Monday, February 28, 2011

Last Doughboy Dead and a Toast to Liberty

Very late last night we learned the last surviving US veteran of the First World War has died.*

Frank W. Buckles died Sunday at 110. He was born on February 1, 1901.

After a 1903 attack of scarlet fever
Mr. Buckles pulled through and experienced a century. Few others born during the McKinley administration lived to have a Facebook page, as he did.
We'll raise a glass to that.

War, any war, is a complicated mess, however. Does anyone need to be reminded? Well, yes, probably, otherwise we wouldn't keep fighting them or needing them.

In his April, 1917 address to Congress, Woodrow Wilson proclaimed:
The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.
Sound familiar?

Are the Arab revolutions following the scripts of 1776, 1789, 1848, or 1968?

Here's a big toast to world-historical events, and hopes that few will die. Fortunately, Wilson's utopian urge seems tempered in the White House today.

Speaking of the White House and our President...It's also 150 years since our own Civil War. Although Salem was the Capital City, in 1861 it was a very small village, and news traveled at the speed of horse and human. This piece in the Statesman appears to be from news conveyed by the Pony Express to Sacramento, and then from Sacramento to Salem. In the mid-1860s Salem finally gained some telegraph service, but until then, information moved pretty darn slowly.

Here's what Asahel Bush had to say about disunion and President Buchanan.
MONDAY, FEB. 25, 1861

The news published to-day embraces a period of nearly two weeks. Nothing of a decisive character has bet been done by the secessionists...The proposals of compromise coming from Crittenden, from Douglas and many others in both branches of Congress, are doing a great deal to take the power away from the demagogues who have so long disquieted the southern public. That is being accomplished by finesse and diplomacy, which President Buchanan was too imbecile to do through the enforcement of law and the exercise of his just powers. The men who are dealing in these proposals to compromise and to amend the constitution are excusable in any course they may pursue to preserve the Union and to avoid an inter-State war.....It may now be justifiable for even great statesmen to adopt shallow and temporary expedients, though ever so improbable to postpone the final issue to a more propitious season for settlement, and to avert the calamity of rebellion and civil war....

Any amendment, then, to the federal constitution which can carry the votes of any northern states, must certainly be less liberal to slaveholders than existing laws and usages....For the present, we are opposed to any attempt at amending the constitution, for the reason that it must, in all probability, result in injustice to the vested rights of slaveholders, and create a still greater tumult than ever.

For the present it seems that disunion has its locks woven fast in the web of compromise, and we indulge the hope that it will not escape without a pretty thorough strangling....The great secession flame has burned out, or is apparently doing so, for want of fuel, but the spark sill remains to be rekindled at any time. This hushing the matter up as it is being done is perhaps the best under the circumstances of a lame, emasculate administration, but it will it will come up again very soon and the action at this time will be quoted as a precedent to prove the right of States to secede....The slavery question, too, the final chosen issue of the secessionists, is as thoroughly comprehended by saint and sinner, wise and simple, as any ever mooted in politics....If the secessionists are right, and a loop-hole was left for a State to crawl out at, it will very soon, and very certainly, be done, and one, or two, or ten years, more or less, as an undivided Nation are of no account, and not worth the doubt and toil endured. If, on the contrary, we are right, and the constitution has empowered the general government to perpetuate itself indefinitely, let us be assured of it, the sooner the better for all. The prospect of disunion is a ghost which has haunted the dying couch of every statesman from Gen. Washington to the present hour. We hope the present generation will be able to allay it.
* These are late night thoughts...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fill your Gilgamesh Growlers Saturdays at Salem Public Market

You need beer. You need good beer for the weekend. You want to support local farmers and growers and brewers. Right?

If you didn't see the note about Gilgamesh last weekend, here it is again:
As with every Saturday in the foreseeable future, Gilgamesh Brewing will be at the Salem Public Market. The fun this will weekend will include the unveiling of the GORGEOUS new bar that Lee has been slaving over for the last couple of weeks. We will now have UP TO EIGHT BREWS on tap at any given time!
Liquor laws are a little different now, so you can't just send your 12 year old neighbor over to fill your growler. So send your 21 year old neighbor! Better yet, go yourself and check out the "up to 8" beers!

