- The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, is dedicated in New York Harbor by President Glover Cleveland. The excitement of the New York City celebration led to the first ticker-tape parade.
- Haymarket riot further contributed to the creation of an 8-hour day for workers and inspired the present-day International May Day celebrations.
- After 30 years of defiance, Apache leader Geronimo with his warriors, surrenders in Arizona.
- Karl Benz of Germany patents first gas-powered automobile.
- Inventions: Josephine Cochrane patents the first commercial automatic washing machine. Ottmar Mergenthaler's linotype machine introduced at New York Tribune. And a pharmacist, Dr. John Pembleton, creates a carbonated, caffeine beverage (kola nuts and coca leaves) that will be named Coca-Cola.
- New American Books: The Bostonians, Henry James and Little Lord Fauntleroy, Frances Hodgson Burnett
Robert Stuart Wallace lived in Chicago and operated as a commodity broker in the Chicago Board of Trade. The pressure of trading was so intense that his doctor told him he must quit this stressful activity or he would die young. He took the advice and sold his holdings and came to Salem, Oregon in 1885. He had recently visited here and liked what he saw and decided to move here. He and his wife, Nancy Black Wallace, built a large house on the northwest corner of Capitol and Court Street. (This was later the site of the Miles home which was demolished in the 1940s for the Oregon State Public Service Building.) Robert and Nancy Wallace had three children, Lee, Paul and Ruth, and lived in this house during most of the year, retiring across the river to the orchard home in summer. Mr. Wallace died at 41, but during the six years he lived in Salem he accomplished many major projects
|Former Wallace family summer home|
- The first concrete sidewalks and limited electric service improve downtown business opportunities.
- The Pearce Building is erected on the northeast intersection of the Breyman "White Corner" at Commercial and Court Street. This traditional commercial building of red brick was transformed in the 1940s to present modern architectural style with a rounded corner. Mr. George Pearce left the property to his two daughters who became prominent local educators.
- A " lunatic with a well-whetted butcher knife" attempts a hold-up at Ladd and Bush Bank, but is subdued by Sheriff Minto and two customers.
|Firemen in a practice drill|
- A happier day for prospective customers is depicted in a photograph of the bank this year. It shows a lively scene at the corner of State and Commercial as the firemen parade with their horses and carriages. Another photograph shows a tender team for the Tiger Company competing in a practice fire drill fireman during a tournament. The number of photographs showing various activities of the downtown tournament this year shows the importance of the five companies of fireman in Salem and the respect that was given their valuable service in a town composed of wooden buildings.
- The Salvation Army is established with open-air services near the corner of Liberty and Ferry Streets.
- At 265 Court Street, J. J. Murphy's residence is prominent feature with multiple roof lines, turrets and porches. The family lived there until at least 1905 when George Rose purchased it. The next owner was Charles Bishop whose family owned it until the 1950s when it was willed to Willamette University. After a brief use as a sorority house, it was purchased by the First Presbyterian Church and demolished for the present church building. This residence stood on a Court Street block that had housed generations of Salem's leading citizens.
- Oregon Pacific Steam Engine #6 was a sturdy pioneer of the local railroad this year, burning loads of wood for power. This engine continued in use until 1915.