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

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Salem in 1912

World Events
  • The Titanic sinks.
  • Arizona and New Mexico become states.
  • Woodrow Wilson becomes president.
 In Salem
In 1912, postcards were all the rage for Salem travelers wishing to share the novelty of new places seen in their adventures. The Patton brothers, Edwin Cooke and Hal had lived in Japan as children when their father was US Consul in Kobe. They knew the value of this business and opened Patton Postcard Hall in 1908. A narrow room filled with cards, it was located between the Patton and Gill Buildings on State Street. In this 1912 photograph, E. Cooke Patton, is working with an unknown lady assistant. Patton postcards were among the finest produced at the time with a German photographer and the colors applied with artistry.
Local collectors have preserved many of these postcards.

When you visit
No architectural traces of this pioneer family remain in Salem. The Postcard Hall disappeared during the expansion of US National Bank east along State Street in the 1960s. The Patton Building, adjacent to the bank, was demolished in the same construction. Their home is also gone. The brothers' grandfather, Edwin Cooke, had built the Cooke-Patton mansion on Court Street, opposite the State House. They lived in the house all their lives, first with their parents and then settling in with their wives after they married. Luella, Cooke Patton's daughter, was born there and lived with her family until she married and moved to 23rd Street. The house became among the first to be demolished for the construction of the state office buildings beginning in 1937.
(Luella lived to be 109, dying in 2007.)

Other Events
  • Equal suffrage won voter approval in Oregon; women are allowed to vote for the first time in the December 2 city election. Smoking is therefore not permitted at polling places as the City Council determines a smoke-filled environment is not suitable for women. However, women were declared ineligible to serve on juries.
  • Salem's first Oregon National Guard unit occupies the new Armory on the corner of Ferry and Liberty Streets.

Carnegie Library now Willamette University Civic Law Center
  • The establishment of a Carnegie Library in Salem, sponsored by a committee of local women, opens on State Street. After the library moved into the Civic Center in 1972, the YWCA used the building. It is now the Civic Law Center of Willamette University.
  • The handsome Masonic Hall is completed on the northwest corner of State and High Streets. It was designed by Ellis Lawrence, founder of the University of Oregon School of Architecture, who was also the architect for the Hubbard Building and the Elsinore Theater.
  • The Jason Lee Memorial Church and the nearby Highland Elementary School are built this year in North Salem. Both are still serving their original purposes one hundred years later and are designated as Local Landmarks.
The Dome Building of Oregon State Hospital
  • The Dome Building of the Oregon State Hospital is erected on the north side of Center Street. It was designed by Edgar Lazarus who also known for his Vista House on the heights above the Columbia Gorge. The beautiful building, originally used as a receiving ward, has a curved canopy descending over the entrance, fluted cast-iron columns, a flat roof with saucer dome and two-story wings to the north and south. Located on the north side of Center Street, it is not part of the current hospital renovation. It gained recognition in 1975 when used for scenes in the Academy Award winning film, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Oregon Sate Hospital Historic District.
  • Walter Gerth, an early booster and mayor of West Salem, opens a store. The family home is now a Local Landmark on Gerth Street.
  • Through 37 years, 1920-1957, Louis Olson and his wife Ida lived in a spacious 1912 bungalow at 1490 McCoy Avenue. This beautiful home is in the Grant neighborhood. Mr. Olson had a variety of occupations: packing superintendent at King Foods on Front Street (now Truitt Brothers), patrolman with the Salem Police Department, weightmaster with the State Highway Department, elevator operator and engineer at the Masonic Temple and, finally, caretaker of that institution.
  • The Waller-Chamberlain House is moved to its present site on Court Street. It is considered the oldest residence in the Court-Chemeketa Residential Historic District.
  • Wilbur Boothby dies at his residence, 171 Court Street. His life and many outstanding local achievements are recognized in contemporary newspaper accounts and a lengthy obituary. Born in Maine in 1840, he had come to Oregon in 1864, after various enterprises in California. His first business a sash and door factory. As a contractor and designer, he built the ornate Marion County Courthouse, the State Hospital, South Eldridge Block (now Greenbaum's Quilted Forest), Bush House and many other local buildings. His wife, the former Miss R. A. Dalglsish, died in 1910, leaving a son and daughter. The Rev. P. S. Knight conducted his funeral service at the home and Boothby was buried in the I. O. O. F. Cemetery ~ now Pioneer Cemetery.

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