Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Toast to the Dead

Ernest T. Eckerlen was a private in the 6th Machine Gun Battalion, 2nd Division, and perished just before Armistice Day, on 5 November 1918. He is buried in the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery.

The Doughboy memorial to the dead of World War I used to be in front of the Marion County Courthouse. Virginia Green has written about it with pictures of it in 1934 and 1941.

Its current site is on a park behind the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs. The park holds memorials to dead from the major wars, starting with the Spanish-American war of 1898.

Ernest was the son of Eugene Eckerlen, an important owner of saloons and breweries in fin-de-siecle Salem.

Eckerlen's name is inscribed on the Doughboy pedestal among the others who died in World War I.

Ernest's father, Eugene, Eugene's second wife, Alice, and Eugene's daughter, Mary, are buried together in St. Barbara's Cemetery.

Eugene's first wife, Mary, is also buried in St. Barbara's, but she is on the other side of the cemetery from Eugene's grave. Mary's grave is next to those of the Beck and Klinger families, a cluster of Alsiatian immigrants who were important in early Salem.

We also remember non-war dead, especially those who met untimely ends, like Pauline Phillips.

CT toasts the dead and recommends that you find someone whose history you find interesting, especially someone not already famous or a relative, and go visit their grave. Tell and renew as much of their story as you can.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hops Picking an Early Form of Agritourism?

We've been wondering about the context and role of the hop picking portrait. The Salem online history entry for "hops" says that hops harvest brought "influx of many migrant workers into the areas surrounding Salem." This brings to mind a very particular form of labor.

So how did hops picking portraiture fit into this way of organizing labor and the incomes of these laborers?

We see the words "migrant workers" and think of today's migrant farmworkers. Even setting aside the question of ethnicity, we interpreted this to mean hops were picked mainly by people whose livelihoods depended on the hard labor of picking and on moving from area to area as different crops matured. We read and interpreted scenes like this tent and camp image from 1939 to be the temporary housing of these migrant workers.

This model may be accurate, but there's another possibility for these tents and camps. It's become clear that there were also a substantial number of people who picked hops for entertainment, recreation, or supplementary income. It may be possible, in fact, to think of hops picking as an early form of agritourism.

At top is a 1903 ad from the Salem Woollen Mills (C.P. Bishop was Mayor at this time) for hop picking apparel that makes explicit the ways that hop picking was recreational.
A few more days and it's "Off to the hop yards." All the paraphernalia of camp life must be gathered together in readiness for this annual combination of work and recreation.
It also lists "Those Queer Mexican Hats" and "golf shirts" as things a hop picker might want.

The audience for this ad is not the group of people who are dependent on agriculture for their sole income. The audience is people who go to pick hops for entertainment!

This notice of a boxing match held in a hops yard also in 1903 shows just how entertaining hops picking could get!

Marion County Puts up First Class Prize Fight

Women and Babies are Permitted to Enjoy to the Full the Delightful Social Function

At the Krebs Bros. hop yard last night, a large crowd was gathered, including many sports from Salem and Portland, to witness a prize fight between Keeny of Albina and an unknown from Grants Pass. Before the main event of the evening several preliminary bouts were pulled off, local lights figuring in the battles...[description of the bout ensues]...It is reported that among the spectators were a number of women, some of them with babies in their arms.
People traveled to the hops fields for the entertainments. This doesn't sound too far from the concerts and dinners held at wineries today.

In this context of camping, recreation, and entertainment, it's not difficult to understand why photographers, both amateur and professional, might also camp and take photos. Luc Sante has written about the ways postcards during this time were used to communicate and share experiences, especially for those outside of large cities. The hops picking portrait surely exists in a rich network of exchanges at the hop yard and later ones among distant friends and family.

Hops picking in the early 20th century possibly marks a very interesting transitional moment, it seems. Because hops could be dried, baled, and sold in Europe and the east coast as a commodity, the scale of hops agriculture probably dwarfed the scale of other local farming, which would participate in a smaller local foodshed. So hops picking needed large hordes of people to descend on the fields. For a short period in the early 20th century, it seems that agricultural labor might have been respectable and fun, an activity available to any class of person without loss of status. This is really striking and we should pause to think about it a moment, as this particular form of mobilizing labor appears to stand chronologically in between the slave labor used for cotton, and the non-resident migrant labor industrialized farming uses today.

We aren't at all versed in the history of agricultural labor, which really situates hops growing in the context of international commodities, national and international economies, large population movements (think "dust bowl" and the "Okies" as well as the forced displacement of slave laborers) - and bunch of other big picture stuff. That's a big project, one we probably won't take up. Do any readers know more about this? Maybe this is well-written about elsewhere.

In any case, this glimpse at a social history of hops picking suggests it was a really interesting border situation, where lots of different people and economic interests mingled. Sounds like a rich stew to us!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Two Towers of Turner offer Tastes this Weekend

This is close to genius! Gilgamesh and Willamette Valley Vineyards are tasting together this weekend at WVV. It's great to see beer and wine together - and to see two Turner outfits working to leverage each other for tourism opportunities. Here's info on the wine side (they are, in truth, just a little sparse on the beer side):
A fun, interactive way to learn about Oregon's unique terroir. Blind taste and match world class Pinot Noir to its respective origins. Stop by for a chance to win an overnight stay at Oregon Wine Cottage paired with a VIP Tour and Tasting at Willamette Valley Vineyards. Listen to live music as our highly anticipated 2008 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noirs dance across your taste buds. 2008 is one of Oregon’s best vintages yet. General admission is $5 and includes a Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir Glass. Upgrade to the Reserve Room for an additional $10 to taste pre-release and Library Wines. Admission for Wine Club members is $5 and includes a complimentary upgrade to the Reserve Room.

So after all our muttering about beer and wine - here's your solution, right in our backyard.

Thanks Gilgamesh & WVV!

This makes perfect sense!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Taps around Town

Though the weather's kinda crappy, this week looks especially good for drinking beer in Salem!

Early we thought part of this blog would be a taplist updated by friendly correspondents. The Twitter and the TapLister have rendered that project unnecessary and obsolete. (Hence the greater focus on history, which though helped by the Google, is also complicated by the proliferation of not-always reliable online information and at least for the moment still requires the research, editorial, and interpretive hand of a real human!)

