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

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.

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