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

Monday, June 14, 2010

Salem in 1961

World Events
  • John Kennedy inaugurated as president and attends a European Summit meeting.
  • "Freedom Riders" attacked as they promote integration in the South.
  • Russian Gegarin first in space, American Alan B. Shepard, Jr. follows into space.
  • Berlin Wall erected.
  • Film "West Side Story" wins Academy Award.
Heffley residence as a farmhouse before 1911
Same residence moved to new location
In Salem
Construction of new homes in the suburbs is booming. Old settlements of scattered rural farm homes are changing as developments cut up old rural properties into house lots. One example is the Heffley farm home, in the present North East Salem Community Association (NESCA).
Theodore and Ora Alice Heffley came to Oregon from Indiana in 1906, following other family members. After a short stay in Linn County, they settled on a 100-acre farm east of the Salem City limits on Garden Road (now Market Street), extending south to D Street. Evidently the farm enterprise went well as they built a fine home, seen in the photograph above, before 1911. Other large properties were adjacent, including a Garden Road nursery owned by the Lansing family.
A personal tragedy, affecting both families, occurred in 1913. Shortly after the marriage of an eighteen-year old Heffley daughter, Elma Eva ("Evie"), to a much older Robert Lansing, domestic problems arose. Evie took her own life and the story was widely publicized the local newspapers. Because the families needed to go on with their lives in the same neighborhood, the death was rarely spoken of and her grave remembered with only a small marker in the City View burial plot for the Lansing family.

When you visit
A member of the Heffley family recently discovered the fate of Evie, leading to an investigation of where the family home is today. A drive through the neighborhood south of Market Street identified a residence on Ellis Street that is the modification of that earlier home. The removal of the spacious porches and the lack of a windowed basement give it a different appearance, but it is recognizable. Early 1900s farm homes along Garden Road are as much a memory as the name of this country road. Annexed into the city in 1966, Market Street it has become a location for commercial enterprises and a route from the center of the city to I-5 and the Lancaster neighborhoods.
The Lansing family property was most likely between the present Sunnyview and Market Streets. In earlier maps, Lansing Avenue stretched north of Sunnyview, but did not intersect with Market. The Lansing nursery business and home must have occupied that acreage. The residential neighborhood of the city, between Market Street and Silverton Road is named for the Lansing family.

Other Events
  • The new I-5 freeway is completed this year, connecting Salem to Portland and Eugene. This lays the groundwork for the development of the Lancaster Drive area for the use of highway travelers and Salem big-box business.
  • Lincoln-Mercury automobiles are on sale at the northwest corner of Commercial and Center Streets in 1961. The department stores of Salem Center would not be constructed until 1978.
Salem: an All American City
  • Banners are attached to city trash cans proclaiming, "Salem-Marion-Polk All American Area" with the admonishment written in capital letters underneath, KEEP IT THAT WAY. Flags announce the award along city streets. Mark Hatfield addresses an audience at the presentation ceremony.
  • The theme of the 1961 State Fair was the "100th Birthday of the 96th Annual Fair." A birthday party was held on the Capitol steps, complete with a 16x16-foot cake, portrayals of Oregon's historical figures, and square dancing. A hit at the fair was the Thor rocket, one of which had earlier that year put a Pioneer satellite into orbit around the sun.
  • On the north side of Center Street between Liberty and High, stands the Labor Temple. This local headquarters of the American Federation of Labor is a solid, three-story structure. Along the street is a large sign referring to the labor strike against Portland's Oregonian and the Oregon Journal. Viewers are urged not to buy these newspapers.
  • Salem's most exotic foreign restaurant at this time is the Chinese Tea Garden on the east side of Commercial Street, between State and Court. Stairs beside the Peerless bakery led to the upstairs restaurant. Yee Sing, the proprietor, was one of the few Asians in Salem at this time. Many consider it an adventure to dine in his "chop suey" restaurant.
 
Family Fallout Shelter
  • A Ben Maxwell photograph of this year shows a Salem family preparing to enter a fallout shelter for a three-day test. Although this model is seen on the surface, it is meant to be underground and is required to meet Civil Defense standards. The interior is also photographed. The cost for one of these units is about $2,000.
  • On the evening of June 5, a Statesman Journal photographer is present to see a fireman scaling a ladder to fight a fire that has reached the roof of the Elks Club on State Street. The building survived and remained the headquarters of the lodge until 1992 when the organization moved to new quarters. It is was sold to the adjoining United Methodist Church and as the Micah Building is uses for a variety of services.
  • A few weeks later, on the afternoon of June 30, a Statesman Journal photographer captures a dramatic scene as neighbors and residents of the Methodist home on Center Street watch as it burns. Willson House, part of the United Methodist Retirement Center, has continued the services of that earlier institution.
  • West Salem Junior High School on 8th Street, now Walker Middle School, is opened in September.
  • George Putnam (1882-1961), editor and publisher of the Capital Journal from 1919 through 1952 died this year. He was a strong advocate of the public interest and freedom of the press. His coverage of the Ku Klux Klan in Oregon was only one of his many journalistic exposes. He had served as editor and publisher for more than 30 years when he sold the newspaper to an Idaho newspaperman he admired, Bernard Mainwaring.

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