Monday, September 26, 2011

La Cap offers Francophonic, Polyglottal Oktoberfest

La Capitale isn't enough of a pure beer play to get much time here at CT. It's not essentially a bar or pub, even though we find the bar quite attractive, much more so in fact than the dining room.

But they do have some good taps - and right now looks like an especially good time to visit for beer!

They're doing Oktoberfest in a very nice way, with "garlic sausage, braised apples and cabbage, frites, and three mustards." Yum!

Even better: Yummy German beers! Spaten Optimator, Weihenstephaner Weissbier, and the extra-special house brew, the Capitulator.* Too bad the weather turned, 'cuz Weissbiers are glorious in the heat.

Optimator's a Doppelbock, a sturdier brew, for dark and cold and Lent, but it's also owned by inBev, the parent of Bud, and perhaps not quite so interesting as other Doppelbocks.

Weihenstephan is a classic, on the other hand, and from a brewery of great antiquity. So the beer selection and food together is a cut above what you might find in Mt. Angel!

If you wanted to check out some German beers, submitting to the curatorial guidance of the crew at La Cap looks like an excellent way to go.


* OK, we made that up. But like the Ventilator, Salem needs a Capitulator.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Think Independence for the Hops and Heritage Festival

Back in the 1930s and 40s there was a Hops Fiesta in Independence. It died out, but with the resurgence of craft brewing and a growing demand for local hops, it's been revived.

The Hops and Heritage Festival takes place this weekend. Don't miss out on the best fair around!

(Here's the preview in the Statesman if you missed it.)

Earlier this month on a trip out to the bottom land near Indy, the CT Expeditionary Forces saw workers harvesting the hops, and the air was heavy with grassy citrus and pine resin. Sticky, sticky hops.

If you go, be sure to stick your nose in some hops! Try some hop tea if they have it. Sample some fresh hop ale.

And admire some of the old buildings.

Here are three historic views of downtown Indy from the intersection of C and Main Street. A lot of these buildings are still around.

The building with a tower here and the single-story crenelated bank building on the other corner (below) were both built by James. S. Cooper:
J. S . Cooper was born in Missouri in 1841 and came to Oregon in 1863 and became a very prominent businessperson in Independence, establishing himself in the banking business. But in 1900 he gave up the banking business in favor of hop growing. Cooper was very politically active and was a delegate to the national Republican convention in 1888. In 1905 he represented Polk and Lincoln Counties in the legislature....J.S. Cooper died in Portland on July 5, 1921.
You may remember the Pink House Cafe. Cooper lived there from 1883 - 1913 and so the house is called the "James and Jennie Cooper House" in its very own National Register listing.

Pretty much you can't not run into an historic building in Indy!

And here's a view from across the river, looking to the site of present day Riverview Park and the amphitheater, and where the old ferry landing used to be located.

On the far left, you can also see the tower of the Independence National Bank, designed by Walter D. Pugh. The tower in the center is the Cooper block's. Both towers are also visible in the upper two photos.

As we mentioned, we think the Hops and Heritage Festival might be the ideal fair, the right mix of old and new, agriculture and city, entertainment and history. Go check it out.

If you can't stand the thought of hops history or of Rogue, the title sponsor for the festival, Seven Brides is also holding Septoberfest, a fresh hop festival. There's no obvious list of beers or breweries, so you'll know why we think Indy might be more interesting. But it's an option, too.

For more on historic Independence, see the National Register nominating forms and photos for the downtown historic district. (Both are big pdfs.) The four vintage images of downtown Indy are from the nominations. For more on Rogue's revival of Wigrich Ranch, see here and here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hops Fund Catlin and Linn, Build Salem's First Dedicated Car Garage in 1910

You never know what you'll see walking around Salem. Earlier this summer we saw this 1929 Ford Model A for sale on a front lawn just off the sidewalk.

We tend to flatten out the history of "old cars." Maybe you do too. But 1929 is two decades after the Model T was introduced. Think about cel phones and computers circa 1991. A lot changes in 20 years.

