Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bibulous Business: The Salem Brewery Then and Now

It's almost July - and that means it's Oregon Craft Beer Month!

The Ram seems to be the only one locally doing much of anything, so head on over and check out the special beers and firkins they'll be tapping. On Thursday, the 1st, they'll start with the "XV Anniversary Ale" Release party. On the 2nd, Vanilla Bean Porter; the 9th, Big Red IPA; the 16th, Buttface Amber - and that'll get you started! Hopefully some others will join in the fun!

It's warm finaly, and 104 years ago it might as well have been Oregon Craft Beer Month. How much, really, has changed?

[3 JULY 1906]
The three days' hot wave has swamped the Salem brewery with bibulous business. Carload orders are rushed out day and night, and the big Gambrinus plant is running to its fullest capacity. The dry counties are producing their expected quota of express and mail order business. Stages are loaded going in all directions. Forbidding the use of booze increases the demand for milder drinks, and beer is the most popular drink in hot times like these. The demand will compel the Salem brewery to increase its capacity.

In 1911 the brewery did a major expansion. For the year-end wrap ups of 1911, the papers had this great rendering of the new facility.

The labels are a little hard to read. In the outer circle, clockwise from top: Armory, Machine Works, Wagon Sheds, Stables, Bottle House, Wash House, Brew House, Cellars, Storage, Hotel Marion (the cellars and storage are in the building pictured at the top of our blog header!)

In a sort of inner Circle, clockwise: Ice plant, Boiler House

Along the edges: Trade Street, Oregon Electric RR, Southern Pacific RR (SPRR), Commercial Street

Look at all the rail service! And even in 1911, horses rather than trucks were the most important transportation for local delivery.

Here's the brewery between 1953, when it closed, and 1956 when it was demolished.

And here's the view today!

That's the Conference Center, hotel, and parking lot. Today the closest beer is Magoo's and Bentley's.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Early 1900s Republicans Suspected of Colluding with Bawds

The news in the very early 1900s is full of tantalizing suggestions of corruption and outrageous party politics. Reading between the lines is not easy, and it's quite possible that, without further evidence, we are misreading these articles.

Nevertheless, it appears, and not at all very surprisingly, that Salem's small-town party politics were infected by a criminal element. The Portland Vice Commission report of 1913 found an astonishing overlap between city leaders and those who profited directly or indirectly from vice. (In Merchants, Money, and Power: The Portland Establishment 1843-1913, E. Kimbark Maccoll notes that Weinhard's among those profiting from vice!) So it would be surprising if Salem were exempt from the fashion!

As we do more reading, we'll try to learn more about the ways party politics and individual rivalries echoed debates about morality and crime. (The relations between progressives, Republicans, and Democrats are shifting and sometimes tricky in this decade.) In the meantime, here's some tasty bits!

(April 1903)

The communication read before the city council Tuesday evening by City Recorder Judah, and referred without action, relating to the spread of vice in this city, was worthy of more attention.

It is to be regretted that it was not signed by some of the women of the city, as the letter seems to have been wrung from the experiences of some suffering mother, who has felt the contaminating influences.

That vice is spreading its foul network over more of our fair city's territory than every before cannot be disputed. It has extended to at least one piece of property in North Salem.

Who is to blame? The property owner in selling property or leasing property for such purposes, because it is outside the city limits. It is beyond regulation or control of the city authorities.

When the new city boundaries go into effect the city will have authority, and all houses of ill fame can be concentrated in one quarter of the city, where they shall be publicly known for their true character.

This is not said in condemnation of anyone, and even with the sincerest pity for those living in moral darkness, but to sound the public warning that the spreading evil may be dealt with.

(February 1905)

Chief of Police Cornelius deserves popular approval for his efforts to make this a cleaner city, and drive out the disreputable characters who prey off the unfortunate women of the town.

A bill has passed this legislature to make their calling a felony, and Police Judge Moores should be commended for enforcing the laws as they stand.

The people should fully understand, and will be given more fully to understand, that the fight on the Republican ticket came from that source.

Of course, many good people were supporting Mr. Skipton for marshall, but the fact remains that the tough element was against Cornelius.

After all the abuse that has been heaped upon the Republican city government under Mayor Waters, it will be found to stand for morality and a business administration.

Marshal Cornelius will make a chief of police over the world's fair year [referring presumably to the Lewis & Clark Exhibition in Portland later in 1905] who will life and property and keep down criminality.

As we saw in the news piece about the Albany farmer in 1900, the Eldridge block appears to have been an active site for assignations! This is also from February 1905.

Various Characters Arraigned and Asked to Leave

Myrtle P. Wallace, the Indian woman, whose name so often appears upon the police court docket, was arrested again last night, as was her "friend," John Gilpin, in the Eldridge rooming house, on Commercial street, where the pair had made their headquarters.