Sometimes we look at the taps in town and just marvel in the difference a year or two has made! This week is one such moment. Maybe the weather is just telling us to stay indoors with friends and family, beer in hand. Thank the beer gods!

We don't give enough love to f/stop Fitzgerald's. Venti's is more to our personal taste, and so we don't pay enough attention to the great things going on over there. Their most recent taplist update? Check this out!
What's on tap: Black Mamba & Filbert Lager from Gilgamesh, Snake Bite Porter from Silver Moon, and Hefeweisse from Baron.
They'll be back on Thursday Wednesday!

And at Venti's, yesterday we got news that they tapped the Sierra 30 Fritz and Ken's Pioneer Stout. You may have heard that Fritz Maytag sold Anchor recently. Tip a pint to Fritz! Venti's also has the Gilgamesh Cranberry Saison and Mad River's Wheat Wine.

What a great range of styles and beers. It's a great time to be a beer drinker in Salem!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Portland Book Art Show Features Beer Poetry and Lupulin Letterpress

If going wine-tasting isn't your cup of tea, then how about a road trip to Portland for a show of fine book art?

The Multnomah County Public Library often features book art shows. The John Wilson Rare Book Room has some fine letterpress and handbound books and Jim Carmin curates some great shows. This show, it was just announced, has been extended now into June!

The show is titled, Loyd Haberly (1896-1981): Oregon Poet, Printer and Bookbinder. Haberly's design work looks like Wiener Werkst├Ątte meets the pre-Raphaelites, simultaneously modernist and romantic.
Raised in rural Oregon, Loyd Haberly was a Reed College graduate and a Rhodes Scholar who, while in England, gained a strong appreciation for the Arts & Crafts movement. In the tradition of William Morris’ famous Kelmscott Press, he founded the Seven Acres Press, a small private press in England where he printed 16 books, most authored by himself. He later was hired for the position of controller at the esteemed Gregynog Press in Wales, where four more books were produced under his control. Among them was Eros and Psyche, which used the illustrations created by artist Edward Burne-Jones for Morris. Haberly printed one more title in England before he returned to the United States, where he printed another 13 books from 1940 to 1976.

The work of Loyd Haberly as a poet, artist — he created the many brightly colored woodcuts that adorn his books — printer and binder, caught the attention of Portland book collector Brian Booth. Over the years, Booth has generously been donating his Haberly collection to the John Wilson Special Collections at Multnomah County Library. This exhibition, the first on Haberly in more than a decade, features all of these items along with materials borrowed from other institutions and private collections.
While we have an interest in this sort of thing, the show by itself isn't the reason we mention it here.

There's a beer connection! Check out this title. Almost a Minister: A Romance of the Oregon Hopyards, written, illustrated, printed and bound by Loyd Haberly in an edition of 375. Now that's some beer poetry! Be still my heart! (You can read more about Haberly and see a couple more examples of his typesetting and printing in this article on his books in the University of Iowa's special collections.1)

We may willfully be misunderstanding the kind of "romance" Haberly means, but we'll construe it along the lines of this hop dance from March 1905. The decor sounds distinctly Christmassy, and everything else seems to belong a century earlier, in a Jane Austin novel.

"A Real Hop"
A hop-house dance is somethine which the young people of Salem are not often treated to, but no dancing party of the season was more thoroughly enjoyed than one given Friday evening at the Lewis Savage hop house, about four miles northeast of Salem. The hosts were Geo. Miles and Arthur Lang, and nothing was left undone by them to make it one round of pleasure for their guests.

The hall was decorated in firs and mistletoe in a most artistic way. After dancing had been indulged in for some time, all were served a most delicious lunch, such as only can be found at farm homes. Mrs. Lewis Savage and Mrs. A.M. Miles prepared and served the lunch.

A large number of invitations were issued, and all those going from town were loud in their praises of the host's hospitality. The boys are to be congratulated on their success.

We imagine a romance budding and then blooming over the years between these two in the hopyards!

(We are also interested in what clearly is a genre of portraiture, the hops picking portrait. We are finding lots of these, both more newsy action shots and formal posed shots. We wonder about portraits taken during the harvest of other agricultural products - were there any? In later years, when it was common for kids to go strawberry picking, did photographers travel there to shoot? So many questions - and possible material for a future post!)

(Photo: Picking hops from the Gerald W. Williams Collection at Oregon State University.)

The name Savage and the 1905 location northeast of Salem suggests it's possible that Savage Road between Market and D Streets is related to the property on which the hop house was located.

Finally, since we don't have access to Haberly's text, here's some beer poetry, since by now you must be thirsty! We're mixing it up, though, and offer an anti-romance we found moving and full of the there there here.
Across a Great Wilderness without You
by Keetje Kuipers

The deer come out in the evening.
God bless them for not judging me,
I'm drunk. I stand on the porch in my bathrobe
and make strange noises at them—
if language can be a kind of crying.
The tin cans scattered in the meadow glow,
each bullet hole suffused with moon,
like the platinum thread beyond them
where the river runs the length of the valley.
That's where the fish are.
I'll scoop them from the pockets of graveled
stone beneath the bank, their bodies
desperately alive when I hold them in my hands,
the way prayers become more hopeless
when uttered aloud.
                            The phone's disconnected.
Just as well, I've got nothing to tell you:
I won't go inside where the bats dip and swarm
over my bed. It's the sound of them
shouldering against each other that terrifies me,
as if it might hurt to brush across another being's
living flesh.
                But I carry a gun now. I've cut down
a tree. You wouldn't recognize me in town—
my hands lost in my pockets, two disabused tools
I've retired from their life of touching you.

1It contains a fascinating link to Silverton, Homer Davenport, and the Geer family: "When Loyd was still young, the Haberly family moved to Oregon to live on Loyd's grandfather's farm. There, Haberly learned to hoe the fields while reciting his favorite poems and learned to draw on the attic walls already decorated by the famous cartoonist, Homer Davenport, who had lived in the same house when he was a boy."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Historic Wigrich Ranch and Newfangled Wigrich Terroir: Beer as like Wine

Our screeds against brettanomyces are going nowhere, so it's time for another episode of "Tilting at Windmills"!