Between Netflix, Borders, and the US Postal Service, Schumpeterian destruction, industrial transformation, and technological change are all on our mind.

We were thinking about the Fashion Stables. On March 31st, 1910, the paper ran a note about the sale of the Stables and their conversion to a car garage.

Also that spring, at the very same time, just two blocks down State street, the building we think was the first erected specifically to house and service autos was being built.

(Catlin and Linn building circa 1914, Oregon State Library.)

1910 was a real transitional year in Salem.

Russell Catlin and James R. Linn were significant hop growers and dealers around 1900. Catlin came to Salem in 1896 after growing hops near Seattle. Linn also came that year. Catlin and Linn formed a partnership and had two hops ranches, one near Independence, the other near Dallas. Catlin also had a dairy farm near the prison. Linn was the president of the Marion Hotel Company for many years.

They purchased the Gray Block in 1900 and were already prosperous. Here in January 1903 the paper announced a large purchase after the market had been down for a while.

They continued to do well and by 1909 they were buying and driving automobiles, which were not cheap. In this ad from 1909 Catlin endorsed the Maxwell, but it was just a prelude to bigger things.

By the spring of 1910 Catlin and Linn had gone into business with J.F. Priehs and were constructing the Catlin and Linn building, on the south side of State Street across from Cascade Baking Company, for the expanding Salem Auto Garage, which Priehs operated. It was not the first auto garage in Salem, but we believe it is the first building in Salem erected specifically to house a car garage. It was designed by Louis Hazeltine.

This ad (below) from July 30th, 1910, run just after the building was completed and moved into, may be the first ad for it in the new building.

They also sold Columbia electric cars. What's old is new again!

There weren't actually very many cars in Salem. They were very much a luxury item, and people were using horses and wagons well into the 1920s. A reader shared a traffic count from 1916 on the bridge across the Willamette River: Less than half of the bridge traffic that year was automobiles, and a quarter of it was still horse-drawn wagons or carriages. Streetcars and bicycles also remained important conveyances. Habitually we overstate the speed with which automobiles prevailed. Their adoption took a full generation. (See this detailed view of Court Street circa 1912.)

But it seems that 1910 was a tipping point. Here in Salem the Fashion Stables closed, and converted to an auto garage, at the same time as the Catlin and Linn building was constructed. Entrepreneurial merchants saw the future. The quantity of cars was small, but the money and margins were big! Plus, they were shiny and new. The landscape shifted.

Catlin went on to chair the committee for the Carnegie Library (designed by George Post), was a member of the Salem Hospital Board, and was a charter Cherrian. He died in 1924.

(Catlin biographical info from Robert Carlton Clark's History of the Willamette Valley Oregon. Linn biographical info from Charles Henry Carey's History of Oregon. For more on Salem in 1910 see Virginia Green's note. Dates of the building have been uncertain: the downtown historic district National Register nomination lists circa 1909, the downtown walking tour lists 1908, but we believe newspaper articles and ads securely date it to 1910. )

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Memory and Loss: Abandoned Memorials

As with most folks, memorials have been our mind of late.

Salem has lots of memorials. Some are big and obvious or even a little famous. We've mentioned several times, for example, the Doughboy memorial to those who died in World War I. Others are small, just a plaque on a park bench.

Unfortunately, there are a number of memorials in Salem that are a little neglected - maybe a lot neglected and are themselves lost - and we'd like to remember them a little better, in hopes that someone else will know more and perhaps add a comment and even generate interest in restoring the memorials as befits their original intent.

And some of them are just kinda neat, even.

On an urban exploration in Salem with RC, the CT Expeditionary Forces came across this abandoned fountain.

A plaque is set on top of it.

