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

Friday, February 26, 2010

Salem in 1885

World Events
  • Grover Cleveland is inaugurated as President of the United States.
  • Pasteur devises a rabies vaccine.
  • US cavalry and Native American conflict continues on the Plains.
In Salem
Salem is chosen for a relocated vocational "Indian School" 5 miles north of town. A library was provided, religious training was offered and students participated in sports programs. By 1926 there were 70 buildings on the 40-acre campus and almost 1,000 students. The next year is became a fully accredited high school. The school was threatened with closure in the 1930s, but remained open with 300 students, although Indian children were encouraged to attend local schools. With a 1950s move to a new campus on adjacent land, most of the old brick structures were destroyed; only one building remained on the old campus. The Chemawa Indian School is the oldest continuously operating boarding school in the United States.

When you visit
The undated photo above shows the Hospital Building that was placed on the National Register in 1992. It has since burned
. 3700 Chemawa Road (intersecting with North River Road in Keizer or I-5) is the address of new campus established in the 1970s. The old cemetery may be only site marking the original school location.

Other Events
  • W.W. Skinner is elected mayor and will serve two years.
  • Joseph Drake is convicted of murder. The majority of public opinion felt the young black man had only been guilty of being "in the wrong place at the wrong time", but his attorney failed to convince the Oregon Supreme Court of the need for a new trial after prosecutors used "malicious innuendos". Petitions were circulated in his favor signed by many of the leading citizens including W. D. Claggett, Thomas Patton and six members of the jury. Governor Moody did not respond favorably. Joseph Drake persisted in asserting his innocence and told a reporter, "If I die, I will die with the truth in my mouth." He was hanged on gallows just north of the east entrance to the courthouse. A temporary fence for privacy enclosed the scaffold but the upper rooms of the courthouse offered ringside seats for the "grewsome spectacle". Two days after his death, a procession of both white and African American residents went to his graveside funeral.
  • There were two fires this year: Salem's first railroad station was completely destroyed as was the Rector Building on South Commercial Street, originally built as a town hall. This large wooden building had deteriorated over the years, finally serving as a Chinese wash laundry.
  • R.S. Wallace purchases the Salem Water Company and builds a pumping station at Trade and; Commercial Streets with a suction line in the Willamette Slough. Drinking water is improved. This is only one of the many services he provided the city and to Salem residents during his residence here. Wallace Road and Wallace Marine Park in West Salem commemorate his family.
Stratton House
Burton House
  • Two residences built in 1885 survive. The Stratton House at 1588 State Street was built for Charles C. Stratton, Methodist minister and Chancellor of Willamette University (1892-1900). Rev. Stratton was married to the daughter of Alvan Waller and this house was constructed on the site of the Waller house that had been moved. By 1894 it had been sold to William Lord who served as governor (1895-1900) while he lived here. His daughter was Elizabeth Lord, the landscape garden and designer. It was also the home of Congressmen (1907-1933) W.C. Hawley, a former Willamette president. The structure is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 
  •  The Burton House, eight blocks east at 2319, was built by the firm of Burton Brothers, a brick making business in Salem. Additions have obscured the original integrity of the building. Other buildings constructed of Burton brick included "The State University at Eugene", the Chemawa Indian school, the Salem City Hall, the Odd Fellows building and the Bayne building. The house continued as a residence up to the early 1950s. In 1962 a restaurant called "The Garden of Eat'n" occupied the building; it now houses apartments and office space. It is designated by the city as a Local Landmark.
  • A residence built this year, but since demolished, was the Krause home on the northwest corner of Court and Winter Streets. Otto A. Krause and his wife, the former Lizzie Dalrymple, lived there until 1891 when it became the home of Robert Fleming. It was razed during the expansion of the Presbyterian Church and Oregon State buildings along Court Street in the 1950s. This city lot was originally part of the Holman family property: John Albert, Joseph Holman's son-in-law had his home there (next door) in the 1870s. Later, that residence was "moved over the trees of Willson Park" to a new location across from the Deaconess Hospital. (In the photo linked here, the Albert house is on the corner at the right.)
  • Samuel Adolph sells his 1866 brewery to two employees, Maurice Klinger and Seraphin Beck, who establish Capital Brewery.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Salem in 1884

World Events
  • Grover Cleveland is elected President.
  • The Washington Monument is completed.
  • London's first underground "tube" is in use.
In Salem
This 1884 Italianate house on High Street also has a Washington connection: it was built for lawyer, state legislator, and U.S. Senator Benjamin F. Harding
who was elected to the Oregon Territorial Legislature in 1850 to represent Marion County and thereafter served as Speaker of the House of Representatives. From 1854 to 1859 he served as the Secretary of the Oregon Territory. In 1861 Harding was elected as Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, but in the next year was elected to the United States Senate to fill the seat of another Salem resident, Edward Baker, after the latter had died in the Civil War. Harding served from 1862 to 1865 when he retired and returned to this home. Harding was married twice, first in 1851 to Elizabeth Cox, with whom he had several children. After she died in 1868, he married F.W. Bush, a relative of Asahel Bush, his neighbor. A few years later Harding moved to Cottage Grove where he died on June 16, 1899.
The house is perhaps better remembered for the second owners, Jacob and Louise Amsler. He was a trusted employee of the Bush family, sometimes known as manager of the estate when it was the home of "Miss Sally". Stories of “Jacob” are woven into the history of the Bush House. One recalls his taking over as chauffeur for the lady of the house after Sally's first attempt to drive her new electric car resulted in her crashing into the front window of a downtown pharmacy. An Amsler family tradition concerns a beech tree that Jacob planted in 1902 at 1678 Liberty Street. His son, William, operated the Nob Hill Dairy in that area. Dr. Rogers, the dentist at the address, named his clinic Liberty Beech Dental after the large tree.

When you visit
A National Register property since 1982, this remains a private home. It is located at 1043 High Street SE in the Gaiety Hill/Bush's Pasture Park Historical Residential District and
is included in the Gaiety Hill/Bush's Pasture Park walking tour on this SHINE website. The house is in the South Central Area Neighbors association (SCAN) that meets monthly on the 2nd Wednesday, 6:30 pm, at South Salem High School, 1910 Church Street SE. The association is active in preserving the residential integrity of the historic district, especially as new commercial developments are being anticipated along its borders. The public is welcome.

Other Events
  • The Capital Journal newspaper, in collecting news stories, is one of the few Salem telephone users. An exchange system was set up in Lee Steiner's drug store about 1890.
  • Joseph and Charley Meyers pay off an election wager as they chop firewood in front of a Commercial Street business establishment. An all male audience joins them in posing for the camera.
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance maps first record Salem properties. These maps, now available online from the Salem Public Library, are invaluable tools for seeing what structures were in place at various years of our local history.
  • In this year Edwin Cross succeeds his father, Thomas Cross, one of Salem's earliest meat processors, manager of the family business. In 1867, their market and slaughterhouse on Center Street was photographed as an attractive white two-story wooden building with a wide porch and picket fence and tall trees around it. The pre-1894 home of Edwin Cross was located at the northeast corner of Liberty and Chemeketa Streets.
  • Estelle Bush and Claudius Thayer, after an a front porch courtship at her home, elope and marry against her father's wishes. Claudius was described as "physically crippled" in his obituary and that is given as the reason her father opposed Estelle's marriage. Claudius was the son of Oregon's sixth governor, William Wallace Thayer and later a Supreme Court Justice. A reception was held in the groom's family's residence in Portland.  The couple first made a home in Tillamook where they operated a bank, then moved to California for Mr. Thayer's health. Their only child, Eugenia, died of influenzain 1918. Estelle returned to Salem after Claudius' death in 1923.

