosen to care for the indigent in Salem were often doctors or owners of boarding houses. A contract between Dr. G. W. Brown and Marion County in October of this year stipulates that the doctor would take in any county charges for $4.00 per week. An editorial in the Oregon Statesman called for the establishment of a County Infirmary to care for "the aged and infirm, who are thrown upon the charities of the world."
  • Dr. Daniel Payton, who had moved with his family to Salem in the previous year, organized the medical department of Willamette University. He took the chair of Therapeutics, after wards Obstetrics and Diseases of Women. He held that position for thirteen years and received the honorary distinction of Professor Emeritus. From 1874 and 1875 he was dean of the medical school at Willamette University. In 1878, the Medical Department was moved to Portland, Oregon. Payton retired from active teaching when the Medical Department closed. In that year, his wife Elizabeth died. He continued to conduct his medical practice in Salem until 1883 and devoted his efforts to his newfound specialty, gynecology. He was a distinguished citizen of Salem, serving as director of the Salem public schools for twelve years, Mayor of Salem for one term, and Representative of Marion County in the Oregon State Legislature for one term.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Salem in 1865

World Events
  • The Civil War ends with General Lee's Surrender and, within a week, President Lincoln is assassinated.
  • The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits slavery.
  • Christian Mission, later renamed the Salvation Army, is founded in London
  • Lewis Carroll publishes "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."
In Salem
An imposing Willamette Flouring Mill is constructed on the north bank of the millrace where it empties into the Willamette River just south of Trade Street. The mill was financed by owners of the Willamette Woolen Mill that had been built a decade earlier in North Salem. This mill was sold in 1870 to the Kinney Brothers of San Francisco and, at the time, was described as the largest mill of its kind in Oregon and Salem's leading industry; it could turn out 400 barrels of flour a day. The mill was destroyed by fire in 1899 or 1904 ~ there is conflicting information.

When You Visit: Boise Cascade site
The site continues to be important for local industry and was most recently occupied by Boise Cascade. That business relocated and the property has been sold to local investors. It is now being redeveloped, with the first steps being the demolition of the existing buildings along Front and Commercial streets. One of the most interesting aspects of the project is proposed the "daylighting" of Pringle Creek. It will pass under the Commercial Street Bridge, as it does now, but will be open on the west side. With completion of the enterprise, pedestrians will be able to walk along the waterway for the length of its passage from Leffelle Street (south of Bush's Pasture Park) through Salem's downtown to the creek's entrance into the Willamette River. A self-guided walking tour slide show of Pringle Creek and its companion, Shelton Creek, is found on this website.

Other Events
  • John H. Moores is mayor of Salem in 1865.
  • Near Marion Square Park, David McCully, a pioneer Salem merchant who had been successful in the California Gold Rush, builds a home at 891 Front Street. The house was damaged in the 1962 windstorm. It was moved and renovated at 1365 John Street. It is in the SCAN neighborhood and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1978).

  • How often we pass this scene at southeast corner of Trade and Church streets (on the south side of the creek on the Robert Lindsey Tower property) without a thought, except how beautiful it is. Few realize a double hanging took place here in 1856.
     Daniel Delaney was murdered in January and his murderers, George Beale and George Baker, were convicted by Judge Reuben Boise. A witness to the murder was a young black boy, Jack, son of Rachel Belden Brooks. His testimony was at first refused on the grounds that negroes could not understand the law in a criminal trail of a white man, but was later allowed. The well-attended double public hanging took place in May at this location.  It attracted families, bringing picnic baskets for lunch, from as far as 20 miles away. After this public execution, there were no murders in Marion County for twenty years.
  • The Watkins-Dearborn Building is erected at the northeast corner of State and Commercial Streets. Part of the original facade can be seen at 110 Commercial Street. R. H. Dearborn, a harness-maker, purchased this property on 1875 and occupied it until 1910. Afterward it housed the Holland Bakery. In 1931 it became the location of the Real Estate and General Insurance offices of Edward Rothstein and Samuel Adolph, prominent Salem businessmen. Mr. Rothstein was also chairman of the city's first water commission. Mr. Adolph was son of one of Salem's first brewers and is remembered today for the beautiful home he built in 1878 at 2493 State Street. This NEN neighborhood property was listed on the National Register in 1978.
  • Lucyanna Grubbs, Jason Lee's daughter and a graduate of Willamette University, follows Mrs. Chloe Willson as "Governess of the Ladies Department" of that institution.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Salem in 1864

