Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hillsboro Hops were Salem Senators! - More on Minor League Baseball and Knighton

Well, golly! A reader sends along a note that the Hillsboro Hops go back in descent to the Salem Senators!

The chain looks something like this:

Hillsboro Hops (2013- )
Yakima Bears (1990-2012)
Salem Dodgers (1988-89)
Salem Angels (1982-87)
Salem Senators (1977-81)
Salem Dodgers (1961-65)
Salem Senators (1940-42, 1946-60)
Bellingham Chinooks (1938-39)
Sign at Waters Field, Salem Library Historic Photo Collection
Between 1940 and 1965, the Senators played at Waters Field. Waters Field was located on the Northeast corner of 25th and Mission, just about exactly where the main Post Office is located today.
Waters Field, 25th & Mission from 1950 Sanborn Map
current site of Post Office
George Waters, circa 1940
George Waters sold cigars and tobacco. According to the City's history of the Durbin Building, located on the northeast corner of State and Commercial,
George E. Waters, a native of Nebraska, born in 1869, came to Salem, Oregon, with his parents in 1872. In 1891 he opened a cigar store in Salem. Fifteen years later, he embarked on the tobacco wholesale business in his shop on State Street. He eventually added wholesale candy to the inventory of his tobacco shop on State Street....Joseph Adolph [brother of Sam Adolph!] and George E. Waters both purchased an interest in the corner Durbin Building in 1911.
About the first season, Capi Lynn wrote in 1996
A ticket was a quarter; scorecards and hot dogs were a nickel apiece.

For 35 cents, one could enjoy an evening at the ballpark.

Players were paid about $130 a month, and they traveled from game to game in a rickety old bus.

Those were the vital statistics of professional baseball in Salem, as it was in 1940.

George E. Waters, a man who made his money selling wholesale tobacco and candy, was the father.
Leila Waters, OSL
He purchased a Class B minor league franchise from Bellingham, Wash., brought it to Salem, and built a $60,000 stadium for it to call home. It was his home, Waters Field.
Salem was a small town, and the connections go ever deeper.

For George Waters was William C. Knighton's brother-in-law! Knighton had married George's sister, Leila Waters (also Lella Waters in some sources), in Indianapolis in October 1898.

And, in fact, the Knighton designed a house at Summer and Center for George around 1911. (The National Register listing for the Schnabel House in Portland says 1895, but this seems unlikely, as this would make it a near-contemporary of Deepwood and the Murphy house,* and obviously the style is quite different.)

Waters House, Pacific Coast Architect June 1912, via UO Library
In Virginia Green's slides on the history of the destruction of Piety Hill you can see location of the Waters house on the southeast corner of Summer and Center. Today it's just greenery on the Mall.

Knighton and Howell, the firm that designed North High School, also may have done design work for the seating at Waters Field - but this was after Knighton died in 1938.

* The photo captions identify the Murphy house as being from the early 1880s, but this is clearly wrong.  The National Register listing for the Hamilton House in Roseburg identifies Murphy as a Knighton client, and the Hamilton, Murphy, and Port/Deepwood houses share a family look. This announcement from July 3rd, 1894 is strong evidence this house, and not the Waters house, was completed about 1895.

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