Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Shopping and the Empty Lots - Argo Hotel, Busick Market, Eldridge Block

Since big box shopping season is upon us, along with the crazy hunt for a parking spot, here are a couple of lost buildings - and the big box car parking that replaced them. The lost aren't necessarily "glories," especially the Busick Market, but you have to admit they're more attractive than what is currently there. (The angles and scales on the modern shots are pretty close to those of the old.)

(Argo Hotel, Salem Public Library Oregon Historic Photo Collection)


This isn't exactly an empty lot - we'll call it a series of stacked lots over a retail cavern - but it's not put to very good use, either. On the north side of Chemeketa street between Liberty and Commercial you can see the corner of the alley in each photo. On the alley today are Carl's Cuisine, the elevator, and J.C. Penny. Presumably the Argo was demolished when the parking garage went up (but we haven't confirmed this).

On the south side of Chemeketa, the parking garage wiped out the Eldridge Block. The very south-most portion remains today as the home of Greenbaum's, but before the garage the block was three times as big, and extended to the corner where the shoe shop is today. You can see it here and here. And here is one a little later in 1954 that shows the whole Eldridge block with Greenbaum's.

(Eldridge Block, Salem Public Library Oregon Historic Photo Collection)

Another of the empty lots is the one behind TJ Maxx and Rite-Aid downtown. Next to TJ Maxx is a curious building, a gabled garage with two mostly parabolic-y arches on the side facing Marion Street. You can just see it behind the man's head in the first image.

(Orignal photo, badly identified, Salem Public Library Oregon Historic Photo Collection)


There's not a whole lot written and easily accessible on the Busick Market in this location, but the name remains in the Busick Court restaurant on Court Street. There was more than one Busick Market location, and we don't know the relation between them all.

So here are three ways the old downtown used to have a lot more character. We drink a toast to lost charm and buildings lost!

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