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

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Salem in 1958

World Events
  • Famine in China kills 20 million people.
  • Van Cliborn wins Tchaikovsky international piano competition in Moscow easing Cold War tensions.
  • Eisenhower sends Marines sent to Lebanon, citing United Arab Republic as responsible for violence.
  • The Frisbee fad fades as 25 million Hoola Hoops are sold at $3 each.
In Salem
The plan for constructing the fourth state structure on the North Capital Mall, the Labor and Industries Building, is well underway. The fourth section of Piety Hill, the houses on the block east of Winter Street between Chemeketa and Center Streets will be demolished or moved. This will be the enterprise that captures the most public attention as it requires the Presbyterian Church, then on the northeast corner of Chemeketa and Winter Streets facing Chemeketa Street, to be put on rollers and moved diagonally across Winter Street to face east. The move began in the winter of 1958 and continues for many weeks, the progress intentionally slow so as not to damage the sanctuary.
A number of houses on the west side of Winter and north side of Court Street have been purchased by the church and demolished. This included structures prominent in Salem history for the families who lived in them:
299 N. Winter Street, W. T. and Mattie Rigdon, son Lloyd (1890-1947)
267 N. Winter Street, George Pearce and daughters Helen and Dorothy (1892-1955)
245 N. Winter Street, Joseph and Josephine Albert (dates of house unknown)
785 Court Street, Otto Krause and earlier Robert Fleming (1870s-1954)
745 Court Street, Max Buren and earlier residence of Charles and Fannie Bishop, J. J. Murphy that had been moved to Willamette University to be the president's residence. (1880-1955)
 The Pearce sisters had moved out of their family home in 1955, after purchasing a residence at 490 Oak Street on Fry Hill. One confessed to a friend that she wondered what her late father, George Pearce, would think of them moving to such a large house. The sisters had a sentimental affection for their "auto house", one of Salem's first garages, and brought it with them to be placed in the rear of the house. It is a tradition among parishioners of the church that after the church moved, the sisters sat in the pew that was directly above the location where their house had been.

The last section of Piety Hill is demolished,
When you visit
The church is located on the southwest corner of Chemeketa and Winter Streets, above the former site of the Rigdon and Pearce houses. To the south there are other buildings replacing the Albert/Fleming houses and, around the corner on Court Street, another wing of the church where the Bishop and Buren (1907-1966) houses were located. The house on Oak Street where the Pearce sisters moved, has been the home of the Kohne family for thirty years, but has retained its historic name. Although it has had alterations, the Kohnes honor the history of the house.
The Colonial style manse of the church was also moved. Built in 1926, the first pastor to occupy the manse was the Rev. Ward Willis Long and his wife, Evangeline. Their daughter was born there. The house is now a private residence located at the northeast corner of 18th and Court Streets. It is a contributing property in the Court-Chemeketa Historic District of the NEN Neighborhood and can be seen on the SHINE walking tour of the district.

Other events
  • Mark Hatfield is elected governor of Oregon.
  • The early parsonage of the Methodist Mission is moved from its original location for the construction of the water tower at the Kay Mill complex. It will be permanently located on the Mission Mill property, now Willamette Heritage Center.
This Lincoln store survives, but in a new building
  • The community of Lincoln was once a busy port transit center for wheat being shipped to other landings. In 1958 the town has almost disappeared, but an old house serves as a store at the crossroads where Wallace Road meets Zena Road. A few miles west in Spring Valley, the Presbyterian Church celebrates its 100th anniversary.
  • Eola School, also established in the 1850s, celebrates its 100th graduating class. Eight students pose for a photograph with their teacher.
  • Our Southern Pacific Freight Station, located in a building predating the 1918 station itself, is still doing business this year. In 2010, fifty years later, the structure is in poor shape although the roof has been repaired through the generosity of the local roofing industry. The freight station was included in the recent nomination of this railroad property for the National Register of Historic Places. In 2015, the building will find a new use as the Salem Greyhound Bus Station due to a generous private donation for its renovation.
  • Donut Daze, a product of the Salvation Army sold at a shop near the Gilbert House on the riverfront, is popular with residents and especially state employees.
  • Walton House, a property bequeathed by William S. Walton to St. Paul's Episcopal Church, becomes the rectory. It has since become a hospitality guesthouse for out-of-town patients, family or loved ones of hospital patients.

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