This week? The crazy appropriation by Rogue of the Wigrich name to brand a "terroir." Rather than keeping beer labels simple, now they are complicating them on the model of wine labels! This "socialist" realism is "awe-shucks" pretentiousness! Faux, faux, faux!

We suppose they are using the word appellation instead of farm. But really, while you can grow something in an appellation, can you grow something at one? We think this is beyond the customary usage of the word and as a new-fangled neologism fails the "is this useful?" test.

But whatever. Rogue is all about going rogue.

And we are very happy that they are directly growing hops in Independence and featuring those hops in their beers.

More interesting than frothing about the use of "terroir" and "appellation" and brand is the real history. We'll probably have at least one much more expansive post on Wigrich Ranch later. For the moment here's your amuse-bouche.

Here's a sweet post about finding Wigrich Ranch and Hopville on the bottom land between Buena Vista and Independence. The serendipity and happenstance is charming.

The State Library has a bunch of photos of hop picking at the Wigrich Ranch. Here's one of them from 1930.

Anyway, this weekend and especially next weekend is a big wine-tasting occasion. Despite our froth, we like wine too, and it's a terrific time for beer drinkers to mix it up. So go wine-tasting! Salem Weekly went out and rated a bunch of tasting rooms. Evaluating the rooms in terms of "Customer Service" and "Beginner-Friendliness" was a fine idea!

And then, when you're done, have a beer. Nothing tastes better after a day of wine-tasting than a frosty cold one!

(Thanks to RC for sharing the paper copy of the Rogue Nation newsletter!)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Beer is a Liquid Food, Allays Irritability, and Eases Pain

On this election night we need a restorative. From February, 1905.
Beer is a Liquid Food

Salem is Salem

The United States Government Considers Beer a Nutritious Liquid Food

Owing to HOPS being one of the chief ingredients of beer, physicians prescribe beer as a sodasive, tending to sooth, to allay irritability and ease pain. The best of NERVE TONICS.

The MALT EXTRACT in beer furnishes the nutritious elements. It builds up the human system, furnishing new tissues in place of those wasted.

The small amount of ALCOHOL in beer is just enough to furnish a proper stimulus, so necessary to restore the worn out energy. In the true sense of the word beer should not be termed "An Intoxicant." The proportion of alcohol in beer is hardly 3 - 1/2 percent.

It's* USEFULNESS as a TEMPERANCE drink is being recognized the world over. Beer drinkers rarely, if ever, care to imbibe the more ardent liquors. The drinking of beer weens men from the stronger liquor habit, and consequently conduces to temperance and sobriety. Germany the greatest beer drinking nation, uses comparitively little strong liquor.

SALEM BEER is absolutely pure, cleanliness being the WATCHWORD. The highest grades of malt and hops are used in brewing. As a refreshing and invigorating beverage it cannot be excelled. It is the equal of any eastern beer, now on the market.

Every bottle of Salem beer is Pasteurized after it has been sealed. Salem beer fills all the requirements of high class temperance beverage.


Salem Brewery Assocation
Salem, Oregon
Phone Main 2131
*Ha! they didn't know its/it's back then, either

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Madam and Forty-Niner, Maggie Gardner led Double Life in Salem and out East

Even more than a journalist, Ben Maxwell was a raconteur. He had eyes and ears for a story - but he didn't always have the patience for the fine detail of research. Some of his best stories are from the early days of Statehood. He collected some of them in his article, “Salem in 1869: A Year of Transition” published in Marion County History, volume III, June 1957.

He used 1869 to divide eras in Salem - as a rough frontier settlement and as a settled town with more civilized amenities and culture. In just a few years (see Virginia Green's notes on 1869, 1870, and 1871) a fire department, water service, and the rail arrived. Like all divisions it's ultimately arbitrary, but his point remains about the development in those years of key city services.

About our town in 1869 he said
Salem in that interlude was small, somewhat lacking in gentility, unsanitary by modern standards, self satisfied and dull. There were those here distinguished for their holier-than-thou piety. Another element whooped it up in the town’s numerous saloons, were occasionally seen around Maggie Gardner’s place and engaged in fisticuffs, rowdy conduct and undignified displays…


Salem in 1870 had thirteen saloons, three drug stores that sold liquor and two breweries; one of which advertised to deliver anywhere for forty cents a gallon.


“Madam” Maggie Gardner conducted a well-ordered bagnio with four or five inmates on the east side of Liberty Street between Court and State. She came to Salem in 1867 and had the thanks of Salem’s poor for her charities and assistance in time of need. She died penniless in her room above a State Street resort on September 15, 1892. Those curious about further details of Maggie Gardner’s life may read her obituary in a Salem newspaper.

The way Maxwell handles Gardner's obituary is Ben Maxwell in a nutshell. He finds all kinds of great material, and the general outlines are fascinating and accurate. But the details aren’t always there. Here it sounds like you could pick up any paper and find the obituary - Gardner was famous (or infamous) it seemed.

But Maxwell, it turns out, was reading only one paper, and making an over-confident and off-the-cuff generalization for his readers. There is no obituary for Maggie Gardner in any of the daily papers on the 16th or 17th.

But there is an obituary in one of the weekly papers published on the 16th.

The Weekly Oregon Statesman and Pacific Agriculturalist, one of the many incarnations of the Statesman, was published every Friday for several years in the 1890s. On Friday, September 16, 1892 Maggie Gardner's obituary appeared. It refers to her death on the "previous" day. Clearly Maxwell inferred that Gardner had died on Thursday, the 15th.

But this isn't quite right. The daily had also published an obituary on Saturday, the 10th,1 and it is this obituary that is reprinted in the Weekly of the 16th. Maxwell was reading the weekly when he made the notes that contributed to the MCH article! It is characteristic of Maxwell that he doesn't cross-check with other sources or other papers - one citation is always sufficient, and in other instances the one citation isn't always remembered correctly.

So, for the record: Maggie Gardner died on Friday, September 9th, 1892.

