- The Torrijos-Carter Treaty was signed giving Panama control of the 1903 waterway.
- Space shuttle "Enterprise" makes first manned flight.
- Apple II first mass-market computer.
- TV dramatizes "Roots".
The history of our Art Fair begins in 1949 when the Salem Art Association's first Art Fair was held on the lawn of the old Marion County Courthouse, attracting 10 artists. For the next three years it was held in Willson Park on the Capitol grounds and at the Walter Kirk home. The fair moved to Bush House permanently in 1953 and the next two years were as informal as a clothesline sale around the Museum with 50 artists displaying their talents. As the number of contributing artists grew, displays became more professional and booths were constructed. By 1961 there were 100 artists and 7,500 visitors; by 1975 there were more than 320 artists. The next year it moved south of Bush Barn Art Center, having out-grown its old location. For that year it becomes the Great State Bicentennial Art Fair and Festival, thanks to an Oregon Art Commission grant, and 450 artists show up. From Jenny Hagloch's article about the fair as it was in 1977, "... the Art Association decided to jury artists for the Art Fair. Although this change included the input and support of many local artists, the jury process was not popular with artists now being excluded for the first time. Artists were vocal about their displeasure with Letters to the Editor showing up in the Statesman. Art Fair co-chair Sue-Dell McCullough received so many threats before the event, the Salem Police Department provided her with a police escort during the Fair. The 1977 version of the event was still called the Great State Art Fair & Festival and settled into its Friday through Sunday format which still exists today."
When you visit
The Art Fair has continued to grow in size, now reaching over a considerable section of Bush's Pasture Park. But as it has evolved, there have been new organizational requirements to make the three-day arts festival sustainable. For several years, there were temporary barriers around the display areas to guide patrons into designated entrances where donations were suggested. In 2010, for the first time, there was an admission fee during most hours of the fair.
Because the fair can accommodate only 200 booths, the task of the jury continues to be selecting from hundreds of applicants to obtain for the fair the highest quality work in a range of mediums and prices. Recently, for example, to accommodate as many artists as possible, three galleries at Bush Barn had exhibits: Radius 25 displayed artists living within that range of miles; Camus Gallery featured regional landscape artists; Focus Gallery presented a local artist. Every year brings changes to improve production of this local attraction, both for residents and visitors.
Kent L. Aldrich became mayor and will serve three terms in office.
- A 1977 photograph of the Minto-Brown Park sign on South River Road reminds us of the contribution made by former Mayor Vern Miller in promoting the purchase of this 838 acre outdoor recreation area for the residents of Salem. Wes Sullivan wrote: "Another legacy to Salem of which Mayor Miller was most proud is the 800-acre Minto-Brown Island Park. Even though Salem voters refused to appropriate money for its purchase, he persisted in its acquisition. Many who treasure this unique adjunct to the city’s park system have forgotten that but for Mayor Miller’s tenacity, it would have been lost to future generations."
- Ed Ritter retires after a long career in the building and wrecking business. His company handled many of the most important Salem demolition projects. After 1977 he continued to own the building materials and salvage portions of the business.
- A plane crash near Vancouver, Washington takes the life of 63-year old Harry Eyerly, a respected local aviator. He was performing aerobatics for the Northwest Antique Airplane Club when the accident occurred.
- In 1977 our Salem Public Library has many modern features, but looking for books and research materials still require the old card catalog files. George Happ becomes Director of the library this year. As our current (2012) library Administrator, B J Toewe, reminds us, he established the Salem Public Library Foundation, one of the first in the U.S, and focused resources on developing innovative services that would make the library a community center. His vision included an AV and technology center, a fine arts center and the Children’s Discovery Room. He expanded the library collection to include A-V materials like 8 mm films and eventually DVDs, and supported the expansion with the installation of a fully automated library system. Just ten years after the advisory board hired him, George Happ was the director of one of the busiest 100 libraries in the nation. He continued to foster the growth of services to the community through a building expansion in 1991 and by adding the West Salem branch library in 1995. By the time he retires from this service in 2000, he will have brought our library into the computer age and will have established it as one of the finest in the state.
- Scott Elementary School opened this year. It was named for Harry W. Scott, a bicycle shop owner in Salem from 1919 until 1963. He was well known for fixing children's bikes, often for little or no cost. Mr. Scott was on the School Board from 1946-1961, serving as chairman for five years. The Chamber of Commerce named him Salem's First Citizen in 1962.
- Does Salem have a continual traffic problem, or was it only at Christmas this year that cars were bumper-to-bumper on Liberty Street? Snowstorms, like one this year, cause traffic problems on the Center Street Bridge.
- Floods continue to damage structures in Salem. High water on Salishan Street forced Greg Jennings, a Leslie Junior High School student, to use a rubber raft to get to his mail box.