The history of the Salem Public Market was new to us, and seemed like it was worth retelling.
In 1943, Salem homemakers had an enjoyable and long-established custom of driving to farms and orchards in Marion and Polk counties during midsummer and Autumn to buy fresh fruits and vegetables for preserving, making jelly and freezing. The inconvenience of tight gasoline rationing was keenly felt in Salem. A Salem native, who was familiar with 'Saturday Tailgate Markets' in California and knew that farm-truck owners had more liberal gasoline rationing than city dwellers, went to a meeting of the Salem City Council and asked them to authorize the holding of the tailgate market on Saturdays at the south end of Marion Square and on the street alongside.
Wind and rain made continuing the outdoor enterprise impractical. Then the suppliers sought out some means of selling their produce within some type of shelter. Through a trustee, they rented vacant land at the northeast corner of High and Union Streets. Two of the enthusiastic farmers bought the property. The whole group put together a building using lumber, windows and other material from Camp Adair, where dismantling of the old buildings was in progress. Salem Public Market was incorporated as a non-profit on April 19th,1944.

In 1946 members of the corporation bought and paid for the present market site at 1240 Rural Ave SE. There were no buyers for the building at High and Union Street. So market members took down that building and rebuilt it at Rural St. Much of the labor was volunteer, as it is today.
It seems very civilized and locavore-ish to offer local beer at a farmer's market. It's surprising we haven't heard about this in Portland already, so this might be an exciting moment of mid-valley innovation!

Nicely turned, Gilgamesh from Turner!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dorothea Lange Pix at State Library Feature Hops

At the State Library is a new show of Dorothea Lange's FSA photos taken here in Oregon.

Most of you will have encountered Lange's iconic "Migrant Mother" image taken in 1936.

Lange traveled the country from 1935 to 1939 taking photos of farms and farmers, especially migrants, as part of work for the Farm Security Administration.

Here are details from two images that feature hops.

We love the Hops Fiesta majorette! Who knew Independence could have so much fun?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Salem Area Breweries Miss Zwickelmania - Again

Portland, Eugene, and Bend all have Zwickelmania activities planned! Salem-area?...crickets.

The closest is American Bottom/Independence, Carlton, and McMinnville.

What's Zwickelmania, you ask? From the Oregon Brewers Guild:
2011 President’s Day weekend, dozens of Oregon breweries and brewpubs will open their doors to visitors for the state’s 3rd annual Zwickelmania. Zwickelmania, hosted by the Oregon Brewers Guild (OBG), is a free statewide event that offers visitors a chance to tour Oregon breweries, meet the brewers and sample their favorite beers.

When: Saturday, February 19th, 2011 from 11-4 pm
What: Oregon Brewers Guild Brewery Open House.

Salem-area brewers, where's the love? Where's the mania?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lost Glories: The Buildings of Alessandro's Parking Lot

That Alessandro's will be closing is sad news.

It is good to see a replacement business lined up, though. The Old Spaghetti Warehouse will be an apt replacement, though it represents a "cheezy" historicity rather than something more authentic and perhaps more interesting. In the 90s, about the same time Thompson's opened, the Willamette Brew Pub operated in the space, but for whatever reasons it did not succeed.

About the Alessandro's building, the Salem Downtown Register of Historic Places Nomination Form (7mb) is dismissive and calls it a missed opportunity:
This is a two-story commercial building. The date of construction may have been as early as 1870. The Sanborn maps show that Durbin's Livery was at this location in 1884; Minto & Lowe Livery in 1888; a hardware and stove shop in 1890; YMCA Rooms in 1895; and an electric painting company and photo shop in 1926. [Here's a photo of the front when Buren & Hamilton was there, in the very early 1900s, long before the remodeled facade; the caption misidentifies this building, in part because of the address change of 1904] Substantial changes have occurred to the building and the latest remodeling appears to have occurred in the 1990s. The current facade has brick veneer on the first one-and-one-half stories and is stucco covered above. Windows are arched and fixed. The building does not contribute to the character of the district in its current condition.
More interesting than the building, therefore, is the huge void just to the north of it.