1864
World Events

  • Grant and Sherman command Union forces against Confederate General Lee, with decisive battles in Virginia and Georgia
  • "In God We Trust" appears on US coins
  • Pasteur invents pasteurization.
In Salem
To harness our Mill Creek as power for commerce, a dam was built this year near present day State and 20th Streets. At this Waller Dam (the land was donated by Reverend A.L. Waller), Mill Creek now split.
The millrace ran west to serve the industrial mills of the new city. It now flows along (and under) Ferry Street, to the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill. It continues through the campus of Willamette University. Over the years, the millrace been utilized by a lumber mill, Boise Cascade, an oil company, and a power generation station. Mill Creek itself continued north in a meandering stream through the city, forming the east and north border of the Court-Chemeketa Historical Residential District, elbowing around Knapp Place to the site of the original Jason Lee house and mill at the Broadway Street bridge and finally emptying in the Willamette River.

When you visit: the Millrace
The dam we see today was one reconstructed in 1915. You can visit a small city park and interpretive exhibit on Ferry Street near 21st Street
SE in the SESNA neighborhood. The millrace is an attractive feature of many of Salem's downtown historical and cultural sites. Its waterfall into Pringle Creek is to the north of Mirror Pond at the Civic Center Park, just east of Commercial Street. Future urban renewal plans include providing a pedestrian walkway under the Commercial Street Bridge and through the new Pringle Creek development to the Willamette River.

Other Events
  • Salem is reaffirmed as Capital of Oregon after political competition with other Oregon communities including the official records being temporarily removed.
  • Salem briefly had telegraphic communication of a sort when, on April 17, 1863, messages from Portland were received here over a line that was built to address demand by a Portland newspaper and the Oregon Statesman newspaper for fresh news about the Civil War. But loss of the ship Noonday off San Francisco with wire aboard delayed the line's extension from Salem to the Yreka, California, terminal of the transcontinental communication system on the Pacific Coast. Stages delivered dispatches from Yreka to Portland in about six days. But that was not fast enough for the Oregonian newspaper. For a time, that newspaper employed its own pony express riders who got the news through from Yreka to Salem in about 36 hours. From here the telegraph transmitted dispatches to Portland. However, on March 9, 1864, Oregon's Governor A. C. Gibbs wired President Lincoln in Washington to say that the transcontinental line was completed and open.
  • Scandal effected even the families associated with the Willamette missionary community and early Salem. In 1850, there had been James Carter's suicide, in 1859 Lewis Judson was sued for divorce by Nancy, his second wife, but the most sensational was this year's charges by Almira Raymond's charges of cruelty and abuse against her husband W. W. Raymond. These were familiar names and, typically for that time, the women in the cases suffered in the opinion of the communities in which they lived.
  • Built by this year is the building that became known as Cook's Hotel on the southeast corner of High and State Streets. The handsome, three story structure may have first been a residence and had several other names as a hotel. It was razed in 1926 for the construction of new buildings including the Elsinore Theatre.
    1880s photograph of Cook's Hotel
  • Another local hotel did not fare well in this year. One person staying in the Marion House hotel reported that the bedbugs "hardly let me go in the mornings." A fire on January 2, 1864, wiped out the four-story building and the Marion House hotel was no more. It’s reputation for having bugs was so bad that when the grand Marion Hotel was built in 1870, it was named the Chemeketa House to avoid confusion with its buggy predecessor. That 1864 fire changed Salem 's firefighting force. Before the Marion House fire, Salem had only the bucket brigade of the "Alerts," organized December 4, 1857. Afterward, the young city got serious, built a firehouse, and bought a hand-pumper fire engine and hose for Webfoot Engine Co. No. 1, as well as water cisterns.
  • Water from Mill Race is pumped to the four cisterns to supply water for volunteer firefighters. These wood-lined water tanks were dug in strategic locations throughout the city. 3-inch lumber lined the 12-foot deep sides of the cisterns and 4-inch lumber covered the 16 x 16 foot opening. When full of water, Salem's cisterns contained almost 23,000 gallons of water. Cisterns would remain a vital source of water for Salem Fire Department into the 1940's.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Salem in 1863