The obituary is fascinating for far more than a note about Maxwell's research propensities. It touches on the boom-and-bust nature of our economy, which we still suffer today, on 19th century migration patterns, on the ways privacy could be maintained in a pre-Facebook era, and on the ambiguous role of the brothel madam as both care-taker and exploiter. It's a classic American story of self-refashioning, multiple times.


Death of Mag Gardner, the First White Woman Ever Seen in California

Yesterday afternoon at about 2 o’clock, at her rooms in the Adolph block on State street, Mrs. Margaret Dalrymple, better known as Maggie Gardner, passed to her reward. She was a sufferer from consumption and had been bedfast for a month or longer. Of the life of this woman since her arrival in Salem in 1867 perhaps the least said the better – let the mantle of charity cover her o’er, for in life she was full of charity, and many are those in this city who can thank her for food when they were hungry, or clothing or assistance when they were in need. But of her earlier history there is much to be said, since she was the pioneer woman of California. She was born at Salem, N.J., and died from consumption, her age being nearly 67 years.

She left her native city in 1849, to go to California. She sailed on the ship de Mondeville from New York on Feb. e, 1849, arriving at San Francisco harbor on Sept. 18th of the same year. Her presence became known among the miners and 3000 of them assembled at the landing place to get a glimpse of her. She was then unmarried; her maiden name being Sinnickson. At that time there was not a house standing where the city of San Francisco is now located. In fact, a considerable portion of it was then under water, the ship anchoring where the Palace hotel now stands. Miss Sinnockson erected a hotel, containing seventeen rooms, which she called the New York house. It was built on leased ground, for which she paid a monthly rental of $800. Her charge for table board was $10 per day, and lodgers finding their own blankets and sleeping on the floor paid $2.50 per night for the privilege.

A few months after her arrival at the Golden Gate she married Pierre le Mortelle [Morteile?], the captain of the vessel on which she sailed from New York, and was the first American woman ever married in California, the marriage fee charged by the dominie [?] being six ounces of gold dust. The event attracted general attention: the marriage notice, after being printed in the Alta-Californian, then a small sheet, was reprinted in satin in golden bronz and distributed as a memento. Eleven gentlemen celebrated the event by giving the couple a supper which cost $500. She was married a second time some years afterward to George Dalrymple. They became separated in some manner and after a few years he heard of her as being at the Sandwich islands. He went there in search for her, but died at sea while en route to his him in San Francisco. Dalrymple left a large estate and it was through litigation over this that she came into prominence. Mrs. Dalrymple was once worth not less than $100,000, but on the very day of her death $50 arrived from Boston from her friends to assist her through her illness. This money came to the Salem board of charities for disbursement. A few years ago she went East on a visit. Her relatives there are all well-to-do, and so far as known were ignorant of the life led by this somewhat famous woman in her far western home. She has a brother on the editorial staff of the Banner of Light, a spiritualist paper of Boston, and a brother-in-law is one of the proprietors of the well-k[n]own Dr. Jayne’s Proprietary Medicine Co. in Philadelphia. She was a woman of fine education and came to Salem from San Francisco.

The obituary almost reads like fiction, but several of the details appear to be verifiable.

According to this compilation of early San Francisco marriage and death notices, on November 3rd, 1849, Margaret Sinnickson wed Pierre Le Mortellee, the Rev. A. Williams officiating. The notice appeared in the Alta California on the 29th of November. But there were several marriages recorded in 1848 and 1849, and it is difficult to believe she was in fact "the first American woman ever married in California," and to think her "the First White Woman Ever Seen in California" is just pure embellishment.

The San Francisco City Directory of 1850 lists a P.M. Mortellee having a New York House, and this part of the account also appears to check out.

Her east coast relations also check out. And it appears she successfully led a double life! This collection of clippings from the Hunterdon County (NJ) Democrat of December 23rd, 1879, cites a visit:
Mrs. Margaret Dalrymple, a sister of Thomas S. and Ruth V. Sinnickson, of Trenton, arrived in this city a few days ago from Salem, Oregon, of which place she is now a resident. Mrs. Dalrymple is a native of Salem, and sailed from New York, February (January) 31, 1849 and arrived in San Francisco the 18th of September following…. A few months after her arrival she married the captain of the ship on which she had sailed from New York, Pierre Le Mortelle… Her second husband was a Mr. Dalrymple…. [ellipses in citation]
It would be interesting to find out what the compiler had omitted behind the ellipses!

The History and Genealogy of Fenwick's Colony, New Jersey says "The Sinnickson family is one of the oldest in South Jersey" arriving in the mid-17th century and having a couple of US congressman around 1800. Her grandfather was Andrew Sinnickson the 5th. Her father, Thomas, married Clarrisa M. Stretch in 1821 and they had
three sons and six daughters—Hannah Ann, Margaret, Robert, Ruth, Thomas, Maria, and Jane, who died young; Andrew likewise died in infancy...Margaret Sinnickson married in San Francisco. Robert is unmarried and is a printer by occupation. Thomas married Caroline, daughter of Benjamin Lloyd. They have one son—Lloyd Sinnickson...[italics added]
This account has no mention of Ruth.

Details on the second marriage and estate controversy were difficult to find.

Here, a George Lafayette Dalrymple is alive in August of 1866. But the Dalrymple name is harder to follow. We could find nothing about his death or the settlement of the estate.

The name Dalrymple is also interesting locally because one of the great house wrecks occured when the Dalrymple house was moved. James and Margaret Dalrymple had built the house in 1862. So when Margaret Dalrymple 2 came to town in 1867, the existence of Margaret Dalrymple 1 would be another reason our second Margaret might go by "Maggie Gardner"!

We hope to find more information and articles about Maggie Gardner's Salem activities in the 1860s and 70s. Her protean doubleness, in Salem as brothel madam and in charitable service, between infamous roles in Salem and out east as part of a prominent family, and between prosperity and ruin, together says something about American creativity and capitalism.

Update. Our look at the pioneer cemetery records was not very good, and we over-looked Garnder's burial record. It was under "Dalrymple." Curiously, the record cites the Capital Journal one-liner, but not the vastly more expansive Statesman obit.