  • Dr. Luke A. Port and wife Lizzie move to Salem and build their first home (now the National Register designated Port-Manning House on Halls Ferry Road) where they live with their daughter and son, Alpha and Omega. On the corner of Winter and Ferry streets, it was in an early residential neighborhood near the new First Methodist Church and State House structures. In 1887, their son, destined to be a partner in the father's pharmacy in the Patton Building, was lost at sea while on the way to Germany for further study. The Ports left Salem for extensive travel (including futile investigations into the fate of the ship their son has taken) and new real estate enterprises. They sold the house to Major William Manning. They will not return to Salem until 1894 when they build their second home here, later to be named Deepwood.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Salem in 1883

World Events
  • The Brooklyn Bridge opens as millions of viewers wave flags and cheer this "Eighth Wonder of the World."
  • The Orient Express makes its first run from Paris to Istanbul.
  • "Buffalo Bill" organizes Wild West Show.
Oregon State Hospital Kirkbride "U" Building 2008
In Salem
In this year, Salem is introduced to the Kirkbride building of the new Oregon State Hospital. Located at 2600 Center Street NE, it stood in expansive grounds. Envisioned as an ideal sanctuary for the mentally ill, it promised to promote a healthy environment and to convey a sense of respectability. But growing patient populations and insufficient funding led to unfortunate medical conditions, impeding this goal. Over the years, much of the oldest section of the hospital became unusable and unsafe. In 2008, when this photograph was taken, the state planed an extensive renovation. In the same year, the entire campus of this 1883 institution was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is now returned to a red brick color.

When you visit
The campus is open to cars and all the walking paths are usable.  The new facility features a different treatment model and most of the older buildings on the south side of Center Street, in progress of renovation for several years, have been demolished and replaced. The cupola seen here, a landmark in Salem, was taken down for repair and returned to its place.  Only the front section of the "J" building was preserved and a Museum of Mental Health was created just inside the former main entrance.


Other events
  • Andrew Kelly is elected mayor and will serve for two years.
  • Salem Engine Company No. 3 is created in March. Equipped with the Hunneman hand pumper from Tiger Engine Company No. 2 and a hose cart. This pumper can be seen at Fire Station No. 5. It is also featured in our post entitled Fire Station Museums.
  • Dr. Daniel Payton, who was one of the organizers of the Willamette University Medical School in 1866, retires from his local practice of gynecology this year. At the university he had served as Chair of the new medical specialty, Obstetrics and Diseases of Woman and Children, holding that position for thirteen years.
Rockenfield house in its original Court Street Location
  • The Rockenfield House is built on the northeast corner of Court and Summer Streets, across from State House. Originally owned by C.S. Rockenfeld and his wife Sally, it later became the home of Henry Bean, Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court. In 1937, two years after the State House burned, the state purchased this property and moved the house to 755 Capitol Street to make room for the gardens adjacent to the new State Library. In 1991, during the further expansion of the Capitol Mall for construction of the State Archives, the house was moved to its present location. In the next year it opened as a part of the A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village. After a colorful renovation, it continues to be an attractive part of our cultural community.
  • A prison break at the State Penitentiary in July of this year (prior to the building of a brick stockade to enclose the facility) resulted in five casualties; fourteen prisoners broke through the first gate, four convicts were killed outright, another died during recapture.
  • Quinaby Station on the Oregon Electric Railway was named after one of the most colorful Indians in the region. In 1854, when all the Indians in the Valley were removed to the new reservation at Grand Ronde, Quinaby decided life was much more comfortable in Salem. So, despite regulations to the contrary, Quinaby, who was about 50 at the time, mounted his old horse and headed for Salem on the Fourth of July. He arrived shouting praises of the Great White Father in Washington, D. C. Actually, he expected to share in the barbecue he knew was held annually on that date. Unfortunately, it wasn't held that year. That didn't stop Quinaby, who scrounged food from his white friends, reminding them of how he had stood up for the whites in the early days. He lived in Salem for about 30 years, cadging food, conducting Indian gambling games and being generally accepted by the populace. "Chief" Quinaby died this year.
  • This year the Oregon School for the Blind found its third new home. Opened in 1873, it had closed twice, but now reopened with C. E. Moore as superintendent on 12th Street between Ferry and State. The school's mission--to provide a residential facility for the state's blind people to receive training in self-help skills, language development, and work skills--remained the same. Physical education was also emphasized as "in many cases the cause which produced blindness brought also a weakening of the entire constitution." Music and debating societies were featured activities, and, just as with the other Salem institutions, a small garden and orchard was attached to the facility to provide food for the table and employment for the older students. A library stocked with books in Braille had, almost from the school's first inception provided reading opportunities for the boys and girls, men and women.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Salem in 1882

World Events
  • Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company forms a Trust that dominates the oil industry.
  • Jesse James is murdered.
  • Chinese immigration to the United States is prohibited.
 In Salem
In this year, Adam Stephens is creating a school several miles north of the Salem town limits. The original school has now been rebuilt, but the name, Adam Stephens Middle School, is a memorial to the founder of this community.
Thirty-four year before (1848), Adam Stephens and his wife Lucinda had traveled a “blazed trail marked with wagon wheel tracks” to settle on 585 acres of land in the present area of Hayesville. In that wilderness he built a sawmill on Claggett Creek and a home in the area of the present Claxter Road. In 1858 lumber from his sawmill built a church and the first burial in a small nearby cemetery was that of his infant, namesake son. North Salem Baptist Church was built on this property. A number of family members are now buried here and their graves are carefully tended by the present generation.

When you visit
The graveyard is accessed entering the driveway of the church at 4290 Portland Road. A short walk in the graveyard takes you to the northeast corner, through the beautiful trees to the graves pictured above.
The cemetery is bordered on the east by Claggett Creek.
The most public memory of this pioneer is the school founded by him. No trace of the original structure remains since it was rebuild in 1982, a hundred years after its founding.
The family homestead included the land surrounding the present-day intersection of I-5 and Portland Road.
This property was annexed to the city of Salem in 1947, a hundred years after this settlement. It is in the northern half of Northgate Neighborhood that was organized in 1972. Monthly neighborhood meetings are held the 2nd Tuesday, 7 pm, at the clubhouse of Hee Hee Illahe RV Park 4751 Astoria Street NE. The public is welcome.

