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

Monday, May 31, 2010

Salem in 1952

World Events
  • Eisenhower and Nixon are elected as US President and Vice President
  • The United Nations meets for the first time in the New York headquarters.
  • Eva Peron dies in Argentina and the legend of "Evita" begins.
In Salem
Family life moves out of the dining room as the TV dinner is introduced by Swanson and little folding tables are set up in front of the TV to watch the "The Jackie Gleason Show" and Edward R. Morrow's "See It Now". National news is made local as General Eisenhower and his wife Mamie make a fifteen-minute stop at our railroad station during his campaign as Republican candidate for president. In the series of photographs taken that day, our Governor McKay is shown prominently as an enthusiastic supporter. After Eisenhower wins the election in November, he appoints the Oregon governor as Secretary of the Interior and Douglas McKay resigns to take up his new duties in Washington, D.C.

When you visit
Our Southern Pacific train station has been the scene of many happy celebrations and tearful goodbyes over the years since the first was built in 1871. It was the place of departure for troops leaving for the Spanish American War in 1898 and for battle veterans' return the next year. It was used for military transport in the both World Wars as well as the mustering station for Americans of Japanese descent who were sent to internment camps in 1942. Tourists and business travelers along the west coast of the United States, and those making connections across the country, have relied on our railroad station. This history has been recognized by the designation of the station building and the freight depot on the National Register of Historic Places. It is included in the self-guided walking tour Salem in Oregon History featured on the SHINE website. This station is on the AMTRAK west coast route.

Other Events
  • Salem's city water system is improved by a 54-inch water line and state-of-the-art slow sand filters provided North Santiam River water. The system finally produced high quality drinking water demanded by residents and local industries. Of equal importance was the building of the city's first sewage treatment plant on North Front Street. In 2009 the facility was rebuilt and expanded.
 
  • This year residents of Salem saw the demolition of Marion County Courthouse. The 1873 structure was designed by Wilbur F. Boothby who is also credited with the original Kirkbride Building of the Oregon State Hospital and the Asahel Bush house. In French Renaissance style, popular in the Victorian era to symbolize pride in public buildings, the building rose 136 feet with 33-inch walls. It was topped with a 51-foot cupola containing a clock of four faces and, above that, a wooden statue of Thelma, the Greek god of wisdom. In 1904, this statue was covered with 900 pounds of copper. She was known around the Courthouse by her catalog number, "4762". With the demolition of the courthouse, the clock went to Mt. Angel and the statue to Willamette University where is stands in the lobby of the School of Law. Finally, only the 1924 World War I Doughboy statue is left standing before a pile of rubble. The ornate Courthouse was replaced with a severe structure of Vermont marble and in 2000,when that structure became too small, an annex, Courthouse Square, was completed across Court Street to the north.
  • Salem's Municipal Judge, Peery Buren, resigns due to ill health and Douglas Hay is appointed. He will continue in the elective office until 1966.
  • The new Marion Street Bridge opens. At that time, this bridge was the longest of its type west of the Mississippi River. The Oregon Pulp and Paper Mill dominates the shoreline and continues to pollute the downtown air.
  • The new Statesman Journal building is erected at Chemeketa and Church Streets. The traditional downtown residential neighborhoods are disappearing.
  •  
  • Area outlined in blue is described below.
  • The third section of Piety Hill has been demolished. Houses were either demolished or moved for the new the State Transportation Building. One of these is the Cora Moores house on Chemeketa Street (She was the daughter of Salem pioneers Obed and Charlotte Dickinson.) Purchased by Ridgely and Wanda Miller, it was transported by Augie Koenig across Bush's Pasture Park to Leffelle Street where it is today. The Frederick Thompson house, a few doors away on Summer Street, was purchased by the Stephens family and was also moved to Leffelle Street by Mr. Koenig and placed next door. (The Thompson house was also the home of Judge James Brand, who served in Nuremburg Trials.) Kathy Miller Reed and her husband, Wallace E. Reed, now live in Thompson/Brand house. The only other house saved in this third section of North Capitol Mall construction was the David Eyre house on Summer Street. You can now see this beautiful home on the northeast corner of High and Mission streets. These three residences are in the Gaiety Hill/Bush's Pasture Park Historic District in the SCAN neighborhood.
  • Blue Lake Beans received considerable publicity from association with Lou Costello when he and Abbott made a movie entitled "Jack in the Beanstalk" this year. Both the movie and Blue Lake's beans were promoted at grocery stores and restaurants and Costello had over forty cases of the beans sent to his journalist and radio commentator friends.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Salem in 1951

World Events
  • Relieved of duty by President Truman, General McArthur makes an emotional farewell address, "And like the old soldier in that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the sight to see that duty."
  • Negotiators establish a battle line truce between the United Nations and North Korea, still in effect, it is the DMZ ~ Demilitarized Military Zone ~ 60 years later. 
  • 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution limits presidents to two terms of four years each. President Roosevelt will be the only one to have served more than two terms. His fourth term was interrupted by his death in 1945, only months before the end of World War II.
Then: this site along our river was an industrial area
In Salem
Salem families are still getting their news from the radio in the living room: Salem would not have TV for another few years. The evening news broadcasts informed them about a country many had never heard of, Korea. A neighbor had been called back into service and been sent there to fight with United States Marine Corps. But not Dad, so Mom does not worry as she sends her family off to school or work into a city that is being transformed by construction projects. The largest is the new bridge across the Willamette River at Marion Street. This street, adjoining Marion Square Park, once a fine residential neighborhood surrounding Marion Square Park,  is now being sliced up for ramps that will be entrances to the bridge. One overpass was almost directly over the old Gilbert residence that had been transformed into modest apartments. The photograph above shows one of the familiar arched supports near Gilbert House at the Water Street walkway along east side of the river.
And now ~ Riverfront Park invites visitors

When you visit
Archways under the bridge, such as the one in this photograph, enhance the river scenery we enjoy while walking along Water Street north of Riverfront Park. The former A. C. Gilbert residence, almost under the bridge itself, is now the core of the Gilbert House Children's Museum for the education of children through play activities. Four other historic structures have been relocated in this complex along Water Street. These include historic structures from Capitol Street where state purchases for office buildings is transforming the neighborhood north of the capitol building.
The Marion Street Bridge is now one-way with approaches from the east side of the river: going south, cars turn right from Commercial Street; going west cars enter the bridge on Marion Street itself. The Center Street Bridge allows vehicles to travel from West Salem into the downtown area. Although the vehicle bridges do offer some pedestrian or bike lanes, it is advised to take the renovated Union Street Bridge if walking or riding a bike. Traffic across the river has always been a factor in city planning and continues to be a concern.