1In this case, the issues of the daily are also microfilmed out of order; they go 3rd, 4th, 7th, 6th, 10th, 9th, 8th, 13th, 14th, 15th and so on, back in order now. This misordering doesn’t seem to have made Maxwell miss the daily's obit, but it certainly complicated our task!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Weekend Fun: UFOs in McMinnville and Chuck Bennett on Ed Forman Show

Get your history, music, and lunacy fix this weekend at the UFO Festival in McMinnville! The Hotel Oregon is a beautiful old hotel from 1905, and both the cellar and rooftop bars are lovely. Sallie Ford will be playing there on Friday night, and Willamette Week just named them the "best new band of 2010."

If you're going to stay in town, on Saturday Mayoral candidate Chuck Bennett is going to appear on the Ed Forman show at The Space! "Imagine Stephen Colbert as a libidinous sociopath," said Willamette Week last year about Ed Forman. Bennett clearly isn't uptight! Maybe he'll also get to learn more about the noise ordinance. This sounds like great electoral fun!

Wait, there's more! The Clockworks Cafe and Cultural Center is opening this weekend in the space where Blue Pepper used to be! It's all ages, so we're not sure there will be beer there - though the Pepper had a liquor license, the new establishment may not. The building is the 1887 First National Bank block, a totally fitting location for a steampunk-themed cafe! CT kinda likes these modern Victorians.

(Coaster image: Howder's Brewiana)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

David Duniway's 1959 Centennial Guide to Salem

In 1959 Oregon's centennial was a much bigger deal than our sesquicentennial was last year.

One of our correspondents, RC, has an amazing eye for junk store finds and discovered a terrific artifact from that year, this Salem State Centennial Guide. Its chief author was David Duniway, a name all lovers of local history should know. Thanks RC for sharing!

Duniway was the State Archivist from 1946 to 1972. He founded the Marion County Historical Society and was Director of Mission Mill. In his honor Mission Mill annually gives out the "David Duniway Historian" award. After he retired he continued to research and publish local history and worked to preserve historical buildings, most notably in the way he championed the significance of Deepwood and its preservation. Before that he took a great interest in Bush House. Duniway also self-published several books, including Dr. Luke A. Port, Builder of Deepwood; Glimpses of Historic South Salem; and South Salem Past.

(He was also the grandson of Abigail Scott Duniway, and Poetry & Popular Culture is running a fascinating series on poems in her newspaper during the 1870s.)

In so many ways and instances, if it's still around today, we can thank him.

Here's one of his pages from Glimpses of Historic South Salem. The house is architecturally not all that distinguished, but it's old for the neighborhood - and it's got a sad, sad story about the dissolution of a marriage.
Sunday, March 7, 1911, tragedy struck.
[son] Raymond was about to be sent to his father, and Mrs. Reeves could not face her future. She drank carbolic acid, and after hours of agony died.
Every time we go down Saginaw, we think about the suicide. (Not unlike that of Pauline Philips.)

The Salem Guide has little melodrama; it's much more sober and dry as befits a state occasion. But as we will see, in some places emerge hints of an elegiac tone. Already in 1959 Duniway had experienced the loss of notable buildings, many of them within the recently passed decade.

The Guide starts, naturally enough, with the Capitol. 14 of the Guide's 36 pages are, in fact, devoted to details, art, and architecture in the Capitol.

The Willamette campus gets another large chunk.

Finally, on page 24 we get the downtown historic district - though of course this precedes its official designation. It contains a great bit of trivia on the Saffron Supply Company building:
Here Herbert Hoover, then in his teens, served his uncle Dr. Henry J. Minthorn in the Oregon Land Company, a suburban development project which brought an important group of Quakers to the hills south of the city.
We knew about the Hoover House on Hazel and Highland (more on Hoover's Salem time here), but not about this connection to the Saffron Supply building!

In the discussion of the Belluschi-designed Marion County Courthouse, Duniway alerted us to a common misunderstanding, reproduced in several online articles about Salem history, which we have also inherited and unfortunately passed along. Wilbur F. Boothby was part of the construction firm, but not the designer, of the second Marion County Courthouse. The designer was most likely W.W. Piper. (For more on the history of the three county courthouses see this article.)

The discussion of Ladd & Bush Bank is interesting because, writing in 1959, Duniway would have no knowledge that the cast iron facade of the Ladd & Tilton Bank in Portland would come to Salem in 1967 and be preserved. (The Cafe Unknown piece on the cast iron architecture is really interesting - so go check it out!)

On the next two pages are bits on areas around the Reed Opera House and the intersection of Ferry and Commercial. The note about the Holman building site is sad.
Here the legislature met from 1857 to 1876 and here were housed the Supreme Court...the building later served as a lodge hall and was eventually condemned as a hotel. Its destruction in 1951 went almost unnoticed outside of Salem despite the fact that it was the scene of the early development of state government in Oregon.
In front of the Reed, though, the electric streetcar is pretty great!

The Guide also includes a note about the brewery! About the Marion/Chemeketa/Willamette Hotel Duniway says
The building has been modified a number of times over the years and recently there has been added to it, on the site of the city's old brewery, a modern motel.
The brewery was demolished in 1955. This photo is from after 1953, when the brewery was closed. Sicks' Brewing Company signage is missing, and the upper floor appears to show signs of incipient demolition. Next to the large brewery structure you can still see the old Capital Brewery building that you see on our blog header. Its windows are all bricked up.

(Sicks' Brewery from Salem Library Oregon Historic Photo Collection)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hoppy Mother's Day: Like Her, Old-Time Ales Tougher than you Think

According to, the founder of Mother's Day spent her life fighting Mother's Day:
Anna Jarvis founded Mother's Day to honor her beloved mother, then spent the rest of her life fighting the holiday's commerical and political exploitation. She died alone in an asylum....[in 1858 her mother had organized] Mother's Day Work Clubs in West Virginia to improve sanitary conditions and stem her community's appalling infant mortality rates."
Those Victorians were often made of sterner stuff than we envision today.

In a way our memory of beer is no different. Old beer was often really big beer.

Mid-century 19th British ale styles almost certainly confirm Minto's 20 year old "hop juice" would have been a strong ale. Over at the Weekly Brew Jared's already covered some of this with regard to IPAs*, and we've found that 19th century hopping was across the board much more powerful than we ever suspected.

