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

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.

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