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

Friday, July 16, 2010

Salem in 1985

World events
  • Gorbachev begins "glasnost" policies in USSR allowing more civil freedom.
  • Argentina puts former military leaders on trial for crimes against citizens.
  • Artist Christo wraps in canvas the Pont Neuf Bridge in Paris.
  • University of California at Berkeley gains more evidence of a "black hole" in our galaxy.
Salem's Pioneer Cemetery in the springtime
In Salem
The former Odd Fellows Rural Cemetery, founded in 1854, had been nearly abandoned by this year when local residents formed the entirely non-profit "Friends of the Pioneer Cemetery." The "Friends" have raised funds through grants and donations to keep the cemetery maintained. A Pioneer Cemetery website offers index listings of those buried at the cemetery including name, date of burial, birth, death and plot location. Located at the corner of Hoyt and Commercial streets, it was originally on land that belonged to missionary David Leslie. The first burial there (1841) was that of his wife, Mary Kinney Leslie, who had joined her husband in the original Oregon Methodist mission settlement in 1837. She was the first of many members of our pioneer families buried there. The cemetery has a wealth of unusual and impressive gravestones, many recently replaced in their original positions. Since the City of Salem became owner of the cemetery in 1985, the volunteer Friends group has been instrumental in the restoration of the cemetery, continuing their work to the present time. Many historical photographs of tombs and persons buried here are found on Oregon Historical Photograph Collections.
In 1999, the Friends established an endowed fund within The Salem Foundation Charitable Trust. Each year, a distribution from the fund is made to the City for cemetery betterment above and beyond the basic maintenance that is supported from limited public funds. Recent proceeds from the endowment have been earmarked to restore the E. N. Cooke family mausoleum and make other repairs in common interest.

When you visit
The cemetery is open to the public and volunteers are always welcome. While the data base is maintained by the genealogical division, The Friends field unit recruits community volunteers to engage in monthly work parties, March through October. The volunteers prune heritage roses and other ornamental shrubs and pull ivy and other invasive plants. Under trained supervision, they remove moss from markers and pavements, level monument bases and safely reset fallen markers in mortar. Volunteers also assist genealogists in conducting research. For more information, contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Parks and Transportation Services Division, Salem Department of Public Works at 503-589-2197.

Another source of local genealogical information is the Lee Mission Cemetery on D Street in North Salem. It was incorporated in 1869 on a portion of the Elizabeth Winn Parrish land grant, but first burial at this site was in 1842 of Lucy Thompson Lee, the second wife of Jason Lee. His first wife, Anna Maria Pittman Lee, was reburied there at about the same time and, in 1906, Jason Lee. Other pioneers including Alanson Beers, Gustavus Hines, Josiah Parrish and Alvin Waller are buried there. The website references help find records of burials and the history of the Methodist Mission.

Other Events

Representatives from Kawagoe visit Salem, 2010
Mayor Susan Miller welcomes Kawagoe, Japan as a potential sister-city to Salem. The delegates from each city visit the other, determining if there is compatibility in promoting mutual cultural, educational and economic civic goals. A few months later the contracts were signed. This has proved to be our most lasting sister-city relationship as twenty-five years later, in July of 2010, a delegation from Kawagoe returned to renew the contract. A warm mayoral handshake followed the official signing with Janet Taylor, our second female mayor. Many friendships have been formed and visits made between Kawagoe and Salem. Both our educational institutions and our industrial enterprises have made firm bonds for the benefit of both cities. Barry Duell, now a professor at Tokyo International University in Kawagoe, was profiled for a newspaper article in which he recalled his many years living in Kawagoe.
(Willamette University also enters into sister-university relationships this year: with Xiamen University in Fujian Province of the People’s Republic of China, and with Kookmin University in Seoul, Korea.)


Gillbert House in as it looked in the 1980s
  • The City of Salem purchases the 1887 Gilbert House as part of its future Riverfront Development Project. The house built at the intersection of Marion and Water Streets on the east bank of the Willamette River is significant as an outstanding large-scale example of Queen Anne architecture in Salem. At that time was the only substantial historic house remaining in the downtown core. A. T. Gilbert, for whom the house was built, was senior partner with his brother Frank in the Salem banking house of Gilbert Brothers, 1879-1901. Starting as bankers and brokers doing general agency business, they became a general banking establishment in 1885. A. T. Gilbert was a trustee of Pacific University in Forest Grove in the 1890’s. A. T. Gilbert had a distinguished nephew, the son of his brother and partner Frank Alfred Carlton Gilbert, founder of the A. C. Gilbert Co., world-renowned toy manufacturer and inventor of the Erector set, a metal construction toy. A. C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village acquired the Gilbert House through a no-cost lease from the city and restored it with grants from the Meyer Memorial Trust and the community. The Museum opened on December 15, 1989.
  • The city purchased an additional 55 cfs of 1856 priority water rights from Boise Cascade after the water right transfer after the City of Stayton and the Santiam Water Control District challenged the water right transfer.
  • Jackie Winters, writing in 2000: "I started my business in 1985 which was a big undertaking and risk; leaving the comfort of a pay check to rely on your own ingenuity can be perilous at best. (My business,) Jackie’s Ribs, exists because of my mother. She loved Kansas City barbecue, and watching her eat it was a delight, especially for my father. She did not cook it herself, but my father would go to the barbecue 'joint' to get it; it was his gift to her."
  • The operation of the Paulus Brothers Packing Company ended this year. In 1954 they were the largest independently owned canning firm in the Northwest, and the sale of the company in 1955 to Dole Hawaiian Pineapple Company marked the end of an era. Berries, cherries, green beans, plums and pears were the principal products from the Dole plant in the 1950's-60's. Although the canning operation begun by the Paulus family ended and canning operations ceased, the building continued to be used for distribution.
  • Salem has excessive snowfall: 6.2" on December 1-2.

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