DISCOVER displays photos and descriptions of more than 250 individual historic properties. Local Landmarks (LL), Federal National Register of Historic Places (NR) and potential candidates (D) are designated. Use Search to locate a property by name, street or neighborhood.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Schmidt House, 1106 Leslie St., Can-Do, D

In 1932, this house stood among 8 others in this block of Leslie Street between 12th and University Streets. By 1966, there were twice as many residences on the 1100 block of Leslie Street listed in the City Directory. Today it is alone, the others having been moved or demolished. The blocks around it on three sides are medical offices and the expanded Salem Hospital. The fourth side is the busy 12th Street with its ramp heading east onto Mission Street.
Our earliest record, for 1932, shows it occupied by Mrs Grace Burns, followed by Arthur Denison two years later, and from 1936 to 1947 by L. C. Ramage and wife Lillian. The family who lived there the longest period of years was that of Richard Schmidt. There were many children in this spacious bungalow and altered bedrooms accommodated the growing family. (Remodeling of the basement revealed that there had been a fire, that this might have been the second structure on this lot.) Research continues in order to learn more about the house in the residential years.
How did it survive?
The latest owner discovered that the local builder used a cement-based stucco that was exceptionally tough and durable, although not suitable for moving. And, as the other residences disappeared, this one found an owner in the 1990s who put it another practical use: storage space for a nearby medical facility.
This house is a reminder that the downtown University neighborhood was once one for families and the small businesses that served them. We are grateful that this former residence can still echo the small-town Salem that no longer exists.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Carr House, 4595 Dallas Hwy, West Salem, D

Now almost hidden beside the busy Highway #22, this 1856 house has been many times altered, including a new covered front entrance and extensions on the rear, but retains its original character, including the high ceiling and fireplace in the living room, while the surrounding township of Eola, once considered for the capital city of the new state, has almost disappeared.
The original builders (perhaps Thomas and Beulah Riggs) are unknown, however records show it had several owners before Reason Brunk acquired it in 1891. That family sold it to Mattie and Henry Carr in 1923. It passed to Vivian Carr (perhaps a daughter) in 1939 and she lived there until 1992.
Behind the residence, possibly of the same age, is the "egg-handling" house, see below:

After attending several Oregon and California universities, Miss Carr graduated from Willamette University and became a teacher in Oregon, Massachusetts and Washington. After her retirement as teacher at North Salem High School in 1977, she was elected president of the Willamette Valley Humane Society. Because of her concern for animals, she is considered one of the inspirations for this local institution. At rear of the property is a third building, a kennel serving both large and small animals, and a fenced area for their exercise. (This modern building construction is seen below.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Pierce House, West Salem, D

Cornelia Marvin, our first Oregon State Librarian, married Walter M. Pierce. He served one term as governor and went on to the US House of Representatives where he served 1932-43. In 1954 they retired to this home along Rural Route #4, now Highway 22, just to the west of Eola School. On April 5 1957, the house was photographed (above) for an article in the Capital Journal as Home of the Week. An interior is included in the Oregon Historical Photograph Collection of the Salem Public Library.
The house has had alterations and additions, but retains the charm of a country home and the gardens are still evident. Below is an aerial view with the school at right (white building) and the roof of the Pierce home at the left:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

425 12th Street

Is this the oldest residence in Salem? Some evidence indicates this house was built on Ferry Street in the 1860's (probably behind the site of the Methodist Church) and was moved to its present location about 1900. The owner is now conducting further research.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Waln, 5363 Tanoak Ave. SE, (South Gateway)

This 1919 residence was moved to the present location around 1961 on the back of a flatbed truck (and the garage was dragged here) from two blocks away on what is now Valleywood Drive SE.
The house built as a replacement for the Waln family's first house, built in the late 1880s. The family owned land this area and a generation later L. A. Waln still had property west of Grabenhorst Fruit Farms #2 in 1929. Lon's Hill Fruit Tracts, a plat divided into 18 sections may have been part of their large property.
The present owners shared a photograph of the house in its original location (below), then outside the city limits. Annexed in the 1960s and 1970s, this is now a part of South Gateway, a Salem neighborhood of suburban residences. Waln Creek, the only present landmark remembering the family, runs through that area today.