Monday, February 27, 2012

Taproom at Adams Rib and Pliny the Younger at Ventis

We aren't the first to comment on this, but the design of Pliny the Younger uses one of the most loathed fonts in the universe.

We suppose it's to pose a childlike contrast with the Elder, but "triple IPA" is not for kids! (Nor for us, either - it's the Arnold Schwarzenegger of IPAs, hypertrophied and overwrought for our palate. But it has its fans!)

If you're-a hankering for either of the Plinys or other sought-after beers from Russian River, Ventis has you covered. (Though we think they are pressing the hype and cult of exclusivity a wee bit too far, hint, hint!)

It's great to see Eat Salem with more beer! Since we regularly get distracted with our historical divagations, we postponed a note on Adam's Rib new taproom - and a tip of the pint to Eat Salem for the scoop. (Though the post disappeared for a while, now it seems to be back.)

In any event, check out the new beer tapitude at the Rib!

Update! Venti's is offering french press dry hopping for $10. Several different kinds of hops are available, so you can go from piney to floral to citrusy as you please. Get a group of friends! It may not be something to do regularly, but as a bit of tableside pub theatre, and a way to explore the taste of different hops, it's a terrific gustatory game.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Gilgamesh Opening and Post Office Closing is Reason to Pout in our Pints

The Good News is Gilgamesh is having a Grand Opening! Eat Salem has photos of the space (in color!) and the musical lineup:
Friday Night starting at 7 will be JAMALIA
Saturday Night starting at 9 will be SUCCULENT DISH
Saturday Night at 10 will be PORCHES
But geez, the Post Office news is a bummer.

Just consider the Burggraf letters from the Civil War.

Almost exactly 150 years ago John G. Burggraf wrote about Ft. Donelson, an important early engagement for Ulysses S. Grant.

It's a sad one.
Fort Donnelson Feb 21st 1862
Dear Eliza and Children
This is the first oppertunity I have to write to you since we came here I can say after all the exposure we had in the last week I am well and I hope this may find you the same we had a very hard time of it in the last week lying out in the woods for 4 days and 3 nights without any Shelter in rain and snow and mud up to our knees no one can disscribe the horrers of this battle field withe the pen The dead and woonted lying around for 6 or 7 miles by hunderts I went thrue the Town of Dover [?] is in the fort day before yesterday and went in some 20 or 30 houses and found in every one of them Dead or wounted and legs and arms lying round in the streets and dogs knoing on them The sesesh are very sory thay have bin caut in this snap I have heard a good many say that thay would join us if we wood let them I think the next time you will here from me we will be [?] where alec for thair will be a forward movement somewhere in a day or too but where I know not I am writing this letter on a fine desk I captured in Town and I brout it to our tent for the Col Pease to write when we want any thing I can find it all we have to doo is to take it it aught to be a terrer to the sesesh to see us come but I hop we will not have to go much further before thair will be a settlement made I will send a knife home which I captured of wich thay most all have to cary to kill us with but thay dit them not much good You can get more information from Mrs Pease of the battle from Col Peases letters and from Logan when I first saw him I had just got up in the morning to get breakfast and he eat breakfast with us you may beleafe me I was glad to see him here I don't know nothing more to write at present only my prayer is that if it the will of God we may all meet in that social family circle once mor and praise him for his kind care offer us and that we may life more for him then before and tell the children that thay must obay you and be good and obedient
no more at present your
Affectionate Husband
J.G. Burggraf
Email and social media just aren't going to make up for the loss of letters, their handy gestures, and the paper itself!

We'll be pouting in plentiful pints.

Monday, February 20, 2012

John Brown's Son and the Capitol Fire: Chance Encounters on Mill Creek

Chance encounters and the ways they sometimes wrinkle time is a favorite theme; sometimes happy, sometimes not, the encounters are often interesting and enrich urban rambling in unexpected ways.

Since this month brings the birthdays of two important Presidents, the birthday of Oregon, and another sweet holiday, we offer a Valentine to history where you least expect it.

