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

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Salem in 1980

World Events
  • President Carter's attempt to rescue our embassy hostages held in Iran fails.
  • Republican Ronald Reagan is elected president.
  • Olympic Games in Moscow are boycotted by 50 nations.
In Salem
The character of downtown has now developed from local street-front merchants to commercial malls, enclosed areas filled with franchises of name-brand enterprises where the entrance is often through a parking structure. Nordstrom Mall is completed, bringing another nationally recognized name into the local business market. New competition is developing as large national retailers such as Costco, Shopko, Wal-Mart, Target, and Home Depot recognized Salem's market potential and open outlets in suburban Salem. The state buildings are rising ever northward from the Capitol as the Employment and Agriculture buildings are built north of Union Street and future major state construction is planned for the Mill Creek area bounded by Capitol, Summer, Winter and D Streets.

Residences just outside the traditional core of the city, the older neighborhoods of the 1920s-1930s, are being by-passed by newer residential developments, especially those further south. Fifteen of our nineteen neighborhoods have organized into associations; two more will be established this year. The photograph above is a home in one of these, Croisan-Illahe.
This romantic French Normandy style home is nestled among large oak trees, Croisan Creek running through the front yard of the home. It was built on the original Donation Land Claim of Henry Croisan who joined a wagon train for Oregon in 1846 and established a homestead here, three miles southwest of Salem. After a successful 1849 search for gold in California, he returned to farm on the original claim. The Croisans sold parcels over the years and in 1930 sold almost an acre to Earl S. Sandifer. This home, which he planned with his wife, was completed by new owners, Nels and Olga Tonning. Among the guests in their more than thirty years of hospitality were John Croisan and his wife who had lived in the old homestead on the back of the property. The property changed hands once again in May of 1969 when current owners purchased the property.

When you visit
This is a private residence, so enjoy the view from Croisan Creek Road.
The neighborhood covers 2,504 acres in the South Salem hills and has about 700 residents. Its borders are Kuebler Road, Croisan Creek Road and South River Road. The Association area is almost universally residential. Within the boundaries is one developed City Park, Nelson Park, and City owned land for a second park adjacent to the Bailey Ridge subdivision on S. River Road for future development. The Croisan-Illahe area offers easy access to Minto Brown Island Park, downtown Salem, as well as the multitude of resources throughout South Salem.

Other events
  • Population reaches 98,830.
  • South Salem neighborhood is also established this year. (It merged with Croison-Illahe to become SWAN.) Pioneer Cemetery is located here as well as the historic Salem Heights properties. Notable family residences are historically associated with the names Calaba, Thompson, Taylor, Nohlgren and Falk. The original owners of Buttercup Hill on Sunnyside Road are yet to be discovered. These have already been described in earlier years of this series.
  • One of the aeration ponds of Windsor Island is photographed this year. The towers and buildings of the Willow Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant are mirrored on the water's surface. Since 1976, the facility has been improved with a larger capacity and a significant reduction in discharged pollutants into the Willamette River.
  • Two local newspapers, the afternoon Capitol Journal and the morning Oregon Statesman, having already merged into the Gannet Company in 1974, now unite into one publication, a morning newspaper named the Statesman Journal.
  • From the Oregon Historical Society comes Thomas Cronise ~ The Art Perfected, a book illustrating many of that local photographer's sensitive portraits taken in his studio on the second floor of the Bush-Brey Building on Commercial Street during the years between 1902 and 1927. An Oregon Historical Society article of this year describes the studio and equipment: The reception salon of the studio was haphazardly decorated with photographs. In the rear was the camera room where the usual array of photographic equipment, backdrops and props were located. A skylight allowed diffused north light to enter the camera room providing the soft, natural illumination so essential to fine portraiture. Cronise used a 11X14 inch studio portrait camera made of mahogany with brass fittings, which sat on a table specifically designed for raising and lowering the camera. Always accommodating and sociable to his clients, a brass birdie was supplemented by a "Jocko" hand puppet for holding children's attention.
  • Another important book about local history published this year is Elizabeth McLagan's A Peculiar Paradise: A History of Blacks in Oregon, 1788-1940, published in Portland by The Georgian Press. This has been an important resource in learning about Salem's African American cultural heritage and has been one of the starting points for the further research and publication by the Oregon Northwest Black Pioneers.
  • At Willamette University, an $18 million fund raising drive begins. This project will sponsor the renovation of several major academic buildings, campus grounds will be improved and the Mark O. Hatfield Library built.
  • Mount St. Helens, fifty miles northeast of Portland, erupts on May 18 causing the deaths of fifty-seven people and the loss of homes, bridges and railroad tracks in addition to severe highway traffic disruption. The fall-out was apparent here in Salem and caused a new awareness of the west coast potential for geologic disaster in the future.

2 comments:

peter brady said...

Thank you for posting. I think that the 1970-1990 portion of Salem's history is unfortunately ignored. Photos if this era ( downtown, Lancaster dr) various places of business would be appreciated by many. I have quite a few images into personal collection. Many photos taken for the purpose of future historic value.
I must mention that Target, Costco and Walmart did not arrive in Salem until 1989 and 1992. The other mentioned were also 1990s arrivals.

The Salem Plaza seems to be a Lon forgotton mall aswell (1966-1986) it is the north portion of Salem Center.

Virginia Green said...

Peter ~ thank you! Please contact Don Christensen at the Salem Public Library, administrator of the Oregon Historic Photograph Collection, if you wish to donate copies of your historic Salem photographs.