The inscription reads:
This area is dedicated to the memory of
Bertha Amy Gamer
First Grade Teacher at Grant School 1920-48
Donna Wolfard Aldrich
Benefactor of Public Parks for Boys and Girls
Both Shared a Deep Concern for Children
The fountain is cast-concrete, made to look like alphabet blocks from a child's toy set. Seats form a fairy ring of stylized toad stools. Like the Mill Race park at Pringle Plaza, and Peace Plaza between the Library and Civic Center, it has that 60s and early 70s look of Salem's first wave of urban renewal. The blocky whimsy is no longer fashionable, but it's still kinda cute, isn't it?

This utopian impulse has since proven overoptimistic, with too much high-flying theory and not enough attention to ground-level ways people actually use space and congregate in place. Second and third-wave urban renewal efforts have sometimes worked better. Here, the fountain's plumbing may not have been durable enough to withstand vandals. The cluster didn't attract other amenities, and the rest of the playground structure is on the opposite side of the school and park grounds. The memorial is now orphaned, a solitary island stranded from the archipelago of play.

Plain forgetting also is a factor. It takes work to remember things. The slender lineage of so many medieval manuscripts, with some classics depending on a single monk's handiwork in a scriptorium somewhere, reminds us that each generation has to recite the facts it deems important. Urban legends spawn in ease, and important facts struggle to stay fresh. Maintenance budgets are never big enough.

There doesn't seem to be information about Bertha Gamer online or in the Marion County Historical Society's "School Days" issues, but the Salem Foundation administers the Donna W. Aldrich trust, which also helped to fund Aldrich Park, which now adjoins the new site of Bush School. We suppose she might be related to former Mayor Kent Aldrich.

Does anyone know more? And do you have a favorite memorial, especially one that is hidden or neglected and does not commemorate someone close to you?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Think Corvallis rather than Mt. Angel for Beer this Weekend

Everybody knows about the Oktoberfest in Mt. Angel.

More interesting by a large margin is the Corvallis Beer Week, which wraps up this weekend, and Septembeerfest on Saturday.

Septembeerfest is at the Benton County Fairgrounds from 2pm to 10pm. Ninkasi, Block 15, Calapooia and Flat Tail headline. Admission is $10 and includes a pint glass and two drink tickets, additional drink tickets are $1.

If you really want German beer, Venti's TapHouse has a number of German and German-styled beers that are much more interesting than the usual suspects in Mt. Angel.

And for next weekend, remember the Independence Hop and Heritage Festival!

If you saw our note about the State Fair, this is much closer to what we think a modern fair should be!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Homes for the Lost and the Living: Mid-Century Funeral Architecture

Walking around town you'll doubtless have seen the mural of Theda Bara as Cleopatra.

It was painted in 1984 by Jim Mattingly. Perhaps for naive and sentimental reasons, we find ourselves drawn to his landscapes more than his portrait busts. At least two of them are on essentially permanent display around town.

One of them, Stump's View, was given to Willamette by Elisabeth Walton Potter, who was in the news recently, in memory of Henry and Ellen Fawk, who built the lovely house in the Fairmount neighborhood.

Another, Airlie Autumn, is in the Salem Conference Center's permanent collection, purchased as the winner in the Oregon Artist Series, Mayor's Invitational 2008.

The paintings are conventionally pretty, and they might not show absolutely distinctive landscape features like Mt. Hood or the Three Sisters - and yet they show the there there. A genius loci presides over them and Mattingly's act of painting.

While thinking about St. Mark's, walking around downtown, and staring at Cleopatra, we realized that Salem has some other interesting mid-century buildings. They aren't fancy or even perhaps all that lovely, we're not talking grand architecture, but in an unobtrusive, even subtle, way they are odd and interesting. They have some charm, an element of minor beauty. And they don't seem to be tiring as quickly as some moderne or googie buildings.

Maybe you pass by them and don't really see them? Because of the businesses they house, almost certainly they are by design a little quiet.

(So we read these buildings as expressing a quiet taste. But how did contemporaries read them? Were they regarded as dull and boring when built? Or did they represent leading and innovative architectural fashion for Salem? Our speculation may be ahistorical and off-base!)