The Wallce woman was arrested on January 31st, and sentenced to 20 days in the city jail, but, upon promising to leave town and return no more, she was released. Last night it was learned by the police that she was in the city again, and was once more visiting her friends in Chinatown. A visit was made to this neighborhood by the officers, where it was learned that Gilpin had come after her, and taken her away, but the Celestials claimed they did not know where. After a short search the couple were found in the Eldridge, and they were promptly arrested. The woman still has 19 days on her January sentence to serve, and the man will be detained until a preliminary examination of both of them is held on the charge of lewd cohabitation, which will mean that they will be bound over to await the action of the circuit court, and, upon conviction, about six months in the county jail.

John Lickusky, an ex-convict, who served 15 years for the state, was arrested this morning about 3 o'clock and fined $10 this morning by Judge Moores.

Madam Dollarhide, another of Salem's notorious characters, narrowly escaped being gathered in by the mighty arm of the law last night also, for she had been located by the police, but when a trip was made after her, it was learned that her trunk was packed, and she had started for pastures new.

By March 1905 Salem enacted its first blue law and temperance legislation.

Clearly the brewery knew how to work around it!

This editorial from March 1905 shows that Salem was in the mainstream of opinion that sought to confine vice to a red-light district rather than to eliminate it completely. (Just this year in her book For Business and Pleasure: Red-Light Districts and the Regulation of Vice in the United States, 1890-1933, Mara Keire has traced this trend in New Orleans; New York City; San Francisco; Hartford, Connecticut; Macon, Georgia; and El Paso, Texas.)

Salem Dry on Sunday and no Gambling Games are Permitted

Ever since the Salem city council passed, by an almost unanimous vote (Alderman Goodale alone dissenting) the stringent Sunday closing ordinance, even prohibiting drug stores and restaurants from selling liquor at any time, Mayor Waters and City Marshal Cornelius have seen to it that the laws are enforced. Salem continues a Sunday closed town, and the laws against gambling are strictly enforced. All efforts to shake them in their determination have failed, and they say if Salem is ever again to be a wide-open town the city council must repeal its laws deliberately enacted, and enacted without party or factional lines being drawn. The attempt of those who fought the Republican city ticket at the last election to make political capital out of these officers doing their duty, as ordered by the city council, has proven a failure, as Waters and Cornelius say the laws are made to be enforced, and the politicians who wanted the saloons and gambling protected should have thought of that before enacted such a stringent ordinance. The rest of the people are not complaining. City Marshal Cornelius is showing that he [is] made of the right stuff in making war on the assignation houses and male solicitors for houses of prostitution. He says let the red light district be confined strictly to its own precincts, and the rest of the community will not make complaint, but the inmates must not walk the streets, frequently saloons or lodging houses.

As we saw with Oswald West, in the early 19-teens, downtown prostitution was still a problem. This is from December 1911.


Yesterday evening the police raided a house and took in charge three women, Mary Koning, Edith Jerman and Maud Vaughn. The first named was charged with selling liquor without a license and will stand trial. The others were charged with vagrancy and fined $20 each.

It is probable that all the women will be held later in the justice court on charges of conducting and being occupants of a bawdy house.

(Oh yeah, and in case you were wondering about current political silliness, the OLCC cancelled the State Fair homebrew and amateur wine-making judging.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Beerku Contest!

Portland Food & Drink has an annual Beer Haiku contest! We loved Karen's winner from last year:
Willamette hops taste
like summer: green flowers bright
and sharp as sunlight
Is that not the quintessence of beer and hops?

Food Dude has a fantastic prize: 2 tix to the Deschutes Brewery Sagebrush Classic! That's a $390 value!

As of tonight, most of the entries need to have the taplines cleaned; inspiration seems flat and a little old. So it's wide open for a winning entry! Flush out the weak beerku!

Head on over to Portland Food & Drink and drop your entry in the comments. Contest closes July 8th.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Reproduction of Error: Online "Stemma" and Fact-Checking

In the good ol' days (if we may adopt the cranky voice of the codger, as the following may be news to some of the youngins) books, whether scrolls or codices1, used to be copied by hand, and it was possible for scholars to create family trees of manuscripts based on the errors in a parent manuscript and the history of subsequent copies, or "children," made from that parent manuscript. This has been important especially for Greek, Roman, and Biblical authors and our desire for authoritative texts. Such a tree is called a "stemma" - just like the stems of a tree branch out from the main trunk.

The very same thing is visible online. Indeed the speed and ease with which online errors2 get reproduced is astonishing, and this accounts for much academic crankiness with wikipedia and other open-source intellectual endeavors. (At the same time, errors are much easier to correct in collaborative environments, as we will see.)