Other Events
  • This is the year Sally Bush graduated from Smith College and returned to Salem where she will live for the rest of her life. Perhaps it was to celebrate her return home, and her love of nature, that the Conservatory at the rear of the Bush residence is built. It is now the oldest greenhouse in Oregon and is part of the Gaiety Hill/Bush's Pasture Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A recent successful campaign to restore the Conservatory was organized by volunteers of the Lord and Schryver Conservancy and Salem Art Association that administers the property. The Conservatory is open to the public.
  • Willamette Valley Flouring Mill (Scotch Mills) joins Capitol Mills on the east shoreline of the Willamette River in Salem. Wheat and flour were the basic products transported on the river in this year. The Scotch Mills burned in 1904.
  • Thomas Cronise came to Salem this year on the invitation of his brother Harry. He worked for Mrs. A.L. Stinson, owner of a printing business on Commercial Street and, later, for R.J. Hendricks of the Oregon Statesman newspaper as a foreman of the paper's technical department. Cronise married Nellie Riggs two year later. By 1886, he had his own print shop, however, an allergy to printer's ink eventually forced Cronise to quit the printing business. In 1892, Anna Louise, Cronise's sister, moved to Salem and introduced him to photography. By 1893, Anna had bought a photo studio at the corner of State and High Streets. Anna and Thomas Cronise hired a young photographer named Howard Trover, who married Anna. In May 1902, Cronise bought a studio and entered the photography profession on his own. He died in April 1927, and his wife Nellie operated the business until her passing in 1930. Then his son Harry operated the business until 1972. His work is commemorated in the book, The Art Perfected.
Cover of Oregon's first novel
  • Oregon's first novelist, a pioneer teacher in the Methodist mission, dies in Seattle this year. Margaret Smith Bailey (1812-1882) resisted the attempts to "marry her off" (her suitor, according to her narration, was William Willson) while at the mission. Their "confessions" did not harm his reputation, but put an end to her ambitions as a teacher. After she left the mission and married the man of her choice, her resentment of her treatment by the Methodist missionaries (especially Rev. Leslie) and her life in the settlement, continued as she became known as a writer. in Oregon periodicals.  Finally, she published a book (The Grains, or Passages in the Life of Ruth Rover, with Occasional Pictures of Oregon, Natural and Moral) that caused a scandal and coincided with her 1854 divorce. Half novel and half record of actual events and true names, the book continues to cause speculation about its truth. 
  • Pheasants in the Salem area, brought by Chinese immigrants, are the first in the United States.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Salem in 1881

World Events
  • James Garfield is assassinated; Chester Arthur becomes president of the United States.
  • Clara Barton establishes the American Red Cross.
  • Tuskegee Institute and Spellman College, both for African-American students, are founded.
Mrs. Chloe Willson's home in 1858

The same residence as Lausanne Hall in early 1900s.

Images courtesy of Willamette University Archives and Special Collections
In Salem 
Almost thirty years before, Chloe Willson and her husband William, the founder of our city, had built their home on the northeast corner of Court and Capitol Streets. The property was part of their land grant, actually their allotment from the mission properties. Since the property was in both names, Chloe fought to retain her half after William's death ~ she won.  The image above was published in 1858 when Chloe lived there as a widow. By 1871 she had moved to her daughter's home in Portland. She died there in 1874.
In this year of 1881, Willamette University President Thomas Van Scoy purchases her "English Cottage" and has it moved to the campus as the Woman's College. Over the years it was enlarged, heightened, given a Mansard roof and, finally, a tower. In 1919 it was demolished for the construction of the present Lausanne Hall. The Chronicles of Willamette states, "The original of unit of this outworn old building...was the beautiful old Willson mansion but the numerous additions to it had long before made it into an architectural monstrosity and there was general rejoicing when it could be blotted out of the landscape."
The name Lausanne, given to this university building, recalls the ship that brought missionaries to the Oregon settlement in 1843: Chloe was one of these. She became one of the first teachers at the school that is now Willamette University.


When you visit
After the Willson house was moved to the Willamette campus, H. B. Theilsen and his wife Jennie purchased the property on Court Street where her house had stood. They built a home where they lived with their three children. In the 1930s, after possibly forty years, the house was demolished, although the family continued to own the land. For approximately seventy-five years, an automobile service station has occupied this historic location at the northeast corner of Capitol and Court Street.

Other events
  • W. Crawford is elected mayor this year.
Thomas Cronise photograph of Sung Lung Chinese Laundry at 105 Court Street, 1889
  • Chinese came to the Salem area in the 1870s and early 1880s with the Chinese population at its peak at 300. The First Baptist Church in Salem opened a Chinese mission school in Salem in 1877 and enrolled up to 40 at various times. Jeung Gwoon Jeu was made city missionary. The mission school was continued through this summer of 1881, but Reverend C. H. Mattoon, editor of the Baptist Annals of Oregon, sorrowfully notes: "Doubtless the only object of the pupils was to learn the language for personal and pecuniary benefits". The school may have closed when the pastor’s wife began conducting evening classes for the Chinese community. Forty pupils were learning about Christianity and to read and write English for a monthly tuition of one dollar.
  • Lucyanna Lee Grubbs, the only child of Jason Lee, died this year at the age of 39. Lucyanna was the daughter of Lee's second wife, Lucy Thompson Lee, who sailed to Oregon in 1839 on the Lausanne with the reinforcement of missionaries. Lucyanna was three weeks old when her mother died, and three years old when her lost her father. Adopted by Lydia and Gustavus Hines, she graduated from Willamette University in 1863, becoming a teacher, and then became Governess of Women when Chloe Willson resigned. Lucyanna married a classmate, Francis H. Grubbs, who also became a teacher. Lucyanne's students described her as being tall, with a slender, and stately appearance, her hair braided and wound around her head. A woman of superior knowledge, she was reserved and dignified, and a most devout Christian. A gifted teacher in many disciplines, her students recalled how they sat around a fire on winter days, eating their lunch while Mrs. Grubbs read aloud her favorite poem, "Evangeline." Exacting in her instruction and her expectations of her students, they also recalled she could be amusing, even slightly sarcastic at times, when calling a student’s attention back to the lesson.
    Professor Grubbs raised their daughter Ethel after her mother's death. Professor Grubbs taught at Willamette University for six years  and then in several other schools in the Pacific Northwest until poor health forced him out of his profession. Grubbs took part in various enterprises, finally going into a printing business in Portland. He died in 1911 when Ethel was in her thirties. Since Ethel did not marry, the Jason Lee family line did not survive into another generation.
  • Funds had been allocated for the Oregon State Insane Asylum the year before; the site selected was north of the state prison on a slight rise just east of Salem, its present location. Groundbreaking takes place in May of this year with much of the labor force and brick building material coming from the penitentiary. The Kirkbride Building, later known as the "J" Building because of its configuration, was completed two years after.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Salem in 1880

World Events
  • James Garfield is elected 21st President
  • Edison devises the first electric lights
  • Bingo is invented.
In Salem
Samuel Adolph constructs the brick, Italianate Adolph Block to replace wooden buildings destroyed by fire on that State Street site. It offered space for three businesses: Smith and Millican, butchers, and Adolph’s saloon were the first two. The third store included jewelers and The White House Restaurant. The Cooke/Henery family has operated a stationery store in the western two stores since 1935. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is in the Downtown Historic District. A slide show of the District, including this building can be found on this SHINE web/blog.

When you visit
A renovation of this block in the 1990s has added a luncheon restaurant in the eastern half and loft apartments on the second floor. The 1868 Gill Building, also listed on the National Register, completes the photograph. The Gill Building has often been the site of a tavern, but it also has a more dignified history
: the first Presbyterian congregation met here in 1869.