The Barrick Funeral home is a hatbox. It has the most amazing basketweave wrap on its brow - like a lid a hatbox! Or bangs on a face. Otherwise it's just a square box - with a sagging roof on an older parking structure.

The building is so quiet - even sleepy - but the basketweave makes it texturally alive. That one detail elevates it.

The Barricks you may recognize from North High's baseball field and the historic photo cards.

Across the street from the library is the Virgil T. Golden Funeral Home.

Its massing looks like it's built of legos or building blocks! But then you see that many of the corners are rounded and filled with translucent glass! So there's this dynamic interplay of square and round, and opaque and translucent. And then there's the green oak tree, growing up and out over the horizontal and beige mass of the building. It's a large sphere over the rectangular blocks. The essential vocabulary is simple, very basic, but it might actually be one of the most dynamic buildings in the city, shimmering with these subtle contrasts, all the more expressive because of its simplicity.

The funeral homes might wish to be wallflowers, inconspicuous in the urban fabric. Death is pretty much always an unwelcome guest. In the face of that, these buildings offer unexpected charm. We don't want to overstate their brilliance, but at the same time, they are lively and odd and interesting - lovely in their own way.

Friday, September 9, 2011

What do U Think about the Founders? and Venti's Geekery

Whether you want to learn about beer or The Founders, there's two great beer-ducation opportunities in the next few days!

U Think on the Founders

One of the things we think about is stamps when we think of the Founders.

The postal service has been in the news - and not in a good way. We don't write many letters, but as a fan of the 19th century, we value them. And sometimes, for certain things, no amount of email, video, twitter, no amount of e-mediated word will do. Pen must strike paper and record a gesture. The hand written letter offers intimacy and immediacy - even with the time delay of delivery! - the other media cannot match.

Just consider the Burggraf letters from the Civil War.

Ben Franklin has appeared on lots of stamps, including the very first US stamp from 1847, which was denominated five cents. Ben Franklin was, of course, the first Postmaster General.

This one is the 1851 one cent issue. As the Smithsonian notes,
America’s first 1-cent stamp was pre-pay certain categories of mail, including circulars, which today might be called 'junk mail'.
Although there are certainly economies of scale in mass mailings, it's also the case that we use first class mail - the good stuff - to subsidize crap. Why should a 44 cent letter of condolence or congratulation or love subsidize the coupon circular that mails for a fraction of that? It's all backwards. Big sigh.

With fall U Think, the multi-disciplinary successor to Science Pub, moves to a new day.

On Wednesday, September 14th,
History professor Seth Cotlar will discuss the historical accuracy of Tea Party claims about America’s founders.

While the Tea Party tends to favor state over federal power, “the men who wrote the Constitution were the centralizers of their day, and almost all of them distrusted the states,” says Cotlar. “James Madison, the ‘father of the Constitution,’ went so far as to suggest that the federal government should have the right to veto any state law it found unacceptable.

“This talk will suggest some new ways to think about what the founding era can – and cannot – teach us about contemporary politics,” says Cotlar.
Cotlar probably won't talk much about Ben Franklin, and will spend more time on the authors of the Federalist Papers.

But when you think about privatising the mails, when you think about the proper scope for the Federal government, think about how great it was to have a single entity that could reliably deliver a letter anywhere in the country.

The post office today is manifestly unsustainable, and must change. But boy is this a loss we will mourn.

U Think is 6:30pm at Brown's Towne.

Beer Geekery 101

Tomorrow at 12:30pm, the Taphouse starts a new beer education and tasting series!

Don't know much about it, but there's sure to be lively conversation, a tutorial with the Beer Czar, and direct tasting! Go check it out.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lost Cider Houses: An Apple a Day Can't Keep Time Away

Buried under the Pringle Parkway and the tennis courts at Willamette University you might find traces of the early cider industry in Salem.

