Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Starkey-McCully Block Open House

Tonight see (in remodeled form, alas) the vestiges of a prohibition-era speakeasy in downtown Salem! In "Starkey McCully Block: New Life after 127 Years" (Marion County History, vol 15), Jordis Schick writes that during prohibition, the second floor held a "hooch house." During restoration folks had found a stash of bottles and other boozy detritus. I'm sure that's not the only time a saloon was there!

Over at the SHINE blog, Virginia Green posted a note about two March open houses. The Starkey McCully Block's is tonight, timed for First Wednesday, happily. Virginia included this terrific photo of commercial street between Court and Chemeketa. The photo is from 1887. It shows a wagon and a carriage, both drawn by horses. No cars. Commercial is mud. You can zoom in here.

Luckily for us, Sanborn mapped Salem within a year of the photo! Here's the 1888 Sanborn of the same building. Notes in from the Salem Online Historical Photographs Collection point out that
Edward S. Lamport has the harness and sadlery; Edward C. Small's Oregon Clothing House is at the left of the utility pole and Charles W. Hellenbrand has a restaurant to the right of it.
You can easily map these to bays on the Sanborn: Lamport's is the third bay from the left, 289 Commercial, with the Gent's and Rest'r't going right (north).

Only part of the Starkey-McCully block remains today. Here's a view from just after World War II and a view from 1992. The cast iron facade may be earlier than that of the Ladd & Bush Bank, and is believed to be the oldest in Oregon as originally installed.

For more on the Starkey McCully building see the entry in the Online Salem History.

Enrich your First Wednesday experience with some real Salem history tonight!

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