Recently Beervana pointed out blogs by couple of serious beer historians, Martyn Cornell at Zythophile: Beer now and then and Ronald Pattinson at Shut up about Barclay Perkins. These are amazing efforts and put our paltry dilettantism to shame. Go check 'em out!

We were fascinated to read an entry on Barclay Perkins' mild in 1839. BP brewed three different kinds of mild, signified by X, XX, and XXX. We always though of mild as a low-alcohol, gently hopped session beer. Wrong! It means unaged beer, as opposed to "keeping beer," and could be of many different strengths. Keeping beer, which you can see in this ad from a century later, was signified with the letter K - this 1936 KKKK a very rich and strong ale.

The ales from 1839 were also strong, and came out at 7, 9, and 11% alcohol. They were malty and heavily hopped.
The weakest was more than double the strength of a typical modern Mild. The strongest was, well, not for the faint-hearted.
The biggest is like today's barleywine! About a modern recreation of that XXX, the brewer Kristen says:
Big. Very big. Lots of booze and spice. Layers and layers of biscuity malt blended with hop tannins and bitterness. A round sweetness in the middle that is full of fruity hop resins and malt. The bitterness, tannins and spice really dry out the end which lasts well after is is swallowed.
(The comments to the post are fascinating, and the geeks argue impressively abstruse details.)

We're not concerned with the details, but we are fascinated by an inescapable conclusion: Strong Ales meant for ageing were common! The Xs might be aged by the consumer and the Ks aged by the brewery, but both could be made to stick around.

And these weren't even the strongest. Pattinson has lists of historical recipes. About the most highly hopped beer on his list of over 1000 recipes, a 1850 Russian Imperial Stout, he says:
The beer with the most hops isn't a surprise. At least not to me. Barclay Perkins IBSt. That's Russian Stout to you and me. When I gave Menno the recipe for the 1850 version, his response was "I can't put that many hops in." He calculated the IBU's at something over 250. Just as well I hadn't used the 1855 version. That had even more hops. A full 10.12 pounds per 36 gallon barrel. The 1850 recipe only had 9.31 pounds.

The quantities of hops used are terrifying. Barclay Perkins used tons. Literally. In some brews, more than two tons. That's right, two tons of hops. I can't imagine what two tons of hops look like.

So when in 1909 the workers found bottles of Westacott's ale that were 20 years old, it's no stretch to suppose they were in fact strong ales and had been brewed to age. Moreover, they weren't proto-IPAs or export beers (and more here on Burton IPAs), but were ordinary milds, made strong but well within the prevailing range of 19th century British styles. It seems likely that they didn't represent a special bottling of strong ale but were one of the brewery's regular beers.

It appears to be the case that tin can beer, the prevailing style of 20th century industrial lager, isn't even really a blander version of what was normal in pre-prohibition brewing. It looks like even all-grain light-weight "session beer" was but a small segment of the total 19th century range of styles. Indeed, the norm was tough enough to age.

*We need to shout-out to Jared and summon him back to the bloggery. We don't brew and aren't interested in home-brewing, so we miss his more technical perspectives!

(Image: Columbia Sportswear, Gert Boyle "One Tough Mother" campaign)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Walking Tour Brochure Debuts, Stints Beer History and Vice

At First Wednesday, folks unveiled the Historic Downtown Walking Tour brochure.

Mostly it's pretty great.

But it's difficult to be balanced about it. So we'll try to offer a review of it that differentiates between the petty and significant, and never loses sight of the big picture.

So, the first thing we have to ask is, "Could the cover be more compelling?" We think it's a missed opportunity to grab attention.

It's interesting that the first-floor storefronts, the sidewalk zone, are all dark and obscured, and that the cars are more visible than the pedestrian amenities. For something premised on the wonders of walking, its cover image doesn't sell those wonders very strongly.

And why not pick a more iconic downtown building rather than a pair of lesser buildings? (We suppose that two of the more iconic ones are owned by the same person, and that a politics of even-handedness might have played a role in this.) We aren't a fan of the canvas and watercolor treatment, either. History is way more interesting and exciting than this gauzy view! Is this a pamphlet that will stand out among all the others in Travel Salem? It just doesn't have shelf appeal in our opinion.

The printing and paper also looks more like something from a home color printer. It doesn't look like it was turned out for a larger run at a print shop. Hopefully this means it can be improved in subsequent print runs.

In a nutshell: We would like to suggest more zip and liveliness in the next printing or iteration.

The interior is better. (But this is where we have trouble being objective!)

Where's the beer history!?

There's a few nods, to be sure. In a "Did you know?" section at the end, the tour mentions the "industrial area containing breweries and canneries" just south of Trade Street. The bit on the Adolph block (not Adolf!) mentions the Adolph Saloon. And the longer bit on the Livesley building mentions that he was a hop grower.

But the richness and depth of Salem's beer history is missing! Nothing on the Eckerlins, even though the Eckerlin is one of the buildings in the cover image. Nothing on the saloons in the JK Gill building. Most importantly, nothing on the Capital Brewery where the convention center is today. We think the brochure needs a little spice - some crime, some vice, something sensational! Tourists like a few whiffs of the forbidden!

And yet there's more. Architects are mentioned randomly. We've identified several significant buildings by Fred Legg, but none of the new identifications are included in the brochure. We are, perhaps unreasonably, personally disappointed. More generally, it might be interesting to include consistent notes about architects on all buildings where the designer is known.

So, enough with the nitpicking! The format doesn't permit broad inclusiveness; choices must be made.

What's great about it? The map in back, which is keyed to the walking tour. Just as Mayor Taylor says,
There is no better way to enjoy the historic assets of a community that walking up close to a historic building and experiencing the past. Salem abounds in these opportunities...
Yup, she's right on. The physicality of taking the brochure in hand and walking the downtown blocks. There's all kinds of great stuff that people miss! Stop and smell the roses - and Salem's got lots of downtown roses.

The brochure is a great start - but it can be even better!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

As Go the Chickens, so Goes the Music

Salem has high turn-out for ElderTunes, like the Symphony or Opera, but not so much for the ClubTones at modest levels at 10pm.

