Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ditching Liquor and Dope: The Sanitarium behind Mission Mill

The corner of southeast Ferry and 14th is one of the odder intersections in the city. The pavement is bumpy and an asphalt patch curves across it as if sewer mains had suddenly become bendy. The intersection occupies a slight rise just behind Mission Mill, and it is, in fact, where the mill race gathers itself for the final downward rush to power the mill's turbine.

Wedged into the southwest corner of the intersection, and alongside the mill race, are some magnificent trees and a fairly old home. The home at present may not look very distinguished, but it has an interesting story.

A century ago the newspapers would run large supplements on New Years Day. They wrapped up the events of the previous year, looked to some of the likely events in the coming year, and profiled people and businesses. These profiles are much like today's advertorial.

One such profile was for Dr. C.S. Rice and his new sanitarium. The copy represents an interesting hybrid of real estate ad and patent medicine promotion. It also occupies an interesting place just on the cusp of Prohibition. We are inclined to think Dr. Rice was likely a quack. The early form of hype is too obvious; the move to LA more than a little suspect. One wonders if Dr. Rice was himself a dope fiend!

Here's the house today. It looks the same, and the only obvious exterior modification is a wheelchair ramp on the south side.

New Sanitarium Has Been Erected

Dr. C.S. Rice Completes Fine New Home Centrally Located

Salem has in her midst a man who is doing a great work in the fight against the great curses – dope and liquor habits. Dr. C.S. Rice, whose home and sanitarium is located at 215 South 14th street, is the administer of a remedy that is claimed to knock either habit in from 48 to 72 hours. A cure is guaranteed and no charge is made until the patient is satisfied that he is fully freed from the habit with which he is afflicted. The remedy is a secret preparation invented by a Missouri specialist in this line, and only a few people are acquainted with its use, and only the inventor knows the recipe for it. When he dies his wife will take up the preparation, and with her demise the recipe will be given to the world. Dr. Rice has more work of late than he could attend to, and as a result he is worn out and will soon leave for Los Angeles for the benefit of his health. He has cancelled all engagements after the first of the year, and as soon as things can be shaped so that he can get away he will take his family and leave for the southern city.

Dr. Rice conducts his treatments at his home where he has everything fitted up to properly care for the patient. A cure is made in but a short time, but Dr. Rice requires a few days with the patient until the effects of the cure are over at to constantly administer to the case. At the invitation of the doctor, the writer took a careful survey of this new and beautiful addition to Salem’s homes. The entrance hall, in its pleasing proportions, immediately impresses the visitor that he is in the home of a man who blends taste with convenient appointments. The rooms on either side are so arranged as to gain favor with any prospective seeker of a modern home. The stairway in the central position serves four bedrooms and in each room is installed both gas and electric light, while they have a separate compartment for baggage and clothing. Sanitary arrangements of this new dwelling house are perfect and every modern equipment for one of the latest of Salem’s homes has been installed. Although centrally located, this new sanitarium is away from any bustle or noise to disturb the patients in his convalescence. The property has cost some [?] built on a lot 90 x 200 feet; a good concrete basement eliminates all possibility of dampness; Andersons have installed one of their popularly known furnaces for heating the house throughout. Altogether, Dr. Rice is to be congratulated upon acquiring such convenient premises for fighting a scourge of the human race and recovering those that usually prove worthy when reentering the ranks of good citizenship.

After his return from the South the doctor will be ready to resume his practice. Anyone afflicted with the drink or drug habit will do well to consult him. No charge is made for discussing a case with a prospective client, and if so desired Dr. Rice will call at the patient’s home. It should be added that Dr. Rice has one of the best known doctors of the city as his consulting physician. He also states that he is willing to visit the home of any sufferer, and will bring those results so gratifying to all concerned. His phone number is 2001.
We looked in the Polk Directories from 1902 - 1924, but there were no obvious matches. Rice doesn't appear to have stayed long.

If you know more about the house, drop us a comment!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Toast to Eugene Edmund Snyder, Historian of Early Oregon

If you've been to the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, you'll probably have seen this visage, intently looking, resigned perhaps to age and a resolutely imperfect world.

Today's Oregonian contained the obituary for Eugene Edmund Snyder, who was Amanda Snyder's son. The obituary doesn't talk much about family, survivors or descendants, and hopefully this isn't evidence for a rift or for loneliness.