Other Events
  • Alfred W. Loucks becomes mayor. The auditorium of the Salem Public Library is later named for him.
  • The city is covered in three inches of snow after a surprise March snowstorm.
  • Under the sponsorship of the Baptist Church, United Gospel Mission is established to aid the homeless of the downtown area.
  • Local Rotary clubs become involved with the Willamette Scholarship Fund and the Rotary International Scholarship Fund. Since 1950, Rotary Club members adopt American Field Service students and pay travel costs.
  • The Scottish Rite Temple of the Masonic Order holds services in a new facility in the 500 block of South Commercial Street. Purchased the year before, much volunteer as well as professional labor had gone into preparing this site.
  • The third structure of the First Christian Church is erected on the 1902 church site at the southeast corner of Church and High Streets. The original sanctuary, built in 1867, was known as the "little brick church".
North Capitol Mall in 1951
  • Three of the new state buildings are complete on North Capitol Mall. Since construction began in 1937, it was known that the fourth building would have to wait until the First Presbyterian Church was moved diagonally across Winter Street. The church structure on the northeast corner of Chemeketa and Winter Streets (at right center in the photograph above), facing Chemeketa, had been erected and dedicated in 1928 on what was thought to be a permanent site. In anticipation of a move (1958-9), the church began purchasing property on the west side of Winter Street in 1946. By 1951, the Rigdon house at the southwest corner of Chemeketa and Winter Streets, had been demolished. Four more on Winter and around the corner would follow by 1963 when the church property extended around the corner onto Court Street. This signaled the end of the historic residential neighborhood of "Piety Hill" associated with the most prominent pioneer families of Salem. Its proximity to Willson Park, the capitol and Willamette University had made it a fashionable place to live, but the posh residential neighborhood was already that of Fairmount Hill.
  • A barnlike structure serves as a facility for car parking at Liberty and Ferry Streets. This is an earlier version of the current Liberty Parkade and the other covered parking facilities downtown that were created in the next twenty years to relieve the problem of parking for potential shoppers.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Salem in 1950

1950
World Events

  • US military under General MacArthur land at Inchon to aid South Korea after North Korean forces invade; but retreat after defeat by Chinese at Yalu River.
  • Senator McCarthy accuses State Department employees of being Communists.
  • Nat King Cole is popular vocalist, "Peanuts" comics is introduced, "All About Eve" is hit movie.
In Salem
In the late 1940s, Salem's downtown had spaces on the street for automobiles to park in front of stores, but did not have parking lots to accommodate the increase in personal cars since the end of the war. One innovative proposal was to demolish the Holman Building (top photograph above) and make room for parking above a new auto maintenance and repair shop. Those residents who were concerned by the loss of Salem's heritage which this building represented, formed the Marion County Historical Society with the mission of preserving it and, more widely, interpreting the city and county's cultural resources. Its first president, David Duniway, led the fight to preserve the historic Holman Building, reminding the public that for the first years of Oregon statehood (1859-1876), the legislature meet here and most of our basic laws were debated on this site. But he was not successful, the building was demolished and the Marion Car Rental and Park (lower photograph) was built this year.

When you visit
The Marion Car Rental and Park is located on the northwest corner of Ferry and Commercial Streets, a busy intersection for traffic entering Front Street going west from Ferry, or continuing south on Commercial. It is diagonally across the street from the Conference Center. To learn more about the Holman Building and the other historic buildings that were once on this important corner of the new city, read the interpretive panel on the stair landing inside the Conference Center.
This structure is located at the southern extent of the Downtown Historic District and is considered to be a property that contributes to the history of the district. It is now recognized for the integrity of the mid-20th century design and its importance in offering convenience to downtown shoppers 60 years ago when suburban developments were making many downtown business centers obsolete. In 2014 the facility is empty.

Other Events
  • The city's population has reached 43,140.
  • Our second Municipal Judge, Peery T. Buren, is elected.
  • Salem replaces San Jose, California as the largest canning area in the world.
  • The ground floor facade of the Capitol National Bank is renovated: two columns of polished Scotch granite are replaced when James Payne, the architect, attempts to retain the "dignity and architectural beauty of the original design while at the same time achieving adequate and efficient quarters for the work of the association on the ground floor." Placing the modern front onto the building required holding up the stone top stories, consisting of over 100 tons of stone, with steel beams to allow the introduction of a large picture window and double doors to provide more light. See this unique building on the SHINE Historic Downtown Walking Tour.
  • The Cherry Festival is recorded for the last time.
  • A building that houses the Rainbow Inn Cafe at 163 S. Commercial Street collapses, revealing a staircase not in use, according to A. N. Bush, since the 1860s.
  • The pre-1871 Werner Breyman house had been moved from State Street (present site of the Micah Building) around the corner on Cottage Street in 1924. By 1950 it had a third floor added and been renovated into an apartment house of 20 units, the building much different in appearance from the original Victorian residence. It will later be demolished for a Willamette University building.
  • The Deaconess Hospital became Salem Memorial Hospital in 1947. An early 1950s photograph shows this Winter Street four story, white building which was torn down in the 1960s. The Salem hospital (Salem Health) continues to grow and is now the second largest employer in town ~ next to the state establishment. A fine, 58 foot mural illustrates the hospital's history: look for it inside the Winter Street entrance of the B Building.
  • One of Salem's most popular vocalists, Hallie Parrish Hinges, known as the "The Oregon Nightingdale", died this year at the age of 82. Granddaughter of Josiah Parrish, a Salem Methodist missionary pioneer, she sang for three visiting presidents as well as numerous local celebrations. Her childhood home has survived two moves that were due to a series of North Capitol Mall constructions. It is now it 1075 Capitol Street, NE.
  • Willamette University builds McCullough Stadium on Bush's Pasture property purchased from the Bush family in 1946.  The facility replaces Sweetland Field. This acreage, the lowland south of Mission and east of the hill on which Bush House stands, was purchased by the university when the city balked at the price of the entire Bush estate. It is a convenient venue for the university and fits in well with the sports fields, Soup Box Derby lanes and the woodlands to the east at Pringle Creek.
  • South of city, the Independence Bridge is built spanning the Willamette. Governor Douglas McKay dedicates this bridge on December 18. During the dedication ceremonies Verd Hill, age 74, dies suddenly of heart failure.
  • From the Capitol Journal: The Rev. Wesley Turner, pastor of Leslie Methodist Church (since demolished) summoned members of civic and reform organizations to discuss possible action against presentation of the movie "Stromboli" at local theaters. The film was the result of a famous letter from Ingrid Bergman to Roberto Rossellini, in which she wrote she admired his work, and she wanted to make a movie with him. However, the film is best remembered for the affair between Rossellini and Bergman that occurred during this time, as well as the resultant child out of wedlock.  (See Ben Maxwell's Salem, Oregon, edited by Scott McArthur, 2006)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Salem in 1949

World Events
  • Communists establish People's Republic of China led by Mao Zedong.
  • Berlin Airlift breaks Soviet Control; Germany is divided with Communism in the east.
  • NATO is established.
  • "South Pacific" is a hit on Broadway; Milton Berle, "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" are TV stars.
In Salem
By a vote of 357 to 130, West Salem becomes a part of the city of Salem in a ceremony attended by both city councils. The original settlement had been near Rickreall Creek, with the platting of a town called Cincinnati, a later settlement was known as Eola, a thriving community for several years until the flood of 1890. The less hilly farmland north of Eola was subdivided into West Salem Addition. In 1912, Walter Gerth opened a grocery store at Gerth and Edgewater Streets; an early cannery, owned by Bruce Cunningham, became the Blue Lake Cannery. In 1913, after the completion of the railroad bridge, West Salem citizens voted to approve a city charter.
The West Salem City Hall was a Public Works project in the 1930s and an important community center. It was the location of the first Chemeketa College classes and the West Salem Branch Library in 1986. Later the small library was moved to a leased location in the shops across the street, then to Walker Middle School, and finally to the building on Glenn Creek. It remains Salem's only Branch Library.