Unlike many historical places in Salem, though, the cider house sites themselves are also among the most intensely redeveloped in Salem and show almost no signs of the past.

Emily's terrific note in the SJ (and the follow-up) about the revival of cider making Salem made us think of the early days naturally enough. As with so many things, what's old is new!

It is possible that the first fruit processing plant in Salem made cider, and so it's no coincidence that the Salem History entry on canneries starts with a note about cider.

Still, there's not much history written on apples and apple-growing in Salem. Most of the attention has gone to cherries and prunes. The development of the Salem neighborhoods and the city limits is in many ways a history of prune orchards, especially in south Salem. Salem badly needs a history of its fruit and fruit processing facilities - especially the canneries. (Naturally, we think breweries count as "fruit processing facilities"! - wineries, too. Sometimes fruit comes to market in bottles instead of baskets!)

One of the things that was interesting about Emily's note was the comparison it brought to mind between the St. Innocent winery and Wandering Aengus cider house. St. Innocent used to be located in the industrial park near the Kroc Center. A few years ago they moved to a new winery located in the middle of the vineyards in the Eola Hills.

Wandering Aengus has wandered in the opposite direction, moving into Salem from a facility in the Eola Hills near Bethel Heights not far from St. Innocent's new site. The new cider house will be in an industrial park near I-5.

Why is this? We suspect it has something to do with fruit sourcing and logistics: How much of the cider apple harvest comes from Hood River? If it's a significant proportion, locating in the industrial park and with access to the Interstate makes all kinds of sense. It's also true that the City of Salem offered incentives for this local business.

The center of gravity for food processing used to be near the rail station and Willamette University. The rails were the interstates for the 19th and early 20th centuries, the millrace and turbines or waterwheels their power grid.

Gideon Stolz and the Early Cider Houses

In 1879, a few years after the first rails arrived, and a year after Asahel Bush finished his house, Gideon Stoltz (photographed in 1924) built the first cider house in Salem. Like the early breweries, the cider house made a beverage much safer to drink than the creek and river water so often tainted by sewage and infected with cholera and typhoid. In 1886 the cider house incorporated as the Pacific Vinegar & Pickle Company.

This clip from an 1895 Sanborn map (click on most images to enlarge!) shows the location of the cider house. The amount of change in a little over a century is staggering - or at least we are staggered.

At the top is trade street, part of the Pringle Parkway now. You see a double line down it, representing a rail line. There are also three waterways - from the top, the Mill Race, a "stream of mystery," and what we now call Shelton Ditch, just before it merges with Pringle Creek at the Church Street Bridge.

The end of the stream of mystery can be seen behind a City of Salem pump house at the corner of Bellevue and Church. Over it is a little wooden bridge, and at the confluence of it and Shelton Ditch is a seat, a boulder set in a concrete round. We've puzzled over the boulder often, and whether the designers intended it as such, we think it's a fine memorial to mystery! The stream is gone, paved over and perhaps culverted now. (Image from Pringle Creek Urban Renewal report.)

You'll also notice on the map that Shelton Ditch isn't yet ditched, and it meanders all over. The east-west streets have also been realigned and Cottage street totally disappeared in the Parkway. You can also see houses and a good bit of open space. It's not quite rural, but towards the edge of the city.

Though this photo shows Salem a little west of the spot, it will give you a feel for the density of development in the early 1890s. Liberty for example doesn't go through between Ferry and Trade, and it's just a fenced field. In the middle ground, you can see the intersection of Trade and High. In the distance, hardly discernable, is the first cider house. The foreground is the area that today has the downtown Fire Station and Pringle Plaza. Trade street isn't very wide, just a dirt track - and it meanders near Church street!

Here's the modern view of the first cider house and stream of mystery sites.

In 1891 Stolz moved the company to Portland, but he cashed out in 1894 and started the Gideon Stolz Company in 1897.