ClubTones, it turns out, also gets the City's panties in a bunch!

Just last week we learned about the woman who brought the Met's HD broadcasts to the Regal Santiam Stadium 11. Demographics matter in Salem. No Trader Joes.

K. Williams Brown has zeroed in on an index issue just as relevant as urban hens. Yesterday in the Statesman she wrote a story about night life, livability, and an outdated noise ordinance and followed it up today with a report on the hearing, which yielded a request for written arguments and a delay in a decision.

The arguments offer that deja vu all over again feeling.

Salem likes its chickens the way it likes its music! To turn armchair sociologist for a moment, we have a feeling that the chickens appeal to settled folks the way the music appeals to younger folks. Both are matters that seem trivial to outsiders, but which are indexes for a host of other livability issues. They are generational banners for change. And both threaten people the same way.

Brown writes:
David Glennie, who runs the company that built and owns the rental properties, said he didn't see it as an issue.

"I think the Statesman Journal's done a remarkable job in drumming up a controversy," he said. "Congratulations."

In the longer article yesterday, Councilor Laura Tesler zeroed in on the core issues:
"We wanted mixed-use and we were all really excited about it," Councilor Laura Tesler said in a phone interview. "You know, I guess I thought most people who would live downtown or on Broadway would be OK with noise ... But I guess people do have the right to be able to open their window on a hot night after 10 and not having sound pounding in their window."

"We never thought about it, never even discussed it. And I have to admit, that was a faux pas on our part."
The measured noise levels are, it turns out, far below "sound pounding on their window." But the code is at best awkwardly situated to regulate this since it uses over-simple categories appropriate to 1950s suburban development.

The Mayor doesn't want any change. According to Mayor Taylor,
"I've lived in Salem since 1956 and experienced a tremendous amount of live music over my many, many years, so I think we have entertainment zones where a business feels that they can be successful and follow the current noise ordinance," she said.

And, she said, she was concerned with whether anyone would want to live downtown if there was an entertainment zone.

"You've got about eight blocks where we're trying to encourage the mixed-use ... if you had loud music until 1, 2 in the morning, you would get nobody. You might get some people who want to be there with the loud music, but you're not going to get a good mix of residents."
The noise ordinance, however, sets a 10pm cut-off.

Between 10pm at 2am is a vast middle ground. We don't think the owners of The Space are asking for a 2am time. We bet they are asking for something more like midnight on a weekend.

If Salem wants mixed-use development, as it should, if Salem wants to retain some proportion of its talented young people, its residents have to tolerate and indeed encourage real diversity and vitality, not a neutered suburban blandness suitable for residents who pine for a return to Mad Men and Far from Heaven.

Two of Willamette Week's top 10 bands for 2010 were Salem bands: Typhoon and Wampire both moved to Portland. While it still may be necessary for bands to move to Portland, current policies and prevailing cultural norms practically enforce an exile for talented young adults. It would be nice for that to become a difficult choice rather than no-brainer.

(Image: Far from Heaven)

Monday, May 3, 2010

1910 "Tickling Brush" Puts City's Panties in a Bunch

Emily's note about the Statesman's "the best adult-related businesses" reminded us of a hilarious oddball story we found.

You just can't make up this stuff!


Innocent Plaything Is Converted Into Iniquitous Instrument of Torture and Breeder of Undue Familiarity Between Classes and Direct Medium for the Spreading of Contagious Diseases - City Authorities Take Action - Offenders to Be Arrested

Direct measures are to be taken by Mayor Rodgers and Chief of Police Gibson and staff officers to put a stop to, or at least to curtail the use of the vulgar instrument known as used as the "tickling brush" during the remaining days of the old Cherry Fair. This article, if used rightly and within the bounds of decency and respectability, is the promoter of much innocent and wholesome fun and sport but when it is wielded and brandished indiscriminately in the faces of all, it immediately becomes the innocent medium of disgust, promoter of fights and disorder, and spreader of contagious diseases among the masses. It becomes the promoter of too much vulgar familiarity toward respectable young girls and ladies on the part of the rough, rowdy and hoodlum element and is likely to cause serious trouble if its use is not prohibited entirely or regulated within the bounds of decency and respect. Inasmuch as the sale of these brushes is under control of the Arnold carnival concessions and was not prohibited by the cherry authorities in the making of the contract, it is doubtful if the sale of them can be stopped unless they be declared a public nuisance, as in the case of confetti, and this Mayor Rodgers intends to do if their use continues to be abused, and Chief of Police Gibson and his officers will arrest every offender caught in the act of abusing the privilege and those against whom complaints are made and a heavy fine will be imposed upon conviction.
The google hasn't turned up vintage candidates for said brush, unfortunately. Do any fair readers know? We can't decide if this is coded rhetoric for what we'd now call a vintage sex toy with multiple uses (some of which might plausibly have occurred in public), a real child's toy, or something else entirely.

The Cherry Fair started in 1903, according the the City's online history, and "Salem became known as the 'Cherry City' as a result of the outstanding exhibits at the Cherry Fair held July, 1907."

1910 was the year the City finally secured a conviction for Madam McGinnis and her brothel. There's a clear transition towards respectability and temperance as Salem goes from something of a wild west provincial town to having airs of being a more proper capital city.

The fuss and fears over urban chickens shows some of the same anxiety about respectability. What other things and issues will read so ludicrously in 100 years? Salem in 2010 maybe's not so different from Salem in 1910?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chasing the Whale: Catastrophe at the Bookstore & Praise for a new Opera

A Portland institution, and index of gentrification formerly on SW Stark where American Apparel is today, the Great Northwest Bookstore has burned. It is difficult to imagine that phoenix-like it will rise from the flames. All lovers of books should pause and mourn.

Chasing after another whale, the Dallas Opera and composer Jake Heggie have dared to turn one of the great American stories into an opera. The New York Times reviews it and says that it "opened in a blaze of glory." More on the commission and quest here.

A toast to heroic quests, whether they end in tragic failure or grand success.

(And a toast of a different sort: To open stacks, public libraries, and veneration for books. Libraries are places! And books are things! Ideas and bodies come together. May LoveSalem be wrong, wrong, wrong!)