Yup. One of Salem's beautiful surface parking lots.

Here's what used to be there. This is a composite of photos from the 1938 opening of the new State Capitol. The fellows in white and boaters are Cherrians - much like Portland's Rosarians, whom we still see during the Rose Festival.

The parking lot sits on the footprint of three buildings. (Click to enlarge photo with notes.) The two Breyman buildings (here's the oldest one, the "White Corner") on the corner of Court and Commercial happily remain, though much remodeled.

We've been thinking about other buildings leveled for surface parking, and this may become a series of toasts to other lost glories.

A tip of the pint to Alessandro's and to the lost glories of downtown Salem.

(Photo composite: Here, and here. For another view of the lost buildings, which includes Alessandro's building, see here. All historic photos from the Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections. Streetview from Google.)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Mash Note to Salem's Seamy Side, Wednesday at the Library

Though the #Salemia meme seems to be getting all the love lately, there's another way to show your love for Salem.

Valentine's Day is also Oregon's Birthday. And on Wednesday, you can learn about some of the obscurer details of Salem's history.
Going Underground: Learning about Salem’s Tunnels
7 p.m. Wednesday, February 16 in Loucks Auditorium

Beneath the modern sidewalks of Salem lies a hidden world, unknown to most, but revealing to those able to interpret its past and its beginnings. Historian John Ritter, the author of 16 books, is a lifetime resident of Salem and current adjunct professor of History at Linfield College. He will discuss the stories still waiting in the Salem’s underground, where tunnels once linked downtown buildings.

These tunnels have been mostly filled in, but many still exist. Dusty, rusted chains hang as silent witnesses to a bustling business, long gone. Conveyor belts and wooden structures are still there for the intrepid explorer, as well as empty bins and lockers. Tunnels give silent witness to those who lived and worked in their depths.

The program is free and open to the public. More information is available from John Ritter at
(It's interesting how the library's blurb is perhaps a bit neutered!)

You know we appreciate the untold history of Salem!

(Ritter in hat and glasses: Thomas Patterson, Statesman)

Friday, February 11, 2011

What Not to Get Your Sweetheart

Two great tastes that taste great together, right? Chocolate and wine? Eh...We think it's overrated. But if you're going to do it, make sure you get a decent bottle of wine and good chocolate, not this abomination.
ChocoVine is a fine French Cabernet subtly combined with a rich dark chocolate from Holland, paired together to create a decadent, silky smooth drink. It can be served on the rocks or as the main ingredient to an array of sinful cocktails....The right chocolate paired with the perfect wine can create near-orgasmic taste experience. But the wrong wine opposite a too-sweet chocolate creates nothing but horror.
Ah, yes, the horror. ChocoVine is so good you want to make sure you ice it down or blend it with other flavors.

This is already discounted on some grocery shelves, so we're sure that Salemites have seen and perhaps even tasted the horror.

Much more promising is the new Widmer W'11 release, the KGB Russian Imperial Stout. There's some bittersweet chocolate for you!

Brown's may have it on tap this weekend, even.

And a tip of the pint, and moment of silence, for Jeremy Judd, who while working in the Maletis warehouse was crushed by a collapsing stack of beer kegs earlier this week.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Science Pub Develops Nanu Drinking Game Tuesday Night

Every time Mork says "Nanu," Willamette University Professor David Altman will take a drink.

Every time Altman says "Nano," you'll take a drink. Fun for everyone! And since the nanu-drinks will be microscopic, you don't have worry about getting drunk!