When you visit
The former City Hall is now an office building and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Three bridges now span the Willamette River that divides the city of Salem. Marion and Center Streets have vehicle bridges (with a pedestrian lane), but the former Union Street Railroad Bridge and Trestle carry pedestrians and bikers only. Wallace Road, to the north, and Edgewater Road to the west, remain the dominant highways. In the ten years leading up to 2008, West Salem was growing as a residential area with many new subdivisions climbing the hills of former orchards. This expansion is now leveling off with less construction and new business.
The West Salem Neighborhood Association was founded in 1975. This is a unique organization in Salem as the meetings are conducted as a "town hall" and every resident present, not just a Board member, is allowed to vote on measures under consideration. This encourages a wider participation in neighborhood affairs and the meetings are well attended. Meetings are the 1st. and 3rd. Mondays of the month at 7 p.m. at Roth's IGA, 1130 Wallace Road. The public is welcome.

Other events
  • The City Council adds an eighth member to represent West Salem.This has been the number of Council members since that time. As the population grows, however, the districts for which they are elected have been altered, making them bigger.
  • The 1920s Oregon Pulp and Paper Company has grown to be the largest Salem employer (except for the state) with 600 workers. It is an important element in the lumber industry and the economy of the city, but also is the greatest polluter of the city's air.
  • The first Art Fair is conducted on the lawn of the Marion County Courthouse with 10 artists in attendance. The fair will move the next year to Willson Park and remained there until the Salem Art Association occupies Bush House in 1953. The fairs have been held in Bush's Pasture Park since that year.
Barnes Home: 1911 -1949
  • The construction of the third Oregon State building on the North Capitol Mall, the Transportation Building, begins with the demolition of residences between Chemeketa and Center, along Capitol Street. One of the most prominent was the home where the Barnes family had lived for 40 years. A family photograph taken in 1911 shows a far different scene than one taken when the house was unoccupied and waiting the wrecking ball in 1949. 

  • Students pose for a school portrait at the 1887 Washington School (formerly East School at Center and 12th Street) on the last day of school, June 1. It was the last class to be held before demolition for the construction of a Safeway store. As one of Salem's tallest buildings, it had been a favorite spot for photographers.
  • A large tombstone, estimated to weigh 400 pounds and presumably from the grave of Jason Lee or the Lee plot, found its way to the Willamette University campus in a mysterious manner.
  • The first bridge on South River Road across the Willamette River to Independence was constructed.
  • Chief of Police Frank Minto is remembered with a funeral procession through downtown streets and by the entrance to City Hall. He had served with the Salem Police Department for 26 years.
  •  By 1949 Sick's Brewery on Commercial Street is one of only two breweries in Oregon and among Salem's largest taxpayers. The building was torn down in 1955 and the Convention Center stands there today. The brewery industry was important in the days before Prohibition. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Salem in 1948

World Events
  • President Truman elected in a political upset.
  • Airlift saves Berlin from Russian control.
  • The first Olympics games since 1936 are held in London.
  • The nation of Israel is established.
  • Scientists invent the transistor.
In Salem
In the 1930s, a small Temple Beth Sholom congregation began meeting in private homes. Gatherings moved to rooms in an old downtown building at Chemeketa and Commercial Street. Services were held three flights up, around a wood fireplace with twenty or thirty participants. As the congregation grew, they considered building a home of their own. The first building committee was established in 1934, but was interrupted by World War II. In 1947, a building fund campaign sponsored by 36 donors raised $18,000. The first meeting in the congregation's new synagogue, Temple Beth Sholom, was held on January 20, 1948. It is the only example of mid-century synagogue architecture in the city. A Mogen David (Star of David), identifying the building as a Jewish house of worship, is part of the brickwork facing Broadway Street.

When you visit
After five decades at its 1764 Broadway location, the congregation had grown too large for its home. As preparations were made for renovation, another option appeared. Our Savior's Lutheran Church in South Salem had also outgrown its facilities and was moving. That property was purchased. On September 17, 2006, the members of Temple Beth Sholom, with the participation of the Salem community, marched the Torahs 5.2 miles to their new home. The former temple property has been designated as a Local Landmark. In May (2010), the building was sold to Joslin's American Ballet Academy for a dance/performing arts center.

Other events
  • A January flood in West Salem closes the vehicle bridge at Center Street. The railroad bridge is pressed into passenger service to rescue residents. After the emergency, it was discovered the trestle was heavily damaged and could have washed out with the weight of the trains.
  • A smiling and confident Harry Truman poses for photographs at the airport during a visit to Salem during his cross-country presidential campaign in June.
  • There is more airport excitement in August when the first jet plane arrives.
  • The boyhood home of a former president, Herbert Hoover, at Hazel and Highland Avenues, is vacant and for sale. It has since been completely transformed and is no longer recognized as the same structure.
  • Douglas McKay, a local businessman who had been mayor, is elected governor. McKay had come to Salem as a young man with a wife and three small children to make a living as a car dealer. His great success in such a competitive occupation was a testament to his drive and personality. His career in politics had one drawback ~ he took him and his wife Mabel out of Salem, where they were both more comfortable and could enjoy their family.
  • Two old school buildings are demolished: the 1890 Grant School on Market and Cottage Street, demolished in 1954; and the even older 1867 South School between Mission and Kearny on the west side of Commercial Street.
  • The "Statesman House" is part of a vanishing residential neighborhood at Church and Chemeketa Streets when it is scheduled to be demolished for the future Statesman Journal building.
The Piety Hill homes on Court Street and Capitol Street are demolished. Clockwise:  Bush,  Robertson, Thayer, Miles, Spaulding.
  • Construction of the North Capitol Mall begins again with the demolition of homes on the Court Street block west of Capitol Street for the Highway Building, renamed the Public Service Building. Among the homes razed were those of Charles K. Spaulding and B. Clarkson Miles. These large homes were occupied by close friends whose driveway porte-cocheres almost touched. The electric power for both houses was supplied, for a fee, by the generator of their neighbor, A.N. Bush. A photograph taken a few years before Mrs. Thayer built her house shows the Miles house and neighbors.
  • The 1926 Estelle Bush Thayer house on Capitol Street, around the corner from the Miles home, is also demolished. Mrs. Thayer had eloped to marry Claudius Thayer and lived away form Salem (and one suspects at a distance from her disapproving father) in Tillamook and then in California. Tragically, she lost first his husband (always in poor health) and then her only child, her young daughter Eugenia. As a widow she returned home and lived here until her death in 1942.
A. N. Bush home, last of the Capitol Street homes, just before demolition in 1948.
  • A.N. Bush also had to leave his house, two doors north of the Thayer house, and so returned to his former home (now Bush House Museum) where his sister Sally had lived until 1946. However, his household staff, as elderly as himself, objected to the steps in the old "farmhouse". Henry Compton, on behalf of Mr. Bush, had to go to the State of Oregon Land Board to buy the elevator in the Capitol Street house before it was demolished. The elevator was moved to Bush House where it still operates.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Salem in 1947


World Events
  • The US Marshall Plan aids rebuilding of European cities, but a Cold War begins with Russia.
  • Princess Elizabeth of Great Britain marries Phillip Mountbatten.
  • "Flying Saucers" are reported; Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier in a rocket plane.
  • Jackie Robinson integrates baseball.
In Salem
While their wives abandon "Rosie the Riveter" work outfits for the long-shirted New Look in fashions, Salem veterans are enrolling in college under the GI Bill or returning to their previous jobs. New confidence has hardly been restored when two tragedies strike Salem in October and November.
The first is a plane crash near Klamath Falls which takes the lives of Oregon's Governor, Earl Snell, and three companions: Robert Farrell, Secretary of State; Marshall Cornett, State Senator and pilot Cliff Hogue. Less than a week later, a sensational afternoon fire gutted the downtown Guardian Building, but caused no loss of life. Built at the turn of the century, the five-story building was one of Salem’s largest office buildings, home to approximately thirty businesses including several dentists and attorneys, a medical laboratory and pharmacy. The fire started in a light well shaft and quickly spread. All available equipment, including five pumpers and a ladder truck, and 45 firemen fought the blaze.