(Image from the University of California reprint of the Arion Press Moby Dick.)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dueling Editorials on Hops and Prohibition

It's election season! One of its funniest features is what Jack Bogdanski calls "election porn." Election literature is just as exaggerated and stylized as pornography. The genre is a simulacra of the real: it's all about posture and gesture. Real passion is as rare in the one as the other.

Somebody should publish Salem's best examples!

As an example of the arbitrariness and posturing of political claims, we have here a couple of pieces on hops and prohibition.

Prohibition threatened, of course, to remove the market for hops (see the 1909 cartoon here). Prohibition forces worked not only to remove the demand for alcoholic beverages but also to cut down on the supply of the raw materials. As nearly a sine qua non for beer, hops could be strategic.

We have, it turns out, a fascinating example of the turn to hops. This might be the strangest newspaper piece CT has encountered in our research. We're still not quite sure what to make of it.

One day in May 1910, the paper ran a pro-prohibition piece. It ran among news pieces. Then, the very next day, the paper re-ran the prohibition piece and added, side-by-side, the anti-prohibition piece, whose rhetoric appears to have been taken directly from the pro-prohibition piece. These also ran among news pieces - a baseball score and a note about the spring and start of hops. The way the pair was presented make the whole look on the surface like a clumsy parody. Our preliminary take is that it was meant to mock prohibition forces and their arguments.

If you have a better reading, we're all ears!






Wanted, some live, able and level-headed farmer, who can persuade the Oregon prohibitionist that he will profit himself and the world at large by adhering to the principle of common sense instead of accepting as "facts" the intemperate, exaggerated and baseless conclusions promulgated by the "Oregon Dry in 1910" management.Wanted, some live, able economist, who can persuade the Oregon farmer that he has greater profits in some other form of cultivation than hops. Apply to the management of the "Oregon Dry in 1910" movement.
Leading workers in the common sense campaign say such arguments are possible. They have an outline of what can be said on the subject, but they wanted it presented in a cold, precise, business form to which the prohibitionist cannot answer. They want some husky farmer with plenty of mental gray matter to take it up, who will go among the prohibitionists, talk to them, argue and plead. And they want the work done soon. Before the November election has come around, they want the prohibitionists convinced, so that they will be among the leaders in the throng of sensible people who are asked to do everything in their power to keep Oregon among the sane and progressive states. Leading workers in the prohibition campaign say such arguments are possible. They have an outline of what can be said on the subject, but they wanted it presented in a cold, precise, business form, to which the farmer cannot answer. They want some man to take it up who will go among the farmers, talk to them, argue and plead. And they want the word done soon. Before the November election has come around, they want the farmers convinced, so that they will be among the leaders in the throng of people who are to be asked to do everything in their power to make Oregon wholly and absolutely "dry."
Some of the common sense movement leaders have been figuring on this topic. They say that the energy, money and time now wasted by the impracticable application of the mental qualities possesed by prohibitionists and some conscientious but misguided people, could be devoted to a "common sense" movement of regulating and controlling the liquor traffic in the real interest of a permanent temperance movement. Temperance, meaning moderation and sobriety, is practical and of vast profit to all concerned, while prohibition is a delusion, and consequently impracticable. But further than all this, they argue, temperance requires self-control on the part of every individual and strength of character, both of which have a wholesome, permanent influence upon the human race, and aid to upbuild the body along lines laid down by human as well as divine laws. Against this they place prohibition, a delusive theory, which if attempted to enforce, causes demoralization, breeds hypocrisy and disrespect for law and is in every sense a sumptuary measure that is tyrannical, unscriptural and unchristian.Some of the prohibition leaders have been figuring on this topic. They say that the rich land now devoted to hops can be made to yield a multitude of very profitable crops. These crops, they insist, are more regular than hops can [be] and the prices at which they can be sold annually do not fluctuate like the price of hops. But further than all this, they argue the crops which they mention have a wholesome, permanent influence on the human race, aid to upbuild the body, or furnish clothes or other necessities for the human tribe. Against this fixed, permanent product, they place hops, which, they say, enter almost exclusively into malt liquor products.
If the probibitionist advocated real temperance his teaching would upbuild the bodies into which it is assimilated, say the real "common sense" reformers. Common sense laws, based upon practical experience and in harmony with the rights of a liberty-loving people will bring about a permanent benefit through enforcement. A law that is respected gives permanent comfort. The enforcement of a sumptuary law causes strife, resistance and sore heads and hearts."If the farmer grows potatoes, his crop upbuilds the bodies into which it is assimilated," say the reformers. "If fruit is the yield, cereals or general agricultural products, there is a permanent benefit from their consumption. If a clothing product is taken the raiment gives permanent comfort. But if hops are harvested, the consumer only gets a red nose."
This is the economical aspect which the commonsense reformers view. But they want another branch of economy taught to the conscientious but misguided prohibitionist, and that is, that it would be far better for him to give his support and money to the local parish minister or priest to encourage him in his daily work in preaching the doctrine of the lowly Savior in the literal and practical manner as the Savior and his apostles taught it many years ago [...] at large and the prosperity of the nation as a whole.This is the economical aspect which the prohibitionists view. But they want another branch of economy taught to the farmer, and that is how he can get just as heavy money returns from his land by doing away with the hop crop for all time.
If any practical, stout-hearted professor in the Agricultural College has this problem worked out, he can earn a crown from the "common sense" forces by expounding it just now, so that it may be taken up and taught throughout the length and breadth of this state of Oregon and whenever prohibitionists may be found.If any professor in the Agricultural College has this problem worked out, he can earn a crown from the "dry" forces by expounding it just now so that it may be taken up and taught throughout the great hop region of the Willamette Valley.

(Sorry, I can't figure out why there's a giant space above the transcription!)

Spring Drinking Music! Sam Amidon might leave you Breathless

Here's a musical May Day bouquet.

There's nothing especially Salem or Willamette Valley about Sam Amidon, but we like his blend of old-timey folksong and indie chamber-pop. Maybe it should be the blog soundtrack. It's perfect drinking music - a pretty flower you know won't last forever. (Plus, there's more than a whiff of brimstone.) Open a beer, ok?

<a href="">How Come That Blood by Sam Amidon</a>