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

Monday, June 7, 2010

Salem in 1957

World Events
  • Desegregation school crisis in Little Rock, Arkansas
  • The Common Market begins with the Rome Treaty.
  • Soviets launch first satellite.
  • "Beat" and "Beatnik" are new words in the youth culture.
In Salem

From Cliff Smith, retired Extension Director of the Salem Public Library:
"On Oct. 17, 1957 the doors were opened and the West Salem Library was born. It began in 3 small rooms on the 1st floor of the old West Salem City Hall when the Salem City Council appropriated $6,450 to cover cost of salaries, furniture, and redecorating. An additional $4,000 to cover the cost of books had to come from private sources. Members of the Salem Jaycee's built the book shelves and did the painting, West Salem PTA members built tables, and the West Salem Lions Club installed new floor tile. The first opening hours were 27 hours per week and stayed about the same for the first 30 years. The first year, 12,564 books were checked out--half of that by children. That was an interesting building, with the old West Salem Jail and Fire Department water well located in the basement and a stage and open floor upstairs on the second floor, which was said to be used for occasional dances in years gone by. In addition, Chemeketa Community College--then called Salem Technical/Vocational School--started some of its first classes upstairs when they found their first location to be too small. So Chemeketa Community College shared its humble beginnings with the West Salem Library."

When you visit
Today you visit our branch library in its own building. In 1995 Orville Roth (1934-2013) donated land immediately behind and adjacent to the West Salem Roth’s IGA grocery store upon which to build a new library. With large donations from West Salem residents, a federal grant through the Oregon State Library, and City of Salem general fund money, the new 6,000 square foot building was built. On September 25, 1995 the new branch library celebrated its grand opening ceremony and doors opened the next day for business. The West Salem citizens have been active in defending their branch library whenever city budget cuts have threatened to curtail services or make significant cuts in hours of operation. This happened in the 2012 Budget Committee session when hours were slated to be cut from 30 hours to 6 a week. West Salem residents crowded the Council Chambers to protest. A compromise was reached so the Branch Library could be open 16 hours a week.
For more information about our West Salem Branch Library and what hours it is open, call 503-588-6052 or click here.

Other events

  • Ed Ritter's construction company participates in the final razing of Camp Adair structures. Under caretakers for many years, the final demolition wipes out any trace of the World War II army camp on Highway 99 north of Corvallis. Salem photographer Ben Maxwell's series of 85 pictures of the last buildings is available in the Salem Public Library Historical Photograph Collections.

The Derby Building: Senator Hotel and Greyhound Bus Station
  • The Derby Building at the southeast corner of Court and High Street is a busy downtown location. It contains, among other businesses, the Senator Hotel and the Greyhound Bus Station. It was leased to the State of Oregon in 1973 for office space and later demolished. The Courthouse Square Transit Center is located on this property.
  • Two senior citizens are celebrated this year. Sister Anna Hayward Duerksen, aged 71, was one of the founders of the Deaconess Hospital in 1916. This year, the Oregon Nurses Association honored her with a life membership for her long leadership in health care. Mr. C. D. Frazer, Oregon's first purchasing agent under Governor West in 1914, was honored on the occasion of his 97th birthday.
  • St. Mark's Lutheran Church is constructed on the SW corner of Marion and Winter streets. The congregation previously worshiped at the Lutheran American Church at Chemeketa and Church streets, but now undertook construction of the present modern stone building. 
  • Pleasant Grove Church in original Location
    In other church news: The Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church, built in 1854 and located in Mount Pleasant between Stayton and Scio, was photographed as seen in June 1956. The church was built by Cyrenius and Silvanus Condit in 1857 with lumber from Oregon City. The construction of the church was planned on the job. The sign next to the church reads ""Presbyterian church began with the arrival of the Reverend Philip Condit in September 1854. The congregation was organized January 1, 1855. The building was completed in 1858. It is the oldest church building erected by Presbyterians on the Pacific Coast."The church has since been moved to Willamette Heritage Center (then known as Mission Mill Museum) and restored. It is used for meetings and weddings. This is one of four historic structures that have been moved to this property and restored due to the outstanding volunteer fund raising efforts and enterprise of the members of the former Marion County Historical Society and Mission Mill Museum. The other buildings are the Jason Lee House, The Mission Parsonage and the John Boon House. All are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Willamette Heritage Center tours are available.


     

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