In any event, Eugene wrote many books of local history: Portland Names and Neighborhoods: Their Historic Origins; We Claimed this Land: Portland's Pioneer Settlers; Skidmore's Portland: His Fountain and its Sculptor; Early Portland: Stumptown Triumphant; and several others. He seemed to have a special relation with Binford and Mort, an important publisher of works on Oregon history,

He was raised in a rich stew of Oregon artists, and as an adult wrote sometimes on them.

He also wrote about Aurora, a utopian religious community in the northernmost portion of Marion County. Fittingly, his memorial service will be there on Saturday.


Meanwhile, down at the Conference Center is the 4th Annual Mayor's Oregon Artist Series.

Floods are central to the Salem historical experience, whether the catastrophe of the 1861 flood, just two years after statehood, or the effects of dams and the infrastructure to control floods. This painting by April Waters hangs there. In many ways it is too lovely, the water an intense eye-candy blue, suggesting the fertility rather than destruction generated by flooding. The water and flooding imagery also underscores the notion of time's passage. (We may have more on the show later. Bonnie Hull has brief thoughts on the opening earlier this month.)

Go see some of the local and regional artists they'll be writing about in 50 or 100 years.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Bell of the "Bell Tower" Brothel

We believe that Ben Maxwell confused a brothel near the Bell Tower for a brothel named the "Bell Tower."

But we never imagined that the bell itself was still around! (If that information is out there, we just missed it.)

The plaque on the bell at the downtown fire station reads:
SALEM'S FIRE BELL. First mounted on a tower behind the 200 block of north High Street, it was then moved to the city hall in 1897. This 2000 lb. bell was used to call Salem firefighters to fires from 1882 to 1924.
The casting date is plainly visible. It reads "Meneely & Co. West Troy. N.Y. 1882"

Here is the 1895 Sanborn map of the block bounded by State, Court, Liberty, and High. The tower was located in center of the alley directly behind the present Grand Theater - where the Fashion Stables are marked on the map.

Below is a detail showing the tower. The brothel was to the west, on the left in one of the houses marked "Chinese."

So just think, if "meet me under the clock" meant one thing, "meet me under the bell tower" entirely another!

(See our previous post for more!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Local Museums Hold old Beer Paraphernalia

Two collections of Salem breweriana appeared on the CT radar earlier this year. One of them is being archived, and the other is in a out-of-the way museum. Both are pretty cool!

Over at the Oregon State Hospital Museum project, archivists and historians found a cache of old beer bottles and cans! This can of Sick's Select comes from it. There's also an old bottle of Gambrinus from Portland. At some point we hope to get a list the find!

Meanwhile, over in Rickreall, there's a large number of old beer bottles and coasters already on display. The collection is kinda tucked away, but it's there - so go check it out!

It turns out that back in January 2008, Capi Lynn wrote in the Statesman about it. Worth Mathewson had lent or donated a chunk of his collection of bottles, labels, mugs, and other breweriana to the Polk County Historical Society.

Lynn's focus was less on what the existing artifacts tell us, and more about them as collectibles and the missing "holy grail."
There are no bottles representing the earliest known breweries, from around 1870 to 1900.

"We had three breweries in Salem, and nothing’s been found," Mathewson said. "It’s a mystery."

Nothing from breweries owned by Samuel Adolph, Louis Westacott, or Maurice Klinger and Seraphin Beck.

"There’s a bunch of us looking out there," Coburn Grabenhorst Jr. of Salem said. "Like Worth, we wonder why there’s not more out there."

Grabenhorst said he heard a couple of Adolph bottles were found intact 15 to 20 years ago under a downtown sidewalk and each fetched about $8,000.
(Like these perhaps?)

Lynn continues Grabenhorst's thought:
If a bottle were discovered today, he figures, it would be worth at least that.

Mathewson refers to such a find as the Holy Grail of Northwest breweriana.
Here's Dale Mlasko on finding these Adolph flasks. Mlasko got them from the Adolph family, not from under a sidewalk, so these aren't the exact same ones. And perhaps these flasks for whiskey are distinct from beer bottles Adolph might have had made at the same time. Still, they're still a great connection to old Salem!