World Events
  • The Emancipation Proclamation took effect, freeing slaves in Confederate states.
  • French capture Mexico City and proclaim Maximillian as Emperor.
  • Roller-skating introduced.
In Salem
The First Congregational Church is founded at the corner of Liberty and Center Streets with Obed Dickinson as minister.
Charlotte and Obed Dickinson had been newlyweds in November of 1852 when they embarked on the long voyage around the Horn to Obed's assignment as a Congregational minister in frontier Oregon. Landing in Portland the following April, they had personal baggage and simple furnishings for their home: a stove, table, chairs, and bedding. It took them eighteen days to transport their belongings and themselves by boat and cart to Salem, a village of 500 people, ten dry goods stores, four physicians, a flouring mill, various mechanics - and five other ministers, all Methodist. His church was an abandoned schoolhouse at Commercial and Marion Streets described as "dirty as a pig sty, its floor covered with mud." Boarding was too expensive, so Obed purchased a half acre of land, deep in the brush between Front Street and the river, for a small 16 by 26 feet home.
His conflict with the membership, especially the founding Gilbert family, arose when he allowed African-Americans to attend services and one couple to marry there (see below). His wife Charlotte taught four of these women to read and write. Obed resigned his pulpit four years later, becoming a successful seed merchant. This church building was replaced in 1905. The third construction is at the corner of Marion and Cottage Streets, location of the boyhood home of A. C. Gilbert, demolished in 1941.
When You Visit: Dickinson family sites

Nordstroms is currently on the site of this church. Dickinson's seed store was at Chemeketa and Commercial Streets, now the Union Gospel Mission Office. The family's first home, a rough cabin built by Dickenson himself in this year, was near Ferry on Front Street. After Dickinson became a successful merchant, their 1880s home bordered the then-fashionable Marion Square Park. It was demolished for Marion Street Bridge ramp construction. The graves of Obed and Charlotte are in Pioneer Cemetery. Their daughter, Cora Dickinson Moores (1857-1938), was buried near her parents. Another daughter, Edna Dickinson Raymond, was living in Santa Monica, California when her sister died.
The Cora and Albert Moores' home was on Chemeketa Street in Piety Hill, the four block residential section north of the State House. When this area was acquired by the state for North Capitol Mall, their house was one that survived demolition. It was moved to Leffelle Street where it is today.

Other Events
  • H. M. Thatcher was mayor during 1863-4.
  • The Union House on the northeast corner of Ferry and Commercial Street, site of Salem's first store, burned in May of this year. The hotel was so named because it was a combination of the store and the blacksmith shop next door. The Union House contained the Gem Saloon with bar and billiard table.
Sacred Heart Academy
  • Sacred Heart Academy was established on the east side of Cottage between Center and Chemeketa Streets by the Sisters of the Holy Names, opening with 80 girls as students. Legend gives Asahel Bush credit for encouraging the founding of this school for the primary eduction of his daughters. Mass was celebrated there until St. John's Church (now St. Joseph's) was dedicated. This 1886 photograph shows the original three story, brick building. A handsome, high-ceiling classroom with louvered shutters on the windows was photographed in 1908. The school moved to Lancaster Drive in the 1960s, but has since closed.
  • Hamilton Campbell, a Salem pioneer in engineering, construction and photography, was murdered in Mexico while working in for a mining company. He had created the die for the Oregon Beaver coin. He and his wife, Harriet Biddle Campbell, had arrived in Oregon in 1840 as members of the Lausanne missionary reinforcement. His widow Harriet was living in Portland in 1900, still "sprightly" at 83. 
  • Richard and America Waldo Bogle were married at the First Congregational Church on January 1. Richard was Jamaican, living in Salem where he met America Waldo. Rev. Dickinson officiated the wedding and hosted the wedding reception. A black wedding taking place in a white church and a party attended by both blacks and whites was apparently too much for some people to handle. The event provoked negative comments from Asahel Bush, first in his private letters and then in the Oregon Statesman where he called it a "disgrace"; eventually, the incident made the newspapers as far away as the Portland Oregonian and the San Francisco Bulletin. The couple moved to Walla Walla in the Washington Territory. There, Richard tried his hand at mining, but he didn't strike it rich and later returned to his old trade of barbering. The Bogles made their money ranching, and Richard was sufficiently wealthy that he was one of the founders of the Walla Walla Savings and Loan Association, providing some of the seed capital for the organization and backing it with his good name. Richard and America had eight children together, at least two of whom went on to become barbers in Portland.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Salem in 1861

World Events
  • Eleven southern states form the Confederacy.
  • Civil War battles began in Virginia.
  • Kansas becomes a state.
In Salem
The sternwheeler "Onward" on Pringle Creek at Commercial Street Bridge

