SHINE is a look backward from the present to Salem's 1860 charter. In each year we have four sections: glimpses of what was happening around the world, a special event in Salem, what you see when you visit that site today, and other Salem events of interest that year.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Salem in 1900

World Events
  • Secretary of State John Hay proposes an Open Door policy, promoting trade among European powers and the U. S. with China on an equal basis, keeping any one from domination. The anti-colonial movement in China leads to the Boxer Rebellion this year.
  • The people of the Philippines revolt against American rule.
  • The Boer conflict between Britain and the two Boer (Dutch word for farmer) colonies in South Africa. The Dutch-founded South African Republic and the Orange Free State were part of the Dutch-founded areas annexed to Britain in 1902.
  •  Spectators at Lake Constance in Germany see the inaugural flight of a Zeppelin, later to be the first commercial airliners.
  • The Davis Cup tennis tournament is created; the American League in baseball is organized in Philadelphia.
  • Notable new books: The realistic novel, Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser and as fantasy for children, Wonderful World of Oz by L Frank Baum. Sigmund Freud publishes The Interpretation of Dreams. The Guide Michelin appears for French motorists. (The first American guide is published in 2005.)
    photo used courtesy of Carole Smith
    In Salem
    The local enthusiasm was for the elegant new "Odd Fellows" Hall where the Grand Theater opened with John Phillip Sousa's comic "El Capitan". In a building designed in Richardson Romanesque style, this lodge was among the most successful fraternal orders of 19th century America, providing member benefit funding for illness or funerals, administrative training and community services. The Grand Theater provided popular stage, and later, movie entertainment. After the Elsinore opened in 1927, the attraction of this theater declined and it closed in 1950.

    When you visit
    After a period of temporary occupation by renters, the current owners, Carole Smith and Eric Kittleson, have extensively remodeled the proud old building. On the top floor, the large ballroom is frequently used for meetings and celebrations. The theater has reopened under the management of a Friends Board and is the scene of regular stage and film attractions. The tower, unfortunately lost in a storm many years ago, has not been replaced. The adjoining Central State Terminal and Hotel (now the Hotel Annex) was completed in 1921. It is now occupied by Travel Salem, a tourism marketing organization. Both structures were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

    Other events
    Northeast over Capitol Street with 12th Street and East School on right
    North between Summer and Capitol Streets.
    • Census shows Salem population has reached 4,258. These two remarkable photographs of this year show how small the city was at that time. The large, white A.N. Bush house figures in both (at left and at right).
    • Due to the opening of the Grand Theater, the Reed Opera House gives a final theatrical performance featuring the Great Barlow Minstrels. It is followed by a farewell speech by the manager, Hal Patton.
    • The Catlin Linn Building is erected at 246 State Street. This is the site of earlier Tiger Engine Fire House, No. 2, organized in 1869 that continued as a volunteer organization until 1893 when the city created a paid fire department. A garage with concrete floor was a feature of this building through the 1920s, testifying to its early use for auto storage and repairs. 
    • Two residences new to city in 1900 are found on the same street, but in two different neighborhoods: the still graceful, Queen Anne styled Perkins House is at 198 21st Street NE in NEN, named for a 1930s owner, Granville Perkins who worked in the local canning industry. It was originally in the Waller Donation Land Claim. The Zielinski House at 212 21st Street SE in SESNA. The first occupants that are recorded here are Burt and Ellen Zielinski who lived there between 1924 and 1932. In almost original condition, it is another example of the fine craftsman workmanship that went into the Queen Anne style homes of the late twentieth century.
    • The Bethel Baptist Church builds a parsonage beyond the city limits on Cottage Street, in the present Grant neighborhood. The words “Baptist Parsonage” have been pressed into the cement of the step leading up to the front door of this historic residence, always owned by the church next door. Pastors who lived there included Gustave W. Rutsch (1932-5), John F. Olthoff (1940-5) and Rudolph Wolke until 1954. By 1957 it had become the Sunday School Annex. The simple vernacular architecture of this building is relieved by lacy scrollwork under the arch of the upper front eave.
    • Our only existing image of the Leslie House is a drawing made this year. One hundred acres of the Leslie property, including the house, were sold to Asahel Buch in 1860. The house was the family home fir 17 years until the present Bush House was built in 1877-8. The house was moved at the time and later demolished.
    • North of the city on Garden Road (now Market Street), the Swegle District established its first school, now in the ELNA neighborhood. The school was built when George Swegle sold one acre of land on Garden Road (Market Street) to the District for $80. The first section of the school as we know it today was built in 1923-4. By the 1938, the school had four classrooms, three teachers and enough students to field a sports program. In one year girls were recruited to fill out the baseball team: the lack of funds for uniforms forced them to play after-school games in their dresses. The school's 100 year history was celebrate with many former students in attendance.
    • Thomas Lister Kay, the founder of the Kay Woolen Mill died this year. He was responsible for much of Salem's early industrial growth and the development of the textile industry in Oregon.  Born in 1837 in England, he had an early background in woolen mill operations. Kay was succeeded in management of the mill by son Thomas Benjamin Kay (four times state treasurer), grandson Ercel Kay, (founder of the Salem Golf course), and great grandson Thomas Kay Jr. (a Salem businessman). The mill closed in 1959 and became the centerpiece of the Mission Mill Museum ( now Willamette Heritage Center), 1313 Mill St SE in Salem. It is an irony that Thomas Lister Kay's daughter, Fannie, who was passed over for management, later founded with her husband Charles Bishop and their sons, the Pendleton Mills.

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