On Tuesday at 6:30pm at Brown's Towne Lounge, Altman will talk about the Planet Ork and "Nanotech and the Physics of the Nano-Realm":
At the leading edge of scientific advancement, nanotechnology is the study of manipulating atoms and molecules which are so small that they have properties unseen at human scale. Professor David Altman will highlight these unintuitive properties and discuss nanotechnology’s potential for advancing our understanding of physics.

A graduate of the University of Chicago and Stanford University, Altman uses a laser to study proteins in an optical trap he built with Willamette students as part of the university’s Science Collaborative Research Program. His work focuses on the molecular motor myosin, and his passion for learning and teaching is a perfect fit for Science Pub.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Growlers and the Factory Lunch circa 1900

Over in Britain they're calling the Superbowl between the Packers and Steelers "as blue-collar as you could imagine."

Yeah, but while they crash and bash and get concussions, they're still making millions.

A century ago, beer was an essential part of a real blue collar lunch, and beer pails were the forerunner of today's "growlers."

As you fill your growlers for the festivities, think about hard, factory work, child labor, and how far we've come.

McClure's Magazine in 1909 had this great piece, "Beer and the City Liquor Problem." We'll return to it later, but for the moment wanted to share these images of beery lunch service at the factory.

If you're getting growlers for the big football game this weekend, here's a toast to the workingmen who first used them.

Some Growler and Party Details:

Gilgamesh growler details here.

F/Stop usually fills growlers.

Brown's Towne details.

Seven Brides viewing party opens at 11am.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mayor Lachmund Makes S**t hit Fan over Asylum Sewer

Just one week after the first go-round with Councilor Durbin, Mayor Lachmund had another. This time it's an argument over the Asylum sewer.

In 1911 about 20 years have passed since this photo was taken in the early 1890s. If the area near the Asylum wasn't exactly rural farmland any more, it was still very, very suburban. The photo appears to be taken from the very first Salem Hospital.

As far back as 1885, Governor Zenas Moody was calling for a sewer to service the Asylum:
I would respectfully urge upon you the necessity of construction a water main for the asylum to connect with the penitentiary pumps....The health of the inmates of the asylum, as well as the health and comfort of the residents of the neighborhood, urgently calls for the construction of a sewer to connect the asylum with main sewers of the City of Salem.
The City and State made some progress to this end, but for the moment we cannot say exactly how much. A 1905 statute references a Court Street sewer to the Asylum, but not one on Asylum Street (aka Center Street).

In 1911, the City let a contract, and Mayor Lachmund found himself in another squabble with Councilman Durbin. Graft seems likely, so it's hard to say who's in the right here. But it's certain that Mayor Lachmund is picking a fight and sh*t of all kinds is flowing.

Renewing hostilities, which were even more bitter in character than those displayed at a previous meeting, Mayor Lachmund and his lieutenant - Councilman Durbin - clashed last evening again at the meeting of the city council - clashed three times and clashed hard.

The first clash came when the mayor proceeded to put a motion made by Councilman Durbin, asking that a matter pertaining to the payment of a sewer contract be referred to the chairman of the sewer committee. "It has been moved and seconded," said the mayor, "that this matter be referred to the chairman of the sewer committee." Then he reached the word "chairman," he fairly shouted the word, and did so with a voice so full of sarcasm, and with such an ironical sneer on his face that it cut deep into Councilman Durbin's cuticle, and he winced perceptibly.

"I presume," he continued, after the motion was carried, "that Councilman Durbin, chairman of the sewer committee, will consult his colleagues upon the subject."

That was more than the councilman from the "silk stocking ward" could stand, and, groping in his mind for a fitting reply, he reiterated: I with consult with the bayor [sic] also."