This year Salem citizens had a problem more immediate than the developing war between the northern and southern states: one of the most hazardous floods in our history engulfed the city and the surrounding area of farms and villages. The Pringle Creek photograph above shows the sternwheeler "Onward" that brought flood refugees to Salem after taking them off houses, trees and barns in surrounding towns. The Willamette River rose to 39 feet, taking out bridges and flooding creeks for blocks into the city. (Flood stage is 25 feet.) Notice the Commercial Street Bridge has washed out. South of the creek the property was farmland at that time, the city's downtown commercial businesses, industrial structures and residences were expanding north along the Willamette River on Front Street and east to the Oregon Institute, renamed Willamette University. There was no Capital (it had burned in 1857 and would not be replaced until 1876) and only a small wooden Methodist Church in the site of the present brick structure.
Another victim of the flood was Salem's original 1846 ferry service across the Willamette River at Ferry Street. Operated by Rhoda White, widow of "Capt." White, (later the survivor of two subsequent divorces) the ferry sank and its load of wheat drifted away in the floodwaters.
This was the same flood that drowned the town of Champoeg, the site where, in 1843, 100 male settlers had voted (51-49) to form an Oregon provisional government under the jurisdiction of the United States.
A memorial was constructed in 1942. Many pioneer Salem names are found there.

When you visit: Site of flood photograph

From the east side of Commercial, near the entrance to the City Hall driveway, look north toward downtown and you will see the view as it is today. The rebuilt bridge, a main corridor of north-south traffic, has been renovated and a pedestrian trail has been created under the bridge to Pringle Creek. When completed, it will link the Civic Center Park on the east and Riverfront Park at the Willamette River.

Other Events in Salem in 1861
  • Edwin Cooke (1810-?) was named as our second mayor. He was Oregon State Treasurer (1862-70), a leading businessman and steamboat owner. His first Salem home was probably on Division Street, near the homes of other prominent citizens. No trace of this home remains, but correspondence of the time tells us the home was noted for it beautiful garden.  By 1872, he had built a Victorian mansion on Court Street, across from the State House. (See 1872 for the story of the next three generations of the family, including Edwin Cooke's granddaughter Luella who lived to be 109 year old.)
  • Salem resident Col. Edward Dickinson Baker, a close friend of President Lincoln and one of Oregon's first two Senators, is killed in the Battle of Ball's Bluff while leading a Union Army regiment, becoming the only sitting senator to be killed in the Civil War. Lincoln's second son Eddy, who died at four year old in 1950, had been named for Edward Baker. When the news of his death reached the Washington, D.C., James W. Nesmith of Oregon, an Independent who was the other original Oregon senator presented a resolution, passed by the Senate, declaring that the members would go into mourning wearing black crepe on their arms for thirty days. The town of Baker, Oregon and the county, were named for the senator in 1862. Only one year before his election, Edward Baker, an Illinois native, had come to Oregon from his law practice in San Francisco. His family was with him during his brief residency here in Salem, but the location of his home is not known. One theory suggests the Bakers lived on the Willamette University campus. A house, probably of that period in time, was moved north from the oldest, central section of the city and the owners have been given information that it was his home. More research may determine whether his Salem residence survived.
 
Alert Hook and Ladder Fire Company
  • The volunteer fire fighters of the Alert Hook and Ladder Fire Company, located at 58 State Street, assemble on Commercial Street for a photograph. This classic picture is probably the only one we have of this early year of Salem's history. The fire fighters are lined up in front of a two story Commercial Street building in the center of the photograph where McCully, Starkey and Company had a "cash store". A log cabin is seen to the right.
  • This spring, a one-room school was constructed along Military Road (Doaks Ferry Road) and named Brush College in "a spirit of fun and derision" because it was the center of learning for all ages of students and was located where brush had been traditionally burned-over by Native Americans. The school has been enlarged, but retains the original structure. On May 6, 2011 the school celebrated its 150th anniversary with an exhibit including historical stories and photographs.
    Wilson-Durbin House
  • On Water Street, Joseph Gardiner Wilson builds a house soon purchased by Isaac and Olive Durbin. The Durbin family, who operated the Livery Barn in downtown Salem, occupied the home for over 50 years when Water and Front streets were desirable residential locations in the small city. By 1988, the house had fallen into disrepair, but renovation was under consideration by contractor Gregg Olson and a committee supported by the mayor. However, in 1990 before this could be accomplished, a fire of unknown origin destroyed the house. It was reconstructed, with a different upstairs window and porch, in its original location. It is now part of our Gilbert House Children's Museum where it is used for classes and special events.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Salem in 1860