Other Events
  • The city population reaches 2538. The city's growth was accelerated by the expansion of agriculture and logging, and the continued development of markets for these products.
  • T. B. Waite, the former Fire Chief, is elected mayor. By 1886 he had become a merchant with a hardware and farm machinery business at the northeast corner of Commercial and State Streets. A photograph of the Salem Stallion Show of that year (above) clearly shows the sign advertising his establishment above the Durbin Building and horses exhibited along State Street. On the south side of the street, from the foreground, are businesses named for the Patton and Adolph families (see the same Adolph building as featured photograph for 1880 ). In the distance the new First Methodist Church.
  • The city council vacates Summer Street between Court and State Streets, allowing Willson Park to enlarge and become adjacent to the State House. Located in the original Willson land, and the exact center of city, it became the focus of many early photographs.
  • Christian and Christina Frickey build a house and establish a nursery at what is now 1210 Garnet Street, just east of 12th Street and the railroad tracks. Penitentiary inmates helping clear the heavily forested land. The house, also photographed in 1978, is now designated as a Local Landmark in the NEN neighborhood.
  • The Italianate Virgil Pringle House is built at 883 High Street, named for one of the early pioneers of the city. Virgil K. Pringle farmed, on his acres south of town (where Pringle School was built) but mostly operated a boot and shoe shop. In those days the lighter manufacturing trades were usually carried on in the home, and he had his shop in his home and had very prosperous business. We do not know where this shop was located, but it must have been on his Salem land near the creek named for him. In middle age, he spent a good deal of his time on his farm. The High Street residence was built late in his life when he was 76 year old ~ perhaps it was his "town house". His daughter Emma, Mrs. John Hughes, built a home on the northwest corner of High and Oak streets, only a few block away. His funeral was in his "south Salem" home, presumably this one. A photograph of his widow, Pherne Brown Pringle, daughter of Tabitha Moffat Brown, is found with an article about her life, on Salem Lifelines. This residence achieved significance as the Salem residence of Mark O. Hatfield and his family home while governor 1959-67. It is a National Register property in the Gaiety Hill/Bush's Pasture Park Historic District.
  • A. E. Gilbert, brother of A.C. Gilbert, builds a Queen Anne house at what is now 1950 Water Street, then several miles north of town, now in the Highland neighborhood. In 1926, Walter G. and Margaret A. Baker purchased the property. In the 1930s Baker changed his name to Zero Polaire because he felt he had been "left out in the cold" in the matter of his family's will. Mr. Polaire lived in the house into the late 1950s. It is now a Local Landmark in the Highland neighborhood.
  • Situated near the southeast corner of Union and Cottage Streets in Salem, the LaFollette tree grew to be one of largest trees of its kind in Marion County. The Harry Widmers moved into the adjacent residence in 1905 and said the tree was big then. An old man about town named LaFollette told the Widmers he started the big tree about 1880 or earlier as a nut brought by wagon from Nebraska. In tree was fronted by the Heritage Tree Restaurant on Cottage Street. When this restaurant closed, the building sold and moved (c. 2006-7) to 2580 State Street. Despite many resident objections to the loss of the tree, the new owners cut it down.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Salem in 1879

 World Events
  • British troops are massacred in the African Zulu war, but win victory after burning the capital of Zululand at Ulundi.
  • Frank Woolworth opens the first of his "five and ten cent" stores.
  • Thomas Edison invents the electric light.
  • Yellowstone is made our first National Park.
  This Stolz factory photograph used courtesy of the Oregon State Library
In Salem
Traditionally, preservation of fresh food for the Salem family dinner table had been done at home. But as the community grew, grocery purchasing became more common. Local cider, vinegar and pickle factories were the forerunners of our canning industry. In 1879 Gideon Stolz built his first cider plant in at the southeast corner of Trade and Cottage Streets. A partnership with Portland investors eventually moved the business there. In 1897 Gideon Stolz organized the plant seen here on Summer Street between Mill & Bellevue. He remained active in his various business enterprises until 1920 when they were turned to over to his son, Walter, owner of the Spa Restaurant. Walter's son-in-law, Willard Marshall, mayor of Salem 1963-65, continued the business until his death in 1968. The local canning industry has been eclipsed by the popularity of frozen foods. Many factory sites have been transformed for other uses.

When you visit
The factory site was sold to Willamette University in 1973 and is now occupied by student housing units and tennis courts
along Bellevue Street.

Other Events
The Gray Cottage on Court Street
  • G.W. Gray is elected mayor. This recent photograph of his home is also seen as the beginning of the SHINE Court-Chemeketa Historic Residential District Walking Tour. The Gray brothers also build the Gray Building featured in the SHINE Downtown Historic District. Walking Tour.
  • The stern-wheeler "Beaver", used by local farmers to transport their crops to other markets, is wrecked on the Willamette River. Built in Portland in 1873, it was owned by the Willamette River Transportation Company.
  • Father Blanchet, (1795-1883), the first Catholic priest in the Oregon Country, retires at St. Vincent's Hospital in Portland. Father Blanchet and Rev. Modeste Demers had served in this territory, learning the native languages and teaching the prayers and doctrines of the Catholic Church. In the Willamette Valley, he celebrated mass on Epiphany, June 6, 1839, in their log church, dedicating it to St. Paul. That Mission became the regional administrative center of Catholic missions in Marion County and his base for the next decade, as well as his final resting place. Blanchet School in Salem is named for him and continues the educational goals of Sacred Heart Academy founded in 1863.
  • The efforts of the local temperance societies had little effect on at least one saloon keeper if the following notice, dated November 7, 1879, is any indication: "Notwithstanding the frantic efforts of certain interested parties to close up the Granger Saloon, it's doors are again opened, and I am happy to state to my customers that no change whatever has been made in either liquors or cigars." It is signed W. B. McMahan.(Quoted from "When Salem Was Wet: Early Salem Saloons")  The Chemeketa House (later the Marion Hotel) advertised that it was open all night and provided omnibus service free to and from the hotel to the railroad station. Accounts of luxuries included water closets on every floor and all the modern improvements including speaking tubes. Each of the 165 rooms had "water, gas, and a telegraph". The hotel was four stories high and contained 150 rooms. It was "along Franco-Italian lines with the French influence predominating. Along the mansard roof stood 28 chimneys 'like sentries on a watch-tower.' Below the chimneys, dormer windows looked out upon Commercial and Ferry Streets." The first floor of the hotel had ceilings 17 feet high. The second floor had 15-foot ceilings and contained 11 suites and eight single rooms. "The floors and halls were carpeted with Brussels to ease the tread cold feet padding down the hall to wash rooms in which flowed hot and cold water. All the furniture was of black walnut."
  • In the basement of the new Hotel was a sumptuous bar run by one O .H. "Baldy" Smith. It included ornate chandeliers and paintings described by the Weekly Salem Mercury of January 7, 1871, as "beautiful, suggestive, and interesting." Off the saloon was a barbershop with marble bowls, a billiard parlor with three tables, and a comfort station boasting "five self-acting water closets." The hotel had another distinction: elevations could be legally measured from 9 survey control points (monuments). Salem had been surveyed in June of 1861 by Jerome B. Greer and Walter Forward. The point from which all elevations were measured was a brick projecting from the Marion Hotel's northwest corner, 2. 78 feet above the sidewalk and 48 feet from mean-low water level of the Willamette River.
  • In California, Dr Elijah White, the first physician of the Willamette Mission, dies this year. Dr. White, a prominent leader in the mission and active supporter of aid to the Indian population, had left the mission community in 1840 when it moved to the Salem settlement, concentrating on American Colonization. Tragic events in families of early Oregon settlements are well illustrated in the pioneer experiences of Serepta White and her friend, Elvira Perkins.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Salem in 1878

World Events
  • In London, Scotland Yard is established; Gilbert and Sullivan musicals are great successes.
  • Chinese migration, in response to the demand for cheap labor, reaches 120,000.
  • An epidemic of Yellow Fever takes 14,000 lives in the Mississippi Valley and Gulf Coast.
  • Albert Pope transforms a sewing machine company into one that makes the new "bicycles".
In Salem
The structure of the United Methodist Church in Salem represents the original motivation of settlement not only in Oregon and the Willamette Valley, but also in Salem itself. Under the guidance of Jason Lee, missionaries first arrived in the northwest in 1834. By 1840, the mission site (near the present Wheatland Ferry) had proved unsuitable and the mission began its move 10 miles upriver to the Salem site. In 1841 the Methodist missionaries moved their worship services to the Oregon Institute (now the site of Willamette University). By 1852, on the State Street site where the church is today, they were able to build a small wooden church that was dedicated by Alvin Waller. (This building later had other uses and was moved to another location. It was photographed in 1909 when it was on Liberty Street.) In 1871, the congregation had outgrown their church and they began a Gothic brick sanctuary at the same State Street location.
Even with a national depression, the Salem Methodists were successful in their monumental building effort. Local architect Wilbur F. Boothby, who also assisted in the design of the Oregon State Hospital, Bush House, the Marion County Courthouse and other downtown buildings, supervised the construction that cautiously featured a sanctuary on the second floor because of past floods. The church is completed in this year.