The second Stoltz Cider House (image here, also at top taken from the opposite side of the building) was built at Bellevue and Summer. Willamette purchased the property in the 60s or 70s and today there are tennis courts.

Stolz was also on City Council. In his 1927 History Robert Carlton Clark writes:
In 1901 [Stolz] became a member of the city council, serving as chairman of the committees on health and police; was reelected and served two terms as chairman of the committee on streets and public property, being also a member of the accounts and current expense committee and the fire and water committee. His most important service for the city was rendered during the administration of Mayor Rogers, when he fought courageously and persistently for the paving of the streets, none of which had been done prior to that time. He was also a strong advocate of better sewerage facilities and the development of the city water system in fact, he is known as the father of good paving in this city and in every possible way has worked for a betterment in local conditions, realizing that the future growth of the city depended largely upon its improvements.
(See Gaston also.) Stolz died in 1938 and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery.

Curiously, the Gideon Stolz company became a beer distributor, and now the Oregon Department of Transportation Traffic Signals group uses the office!

Salem Apple Growing

We would like to know more about how Stolz sourced his apples. By 1900 it seems the apple industry was already entrenched around Medford and Hood River. There must have been enough smaller apple orchards nearby in Salem, though, to supply the cider operation.

Here's an excerpt from a January 2nd, 1902 overview of the apple industry in the Oregonian.
The reason why the Willamette Valley is not a large producer of apples for export comes down from a former generation. Farmers of the Valley have not yet learned, or, perhaps, have not directed their efforts toward growing apples on a large scale. This same disposition is seen in other methods of husbandry, and will be recognized by any one who reflects on it. It pays to pack and ship apples to an outside market only when they are grown on a large scale. There are many varieties of apples in the Valley, of excellent quality, but the growers who produce a given kind in large enough measure for export are less than the number of fingers on one hand.

When the pioneers came to the Willamette Valley they planted just enough trees for family needs, or for the economic conditions of the time. Their sons have inherited this habit. The old orchards are preserved as heirlooms as if with religious devotion. They have become asylums for apple pests, and all the ills that the fruit is heir to. When they have been uprooted and renewed, they have been replaced mostly on the same plan of old Oregon. The tourist sees this even from the car window, exemplified in crooked, scraggy, gnarled trees, bent with the burden of years, clinging to the remnants of life like old men past their day.

But although little or no Valley apples go to the Eastern States or Europe, it is believed that the quality of fruit, of which this district is capable of yielding, will cope with the fastidiousness of the export trade. The problem is to produce the half dozen best varieties in sufficient quantity for shipment. Of course, this problem includes preservation of the apples from the pests which afflict it, the destruction of the orchards which now breed these pests, and the study of how to care for and mature and pack the fruit. In each of these respects Valley farmers are woefully deficient.

Influence of Climate.

It is contended by some experts that the Valley is not adapted to the production of the best apples, such as come from Hood River, and the Medford district. Its damp climate and low elevation is cited against apple culture. Foothills are said to be the most congenial environment of the fruit. Where the climate is more rigorous than in the Valley it imparts hardiness to the apples, making them more solid, more enduring and more tasteful. Experts agree that the humidity of the Valley is very deteriorating on the fruit. A merchant said, several days ago, that the very best apples on earth, packed in the most preserving manner if kept In his store one month, would sell only at third or fourth-grade prices.

Union County has a reputation for high-grade apples, and many carloads have gone East from there. It is believed that Wallowa County, when transportation facilities shall be more available, will also enter prominently into the production of apples. Elsewhere In the Northwest Northern Idaho and the Palouse country yield excellent fruit. In many places of the Northwest the codling moth has not yet made Its appearance. It is going around fast, however, and is catching up with the virgin districts.
We have an inquiry into Wandering Aengus about heritage apple orchards around Salem, but they have been busy, and we have not heard back. We hope readers might know more about old apple orchards nearby.