At some point maybe we can get some photos and a more detailed list of the Mathewson/PCHS collection. If any CT correspondent should visit, send us your report!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mark Twain: After a Century, even more Cantankerous and Bawdy

During this centenary year of his death, Mark Twain is everywhere!

While we were researching the 4th of July post, we also found a small note about Mark Twain in 1876.

Though we don't know the earliest appearance of Twain in Salem news, we do know at least he was on the radar back then. He had already published a few books, but not yet the ones for which he was most famous, so it's likely he had a minor reputation as a humorist about the wild west.

Here's a note buried in the Patriotic Newsbits in the Statesman of July 4th, 1876. It mentioned a new book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Apparently it wasn't sold in the US until December that year. Securing a British copyright by publishing first there was not unusual; but a six-month gap was.

At this time, Twain had published The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (1867), The Innocents Abroad (1869), Roughing It (1872), and The Gilded Age (1873).

It's hard to know how significant Twain was out here in 1876. Probably not very. It's risky drawing inferences from ink, but we'll do it anyway: Twain got the same amount of ink as Sam Adolph's beer, a little less than Catholic Temperance, and much less than a statue of Alexander von Humboldt. Salem wasn't very cosmopolitan.

Moreover, in 1876 we were still suffering from the depression that followed the Panic of 1873. If a mortgage bubble caused the panic of 2008 and our "great recession," a railroad bubble caused the panic of 1873 and the "long depression."

Just a year before, about the wild west Twain had written in Roughing It (1872):
for a time, the lawyer, the editor, the banker, the chief desperado, the chief gambler, and the saloon-keeper, occupied the same level in society, and it was the highest. The cheapest and easiest way to become an influential man and be looked up to by the community at large, was to stand behind a bar, wear a cluster-diamond pin, and sell whisky. I am not sure but that the saloon-keeper held a shade higher rank than any other member of society. His opinion had weight. It was his privilege to say how the elections should go.
Ashael Bush was banker and editor, and clearly the big cheese here. Because Salem was also a state capital, the gambler, desperado, and saloon-keeper were of less importance. And yet, Salem was a little bit of a frontier town.

We know that there wasn't really big money in Salem during the 1870s because the Bush House is as fancy as it got. And by gilded age standards, the Bush House wasn't grand. For Salem, yes, but by national standards it was small potatoes. Tiny fingerling potatoes. For Salem was a minor provincial capital.

34 years later, on April 21st, 1910, Twain died. He stipulated that his autobiography could not be published in full for 100 years - and guess what? A century has passed!

But even by the time Twain died in 1910 his reputation was much enlarged. It's interesting the ways that view was correct in the big picture, but still wrong on the details.

The Capital Journal calls him "America's Greatest Humorist" and both the Journal and the Statesman are clear that Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer would be the works for which his name would be known, though it notes Innocents Abroad is his best known book. The Statesman noted that his books had sold more than 500,000 copies and had been translated into six languages.

Longer obituaries noted his role in publishing Ulysses S. Grant's Memoirs, and his support for women's suffrage.

The day after Twain's obituaries appeared, the Statesman ran a little piece about Theodore Roosevelt's reaction.
It is with sincere grief that I learned of the death of this great American author. His position, like that of Joel Chandler Harris, was unique, not only in American letters, but in the literature of the world.
Roosevelt mentioned Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer at two favorites, important enough to take to the jungle. Harris we barely remember as the author behind Br'er Rabbit and the Uncle Remus tales. Today, their reputations are far from equal.

Since Twain's is secure, now we get the dirt.

Back in May, we first heard about the unexpurgated autobiography also from a British source. The news is now hitting American papers. It's the Tom Sawyer syndrome! What's up with the Brits scooping Americans?

The expanded autobiography looks plenty juicy. Apparently it's got vintage sex toys, name-calling, and other naughtiness!
One thing's for sure: by delaying publication, the author, who was fond of his celebrity status, has ensured that he'll be gossiped about during the 21st century. A section of the memoir will detail his little-known but scandalous relationship with Isabel Van Kleek Lyon, who became his secretary after the death of his wife Olivia in 1904. Twain was so close to Lyon that she once bought him an electric vibrating sex toy. But she was abruptly sacked in 1909, after the author claimed she had "hypnotised" him into giving her power of attorney over his estate....