When you visit
The United Methodist Church has had alterations and improvements. The sanctuary was remodeled in 1953 to add a chancel rose window, new altar, pulpit, pews, and an Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ.
185-foot wooden spire, which makes the church the tallest building in Salem, was replaced in 1984. In 2000, the organ acquired its full rank of pipes.
The church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and
is featured on the route of our self-guided "Salem in Oregon History" walking tour on this web/blog. An extensive archive is maintained on site and in the Micah Building to the east. Tours are available by appointment. For more information, call 503-364-6709.

Micah Building was originally the Elks Club, built in 1925 and occupied by that fraternal organization until 1993 when the church purchased it. Before the Elks Club was built, this property had been the home site of the Werner Breyman residence built before 1871. When the site was purchased for the Elks, the residence was moved around the corner onto Cottage Street, remodeled into apartments and since demolished.
Standing at that corner today, looking north across Cottage Street, one can see the 1904 Breyman Brothers Spanish American War Memorial. Both brothers could gaze on the memorial from their front porches: Eugene Breyman's home was one block north, across the Post Office lawn (now the area to the east of the State Executive Building), at Court and Cottage Streets.

Other Events
  • In this year, T. M. Gatch's unexpired term is completed by G. W. Gray
  • Abigail Scott Duniway, women's rights advocate, is presiding over a Women's Suffrage Convention at the Reed Opera House where the ladies are planning to take their demands to the state legislature.
  • Asahel Bush has bought out his business partner, William Ladd, to become sole owner and president of Ladd and Bush Bank. Hoping to be selected by the legislature to represent Oregon in the US Senate, he travels to Washington, representing the Democrats, to testify in the two-year contested election between Samuel Tilden and Rutherford Hayes. The Republican, Hayes, wins the presidency and James Slater of Corvallis becomes senator.
  • The State of Oregon appropriates funds for a library in Salem. The books were collected in a series of locations, including the State House, until the present structure was built in 1939.
  • Oregon State fairgoers this summer were invited to see two of the latest inventions, Thomas Edison's gramophone and Alexander Graham Bell's telephone.  However, it not be until 1884 that a limited telephone service was introduced to Salem when the phone was first used by the Capital Journal newspaper about the business of collecting news. 
  • The Adolph house on State Street (above) is completed with Sam and Lottie Adolph as the first owners. Mr. Adolph was secretary-treasurer of Rostein and Adolph, Inc., a property and casualty insurance company formed in 1931 by Mr. Adolph and his brother-in-law, Mr. Rostein. Lottie Adolph resided here on the 5-acre estate as a widow and was followed by her son-in-law, Isadore Greenbaum. In the early 1950s the house passed into their son David's ownership. It is now a professional office building and is listed on the National Register of Historic Properties.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Salem in 1877

World Events
  • Queen Victoria is proclaimed Empress of India.
  • The US presidential election is finally decided in favor of Hayes after a compromise between the Republicans and Democrats. The Reconstruction Era ends with federal troops leaving the South.
  • Chief Crazy Horse of the Ogala Sioux, and Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, both surrender to US Army.
In Salem
Asahel Bush begins building his new residence to replace their home of 17 years. That house had belonged to the Leslie family and was a part of the land assigned to David Leslie in 1843 when the Methodist Mission was discontinued. Mr. Bush purchased the house and the 100-acre property in 1860. The new Italianate structure, completed the next year, was designed by Wilbur F. Boothby. It would be home to the Bush family for the next 75 years. It was part of a farm complex which included a barn, greenhouse, various gardens, orchards, and open ground serving as pasture.
When Mr. Bush acquired the land it was outside the city original limits, but as the years passed it became a central portion of the growing City of Salem.
Asahel Bush died in 1913, but his daughter, "Miss Sally" continued living there and brought her sister Eugenia home for the last years 20 years of her life. After Miss Sally died in 1946, her brother A.N. Bush returned to the house in 1948 when his Capitol Street home was demolished for the construction Oregon Highway Building (now the Public Service Building) of the North Capitol Mall. The family had sold the property before his death in 1953 at the age of 93. The sale to the city specified Bush's Pasture Park be named in honor of the father and be restricted to park and playground use. There was no provision for preserving the buildings, but they have since been occupied by the Salem Art Association and maintained by the city.

When you visit
The Bush House Museum, operated by the Salem Art Association, is open to the public
ten months of the year (closed January and February). Tickets may be purchased at Bush Barn. In July an art fair is held in Bush's Pasture Park, attracting artists and craftsmen with a wide range of creative works for sale. The property is in the SCAN neighborhood, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is in the center of the Gaiety Hill/Bush's Pasture Park Residential Historic District. A self-guided walking tour of the district can be found on this web/blog.

Other Events
  • T.M Gatch is mayor 1877-8.
  • Rachel Belden Brooks, an African-American who lived in Waldo Hills with the Delaney family in 1844, is found on the 1877 tax records with 144 homestead acres on the west side of Willamette River. "Aunt Rachel" was a familiar Salem figure, well remembered after her death in 1910. She is buried in the Delaney plot in Pioneer cemetery.

  • The elegant, Italianate-styled England Block is constructed downtown at 216-20 Commercial Street NE. Like many other downtown buildings, this has been significantly altered through the years, especially in the 1950s, and no longer contributes to the architecture of the historic district. The 1886 photograph above shows the original, dignified appearance of the building as it blended with the others stretching between Court and Chemeketa Streets. At about the time of the photograph, William England's commercial property was sold to R. M. Wade, another merchant of agricultural and household equipment on Commercial Street. Mr. England was a pioneer Salem wagon maker and successful banker, but a business failure and death of his young son contributed to his own loss of health as recalled in his 1901 obituary. The family's Victorian home was a block north at 340 Liberty N. It was demolished in 1951.
  • Elijah Colbath builds a residence near what is now 334 Wyatt Court. Gabriella, his wife, was the original owner of the house as was the common practice of the day: putting property in a wife's name as it was the only investment she could claim free of debt after the husband's death. Elijah came to Salem as a ship's carpenter, went into the lumber business and was a building contractor. He also served with the Capital City Volunteer Fire Company. The family owned the property until the 1920s. The next owner, Homer Wyatt, divided the property and moved the house about 100 feet to the present location. It is a Local Landmark in the NEN neighborhood.
  • State Fair goers are treated to their first, amazed glimpses of inventions that would soon be commonplace: Thomas Edison's gramophone and Alexander Graham Bell's telephone.
  • An 1880s photograph shows an industry created in 1877, the White Mill on North Front Street, using the water power of Mill Creek as it falls into the Willamette River. It appears to have been on the south side of the creek, probably on the riverfront where the bridge now crosses Front Street.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Salem in 1876

World Events
  • 20 disputed electoral votes prevented either Tilden or Hayes winning presidential election.
  • A Centennial Exhibition opens in Philadelphia displaying America's industrial wonders in the Machinery Hall, including the new Bell telephone.
  • US National Baseball League founded.
In Salem
Salem begins to solve its water problem. In the photograph of an artist's drawing seen above, to the right of the steamboat in the Willamette River, can be seen the 80 foot water tower, built this year. With a 45 feet deep cistern, and water from the Willamette, it marks the beginning of the Salem Water Company. This system of water supply accommodates the Reed Opera House (1869) and the Chemeketa House (1871) by allowing water to be supplied to these multi-storied buildings. However, the water tower soon began leaking and the river became too polluted to be an acceptable source of water. Other solutions were found a decade later.