When you visit
The Key Bank now occupies the site at this familiar intersection: the southeast corner of Liberty and State Streets.

Other events
  • This year, the City Manager form of municipal government took effect with Robert L. Elfstrom as mayor and J. L. Franzen as the first city manager. The Council was reduced from 14 to 7 members. (To see how our local officials conduct business, or to testify on subject of interest, attend a Council Meeting at the City Hall. Meetings are conducted on the second and fourth Monday and begin at 6:30 p.m. Sign up before the beginning of the meeting if you wish to speak.)
This photograph from the private collection of Ed Austin
  • In a photograph taken the year before, we are looking west on Trade Street as it crosses Commercial Street. The contrasts with the present are dramatic. On the northeast corner was the Sicks' Brewing Company building (now the site of the Salem Convention Center) and across the street from it is the Salem Water Department building (Civic Center Park). On the southwest corner was the Oregon Pulp and Paper Company building (site of Pringle Creek redevelopment) and across the street from it is the Southern Pacific freight depot (replaced by a local tavern). The train tracks on Trade street (long ago removed) curve off to the right and left on Commercial Street. Currently, Trade Street is one way in this direction, passing Commercial Street to join Front Street and continue north along Riverfront Park.
  • Ordinance No. 3723 provided for the office of Municipal Judge with a term of two years. W. W. McKinney was appointed by the Council.
  • The Cherry Festival is again the occasion for a parade of Cherrians, this year led by King Bing, William C. Dyer. This great idea seems to have been past its time: the cherry celebrations lasted only a few years and were discontinued.
  • The First National Bank (later Wells Fargo) is built at 280 Liberty Street. A modern design by Portland architect, Pietro Belluchi, it was a departure from the Victorian buildings downtown. Another modern building was the Pearce Building, replacing the structure that had burned. The Breyman Brothers Block, just two blocks away on Commercial Street, was undergoing the alterations that would eliminate the exterior decorations. The ground floor storefronts were most changed, often the original facades can be seen on second floor exteriors or windows. Two photographs of the bank are seen in the Downtown Walking Tour on this website. The building is still (2012) being considered for redevelopment as a mixed-use complex, but economic conditions have delayed this large investment. This building is featured on the SHINE Historic Downtown Walking Tour.
  • Nora Anderson revives the Salem Art Association and begins a campaign to purchase original furnishings and art for the Bush House collection. It is an interesting footnote that Nora was born an Anderson and so did not have to change her name when she married William Everett Anderson, the owner of a local sporting goods store. Mr. Anderson was of a more easy-going disposition than his wife and probably was a good balance to her commanding personality. After his death, Mrs. Anderson was unable to manage the Court Street house and its responsibilities.  She moved to a local nursing home where she lived for a number of years.  Harvey Fox, the succeeding owner of the Anderson business, became her guardian. He recalls the years when he would take her out for drives through the city that she did so much to improve and preserve.
  •  Three years have now passed since Asahel Bush, V died, leaving Faye Cornish Bush as his widow. This year she marries Rod Livesley. Stuart Bush, the surviving brother, was married to Rod's sister. He sometimes introduced Faye as " My late brother's wife and my wife's brother's wife". There are many descendants of our Bush family, but, unfortunately, none live in Salem. The last was "Jody", the great-granddaughter of the founder, Asahel Bush. A resident of California for most of her adult life, she died in 2009 and is buried with her Bush family in Salem Pioneer Cemetery.
    Bush Family Plot at Salem Pioneer Cemetery
  • A remarkable series of aerial photographs are taken this year from a Goodyear blimp. They illustrate the extent of the city at that time. A view of the city from above West Salem shows (through the haze of pollution) a compact town along the river with little development to the east with the Lancaster area open fields. A photograph looking south over the Capitol shows nothing but factories south of trade Street with a wooded hill where the new City Hall will be built 25 years later. Another view looking east over the State Hospital shows the "J" and Dome Buildings and beyond that a few houses on Park Street. There are only small clusters of houses to the east.
  • The Freedom Train passes through Salem, stopping at the State Fairgrounds. Thousands of residents are able to visit the train and see exhibits of documents and artifacts important to our nation's history.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Salem in 1946

World Events
  • The UN holds its first General Assembly.
  • Churchill speaks: "The iron curtain has descended in Europe."
  • U.S. Army's ENIAC, which used decimal arithmetic, is first general purpose electronic computer.
  • The navy tests an improved atomic bomb over the tiny Bikini Island.
  • "Annie Get Your Gun" is a hit musical.
In Salem

Shopping returns to importance for the ladies and in April a new supply of nylon hose for sale at Miller's Department Store causes a line to form out into Chemeketa Street. The Office of Price Administration set a goal of producers supplying six pairs of nylon hose for every woman in the country by June. 
Returning servicemen discover finding a place to live is among their biggest problems immediately after the war. Veterans housing was hastily put up in Salem and their families moved in. But soon new small "tract houses" began appearing in former farmlands as new subdivisions multiplied on the edges of town. The city grew to meet the demand for services and patches of land were annexed where the developments were growing. Young parents with children (who later became known as Baby Boomers) found a community of their own outside the core of the city. Their interests in common were based on the husband's job security, a social life based on church going, back-yard neighborhood barbecue parties and looking forward to prosperity their own parents had lost in the Depression.

When you visit
Miller's Department Store of that year is now restored to its original name as Reed Opera House. It contains many specialty shops, cafes and offices, serving as a true "mall" in a local heritage site. Many illustrated panels in the hallways describe the events of the building's history.