"Most people think Mark Twain was a sort of genteel Victorian. Well, in this document he calls her a slut and says she tried to seduce him. It's completely at odds with the impression most people have of him," says the historian Laura Trombley, who this year published a book about Lyon called Mark Twain's Other Woman.
This is great! We are all for Sam Clemens to raise a little ruckus from the great beyond.

More on OLCC Lunacy!

Nope. Turns out we can't forget about it!

Doesn't the seal look off-center over the text? That's a great image for the off-center conclusions of the liquor law!

While we're obsessing over the centeredness of the graphic, the Mercury is doing helpful reporting, like publishing the entirety of the Department of Justice opinion. They've also got some discussion and a terrific note about a footnote.

Looks like it might hit the legislature this next session! Check out the Oregon Home Brewers Alliance for more information.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Forget the OLCC's Lunacy; Let's Revisit Sam Adolph

The Fair's Temperance lunacy reminds us that beer history is both interesting and relevant!

While we have nothing new to say on the OLCC and homebrew (covered adequately first over at the Weekly Brew, Beervana, and now the Statesman via the AP), a glance at the Statesman did turn up a little video about the Adolph Block!

As readers know, Sam Adolph is a matter of interest to us here at CT. In the last couple of weeks we've found some interesting tidbits to add to some of our pieces (here, here, and here).

Steven Lowenstein's book, The Jews of Oregon, 1850-1950, contains nothing on Sam Adolph, and it appears that there is little known about 19th century Jewish residents of Salem. (We found another bit we need to follow up on, however!)

You may recall that Maggie Gardner died upstairs in the Adolph Block. Here's her headstone in the Pioneer Cemetery. Dalrymple was the name of her second husband. She was born in one Salem and died in another.

And here is a video shot in the upstairs of the Adolph Block! (We'll have to see how this goes. Not sure if color and video really belong here. But it is kinda cool to see the upstairs - and to see the "hops" lettering on one of the old office doors!)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Made in Oregon - Beer for the Home Team - a Final Toast

Back in the fall of 1912, "Made in Oregon" was perhaps then as strong a message - indeed, brand - as it is today. This full-page newspaper ad got lots of play, appearing regularly. "Patronize the home industries," it said.

In the bottom half of the grid (slightly cut off here), Henry Weinhard and Salem Beer had ads. Weinhard's "Columbia" brand was "the beer without a peer" and was "brewed scientifically in just the right way." The ad said to "mail us your orders." Could beer be sent through the mail? (Have to find out!)

At this time Portland had Bull Run water, but after Mayor Lachmund had torpedoed the purchase of the Water Company, Salem was stuck with polluted Willamette water, likely sometimes foul rather than "sweet mountain water" from the Santiam or from Bull Run. As we've seen time and time again, beer here was often cleaner and safer than tap water, so it's not surprising the ad copy read, "Why drink water when you can get Salem Beer?"

You might notice the swastika in the center under "Made in Oregon." This is the brand of the Pacific Coast Biscuit Company. In the Pearl District in Portland, its building still stands, and traces of the swastika are still visible. The ghostly outline can also be seen in this photo from 1917.

Interestingly, in 1911 and perhaps for some time before or after, Pacific Coast Biscuit sponsored a series of baseball cards for the Pacific Coast League. This card is for Roger Peckinpaugh, who apparently played for the Portland Beavers and later, in 1925, was the American League MVP for the Washington Senators.

Baseball is also on our mind because the Mariners traded Cliff Lee to the Texas Rangers today. Lee had struck out 89 and walked 6, and if sustained over the second half of the season, by a substantial margin this ratio would set a new Major League standard for control.

We'll miss Lee and his superlative craft. On this hot summer night, perfect for baseball, a tip of the cap, and a tip of the pint.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Beer on the 4th: 1876 Centennial & 34 Years Later in 1910, a Century Ago

We're not sure if any neat thread ties the 4ths of July from 1876 and 1910. In 1876 the Statesman may have taken with week off, and there are few details about the 4th locally. In 1910 there is much more in both the Statesman and Capital Journal. The presence of beer in both seems to reflect other, more important, issues.

Safe drinking water and health, temperance, and above all, the Civil War shaped the major conversations around the 4th.

