Monday, January 18, 2010

To be ignorant of history is to remain forever childlike

The State of Oregon and the Washington Territo...Image via Wikipedia

A LOVESalem field correspondent sends news of this delightful citizen-powered community building project:
Local historian Virginia Green and the Salem Heritage Network (SHN, pronounced "Shine") are proud to present "Shine on Salem 150." This project will highlight 150 years of Salem government, culminating on Oct. 22, 2010: the 150th anniversary of Salem's city charter.

Join us each day on the SHN blog as we highlight one year in Salem history. Each day, we will also provide a different event, meeting, visit or other activity for Salem residents to learn and participate in their city.

Visit the Salem Heritage Network blog every day starting Monday, January 22, to learn new tidbits about the City of Salem and find interesting things to do:

A press release follows below. For more information, please contact Virginia Green at or (503) 581-6221.

Stephanie Matlock Allen
Salem Heritage Network

SHINE on Salem 150

Beginning on January 22, 2010. Salem Heritage Network will begin highlighting each of the 150 years of Salem’s municipal history, one year each day, continuing for 150 days.

Each day’s feature will be headed by the year, followed by a notation of two or three important world events of that year.

Next will be an illustration of a local event in that year. The black and white historical photographs are from the Oregon Historical Photograph Collections of the Salem Public Library, administered by volunteers led by Don Christensen. Tom Green, Jr. took the contemporary color photographs.

The historical event will be described in a brief paragraph.

The feature will conclude with the location of the photograph and an invitation to visit the present-day site or to attend a civic activity associated with this event.

Since this is an internet blog, there is opportunity for comments by any viewer. It is hoped that this will become a community effort, with many new events and personalities added.

The purpose of this feature is not only to recall local historical events, but also to introduce the city government itself. Several Departments, as well as Boards and Commissions, have offered information about their founding and their activities.

Both our cultural heritage and the present organization of our city government are very much part of our daily lives. This online feature can suggest ways to participate in our current community services and help direct the course of our city’s future ~ perhaps for the next 150 years.

Some history

Salem began in 1842 as a classroom, the Oregon Institute, now Willamette University. The pioneering Methodist missionaries founded the school. In that year their settlement near Wheatland was moved to Mill Creek.

In 1844, the church discontinued the mission and appointed William Willson as agent to sell off lots to "worthy individuals" in order to raise money for the Institute and attract settlers to the new town, which they named Salem. Willson drew up the first plat of Salem, covering an area thirteen blocks by five blocks, bounded by the Willamette River and Mission, Church, and Division streets. The Marion County Clerk recorded the plat in 1850.

Salem became the capital of the Oregon Territory in 1851. The Oregon Territory became a state in 1859. The process of Salem’s incorporation as a city began in 1857, but was a controversial issue, and the charter was not granted until October 22, 1860, 150 years ago. This is the date we are celebrating on the website as the feature “SHINE on Salem 150.”
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