Other events
  • A small country school south of Salem, founded by the Pringle family in 1856, has an opportunity in 1946 to add classes on Battle Creek and Boone Road corner. The Pleasant Point School was divided into two sections and dragged two miles up Boone Road to be attached to Pringle School. Growing school populations would make new building an urgent concern for the next generation. A 1956 photograph shows a bus dropping students off in the 100th year of this busy school. In 1987 the public school was built in a new location. This site has recently been utilized as a private institution and as offices. It is the most historic structure in the South Gateway neighborhood.
  • The site is selected for Detroit Dam. The dam and its reservoir transformed the North Santiam Canyon. Nearly 200 residents of the unincorporated town of Detroit were moved, and Oregon State Highway 22 and the North Santiam River were realigned. Over 1,000 dam workers and engineers labored on the project, many of whom moved into nearby towns, including Mill City, Idanha, Gates, and a new town of Detroit.
  •  
  •  Two residences of prominent earlier residents are demolished: the home of former Governor Stephen Chadwick at Capitol and Center Streets (above); and the pioneer John Zieber's house in the area that would become Keizer (below right)
  • Another old-timer having a portrait this year is the Star Exchange on the northwest corner of Commercial and Chemeketa Streets. In the 1890s (or earlier) it had been the State Insurance Company with the YMCA upstairs - where the first Salem basketball game was held in its gym. It was also the first Salem Elks Lodge and housed many other civic ventures. This venerable building lasted until at least 1981. (below)
  • The Capitol Journal newspaper gets a new home on Chemeketa Street.
  • A rail strike closes train traffic out of the local station.
  • David Duniway, who will become the leader in local historical preservation, becomes the Oregon State Archivist. To quote Elisabeth Walton Potter, “David was recruited from a National Archives field supervisory position in San Francisco to head the newly created Archives Division within the Oregon State Library. He was a great repository of facts concerning the capital city. The figures of early Salem and Oregon history were his familiars. He knew them from their papers, journals, published writings, and the documents they signed. Who better to write the entry about “Salem” for the 1964 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica?"
  • Miss Sally Bush dies at the age of 86 and is buried with her family in the I.O.O.F Cemetery, now the Pioneer Cemetery. Before her death this year, the sale of Bush family land to the city of Salem was completed by Henry Compton, trusted friend of Bush family and officer of Pioneer Trust Company. The purchase of the upland 47 acres was made subject to a life estate in the home site for Sally and A. N. Bush. The home site was the area from the south side of the barn to Mission Street and High Street to the top of the hill going down into the lowlands. Effective on the purchase date, the city gained possession and control of the uplands except the life estate area and the 53 acres of the lowlands less the area sold by the city to Willamette.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Salem in 1945

World Events
  • Iwo Jima was won with terrible loss of life.
  • The sudden death of President Roosevelt was a national shock; Vice President Harry Truman takes his place.
  • Germany surrenders in May; after two atomic explosions in Japan, that country surrenders in August.
  • US joins many other nations in newly created United Nations organization.
  • GI Bill of Rights passed by Congress.
  • Nazi atrocities made public, Nuremburg war trials follow.
In Salem
In an essay for Salemhistory, Sue Bell described Salem's greeting of V-J day:
"Then, and only then, did Salem celebrate: "shrieking, horn blowing, gun shooting, singing, and praying" through the two days' holiday proclaimed by President Truman for Wednesday and Thursday. Banks and all government agencies (aside for essential services) were closed; retail stores closed on Wednesday; liquor stores and taverns closed for both days; playgrounds and swimming pools closed on Wednesday; and all scheduled meetings were canceled so Salem residents could enjoy the blessings of peace at last. (Only the canneries worked overtime to process the perishable harvest of fruits and vegetables.)
"Along with all the joy and elation, there was deep sadness, too, for many families in the city had lost loved ones in the 4 years of war: 142 men dead, not counting those Missing In Action or still hospitalized with serious injuries. The war was over, the young men who survived could return home, industry could shift back to production of civilian goods, peacetime mobilization could begin; a new era of prosperity was on the horizon. The atomic age had begun, but a plethora of benefits to humankind had been introduced, including the development of radar and streptomycin this year. Art treasures stolen by the Nazis were returned to their various countries, and the war criminals who had instigated such horrendous acts could be rounded up to be tried by International courts of justice."

When you visit
This Ben Maxwell photograph has the following caption: "Salem celebrates the end of World War II on August 14, 1945. Teenager and college students sit on a car, covered with flags and drive along State and High Street. The street is covered with confetti. The gas rationing ended that day, too. On the right side is the Warner Bros Capitol theater."
The street scene to the right is much the same today, with the exception of the loss of the Capitol movie theater. The post to the left, at the old Courthouse, is also no longer there.

Other events
  • James Brand of Salem serves as a justice in the Nuremberg Trials. Brand had been appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court on May 14, 1941, replacing Henry J. Bean, who had died in office on May 8, 1941. Then, in 1942, Justice Brand received a full six-year term after winning the election. In 1947 Justice Brand was appointed by the War Department to the War Crimes Tribunal to be convened in Germany after World War II. There he was one of four judges of Nazi War Crimes at the Judges Trial, the third in a set of twelve trials. The trial began in March 1947 with Brand as a member of a three-person Military Tribunal, but on June 19, 1947 he became the Presiding Judge. After returning from Germany, he resumed his position on Oregon's highest court James Brand won re-election in both 1948 and 1954. In between elections he was chosen by his fellow justices to serve as chief justice from 1951 to 1953. Justice Brand resigned his position on the bench on June 30, 1958.
  • An adjudication of water rights from the North Santiam River gave three parties, Oregon Pulp and Paper Company, the City of Salem and Thomas Kay Woolen Mills, each an undivided share of power and water rights.
  • Consolidated Grocers is located on Front Street at the present Truitt Brothers location. There are 15 very busy canning and freezing plants in Salem this year. Blue Lake Packers were among these, using local produce for their many popular processed foods.
  • A new ferry opens for autos traveling between Salem and Independence. A bridge will be completed in 1950.
  • Wartime housing in Salem appears to have included the Gay Marie, a boat moored at our riverfront that advertised "apts" on its hull.
  • Waters Field at 25th and Turner Streets was crowded for local baseball games. (The stadium was destroyed by fire in 1961.)
  • Sally's at Court and Liberty, originally the Steusloff Building, was a popular shop for women's clothing through the 1940's and 50s: it is now a Starbucks coffee shop.
  • From the capitol Journal: Soldiers on leave from Camp Adair arrived in Salem in unprecedented numbers. The USO was flooded with demands for sleeping rooms, cots, or places where men could sit up overnight in chairs. Local hotels had all rooms booked, all available davenports and chairs occupied and some men accepted a place to sleep on rugs in the lobby. (Ben Maxwell's Salem, Oregon, edited by Scott McArthur, 2006.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Salem in 1944

World Events
  • In June 176,000 Allied troops assault a 60-mile German front at Normandy; by July the Japanese are retreat in the Pacific.
  • President Roosevelt is elected for 4th term.
  • Iconic bandleader, Glenn Miller, is lost at sea; "Accent the Positive" is a popular Bing Crosby record.
In Salem
Salem’s war dead numbered 75, including 31-year-old Asahel Bush V, war correspondent in the Pacific. Curly's Dairy utilizes a horse to pull its delivery truck and carpooling conserved gas. Camp Adair soldiers moved out for overseas duty and 200 Italian POWs take up residence in the barracks, guarded by a small crew of soldiers. Their help, and that of later German POWs, enhances the local workforce of women and children harvesting crops. The Japanese relocation camps are closed and former residents can return: only 7 of the 250 come back to Salem. The canneries run at full capacity, causing severe pollution of the Willamette. Two disastrous cannery fires close out the year with exploding cans.

When you visit
The rich soil of the Willamette Valley was a major attraction of the pioneers who had suffered the perils of the mid-nineteenth century Oregon Trail to set up new homes here. In the first half of the twentieth century, agriculture was a major industry with working in the fields a family enterprise. Many Salem residents who were children and teenagers in the years of World War II have fond memories in the comradeship of catching the bus to going out working in the fields with their young friends. This was not confined to those families in financial need: there was no social or ethnic barrier that kept parents from allowing their children to work picking crops to earn their pocket money. It was perhaps the memory of the Depression years that made any labor so valued. With new agricultural practices and the increasing prosperity of families, this practice ended. The canning industry, for which many of the crops were raised, declined with the advent of frozen foods. Many of the former farmlands and orchards are now filled with residential neighborhoods.