Anyone who reads this blog is almost certain to also read Virginia Green's SHINE blog. It's a heroic endeavor to create 150 year-by-year snapshots of Salem to celebrate the sesquicentennial of its charter.

Back on February 17th Green posted this note about Sam Adolph in 1878.

She wrote:
The Adolph house on State Street is completed with Sam and Lottie Adolph as the first owners. Mr. Adolph was secretary-treasurer of Rostein and Adolph, Inc., a property and casualty insurance company formed in 1931 by Mr. Adolph and his brother-in-law, Mr. Rostein. Lottie Adolph resided here on the 5-acre estate as a widow and was followed by her son-in-law, Isadore Greenbaum.

Four months later, in the June 13th Sunday Statesman, she wrote the same:

Since "5-acre" was changed to "five-acre," the column passed through some amount of editing.

What did not get edited, either by Green or by a Statesman fact-checker, is that two Sam Adolphs are confused here, father and son. The error is easy to make, but it is worrisome that the errors aren't getting caught before or at the Statesman.

Sam Adolph senior built the Adolph house on State street in 1878. Note the similarity with the Bush House. Adolph also built the Adolph block in 1880 and had earlier been involved in several breweries, appearing often here in our posts.

Sam Adolph's son, also named Sam, built a different house on Commercial street in 1927. This Sam married Lottie and partnered with Edward Rostein in an insurance company.

On internal grounds alone, an editor ought to see that a person building a house in 1878 might not also be forming an insurance company in 1931. An adult in 1878 is more likely retiring in 1931 than starting new companies! At the very least the dates raise a flag.

Why does this matter? Because online information gets reproduced very quickly - and we're sure sixth graders are already using these resources for their history reports! Soon, the conflation of the two Sam Adolphs will create a stemma of articles based the error introduced on SHINE. (We spend time, for example, unwinding some of the errors that Ben Maxwell has introduced and others have reproduced.)

We've also said before - complained, if you must - that the local history community is missing and silent. It's one thing for them not to be paying attention to some wacky beer & vice blog (though we hold ourselves to the highest standards and believe we are in a few cases uncovering hitherto unknown or forgotten stories in Salem history), but for them to be ignoring Green's enterprise, since we believe she is an established figure in local history circles, is ridiculous. There should be a lively back-n-forth of correction, commentary, and addition to the SHINE blog! (We also think that Green might be more collegial about linking to other sources, but that's another matter.)

So why are folks silent? Why isn't there a creative, collaborative ruckus? The silence means that the Statesman is reproducing errors! Aren't there people out there who care about this sort of thing??? Is anybody home?

1Now, before you say of that top image "looks like Greek to me", bear in mind that it is Greek! It is, in fact, the end of the Gospel of Mark from the Codex Sinaiticus, perhaps the oldest complete text of the Bible, a 4th century manuscript. Sinaiticus ends with Mark 16:8. Many Bibles, however, continue with Mark 16:9-20. Not all manuscripts differ with alternate endings, however! Other differences in manuscripts might be a single word, a repeated line, even a single letter. Though we want to think of texts as very stable, especially sacred texts like the Bible, they are in fact liable to significant variation. On the internet copy-n-paste can make text stable, but if an error is in the copy-n-paste, the error spreads easily.

2Internet memes, too!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Song & Dance on Broadway: Not Beer, but Worth a Toast

Grant Neighborhood Association leader Sam Skillern turned a sweet phrase when he said "To know that kids and adults will be dancing and singing on Broadway gives us a smile."

That was in today's paper in Barbara Curtain's piece about the sale of Temple Beth Sholom on NE Broadway and its conversion into a dance and performing arts studio.

Though Curtain didn't go into detail, the space the studio is vacating is the old Salvation Army building at 241 State Street. Curiously, though it is part of the downtown historic district, there don't appear to be any old photos of it in the library's historic photo collection. In any event, it was built around 1930 and the ghost outlines of "Salvation Army" can still be read above the door. The downtown historic district nomination form is particularly rich with language redolent of heraldry's obscurities:
This is an unusual three-bay, two-story brick building with some Gothic Revival architectural details, including stark geometric pinnacles mounted atop the parapet and stepped arches above the central entryway.

The second-story fenestration is embellished with blind lancet arches filled with patterned brickwork immediately above each of the windows....

In 1919 the Salvation Army purchsed a two-story wood frame building at the site of 241 State street from G.H. and Addie Dunsford and the Joseph Bernardi family.
A 1928 Statesman article mentioned their plans to replace the wood building with brick. The historic nomination research did not determine when it was built, but concluded it was around 1930. This is very interesting since the stock market and economy generally was up in 1928, but down considerably in 1930. So to erect a building right after the Crash would be a doubly great accomplishment!

(Image: Robert D. West's Salem, Oregon Places)

Of course the Salvation Army in Salem is now ensconced in the Kroc Center.