And to finish, here's an apple poem from 1909, given at the 3rd annual Albany Apple and Fruit Exposition. Who knows whether the problem of relabeling was real or local hype...but it's fun to imagine the "strapping fellows" singing!
The Stalwart quartet of Salem was a great hit at the Albany apple show and were called back time and again. They had to change their program in some respects and it included one original song that sets the Willamette valley fruitgrowers wild when it is presented by four big, strapping fellows, weighing upwards of 200 pounds each, and themselves fine products of the rich soil and mild climate.

Here's the ditty composed for the occasion:

Southern Oregon raises very fine melons,
This we all know very well:
But for all othei kind of farm produce
We've got 'em all skilled to hall-elujah!

Chorus -
Hall-elujah! Hall-elujah!
For apples, peaches and pears,
You bet your life we're there,
With hops and prunes to spare.

Hood River is a lovely place,
Everyone knows full well;
But when it comes to raising delicious apples
We've got 'em all beat to hall-elujah!

Chorus -

California buys Oregon fruit,
This we all know full well;
And they brand California on the end of the box,
Now isn't that meaner than all-elujah!

Chorus -

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Modern Fair Needs more Beer

What stands at the center of the wacky crossroads we call a modern Fair? Beer, that's what!

And if there's an image that ought to express the essence of the Fair, it would be hard to do better than this smiling couple.

A man with hops and his ladyfriend, and everybody's smiling. It's like he just won a crown of hops!

Alas, it's actually from Portland. Journalist John Foyston captured the Governor at the party for the Lucky Lab's neighborly brew, "The Mutt." The Mutt is a fresh hop ale made with backyard hops of uncertain and various provenance brought by friends and neighbors - no purebred, it's all mutt!

The Governor happened to be there, and he smiled. You may recall a note from a couple years back in which we thought he needed a beer. The confirmation couldn't be more gratifying.

There's something timeless about the image. Sure, the Governor doesn't need to pick hops for an income, but maybe there's something intensely regional, local, about our relation to hops and the pleasure we derive from them. (Picking hops, 1930s, Oregon State Library)

As for the Fair, we were talking with friends about the nature of the Fair. What is the proper role for a Fair in the 21st century? Does it have one? Is it too much a vestige of the 19th century?

Management shows the changing role of the fair. From the Oregon Agricultural Society in the 1860s to the State Board of Agriculture in 1891 to Oregon Parks and Recreation in 2006, there's a clear shift from farming to fun. But is it too much an amusement park sideshow today?

Happy people with hops points the way: Maybe beer and wine are the quintessential modern agricultural products! And they bridge so much: bringing together old and new, urban and rural, large and small, entertainment and farming in a way perhaps no other agricultural products do. The drinking, of course, is supremely convivial and sociable!

Can berries, tree fruit, root vegetables, leafy greens, beef, lamb, or pork do all that? A modern agricultural icon has to be something everybody wants to celebrate. Even places out east, like Joseph, Hermiston, and Burns, might have barley nearby. Everywhere in Oregon people toast and drink beer and wine, we're sure of it! Beer is the crossroads drink.

And it turns out there is a small history of beer at the fair.

The official history says that in 1952
The newly created State Fair Commission approved the sale of beer at the State Fair. The order was rescinded a few days later following protests by church groups who didn't like the idea of liquor at an event that attracted so many young people. Beer did not make a comeback until 1971.
In 1958 Lillie Ward, who became Director of the Fair in the 70s, shows the award for "Champion Malting Barley."

But well before that, Salem Beer has a long history at the fair. (The first ad at top from September 1, 1906, the second from September 18th, 1902.)

More recently, last year Rogue was at the Roof Top Pub, but they don't seem to be there this year, and the publicity for the pub stinks.

It's good that the homebrew contest made it back after the Legislature corrected an OLCC mess. But they oughta have a demonstration hopyard and vineyard, a pilot winery and brewery, and a bigger family-friendly pub - they could to tell a history of Oregon and of farming through beer and wine. That sounds like a proper fair for the 21st century!