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

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Salem in 1922

World Events
  • Mahatma Gandhi is sent to prison in India for civil disobedience. His campaign for ahimsa (nonviolence) inspired movements for civil justice throughout the world.
  • Louie Armstrong joins "King" Oliver's band; temperance leaders declare jazz to be "moral decadence".
  • Emily Post publishes "Etiquette".
In Salem
Our Salem Chamber of Commerce dates back to 1884 when the Salem Board of Trade was established. The Illehee Club and the Commercial Club, meeting on the second floor of the Burke Building, made up the first "chamber" organization in 1913. In the post-war prosperity of the 1922 the three organizations were incorporated, taking the name “chamber of commerce” because of their association with the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. The Chamber has been dedicated to the promotion of Salem and the community: working with the federal government bring a new post office to Salem, to create Silver Falls State Park, and to relieve flooding through a Willamette Valley Project. The Chamber began the Long-Range Planning Commission in the 1940s to collaborate with government entities on zoning, transportation, taxation and education. Each year, a Leadership Group holds monthly meetings in various parts of Salem that acquaint these active citizens in both the assets and the concerns of the municipal organizations. The Chamber has made Salem's cultural heritage an important part of its wide ranging community support. One aspect of this Chamber contribution is their collection of more than a thousand historical photographs now online in the Oregon Historical Photograph Collection of the Salem Public Library. The SHINE feature you are now viewing uses many of these photographs to illustrate the story of Salem.

When you visit

The Chamber moved into the former Rodgers residence on Cottage Street in 1956. A 1963 photograph of Court Street shows the building in the background and the damage to Willson Park from the windstorm of the year previous. This Cottage Street building served the Chamber until 1995; unfortunately, this handsome structure was destroyed by fire two years later. The Chamber is now located in a facility built at the southeast corner of Market and Commercial Streets.



Other events
  • A new sanctuary replaces the 1854 St. Paul's Episcopal Church at the southeast corner of Chemeketa and Court Streets. The old building is moved to an adjoining lot on Chemeketa Street. An undated photograph of the Rev. George Swift and his wife shows them standing in front of the next-door rectory. When the church was dismantled in 1954, the rectory was moved to Davidson Street, south of Bush Park. It is now a private residence on Court Street and a contributing property in the Gaiety Hill/ Bush Pasture Park Historic District. It is featured on that walking tour slide show on SHINE.

  • Barber Shops were popular places for men to get together for a shave and haircut while discussing the news of the day. This one could well be our own OK Barber Shop at 337 State Street, a business that may be the longest established barber in Salem.
  • In 1922 the PGE Building at 241 Liberty Street offers offices on the ground floor and the Electric Apartments on the second. It has recently been renovated to its original appearance and the familiar 1950s Anderson Sporting Goods facade removed. During research a few years ago, Luella Patton Charlton recalled living in a front apartment on the second floor during the early years of her marriage, 1927-8. See these pictures on the SHINE Downtown Walking Tour.
  • Hal Patton, Luella's uncle, gives himself a 50th birthday party and invites all the most Salem prominent men to attend and speak about their lives. The remarks of a respected Chinese American, George Sun, were recorded in a printed booklet. George thanks the community for his fair treatment over the years, but regrets he is not able to vote although his children have this opportunity. "Why I be here fifty-four years altogether, why I cannot vote. I ought to be citizen too. They must make mistake. Something wrong. Well excuse. (Great applause)"
  • The YMCA organizes Salem's first public playground programs.
  • James and Greta Hiatt build a duplex on Winter Street. Mr. Hiatt was a mechanic with the State Highway Department and Mrs. Hiatt was a teacher at Garfield Elementary School. It appears the Hiatts never lived here and the two units were leased as separate rentals. The Hiatts sold the property in 1964. Still an attractive, double residence, it is a Local Landmark in the Grant neighborhood.
From the Capitol Journal:
  • Salem businessmen figured they were richer by $29,000 by tourists at the municipal auto campgrounds (now Pringle Park) during 1922. Salem's up-to-date campground was kept clean, furnished wood for fuel, hot and cold water for showers, laundry trays, lavatories, stoves, tables and benches. Charge per day was 50 cents for the first day, 25 cents thereafter. Supt. T. G. Albert reported 2,810 patrons newly registered during 1922 and 3,001 layovers.
  • Englewood and the northwest section of Salem were up in arms against a huge State Hospital manure pile and garbage dump in the area.  This aggregation of filth, neighbors declsred, was a breeding ground for billions of flies and millions of rats. An outbreak of diphtheria in the community was attributed to these dumps. (An epidemic was spreading at the time.)
  • The City Council refused T. G. Bligh permission to place an electric sign in front of his hotel. Alderman Patton (see Hal Patton above) stated that during the state fair Bligh rented inside rooms without baths for $1.50 and $2. a night. This, the councilman insisted, was a downright insult to every member of the council and justified refusing Bligh any privilege whatsoever.
  • Justice of the Peace G. F. Unruh gave persons coming before him and found guilty of excessive speed an alternative: either go to jail or drive the "reform car" that bore a placard: "This man is being taught the rues of the road." Since introduction of the reform care, no traffic violators had been arraigned in Salem's police court.
(See Ben Maxwell's Salem, Oregon, edited by Scott McArthur, 2006)

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