The former Temple Beth Sholom was built in 1948 and vacated in 2006. The building has been for sale and Curtain's article points out the creative collaboration - including government and creative maneuvering around "red tape"! - that enabled the building to be reused in a way that satisfied the City and the planning code, the neighborhood associations, and the dance studio.

Hopefully something equally creative will replace it on State Street in between Pioneer Trust (see Fred Legg) and Cascade Bakery (1870 Smith & Wade Building). There's a neat cluster of old buildings there, and it, being a gateway to the Carousel, deserves more life. Normandy Guitars (Boise Building and also Fred Legg) was a great step, but sometimes that block is seems sleepy!

Congratulations to the new studio and a toast to the creative reuse of old buildings!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Home Industry Now and Then: Pale Horse and Mission Mill Concert Series

Is "home industry" or "buy local" ever not a thing?

The economists talk about specialization and comparative advantage, the idea that if you make something well and make it more efficiently at a lower cost, in a money economy you can end up trading for a larger sum total of goods and services. They also talk about keeping it local.

Some of the economic arguments are easy, some of them are more complicated because of externalized costs. We don't know the answer.

But we do know that historically, supporting the home team has always been popular.

The small print in the Home Industry and Home Capital ad:
The Salem Brewery Association is Composed of Citizens of Salem who Spend Their money here. We are investing $35,000 in making this brewing and malting plant one of the most thoroughly up-to-date on the Pacific Coast, and propose to make the quality and reputation of Salem beer equal to any on the market. Within a few days our own beer will be on the market. After two weeks we will be running full capacity. We have added new vats, new cellars, new cooling apparatus, new brew house and new machinery throughout. No old apparatus re-modeled. We are rebuilding one of the latest improved malt houses. Our ice plant has been doubled in capacity. We deliver ice to any part of the city.
We like how the beer is "specifically made for family use."

Here's another one. "Patronize Home Industry." More interesting, perhaps, is the Hires Root Beer, "the Nation's Temperance Beverage."

Both ads are from 1903, and show the positioning of Salem beer as local, fresh, and wholesome.

Coming back to the current day, Mission Mill and Pale Horse Brewing are starting a summer concert series. In the Second Sunday Series, on June 13, July 11 and August 8 they'll host bands on the Mission Mill grounds. The shows run from 4 - 8pm or so. 5$ non-members, 3$ members. The blurbage:
This summer stop by Mission Mill Museum, part of the Willamette Heritage Center to listen to some great local bands and enjoy some summer evenings. A new concert series is starting this summer, Second Sundays, beginning at 4:15pm on the Second Sunday of each month starting June 13th and continuing through August. Food will be available from Mission Mill Café and Beer will be available from Pale Horse Brewing Co. Bring a blanket and enjoy an evening in the sun at this event.
Beer and history, keeping it local. We're down with that. Neither the beer nor the bands are cutting edge, but you know there are a lot worse ways to spend a summer afternoon!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Seeking Free Lunch, Saloon Customers find Skull

Scattered notes around suggest that Bill Anderson was a character. He had a saloon; crazy stuff happened.

You just can't make up this stuff. (We return to our regular programming!)

Whether this was a written jest, a parody, or reporting on an actual prank, it was the kind of thing people would say about Anderson. We'll try to have more on him in future posts.


An Excentric Salem Saloon Man Dishes Up A Skull

Makes a Free Lunch, That Turns His Customers Stomachs Yet Appeases Cravings of Hunger

A little ad. in The Journal, announcing a free lunch nearly caused a riot this afternoon at the Bill Anderson saloon. He announced a fine free lunch, and quite a crowd of the devotees of potato salad and cold sliced horse meat congregated tos ee what the old eccentric had to offer, as he had not offered any free lunches since a man gorged himself to death on free turkey and Tom-and-Jerry a few years ago on Thanksgiving day.

It was a hot surprise, sure enough. A big dishpan was filled to the brim with lettuce, cold slaw, and other vegetables with dressing, and in the midst was a grinning skull, fresh from the dissecting room of some medical college, shreds of flesh hanging to the bone, and the partly open jaws disclosing the tongue still in the head.

Many who saw the dish were compelled to turn away, and run out for fresh air, Constable Lewis going home unable to eat his dinner, and losing what he had partaken. Piled all around the chef d'oevre were sandwiches, which the hungriest had not the hardihood to touch, and the whole lunch went untasted, so far as the crowds were concerned. There was some talk of having Bill Anderson arrested for cruelty to the free-lunch fraternity, his advertisement raising mouth-watering expectations that were disappointing to a maddening degree. The skull is believed to have been that of a deceased convict, who was turned over to the medical students and preserved in alcohol.

Now that we've got your appetite up...Most of you already know Venti's is now open Sundays - today. Go celebrate with a beer!