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

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.

1 comment:

Capital Taps said...

I had it in my mind that the Capital Journal didn't start until a little later. The UO library newspaper site suggests 1888 was its start. Is it possible that the Statesman was the one using the telephone in 1884?