Other events
Salem in the early 1940s
  • By this year, on the new North Capitol Mall, the Oregon State Library and the gardens have been completed. Four Court Street residences of "Piety Hill" have been demolished for that project. These had been known for their prominent Salem family names: Kay, Patton, Rockenfield/Bean, and Duniway/Lochmund. Notice houses nearer and on Capitol Street, as well as those between Chemeketa and Center Streets, are still intact, but will begin to be demolished between 1848 and 1957.
  • The funeral of Senator Charles McNary is conducted in the House Chamber of the Capitol. In the Senate, McNary had helped to pass legislation that led to the construction of Bonneville Dam and worked on agricultural and forestry issues. He also supported many of the New Deal programs. McNary was the Republican vice presidential candidate in 1940, on the losing ticket with presidential candidate Wendell Wilkie.  McNary was a justice of the Oregon Supreme Court from 1913 to 1915 and previous to that had been dean of Willamette School of Law.
  • The groundbreaking for the Alumina Plant is a signal that Salem is inviting new post-war industry. However, the plant was not completed until 1946. It contained a fertilizer plant for a few years, but was razed in 1955-6. The need for aluminum was not as urgent by the time the facility was completed.
  • Dr. Morse, a prominent local physician, dies. He was married in January of 1899, to Ethel Elaine Cusick, whose father had been a member of the first graduating class in the Willamette University Medical School in 1867. The marriage lasted only seven years, however; Mrs. Morse and an infant son died of an infection in March, 1906. John E. Davis, who chronicled Dr. Morse's life for the Marion County Historical Society in 1985, said the physician promised his dying wife that he would never remarry. He remained true to that vow and lived with the late Mrs. Morse's parents until their deaths. Dr. Morse and Dr. Charles H. Robertson began a joint practice in 1903. It had grown to eight physicians by the start of World War II and is today The Doctors' Clinic.Informed by continuing medical education at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and in New York City, Dr. Morse became a vigorous advocate of improved sanitation in Oregon. He served 20 years on the State Board of Health, including a term as its chair, and was president of the Oregon Medical Society in 1927. He also took part in several national commissions that worked to improve the quality of medical practice in the United States. Dr. Morse was a pioneer member of the American College of Surgeons.

  • By this year, on the new North Capitol Mall, the Oregon State Library and the gardens have been completed. Only four Court Street residences of "Piety Hill" have been demolished. These had been known for their prominent Salem family names: Kay, Patton, Rockenfield/Bean, and Duniway/Lachmund . 
  • On the Willamette University campus, a football field is behind Waller Hall and the campus extends south only to the railroad track at Trade Street. In 1972, when the new Civic Center is constructed, the railroad track in Trade Street is removed, relieving much of the noise that disrupted classes. Urban renewal that included Pringle Parkway and expansion of the Willamette campus in the 1980s changed the landscape even more.
  • The Salem Public Market is founded at Rural and 12th Streets.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Salem in 1943

World Events
  • Russians defend against German invasion: Americans fight in Italy and take Tarawa.
  • The Jefferson Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.
  • Bill Mauldin is a popular wartime cartoonist with his "Willie and Joe" series.
  • Zoot suits and jitterbugging are in style.
 In Salem
A local calamity takes everyone's attention for a few weeks: a Willamette flood washes out the Mellow Moon skating rink, floods structures on Wallace Road and lodges timbers against the Union Street trestle. Four hundred homes are flooded and ten people drown as the river crested at 30.6 feet.

But the war is never far away: gold stars appear on signs in front windows signifying a war death. Restaurants' meat supplies are cut, "oleo" replaces butter and both coffee and sugar are in short supply. Shopping at a grocery is limited by supply in the store and your ration stamps. Victory Gardens are planted. Salem has access to a variety of fruits and vegetables but transporting fresh produce to market and harvesting is a constant source of worry: there are never enough hands, even using schoolchildren or State prisoners. Mexican harvesters are imported this year. A health threat to children appears that summer: polio that crippled or killed. 13 schools fail to open in September for lack of teachers. On the bright side, Hollywood movies are just 10 cents (with a wartime penny tax) and phonograph records by Frank Sinatra are available for 25 cents ~ the same price as a US War Savings stamp.
Salem concerns were those of a nation at war, with a few distinctly local matters. In February, President Roosevelt had issued Executive Order 9066 calling for the internment of all Japanese, "citizens or not," in one of ten resettlement camps inland. That same month in Portland an espionage cell of some 30 Japanese was raided, leading to the Capital Journal's editorial of February 21st justifying the "Purging of Potential Spies." Marion County's 193 residents of Japanese descent were shipped on June 2, 1942, to a camp at Tulelake, California, about 35 miles south of Klamath Falls, Oregon.

When you visit
The photograph above is Edgewater Street in West Salem looking toward the bridge. Another graphic illustration of the flood is found now at the west end of the Union Street Bridge trestle. At the intersection of the pedestrian path across the trestle and the walkway down into Wallace Park, there are two interpretive panels. The one entitled "Against Fire and Flood" shows the height of the waters during that flood: in a photograph taken at that time, the roof of a house is trapped against the pilings just below the tracks. Strolling along the pedestrian path of the bridge and trestle today, the water or park landscape so far below, it is hard to imagine the waters just below the surface where you are walking. There have been nine recorded floods of the river when the height of the water was even higher. Many Salem residents remember the flood of 1996 when the river crested at 35.09 feet. The most severe flood was in the year 1860 when the waters reached at crest of 47 feet.

Other events
  • I.M. Doughton is elected mayor.
  • There is no State Fair this year, but the members of the 104 Cavalry are served Christmas dinner at the Fairgrounds.
  • A V-12, Navy Officer Training Program, is established at Willamette University and housed in Lausanne Hall. Mark Hatfield graduates and joins the navy.
  • The Salem Brewery Association is doing good business at their office on Commercial Street and from their manufacturing building around the corner on Trade Street. (Now the location of the Conference Center.)
  • The First Baptist Church on the northwest corner of Liberty and Marion Streets is demolished for a new structure.
  • The Jason Lee House, much altered, is still located at its original location at 960 Broadway.
  • A housing project for timber workers is built at Grand Ronde.
  • Staffs at both Salem and Deaconess hospitals are cut in half as members leave to serve in wartime duties. The Red Cross trains students and volunteers as nurses' aides.
  • The Salem Public Market was organized as a "tailgate" market at High and Union Streets. The outdoor enterprise became impractical so a building was constructed. The market moved to Rural Street in 1946.
From the Capitol Journal:
  • Salem women were urged to save waste cooking fat to make bombs and shells needed in the war. A single pound of waste cooking fat would make enough glycerin to manufacture 1 1/3 pounds of gunpowder. Use cooking oil was turned in at collection points by housewives and restaurants.
  • The Office of Civilian Supply said that "bedrock" wartime economy would have no room for civilian tablecloths, window shades, tombstones, jewelry, amateur cameras or film, curtains or mechanical pencils.
  • Salem's Safeway stores advertised that they would help with your first shopping under point rationing. "You'll have to think about the price in points as well as the price in money. Remember, point ration shopping will take more time."
  • This newspaper noted editorially that zoot suits were inseparably linked to hep-cat music and jitterbug slang. "It is the result of hurling stone-age mentalities into the 20th century civilization, which they cannot assimilate."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Salem in 1942

 
Scrappo, a WW II work of art in downtown Salem

1942 in Salem
For this year, we depart from our usual format to reprint the following Salem Public Library Salemhistory website article about life in Salem during World War II, researched and written by Sue Bell.