When you visit
One of the most remarkable of Salem's early artifacts is this drawing, much reproduced, that gives an aerial view of the city. The tower was almost in line with State Street where the Riverfront Park (and the Carousel) is located now, so the urban landscape is much different
today.

Notice the landmarks that are familiar: the present Capitol is in the same place as the State House of 1876, but the current building faces north instead of west; the former Victorian-style Marion Country Courthouse is in the same place as the current structure; the historic First Methodist Church (not completed until 1878) is barely visible just a block away and to the south; Waller Hall of Willamette University is in the background, to the right of the State House. At the intersection of Ferry and Commercial, the large building with dark roof is the Marion House hotel (later Chemeketa House). Diagonally across the intersection is the Holman Building that had housed the original legislature of Oregon and would now continue to serve the city with the Salem Theater. Along the river, at the slough, the Willamette Mill stands over Pringle Creek where the Boise-Cascade facility is now (2012) being demolished. A block south is the Commercial Street bridge. Counting three more blocks south, one may see an indication of the Smith House (now Smith-Fry House) at the top of the hill at Oak Street. Continuing in the same direction, the hill falls at City Line (now Mission Street) and another hill then rises to the Leslie House that would stand there for another year. Asahel Bush would remove it and begin building his own home there in the next year. On the Willamette River there is some industry and steamboats are busily chugging toward town. Notice the small area of business and the surrounding farmland. West Salem appears to be uninhabited as evergreen trees stand in the foreground.

Other Events
  • General Sherman of Civil War fame visits Salem. (Sherman County was named for him in 1889.)

  • The new State House is completed at the head of Willson Avenue. This second statehouse was classically inspired but it reflected a revived interest in the monumental architecture of the Italian Renaissance. This building, resembling the nation's capitol, was far larger than the previous structure. To contain all the departments of government as well as the legislature and officers of state, the building was three stories tall and shaped in the form of a cross. The long axis extended north to south the length of 264 feet. Minor arms, or projecting sections were centered on the east and, especially, the west front that was considered the ceremonial entrance. Walls were constructed of brick above the ashlar (building stone) ground story of native Oregon sandstone from the Umpqua region. Upper stories were trimmed with limestone and ultimately were given a stone gray finish. The monumental exterior stairways and porticoes would not be added until 1887-8 and the copper-clad dome completed in 1893. The cost of the building was $550,000.
  • The Falk House, now a Local Landmark on Candalaria Boulevard, is built by a member of the Fabritus Smith Family. (Mr. Smith, a farmer in this area, was elected to be a state legislator this year.) In 1891 Samuel A. Clarke is noted in the Salem City Directory as residing in this location. Clarke is believed to have named his fruit farm "Candalaria", a name later given to that area of Salem. A later resident was Adam Ohmart, son-in-law of Fabritus Smith, who lived there in 1902. Long-time owners Conrad and Nellie Falk moved here before 1909; the Falks had a prune orchard on the property and continued to reside on the property through the late 1940s. The house, although much altered, still rises proudly above Commercial Street in the South Salem neighborhood.
  • Seth Lewelling is best remembered for his work in developing new fruit varieties. In 1875, a planting produced a promising seedling that he named "Bing" after his faithful Chinese helper. When Bing cherries were exhibited this year at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, people at first thought, because of their size, they were crabapples. According to reports, the large Bings averaged 35 cherries to the pound and sold in the East for three cents a cherry.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Salem in 1875

World Events
  • Thomas Nast political cartoons expose corruption of "Boss" Tweed in New York City.
  • Twain's new novel, "Tom Sawyer", is popular reading.
  • James Ead invents a steel truss for the first bridge wide enough to span the Mississippi River.
The Willamette Woolen Mil on Mill Creek
In Salem
An opportunity for laborers and skilled weavers was created in 1857 at the Willamette Woolen Mill, a company formed by Joseph Watt, John Minto and Dan Waldo, constructed on North Liberty Street under the direction of Superintendent Lucien Pratt. The mill three story, 190 feet building had a boarding house operated by Mrs. Pratt. The mill annually produced cloth worth $100,000. Products were easily sold and the Salem mill under Pratt's guidance was on it's way to becoming the largest mill on the Pacific Coast. Then came stockholder problems creating a period of unrest.
According to records of Pioneer Cemetery, "On May 3, 1875, the mill was destroyed by fire, supposedly due to spontaneous combustion. But suspicions persisted that the fire was set to collect insurance to pay debts. Afterwards, Lucien Pratt planned and built one of the Oregon City woolen mills. For many years he was engaged in steam boating on the Willamette, and it was then that he received the title of 'captain,' which he retained throughout his life. Early in the 1870s, when the steamer "Shoshone" sank near the west bank of the Willamette, just opposite Salem, Captain Pratt, in charge of the steamer "Fannie Patton," rescued the passengers and crew from the ruined vessel. Pratt also served in the Salem city council for a number of years and was deputy county clerk during the administration of F. J. Babcock and also served in the same capacity under W. H. Egan. He was one of the oldest members of Chemeketa lodge No. 1, I.O.O.F." He died in 1899.

When you visit
Driving north on Front Street, the two lanes pass over the Mill Creek viaduct. The large mill site was probably to the right, along the creek, on land that is now occupied by offices between the present Commercial and Liberty Streets. Further to the east, at High Street (or Broadway), stood the 1840 mill built by the pioneer missionaries. In 1960, the Marion County Historical Social placed a historical marker here where Salem began. The waterpower of Mill Creek was a vital element in the earliest settlements of Salem. You may see the graves of Lucian Pratt and his wife Nancy at Pioneer Cemetery.