The Second Clash

The second fight between the two came when Durbin opposed a resolution by Councilman Low, asking that the fire department be brought up to a higher degree of efficiency, and the third when the mayor arose from his seat on the floor, and, spreading out a lot of sewer maps, proceeded to exposed the inadequacy of a storm sewer being installed on Asylum avenue, and also proceedd [sic] to show that the attention of the sewer committee had been called to it. The story relating to the second clash appears elsewhere in this paper, and this story will deal with but the third and last fight of the evening, and here it is:

Sewer Inadequate

The storm sewer in question is being laid in Asylum avenue, and then runs across a stretch of territory until it empties into Mill creek. The mayor showed that 30-inch pipes were being laid, when, as a matter of fact, 50 or 60-inch pipes were needed to carry away the water. He also showed that the sewer was being laid along a water course, and that but a portion of the territory which the sewer traversed would be drained - that an immense tract would be left undrained, because of the contour of the land. If the work of laying down the sewer was allowed to proceed, he contested, the city would be compelled in a year or so to lay another pipe, and, to avoid the expense of this, he maintained, work should be stopped and the evil remedied.

Engineer Skelton was called upon and verified the mayor, and then Councilman Durbin took the floor to defend the committee, and the real fight of the evening broke loose.

A Contract is a Contract

Councilman Durbin, in making a defense of the sewer committee, stated that within three days after assuming his seat in the council, he was called upon to solve sewer problefs [sic]. Seeking legal advice upon the subject, he said, he was advised that, when a contract was once entered into by the city for improvement work it could not be changed without nullifying it. The sewer committee took the view, he stated, that the contract had been awarded by the council, and that it had no right to interfere with it, and that should it do so, it would cause it to become void. In view of this, he stated, the sewer committee had followed out the plan of hewing to the line to every contract entered into between the city and a contractor.

Bill Nye Argument

"Councilman Durbin is about one-eighth right on this question, and eight-eighths wrong," came back Mayor Lachmund.

"That is the way he is on all questions. His argument on this question, if expounded by Bill Nye, would cause people to laugh, because of the humor it contains. It is perfectly ridiculous to say that the terms of the contract cannot be changed, and, while I am perfectly willing to have the people of the city look at Durbin as being ridiculous, I want to clear my hide of it right now.

"There is a mistake in the contract in awarding this sewer. Suppose it is the fault of the previous engineer. We, because of that, should not follow it up, and make another mistake. I believe the engineer should fully investigate this subject and report his findings back at the next meeting, and that we should then set about and remedy the evil - it is simple and can easily be remedied.

Councilman Huckestein and Lafky voiced the same opinion, and then Durbin came to bat again, and a controversy ensued between he [sic] and the engineer, in which the latter stood his ground.

Durbin and the Engineer Quarrel

"If this storm sewer is inadequate, it took you the devil of a long time to find it out," shouted Councilman Durbin to the engineer, after he had paid his compliments to the mayor, and stated he was getting tired of all the "rag chewing."

"I notified you and the other members of the committee of the condition of the sewer three or four months ago," retorted the engineer, and for a second it halted the councilman's flow of language, and the two men stood facing each other looking each other squarely in the eyes.

"Did not you tell me that we might as well go ahead, and lay this sewer down," inquired Durbin.

"No, I did not tell you that," replied the engineer. "I told you that the sewer was inadequate, and that if it was laid down that in a year or so the city would have to put in another."

Several times he repeated the question to the engineer, and always the same answer was returned. Finally, abandoning further cros-questioning [sic], he again sought to justify his position with relation to the matter on the ground that the sewer committee had no right to change a contract. Its course was to follow out the terms of the contract, he maintained, "and if the contract said that a six-inch pipe should go in, it would have gone in, so far as the sewer committee was concerned."

What Would He Then Say

"Councilman Durbin's position is untenable," said Mayor Lachmund. "He is a hop dealer, and is accustomed to making contracts, and in making people live up to them - exacting his pound of flesh. I suppose even though he knew that a 60-inch pipe was necessary, and a six-inch pipe was called for, that he would put it in; he has said so, but I wonder what his attitude would be were he a property owner in the district to be drained. I have an idea that the terms of the contract would be more flexible, then."

That ended the fight. The motion was put directing the engineer to bring in a report on the subject, and also directing the contractor in the meantime to cease work.
It's not clear whether there was a difference between the pipes for a storm sewer and pipes for what we'd call a sanitary sewer. Do any readers know for sure?