As 1942 began, National mobilization for war became the order of the day. Auto production ceased so the automotive industry could gear up to produce war materiel; rubber was rationed, tires disappeared from the civilian market; gas rationing went into effect; scrap metal was collected and turned over to the war effort; draft boards processed the scores of young men answering the call to protect their country; blackouts in all coastal cities continued, and the speed limit was reduced to 35-miles-per-hour; liquor production was curtailed till the end of the war.
Shortages of the following everyday items brought home the realities of a war-time economy: metal hair curlers, wigs, lawn mowers, girdles, sugar, quinine, gin, tea, rubber diaper covers, metal caskets, electric appliances, fly swatters, tin soldiers, electric trains, and bicycles. Scrap drives, war bonds, ration books, defense stamps, air raid wardens, articles in the newspapers offering advice on first aid after exposure to poison gas, blood drives, civil defense meetings, cautions such as "Loose lips sink ships"--all became commonplace as the Nation, and Salem, prepared for an all-out war.
Despite uniformly bad news from all the battlefronts: Wake Island taken in January; Singapore's fall in February; the Battle for the Philippines culminating in April with the fall of Bataan; that same month Burma fell (Hong Kong had fallen the previous December.) By June, Nazi U-boats had sunk 213 vessels in the Atlantic during the previous six months; in the Pacific, the Battles of the Coral Sea, and Midway and Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands engaged thousands of sailors and Marines with thousands of ships, planes, and munitions against the enemy; North Africa was overrun by Erwin Rommel's Panzer divisions; and Stalingrad was fighting for its life--despite all these reverses, morale in the U.S. remained high with the spirit of "We Did It Before and We Can Do It Again." Another hit song of that era was "Praise The Lord and Pass The Ammunition."
Salem concerns were those of a Nation at war, with a few distinctly local matters. In February, President Roosevelt had issued Executive Order 9066 calling for the internment of all Japanese, "citizens or not," in one of ten resettlement camps further inland. That same month in Portland an espionage cell of some 30 Japanese was raided, leading to the Capital Journal's editorial of February 21st justifying the "Purging of Potential Spies." Marion County's 193 residents of Japanese descent were shipped on June 2, 1942, to a camp at Tulelake, California, about 35 miles south of Klamath Falls, Oregon.
In January of 1942, a project was begun that ultimately affected--economically and socially--Salem's wartime experience: the construction of Camp Adair in neighboring Polk County. By June, troops were arriving to begin training at the camp: "A city for 40,000 was built in six months." Some 8,000 civilians worked on the camp's 1,800 buildings and, after completion, more were employed to staff the five movie theaters, 13 post exchanges, two service clubs, the hospital, banks, post office, and phone exchange.
Every Friday night, groups of Salem girls took the bus to Adair to dance with the servicemen--who, in some cases, became their future husbands. The soldiers who preferred to come into Salem for recreation hung out at the U.S.O., 693 Chemeketa Street, or at favorite dance spots: the Crystal Garden Ballroom at the corner of Liberty and Ferry Streets, or the Salem Armory. Willamette University and the YMCA offered their facilities and services to Adair's soldiers. Salem homes were opened to servicemen each weekend and, despite shortages, those homes offered home-cooked meals and a taste of family to men far from home.
A huge iron and steel scrap drive on July 30th covered the west Courthouse lawn with every manner of container, toy, auto part, appliance, or household item imaginable, leading a trio of welders/sculptors to construct "Scrappo" from the ten tons of scrap metal, a symbol for the mighty efforts. Some 1,500 Salemites heard the metal sculpture "speak" (via Gardner Knapp, ventriloquist, and C.W. Paulus, who moved "Scrappo's" jaw!) And millions more throughout the Nation saw "Scrappo's" performance as the event was filmed by Universal Film Exchange, Inc., to be shown in theater newsreels across the country. Children who collected a pound of rubber that day were treated to a special free performance at the Elsinore Theater.
The war came too close for comfort in June and September of this year when Seaside was shelled from enemy ships and a Japanese plane, launched from a submarine offshore, flew low over Curry County and dropped a thermite bomb. It caused little damage in the forested area--burning only .01 of an acre --as it had been dropped from too low an altitude, but the incident proved not only the audacity of the enemy, but also that Oregonians were closer to the war zone than they had thought!
In July of 1942, Willamette's V-2 College Training Program, in cooperation with the Navy and Marine Corps, was established to meet "the military's need for a steady supply of college educated officers." Lausanne Hall, the all-female dorm, was re-designated the "U.S.S. Lausanne" and furnished housing for the trainees.
Late in the year, disaster struck the State Hospital when 47 patients died of poisoning: the assistant cook had inadvertently mixed roach powder instead of powdered milk into the scrambled eggs served that morning in November. Initially thought to be the work of a saboteur or spoilage of the eggs, the truth be-came known the following day: a tragic accident.

Salem in 1941

World Events
  • Japanese planes bomb Pearl Harbor and the US Congress declares war on both Japan and the Axis.
  • The Grand Coulee Dam begins operation; Mount Rushmore Memorial completed.
  • Orson Welles produces and stars in "Citizen Kane".
  • Joe DiMaggio is a baseball hero, but there is sorrow for the death of Lou Gehrig.
In Salem
In May of 1941, Memorial Day in Salem commemorated the military loses of a first World War while the nation prepared to enter the second. Radios are tuned into President Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech to Congress promoting aid the Allies while hopes dimmed for US staying out of the war. Foreign consulates are closed and there are rumors of submarine attacks at our coastlines. "Preparedness" was the term for this activity, and Salem residents participated by taking part in collecting aluminum for munitions production, honoring past veterans with giant Courthouse billboards, buying Defense Savings Bonds and stamps, or watching the mail for a possible Selective Service notice for a young man in the family. When the Japanese attack came on December 7, Salem families were anxious for the safety of their loved ones at Pearl Harbor. Willamette's football team, at the University of Hawaii, spent the next three weeks patrolling the beaches until returning home by sea. Eight families had sons serving at Pearl Harbor, and two more were at Midway and Wake Island. All survived the initial attack though some were wounded. In other communities, Japanese-Americans were taken into custody and turned over to immigration agents. But Salem's officials reported no such orders had been received here and reported that Japanese in this area have been here many years and are either citizens or wish they could be. A total blackout was ordered and air raid wardens patrolled Salem.

When you visit
The Courthouse where the 1941 Memorial Day commemoration took place is no longer there: it was replaced in 1952. The Doughboy statue is now found at Oregon Department of Veteran Affairs Memorial Garden on Summer Street. It is only one memorial in the park there, having been joined since that time by memorials to those who had been awarded the Medal of Honor as well as all those who served in our nation's military engagements in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.The state has produced "Memorials", a walking tour brochure locating and describing these sites. Ask for it at ODVA or at Travel Salem.