Other Events

  • The residence now known as the Robertson-McLaughlin house, at 1598 Court Street, is built. The original owners are unknown. J. N. and Mariah Robertson bought it in 1918 and rented a small apartment upstairs to Russell McLaughlin. Grace Robertson married Mr. McLaughlin in the 1940s after the deaths of her parents. She lived there until her death in 1982. To the rear is another historic house, the Spayd cottage that would have been demolished for the new Anderson house, built across the street in its original location. The Spayd cottage was relocated in order to save it. This typical of the Court-Chemeketa neighborhood of long-time residents who care about preserving the valuable structures of their past. The nomination of this neighborhood to the National Register remains the most thorough, historically researched of our Historic Districts.
  • One of Seth Lewelling's black Republican cherry plants produces a promising seedling that he named "Bing" after his faithful Chinese helper. When Bing cherries were exhibited the next year at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, people thought they were crab apples. According to reports, the large Bings averaged 35 cherries to the pound and sold in the East for three cents a cherry.
  • Minimum 8-year elementary school levels are established in Salem along with a standard school year of 40 weeks. The school year start to start in September with three terms of 16, 14, and 12 weeks each along with a 2-week vacation.
  • Joseph Watt, above, (1817-1890), his wife Levina and their five children lived in Salem for a few years about this time, but are mainly associated with their Yamhill property. [This does not seem to be the Joseph Watt of the Watt Addition, now in the Court-Chemeketa Historic Residential District.] Levina Lyon Watt was the sister of Ellen Lyon who married Reuben Boise. The Boise couple lived in Polk County at Ellendale and in Salem. After Ellen's death, Reuben Boise married Emily Pratt, sister of Captain Pratt of the Willamette Woolen Mill described above. Emily was a schoolteacher before her marriage and lived in the Island House, a boarding hotel on Liberty Street, in the vicinity of the mill. After her marriage, Emily and Judge Boise made their home in the residence we now call the Jason Lee House, then in its original location Broadway location (north of Mill Creek) in the same neighborhood of Salem's pioneer settlers. Emily's life as a prominent member of the Salem community between 1860 and 1919 is told in her Oregon Statesman obituary.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Salem in 1874

World Events
  • Financial panic erupts in Europe.
  • Germans evacuate French land gained in 1871 Franco-Prussian War.
  • A. P. Still founds osteopathy in Kansas.
In Salem
On the southeast corner of Commercial and Court streets, Werner and Eugene Breyman, immigrant brothers from Germany, paint white their new brick commercial establishment. The light color gives it the distinction of being the "White Corner." Their numerous retail and wholesale businesses became the largest in Oregon outside Portland. Retiring from merchandising in 1880, they turned to real estate development and loan business. Their Bush-Breyman Block, across the street, was built in 1889. The homes of the Breyman brothers were one block apart, facing Court and State Streets at Cottage Street, and were centers of social life in Salem.
Werner Breyman (1829-1916) married Isabella Watt (1833-1909) in 1853. Their only son, Carl, died at the age of ten in 1878. Their three daughters were Mrs. William (Ada) Eldridge, Mrs.William (Elva) Brown and Mrs. R. F. (Anna) Prael. Eugene Breyman (1834-1903) married Margaret E. Skaife (1839-1918) in 1864. They also had three daughters: Mrs. F.F. (Lena) Snedecor, Mrs. Reuben (Minnie) Boise, and Mrs. Charles (Jessie) McNary.
Descendants continued their involvement in Salem’s business community for over a century and a half. The Breyman brothers had an older sister, Louisa, who was married to one of the most popular gentlemen in the city, E. M. Waite. In 1897, he died suddenly of a heart attack while participating in a parade of local baseball teams. The newspaper extolled his many civic achievements and his personal qualities. His childless widow had the Waite Fountain built in Willson Park, dedicated to his memory. The three Breyman sisters-in-law are featured in an article found in the Salem Lifelines blog.

When you visit
A post card of the early 1900s shows the Commercial and Court Street intersection, looking east with the dignified "White Corner" just as you see it above. At one of our busiest downtown corners, you pass this building today without recognizing its age and past Victorian charm. The lifting of the Depression by the prosperity of the World War II caused Americans to want everything to be "modern". This commercial building was among many in Salem to be renovated in the late 1940s, removing all Victorian decorations
.

Other Events
  • John G. Wright is elected mayor and serves two years. Mr. Wright of Illinois was an 1853 immigrant to Oregon with his wife Caroline. Their two children, Ella and George were born in this state. He was a merchant, part owner of a hotel, school director and member of the City Council before election as mayor. He died in a local hospital in 1923 at the age of 86.
  • William Griswold installed a water wheel creating a new water system that served several blocks east of High Street. From "Bits for Breakfast" by R. J. Hendricks, "Griswold also put in a water system for South Salem. He got the water from a well which he dug just south of the millpond. The tower was erected at the west end of the "agricultural works". The water was nothing but seepage from the mill pond. There was some sort of a strainer put in but it was of little value. That was over 50 years ago. Many who drank the water are still alive, so it could not have been very deadly. The system was afterward taken over by the city."
  • This was not Mr. Griswold's only downtown enterprise. Salem’s first regular theater was located in the Griswold Block at the southwest corner of State and Commercial Streets. This brick structure (perhaps the first of consequence in Salem) was built by William Griswold in the mid-1850s. Griswold’s Theater was located on the second and third floors. The celebrated Julia Dean Hayes appeared here in Shakespearian roles as early as 1864. On May 20, 1868, the Irwin's presented "Uncle Tom’s Cabin", " The Drunkard," and "Angel at Midnight." In the same year, Salem’s dramatic society offered "Kill or Love" and "The Toodles" at Griswold’s Theater. Admission to the dress circle was four bits (50 cents); six bits (75 cents) reserved a seat, and two bits (25 cents) allowed one to enter the orchestra pit. According to Pioneer Cemetery records, Mr. Griswold "died in the asylum for the insane (present state hospital) here in the early ‘80's, [1900] his mind having become unbalanced on account of the loss of his property."
  • To reduce public drunkenness, at least one day week, a previous city ordinance proscribed Sunday opening of any "store, shop, boll alley, billiard room, tippling house, or any place of amusement . . ." An exception to this law were grocery stores. When this was not effective, a voluntary Sunday closing law, enacted this year, gained the support of a goodly proportion of Salem's businessmen, although only a handful of the town's tavern keepers.
  • Chloe Clark Willson died this year in Portland. Associated with her husband William in the founding of the city, she was also a gifted teacher in the formative years of Willamette University. Profiles are found on Salemhistory and in Salem Lifelines.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Salem in 1873

World Events
  • Tennis is introduced in England.
  • The first Impressionist paintings are exhibited in Paris.
  • Remington gunsmith firm begins producing typewriters.
In Salem 
 This year John Minto locates a pass though the Cascade Mountains that is named for him. In 1882, he will survey the Santiam Pass. However, he is best remembered in Salem for his purchase of the island that bares his name. He was among the first to raise merino sheep here and was instrumental in the State Fair move to Salem. He was an author and poet, in the style of his idol, Robert Burns. He served various state offices, including four Oregon legislative sessions. His 1915 obituary states, "On one of his visits to the recent legislature, Mr. Minto fainted while sitting with his friend and was revived with difficulty. That excitement and exhaustion caused by his attendance upon the legislative sessions may have hastened his end."

When you visit
His 1869 house (pictured above) stands on the north end of Saginaw Street, south of the two other Minto family houses
built by his son, Douglas: one was constructed in 1921; the other in 1926.
These South Central Area Neighborhood (SCAN) properties are a fine starting point for a walk south on Saginaw Street to Fairmount Hill, a residential area recently considered for nomination as a historic district. West of Commercial Street, a Fairmount walk will begin south of Mission Street (Owens Street is a good starting point, with historic residences and new apartment complexes and for nine blocks wanders south, up the hill past the mansions of Salem's Pre-Depression 1920s, to an abrupt end at Rural Street. To the rear of those houses lie the long east-west stretch of Pioneer Cemetery and the south border of the neighborhood. Saginaw is a through street, but detours into Fir, Fairmount and John Streets will offer street views of many attractive homes and well designed landscaping. SCAN (which is also on the east of Commercial) has monthly public meetings on the 2nd Wednesday, 6:30 pm at South Salem High School, 1910 Church Street SE.

