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

Monday, July 26, 2010

Salem in 1992

World events
  • Bill Clinton is elected president.
  • Eurodisney opens in Paris
  • Queen Elizabeth II regrets this year as "Annus Horribilis" for the royal family amid scandals.
In Salem

The 1914 Craftsman bungalow (above) was built for Walter Buchner, but was sold by the family in 1942 and split into apartments during the war years when housing was scarce. After a series of occupants, tragedy struck this year: the house was firebombed, taking the lives of Hattie Mae Cohens and Brian Mock who were in a basement apartment. Their deaths were recognized in the national press where it was reported, "Four young people have been charged with aggravated murder, assault, arson and intimidation in the Sept. 26 firebombing of a basement apartment in Salem. The police say all are white supremacists with links to Oregon's highly visible "skinhead" community." Senator Gordon Smith, speaking in Congress, condemned the crime and loss of life.
Neighbors were not content that this crime of murder that took two lives should also destroy this historic house. After deliberation about what could be done, funds were collected and the house was purchased by Court-Chemeketa residents who renovated the property. It was sold to new owners who have continued to maintain and improve it. Those who worked hard in 1986 to create a historic district, and in 1992 to repair one of its properties, have remained alert to uphold the integrity of the properties and work with the Historic Landmarks Commission when exterior alterations must be made.

When you visit
The Buchner house is a private residence, but can be seen while walking along 14th Street, north of State Street, and turning right at the corner of Court Street. The Court-Chemeketa Historic Residential District has a variety of interesting properties. The Watts family owned a large area and two of their homes remain: one a grand Victorian and the other a small farmhouse with a history of bitter litigation. Mill Creek runs along behind Chemeketa Street residences, in one place so close the owners must have a bridge outside the back door in order to reach their rear property. Several Court Street houses, like the Griffith and Wiggins properties, can trace their ownership by the same family for several generations. Other houses, like the Waller, Collins-Byrd and Barquist houses have been moved into their present sites. Two active churches (St. John Lutheran and Court Street Christian) are in this district, and another (Chemeketa Evangelical) has been renovated into a residence. A slide show walking tour of Court-Chemeketa Historic Residential District is found on this SHINE website. The NEN neighborhood contains many more historic residences not in the district that can be located by searching DISCOVER by historic name, street or neighborhood name.

Note: it would be greatly appreciated if a photograph of the grand, three-story Victorian house of the Barr family could be located. It stood at the corner of Court and 14th Streets and was demolished before 1945 when St. John's Lutheran Church purchased the property.

Other events
MICAH
  • The 1925 Elks Club (above) is purchased by the adjoining First United Methodist Church and renamed MICAH (Methodist Inner-city Community Activities House). It now houses offices and church archives. This was once the site of the 1871 Werner Breyman residence, one of several an early mansions built near the Capitol. It was moved around the corner onto Cottage Street for this Elks construction. The residence became an apartment house, but in the 1970s was demolished for the Willamette University law school building.
  • A special Sesquicentennial Founders’ Day Weekend is held at Willamette University. It was filled with special events that included the issuing of a commemorative U.S. postal card featuring Waller Hall, and the dedication Mark Sponenburgh's bronze sculpture, Town and Gown. The refurbished Victory Bell was rung 150 times to commemorate the anniversary. Later in the year, on September 10, the Truman Wesley Collins Legal Center was re-dedicated. United States Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor was the keynote speaker.
  • SEDCOR (Salem Economic Development Corporation), formed in 1982 to manage industrial sector recruitment and assist with the expansion of existing manufacturers, was reorganized this year by merging with the City of Salem Economic Division. The private/public partnership allowed SEDCOR to expand partnerships with Marion and Polk Counties. The City of Salem contracted with SEDCOR for development of the Fairview Industrial Park and administration of the City’s Enterprise Zones. SEDCOR moved to 745 Commercial St. NE where it remained until 2009. It is now located at Chemeketa Center for Business and Industry, 626 High Street NE.
  • Keith Weathers became a guest conductor for the Salem Concert Band. The idea of the "In the Steps of Sousa" concerts was originally proposed by Keith this year and has become an annual tradition for their March concert.
  • State treasurer, James A. Hill, becomes the first African American elected to statewide office. Born in Atlanta in 1947, he graduated with a degree in economics from Michigan State University (1969) and received both an MBA (1971) and law degree (1974) from Indiana University. He had previously served in the Oregon State Senate and House of Representatives. He served as Treasurer for two terms (1993-2001).

2 comments:

Ann Williams said...

It should be noted that two people were also victims of the firebomb in the house on Court Street.

Oregon Republican Senator Gordon Smith comments on the incident in the Congressional Record here:

http://tinyurl.com/28eas9b

The victim's names were Hattie Mae Cohens and Brian Mock.

Here is a story in the New York Times:

http://tinyurl.com/3xpxqyr

The house is lovely, the owners gracious (I toured it during the Christmas open house in 2008), and its restoration inspiring, but let's not forget the other victims.

Virginia said...

Thank you,Ann, for putting this story in the proper perspective. I did not know about these deaths and appreciate your giving me the opportunity to give Hattie and Brian notice in our Salem history.