Other events
  • On Broadway, at Mill Creek, Marion County Historical Society mounts a display commemorating the centennial of the Salem settlement at this site.
  • United Airlines begins flying out of McNary Field, bringing airmail to Salem for the first time.
  • Max Gehlhar becomes the first customer of Salem Electric Company, powered by the Bonneville Dam.
  • The Southern Pacific Freight Station on 12th Street is busy with railroad traffic.
  • A site for Camp Adair is chosen in Polk County. It was named for Henry Rodney Adair, who was a native of Astoria and a member of a prominent Oregon pioneer family. After graduating from West Point, he became a cavalry lieutenant and was killed during the Pancho Villa Expedition on June 21, 1916. The 57,159-acre site was built during 1942–1943 division training and cantonment camp, and had temporary quarters for 2,133 officers and 37,081 enlisted personnel. From 1944–1946-07-23, Camp Adair served as a prisoner -of-war camp, housing German and Italian POWs.
Salem industrial haze as seen from West Salem hillside
  • Industrial haze plagues the downtown Salem area.
  • The 1937 Timberline Lodge is still popular with Salem travelers before gas rationing takes effect.
  • Marion County operates a "Poor Farm" on north Front Street.
  • The Boon House, now at Mission Mill Museum, is photographed in its original location by the  "Boon's Treasury" building on Liberty Street.

  • Highway 99E near Silverton Road, now absorbed by I-5, is a two-lane road with scattered "cottages" for motorists and small businesses at the edge of town.
From the Capitol Journal:
  • Five Salem shops arranged displays stressing the Bundles for Britain theme with British and American flags to emphasis the message.
  • The Oregon House approved 38 to 19 a two-sent per pack tax on cigarettes sold in Oregon. This tax was designed to raise $2,000,000 a year to help increase the average old age pension from $21 a month to $30.
  • At Eola Hills orchard, where 500 cherry pickers were usually employed, only 50 were on hand to harvest the crop. Nor was there much hope of additional pickers, according to the manager. Work was much more attractive, and at higher wages, with the build up of defense contracts and the military expenditures.
  • Salem women were rushing to hosiery counters in shops, fearful that their trim legs might suffer by the order freezing Japanese silk imports. Stores reported a 100% increase in silk stocking purchases over a three-day period.
  • United Airlines first plane to and at Salem airport attracted a crowd of 100 spectators.
  • Congressman James W. Mott asserted that Hitler was on his way out and that time was not too far in the future.
  • Six Oregon men, first to be sent to conscientious objectors' camp in the state, would report to the newly established Civilian Public Service Camp No. 1 at Cascade Locks.
  • In a matter of minutes following the first bulletin announcing the Japanese attack on Honolulu, Marion County civilian defense and Salem city administration were in session at the Courthouse oiling up their organization to meet the emergency. A blackout was ordered in Salem to test the signal system and determine the ability of citizens to douse their lights quickly. Results were satisfactory except in South Salem, where the signal could not be heard.
(See Ben Maxwell's Salem, Oregon, edited by Scott McArthur, 2006.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Salem in 1940

World Events
  • Winston Churchill elected Prime Minister of Great Britain.
  • British forces are evacuated from Dunkirk leaving Europe under axis control.
  • Salem's Senator McNary was nominated for Vice President to Republican Wendell Willkie this year, but Roosevelt is elected for his third term.
  • Willys Corporation introduces a lightweight, all-terrain vehicle: the "Jeep" of later military use.
In Salem
Local excitement was the all-volunteer Salem Centennial in August. Many events were public and with costumes of pioneer days. A Centennial Pageant entitled "From Wilderness to Wonderland" was produced at the State Fairgrounds. A 25-cent, illustrated booklet (cover reproduced above) was the Souvenir Program for the five days of activities throughout the city. It lists hundreds of local residents as producers and participants.

When you visit
In the scene above, the parade marchers are headed south on Commercial Street, passing the former site of Douglas McKay's auto dealership at the northeast corner of the intersection with Marion Street. Not seen in the photograph, is a young Mark Hatfield, parading with the Salem High School band. Traffic still flows south at that intersection, but the Marion Street Bridge, added in 1954, now brings a stream of vehicles east from West Salem. Mr. McKay's business, which became Capitol Auto Group, is no longer at that location. The Marion Square Park, across Commercial to the west, is still an oasis of evergreen trees, although the grove was much diminished in the Columbus Day windstorm of 1962.

Other events
  • The census reports Salem population as 30,908, one fifth the population of 2012.
  • An important 1940 economic effect was the U.S. National Bank of Portland acquisition of a large portion of the Ladd and Bush Bank. Ladd and Bush Trust Company moved into the U.S. Bank building as Pioneer Trust Company. This historic institution continues to serve the Salem community as Pioneer Trust Bank.
  • The first Salem family to suffer loss in World War II was that of Ralph Barnes, a foreign correspondent who had lived with his wife and two young daughters in the capitals of Europe during the years leading up to World War II. He had sent his family to England as combat began, but their safety was threatened by the German bombing of London. His wife Ester, Joan and Suzanne had returned home to Salem just a few months before Ralph died in an English reconnaissance flight crash over Yugoslavia.
  • Families and friends gather at the 12th Street Railroad Station to say goodbye to young men leaving for National Guard duty.
  • George Waters, in the local tobacco business, bought the Class B Western International League franchise in Bellingham, WA, and brought the pro team to Salem in 1940. On May 1, the Salem Senators christened the new Waters Field with 4,865 attendance and an 11-10 victory over the Yakima, WA, team with five runs in the ninth inning. The stadium of Waters Field later burned, leaving no prospect of rebuilding.
  • The late George Strozut remembered that as a child of 7 in this year, he and other travelers were greeted with a prominent sign as they arrived at the local Greyhound bus station located at the north end of the Senator Hotel on High Street. The sign listed Salem statistics (including the fact that the population was 31,000) and concluded with the statement that the city was "99.9 percent white."
From the Capitol Journal:
  • Salem was soon to become a port of call along United Airlines route between Vancouver, B. C. and San Diego.
  • In July, Chairman Ray Stumbo, in charge of construction for the Salem Centennial Pageant to be staged at the fairgrounds, reported that 20 workman were already on the job. 100,000 feet of lumber would be required to build the mountain set 300 feet wide and 40 feet deep. That same month, Marion County Court gave the Salem Centennial Committee use of the Courthouse square during the celebration for the erection of an Indian village, Red Cross first aid station and a free trapeze set. In addition, Salem merchants announced that their stores would be closed for three big centennial parades. An opening fun parade would be on July 31. Succeeding days would see the pioneer parade and the major centennial parade. It was estimated that it would take three hours for the centennial parade to pass.
  • In September, over 1,100 boys and girls were enrolled in the second year of Bible instruction classes in Salem public schools.
  • Gov. Charles Sprague gave unqualified support to President Roosevelt's $1, 820, 000 national defense program, but doubted that the nation's civilians were prepared to stand up under total war.
  • Salem Grange, under its Master, Zero Polaire, started a movement for registration of all aliens in the United States as a protection against fifth column treachery that President Roosevelt warned against.
(See Ben Maxwell's Salem, Oregon, edited by Scott McArthur, 2006.)