Other Events

  • The Marion County Courthouse (often seen in this classic 1903 photograph) is completed this year. Notice the Post Office and the State House in the background. The Methodist Church is to the right. The former Courthouse that had been moved in 1871 to make way for its grand successor, housed various businesses before ending life as a livery stable at the turn of the 20th century. This Courthouse, built by Wilbur F. Boothby and associates, blended exuberant Victorian styles, reflecting 19th century community pride in public buildings. Marion County paid W.W. Piper $4,500 as supervising architect for his elaborate French Renaissance design. Final costs for the permanent Courthouse were between $110,000 and $115,000. The 34,710 square foot Courthouse rose 136 feet upon 33-inch thick brick walls, culminating in an elaborate mansard roof crowned by a 51-foot cupola. A $1500 four-faced clock was set within the tower beneath a cedar rendition of Thema, Goddess of Justice. (In 1905, the gilded lady was replaced by a 10 foot tall, 900 pound hollow copper statue nicknamed for her catalog order number.) The County Jail was on the ground or "basement" floor, the County Clerk and other public offices on the "first floor" and the Courtroom was on the third floor with a fourth floor "attic" above. This building was demolished in 1952.
  • The process of municipal law did not always run smoothly in Salem this year: it is reported in the newspaper that vigilantes took a prisoner from the city jail and punished him with "tar and feathers".
  • Opposition to Chinese workers was voiced by the Salem Weekly Mercury for July 11. The editor charged that Republicans constituted the board of county commissioners and that the board had a reputation so foul as to drive carrion crows away from Marion County. "It employs Chinese to work the county roads. White men are plenty and need the work."
  • Gustavus Hines died this year. With his wife Lydia as companion, the couple were outstanding pioneers of Oregon and Salem. He was the author of several books that are important resources for any study of Oregon's history. They include works with long titles such as Life on the Plains of the Pacific: Oregon, Its History Condition and Prospects: Containing a Description of the Geography, Climate and Productions, with Personal Adventures Among the Indians during a Residence of the Author...while Connected with the Oregon Mission: Embracing Extended Notes of a Voyage Around the World.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Salem in 1872

World Events
  • The US Amnesty Act pardons most Confederates.
  • The Brooklyn Bridge opens.
  • Railroad safety improves with Westinghouse's new automatic air brake.  
  • In Salem
    This year the Oregon Legislature allocates $4,000 for the education of the blind. In 1884, when this photograph was taken, the school was located on 12th Street. By 1894 it returned to a permanent home at Cottage and Mission Streets. [An original 1872 school building may have been the former Leslie house.] In 1913 Governor West recommended closing the blind school as it had become a fire trap and was "so located that a railroad track, a mill race and a creek, at times a raging torrent, must be crossed by the blind children in going to or from the school or city." A new fireproof cottage on the enlarged campus was built in 1923 when Howard Hall at Church and Mission street, seen below, was constructed as a boys' dormitory at a cost of $33,388. After many years of debate among school supporters and the legislators, the school closed permanently in 2009 with blind education becoming the responsibility of local school districts.
 When you visit
This is the last building of the now-closed Oregon School for the Blind. In 1990,
the Historic Landmarks Commission of the city of Salem designated this Howard Hall as a Local Landmark. This former school property is between a residential historic district and the expanding Salem Hospital facility. The hospital purchased the property in 2009, dismantling playground, demolishing many buildings and erecting a temporary, chain-link fence around the entire facility. An application by the hospital to demolish Howard Hall was denied by the City of Salem Historic Landmarks Commission on February 17, 2011 and again in 2014. A few months later, the City Council over-ruled that decision in favor of demolition. The fate of Howard Hall is still uncertain as it sits alone, still encircled by a fence as the rest of the former school grounds becomes a rolling, grassy parkland, awaiting the transformation into a level, treeless parking lot for the hospital. Further legal challenges to this demolition project are expected.

Other Events
  • Dr. Daniel Payton becomes mayor.
  • To improve the supply of water distributed in the city, a suction line with steam-powered pump is laid in Willamette Slough replacing the Salem Water Co. tank downtown.
  • First Sacred Heart Academy building is demolished for new structure on the east side of Cottage Street between Center and Chemeketa. The school remained in the location until the 1960's, when it moved to Lancaster Drive.
  • Oregon Institute, founded by Methodist missionaries in 1842, is destroyed by fire.  The Institute was classroom, dormitory and home for the instructors (sometime missionaries) in the earliest years of the settlement that became Salem. The Walton Building of the present Willamette University, which grew from this enterprise, stands on this historic site. In front of this modern building is a stone with a metal plaque, identifying this site.
The Cooke-Patton residence in the 1930s.
  •  The Cooke-Patton family moves into their new Court Street mansion. Thomas McFadden Patton was Marion County Representative to the Oregon State Legislature. He was the son-in-law of Mr. Edwin Cooke who was Salem's second mayor. Thomas Patton married Mary Frances Cooke in 1854 and after a year in Jacksonville, the younger couple returned to live in the Cooke residence on Davidson Street. By this year the Pattons have moved with the Cookes to their new Victorian mansion across Court Street from the State House construction. The two couples found this a satisfactory arrangement and the tradition continued into the next generation with the two grandsons, Edwin (1869-1929) and Hal Patton (1872-1932) living there, with their wives, for their entire lives. The house was demolished in 1938, when Hal's widow was the sole occupant, for the construction of the Oregon State Library, the first building of North Capitol Mall. Luella Patton Charlton was born here and lived in the mansion until her marriage in 1927. She was generous in sharing Salem memories of her 109 years. She died in 2007.
  • To emphasize the problem of public drunkenness, the 1872 City Recorder's report cited the arrest of 81 persons for drunkenness in the previous eleven months. The usual penalty for such public displays of inebriation was a fine and/or a night in the City jail to "sleep it off." At a previous Salem Council meeting, a committee was appointed to recommend a plan for building a new City jail. This was built on Liberty Street below State Street to replace the old wooden calaboose constructed in 1853 on Ferry Street between Church and High Streets. (The new lock-up served its purpose until 1894 when the jail facilities became part of the new City Hall.)
  • A traveling salesman is peddling Sequoia gigantea, Redwoods. Judge William Waldo buys a small sapling and plants it on his property outside the city limits. When the time came for Waldo's property to be platted and taken into the city, the judge's influence was great enough so he could successfully insist that the tree be preserved before he vacated his land for a state highway. And that's how the giant Redwood on the west side of Summer Street NE, immediately north of Union Street, became, according to some, the world's smallest park. Various writers and publications have taken note of the tree's plight in the battle against the automobile as the adjacent streets were widened and then paved. At intervals through the years, angered motorists have condemned the ever-spreading Redwood as a traffic hazard that ought to be chopped down. To insure that motorists spare the tree, a group called the American War Mothers moved on Salem's City Council in 1936 to establish the tree as a park. On June 15, 1936, the city council passed a resolution naming the tree "Waldo Park". The giant tree now stands at Summer and Union Streets in what many consider the world's smallest park.
  • This year, Wilbur F. Boothby designed the elaborate Italianate style Marion County Courthouse in Salem (completed the next year). He also planned and built the state mental institution and contributed to the erection of most public buildings in the state capital. A native of Maine born in 1840, he was educated at Fulton College in New York, and arrived in Salem, Oregon, in 1864. He would later design the South Eldridge Block on Commercial Street, a small section remaining today. By that time, Boothby had operated a sash and door factory in Salem for many years as well as being a contractor and architect. Boothby also served as first president of the Salem waterworks.