Indeed, Garry Wills has argued that
The Gettysburg Address has become an authoritative expression of the American spirit - as authoritative as the Declaration, and perhaps even more influential, since it determines how we read the Declaration. For most people now, the Declaration means what Lincoln told us it means, as a way of correcting the Constitution itself without overthrowing it.

In 1876 Ulysses S. Grant was President. His Presidential administration was decidedly less successful than his Union Generalship. Nevertheless, his Memoirs is one of the touchstones in American letters and prose style.

Locally, Sam Adolph was advertising his beer. Advertising and editorial were not clearly delineated in papers at this time, so it might be best to consider these advertorial! Water quality was an issue, so the boiling in beer-making would sterilize the water and make for a more healthy beverage. It should not be surprising to see it pitched at families therefore!

"Adolph's bottled lager stands unsurpassed on this coast. He delivers it to families nearly as cheap as water."

"Adolph's beer is carrying off the 1st prize in the way of most extensive trade. He is prepared to supply families with bottled beer, or the article in any sized kegs."

In many ways more interesting than the beer notices is this significantly larger ad from a Portland wine merchant. "California Claret," "Sonoma White Wine" and "St. Helena White Wine"* show just how established were the Napa and Sonoma brands in 1876! But the emphasis on "Rhine Wine" and the whites suggests just how different was popular taste - sweet and white, not red and dry, prevailed.

A year later, in 1877, Klinger & Beck opened their brewery.

A century ago, in 1910, 34 years after the 1876 celebration, William Howard Taft was President. By this time lynchings were common, and from this standpoint Grant's approach to Reconstruction and his support of the 15th Amendment was decidedly more progressive. It is awful to read nearly daily in the paper about lynchings in this early part of the 19th century.

This 4th of July ad for the Meyers department store in the Reed Opera House, appears to show a Union and Confederate veteran reconciling in friendship as a metaphor for mercantile service and the quality of goods. As we saw with the differences between February 14th and February 12th, 1909, the Civil War cast a long, long shadow.

Graphically, the ad is interesting for the way a block of supplied art was inserted into a local ad designed and set at the newspaper.

At the bottom of the ad is a teaser for the Cherry Fair. At least as far as newspaper coverage is concerned, it was a bigger deal than the 4th of July.

This front page cluster shows that the Cherry Fair was competing with the 4th for space in the paper!

Falls City, a logging town in the foothills of the coast range, appears to have had the biggest area celebration in 1910, followed by Stayton, and then in town at Marion Square. The ballgame held near the State Hospital was also a notable event.

Though the Union St. Railroad Bridge had not yet been built, the Falls City, Salem & Western line connected West Salem to Falls City. This map is from a promotional pamphlet, How to Get to Falls City: The Queen of City of Polk County, published by Sunset magazine and the Southern Pacific Railroad. It shows the interurban rail system of a century ago, shortly after the bridge was completed. Falls City and Corvallis are about equidistant from Salem. West Salem to Falls City took one and a quarter hours according to a 1911 schedule.

Some celebrations were held in dry towns or counties. The celebration at Marion Square had a heavy temperance and WCTU presence on the schedule of speakers and events. According to this piece,

The men who have thronged the bottling works at the big Salem brewery the last two days, getting their suitcases filled with bottled beer to pack off into dry counties south and west of Salem looked solemn and guilty but they numbered hundreds....

Many drayloads were shipped by express...Boxes, barrels, and kegs...- all containing straigh Salem brewery products went out to dealers and private parties all determined to have something wet in connection with Fourth of July celebrations. The day of liberty and freedom when the eagle screams and the British are once more routed from the battle fields of the revolution is not to go off without parched throats being refreshed with something besides river water more or less polluted with sewage. The big Salem brewery reaps a golden harvest from the business of the dry counties...So goes the merry battle over booze...As the druggists and bootleggers now all help sustain prohibition, the day may come when the brewers will find this their most profitable traffic and will also sustain the farce called voting people dry.

(At the bottom is an ad for Chamberlain's Stomach and Liver Tablets, which "gently stimulate the liver and bowels to expel poisonous matter, cleanse the system, cure constipation and sick headache.")

*The St. Helena wine could well be that of Charles Krug. Here's an 1881 biography, a discussion of the St. Helena Viticultural Club formed in 1875 with Krug as a principal, and the modern incarnation of Charles Krug Winery owned by the Peter Mondavi family.