World Events
  • Abraham Lincoln is elected president.
  • South Carolina secedes from the Union.
  • "Pony Express" begins mail service from Missouri to California.
In Salem
John Boon builds this store at 888 Liberty Street. Oregon had become the nation's 33rd state this year with John Whiteaker as Governor, Lucien Heath as Secretary of State and John Boon as Treasurer. The first State Treasury was located here. A favorite trading place in Salem's early history, the next owner, William Lincoln Wade, who built his residence on the same block, opened the building's upper story to serve as a community hall. With the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, Fred Karr transformed into a "beer parlor". A 1940 photograph shows John and Martha Boon's house next door, now relocated to Willamette Heritage Center. After 1976, the commercial building was sold and reopened as "Boon's Treasury". Purchased by the McMenamins in 1988, it is perhaps the oldest Salem business building in its original location.

When You Visit: Boon's Treasury

 Boon's Treasury offers food, drinks, and live music.
While you're there, check out the 1960 historic marker at Mill Creek, across High Street behind Boon's Treasury, to read about Salem's founding at this location along Mill Creek in 1842.

Lincoln Wade's Gothic-style 1870 home, formerly next door to Boon's Store, is now located at 1305 John Street S. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Other events in Salem this year


  • With the passage of the City Charter, Lucian Heath, who had been our first state Secretary of State in 1859, was now elected our first mayor and took office on Nov. 22. Realizing the shallow wells used by residents and businesses were unhealthy, he initiated a committee of aldermen to discuss diverting water from Willamette Woolen Mill's Salem Ditch (itself a diversion from Santiam River) to Mill Creek. Negotiations with John Force, who owned the water right, failed.
  • Edward Dickinson Baker, one of Abraham Lincoln's closest friends, is invited to Salem. He leaves his law practice in San Francisco, to establish residence here and become a US Senator from Oregon. 
  • Drake's Iron Works is established on Front Street, beginning industrial use of our Salem downtown riverfront. Further north at Mill Creek and Liberty Street, Lucian Pratt and Joseph Watt build the successful Willamette Wooden Mill. B.M. Durelle moves his lumber mill machinery from a floating steamboat to a plant on the riverbank just north of Trade Street, but fire destroys his first plant and the replacement is washed away in a flood with in a year.
  • Asahel Bush II, prominent pioneer newspaper publisher and banker, purchases 100 acres, farmhouse and barn from Dr. David Leslie, a pioneer Methodist missionary at the Willamette Mission, who held a Salem donation land claim, for $4,000. (Mary Kinney Leslie and Rachael Beardsley Beers were among the five wives who had accompanied the missionaries to the 1837 settlement abandoned in 1841.)  The Bush family will live in the former Leslie home for the next 17 years.
  • The Rural Gothic Waller-Chamberlain house (above)  is built on State Street, probably in the present 1600 block. It was the home of Alvin Waller, a pioneer Methodist minister and supporter of the school that became Willamette University. He raised funds and oversaw construction of the First Methodist Church. In 1901, after a move to 1658 Court Street, the Chamberlain family was photographed on the front steps. This is the earliest home now in the Court-Chemeketa Historic Residential District. The present owners house remodeled the house in 1982. A few blocks away, on the northeast corner of Chemeketa and 14th streets, Joseph Holman built his log home and the first bridge across Mill Creek.
  • At 738 North Front Street, John Webster Huntington, Superintendent of Indian Affairs builds a home. In this neighborhood, bordering Marion Square Park, other notables live including E. N. Cooke, our second mayor, and Obed Dickinson, first minister of the Congregational Church. The only residence to survive is the rebuilt 1861 Wilson-Durbin House on Water Street.
  • This year, Chemeketa Lodge No. 1, Oddfellows (IOOF), established as the "Mother Lodge of Oregon". It moves to the Holman Buildin for the next 30 years. Members of the Lodge at this time include many prominent Salem names: B. F. Harding, E. N. Cooke, Joel Palmer, Cyrus Reed and Albert Zieber.
  • Charles I. Roe becomes the second man hanged in Salem: he confessed to the murder of his (second) wife, Angelica, the motive being he "loved his wife better than life, and killed her to prevent others from enjoying her." The hanging was 150 feet east of Church Street toward near Trade Street, adjacent to the present Lindsay Towers. Roe's first marriage, to Nancy McKay, was part of the 1838 wedding festivities that also united Jason Lee and Anna Maria Putman at the original Willamette mission.
  • John Phillips farm is already established in Polk County by this year. This historic 1853 vernacular Greek Revival house was built for pioneer John Phillips, who came to Oregon via the Oregon Trail in 1845. He finished his journey to Oregon on the Meek Cutoff as part of Stephen Meek's "lost wagon train". Phillips was a native of Wiltshire England who arrived in the U.S. in 1834 and married Elizabeth Hibbard in 1839. He came to Oregon and bought the Turner donation land claim in Polk County for $100. The locale was once known as Spring Valley Ranch. John Phillips' daughter Hannah married Samuel Barker. The grandson, Samuel E. Barker and his wife Velma were the last occupants. Their niece remembers stories that the local Native Americans would come in the back door to warm themselves by the pot-bellied stove. In 1976 the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2014 it is the oldest residence in Polk County and was owned for 156 years by the same family. This National Register property on Spring Valley Road has been unoccupied since 2002.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Salem in 1862

World Events
  • The Civil War battles continue, including one at Fort Henry that inspired "Star Spangled Banner"
  •  The Homestead Act was passed in Congress.
  • "Les Miserables" published in France.
 
 In Salem 

A covered bridge was erected across Pringle Creek at Commercial Street to replace the structure washed out by flood the year before. When this photograph was taken, the city had about 1000 residents, dirt roads, no police or fire department, no water supply or sanitary services. The size was about the same as the present CAN-DO neighborhood: from the river to 12th Street, north from Mission Street to Division Street, just above Marion Square Park. Asahel Bush, publisher of the Oregon Statesman newspaper, had disputed the need for a city charter for the community, referring to the charter as a "garment too large for the child" and to city councils as "fleas on the body politic". It took three years to get the charter passes due to disputes about it legality.

When You Visit
The photographer appears to be where the hill rises south of Commercial Street, similar to the location for the photograph for 1861. Standing there in 2012, you will see the progress being made in removing the industrial complex which has so long covered Pringle Creek as it cascades into the Willamette River. The first flour mill was built there in 1869 and Pringle Creek continued to be a reliable source of power. However, the use of electric power and the esthetic demands of urban development call for "daylighting" this natural asset. The creek has been uncovered, flowing between the basement walls of the demolished industrial building. Only the rail tracks, suspended above, cross the creek. The next step was reconstructing the Commercial Street bridge, this time to allow for pedestrians to stroll underneath it, from Civic Center Park, along the north shore of the creek, to Riverfront Park.

Other Events
  • Ferry and Commercial streets lived up to their names as the transportation and business center of Salem. Steamboats on the Willamette, bringing cargo and passengers, landed at Ferry Street, named for the rope ferry organized by Capt. James White in 1846 and continued by his widow after his death in 1854. She ran the ferry until 1863. The principal businesses, offices and saloons were at this intersection with Commercial. 
Nesmith Building
Holman Building
  • During the last 3 years of the Oregon Territory and the first 16 of Oregon statehood, Oregon governor's office was in the Nesmith building on the southwest corner and the legislature met in the Holman building across Ferry to the north. The first Capitol had burned in 1857 and the new classic structure would not be complete until 1876.
  • Residents lived in rooms above stores, in small houses with kitchen garden (and livestock) on Front Street, around Marion Square Park and eastward in the former missionary lands centered by "Willamet University".  
    Oregon Institute
  • The university, originally the Oregon Institute,  was one of the first Salem settlement buildings. It was organized by the pioneer Methodist missionaries in 1842 and gained the title of  University, the first on the Western United States, in 1852. The first teacher and later Head of the Women's Department, was Chloe Willson, widow of the William Willson who laid out the first plats of the city, establishing the location of the Capitol, the school, and the original downtown. Willson Park is named for him. The first graduate of Willamette University, always a co-educational institution, had been Miss Emily J. York who received the degree of Mistress of English Literature in 1859.
  • Marion County is chosen as the site for the second State Fair because of its closer proximity to the agricultural center of the Willamette Valley. John Savage, who had homesteaded a parcel of eight acres, three miles outside the city of Salem, donated the land. John Minto contributed $1,200 to build a wooden fence around the grounds. New events were added, including canning, quilting, and baking.
  •  Sam Adolph establishes the first Salem brewery with John Brown at Church and Trade Streets. The cultivation of hops became a major agricultural enterprise in the Willamette Valley and breweries a significant industry. It attracted migrant laborers, who settled down to make homes in the town and created several significant fortunes for the local breweries and business owners.
  • In January snow fell to a depth of one foot and remained for a month. Temperatures dropped to four degrees below zero.