This one isn't exactly a mash note, though. The Valentine is a sad one, something of a dead-letter, broken-hearted from the rush of tragedy. It's sad history we should keep alive.

In July of 1896, just a few days after William Jennings Bryan's Cross of Gold Speech,
Two men of historical connections met by chance at McMinnville during the bimetallic convention Thursday...

Mr. Booth was introduced to a man of excellent appearance whose name was Salmon Brown. After the introduction, Mr. Booth and Mr. Brown chatted very pleasantly for a minute or two.
"Mr. Booth," said Mr. Brown, "was it your father who hanged John Brown at Harper's Ferry?"

"Yes," said Mr. Booth. "He was sheriff at that time and it was his duty to officiate at the execution. No relative of yours, I hope?"

"Only my father," was the quiet reply.

Mr. Booth and Mr. Brown walked to a quiet corner in the hotel and talked over old times for half an hour. They shook hands cordially when separating.
Tuesday was Oregon's birthday. In addition to statehood, 1859 also brought John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry.

Though we might prefer to maintain otherwise, slavery also casts its shadow over Oregon. On the 22nd Barbara Mahoney will lecture on "Slavery, Oregon Statehood and Asahel Bush." It should be a fascinating talk. (You can also read about it in Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. 110, No. 2, Summer, 2009)

One of the most interesting spots in Salem has hidden links to that birthday year and to 1935, another big year for Oregon history. First brought to our attention by fellow Urban Explorateur Agent RC, the footbridge over Mill Creek at Olinger pool is a special place. Though the creek flooded last month, the waters have receded, and it's worth a look down and around. It looks undistinguished, even ugly, but there lurks surprise! In another age it might have generated an autochthonous shrine. As it is, it should activate our senses of wonder and mystery and grief.

It is, in fact, the site of Salmon Brown's home. Salmon was the son of John Brown and lived here for a period in the late 19th century. For a while he had a butcher shop and meat market. After he left Salem for Portland he killed himself, and it is not difficult to imagine he might have been haunted by past ghosts.

Salmon's house is on the left. The image looks north from 13th and Marion, and is taken from East School (or Washington School), at the present site of Safeway. You can see the trestle as the train tracks cross Mill Creek in the far left of the image. The field on the other side of the creek is the present site of North Salem High School, and you can see the jog of the train tracks to the north and south of Market Street. The course of Mill Creek doesn't seem to correspond exactly to its current course, but it wouldn't be surprising for it to have been ditched, modified, or for a flood to have shifted its banks.*

At the end of 13th Street, there is the foot bridge, and if you look down at the creek you will sometimes see fluted columns of brick.

Here they are in front of the house before they were rolled into the creek.

The columns, you may recognize, are from the the Second State Capitol, and are ruins from the great fire of 1935. We're not sure yet how they got there.

In any event, we're not going to claim some grand epiphany here; the traces are too indirect, too fragmentary. Bigger, more direct links to the past are available in the Jason Lee house, the Waldo house, our cemeteries, lots of places and things.

But you know, the landscape is almost always richer, more deeply textured, and yes sometimes sadder, than you think.

Here's a poem by Donald Hall on encounter, detritus, small history, and loss:
The Things

When I walk in my house I see pictures,
bought long ago, framed and hanging
—de Kooning, Arp, Laurencin, Henry Moore—
that I've cherished and stared at for years,
yet my eyes keep returning to the masters
of the trivial—a white stone perfectly round,
tiny lead models of baseball players, a cowbell,
a broken great-grandmother's rocker,
a dead dog's toy—valueless, unforgettable
detritus that my children will throw away
as I did my mother's souvenirs of trips
with my dead father, Kodaks of kittens,
and bundles of cards from her mother Kate.
(John Brown from Wikipedia)

* The image is dated 1920 in the library's caption, but it is clearly from well before then, most likely the late 1880s or early 90s, shortly after the school was finished.

At the same time, the 1895 and 1926 Sanborn maps do not show a house in the same footprint, and so there may yet be some uncertainty in the identification of other images. The 1895 map shows a house and shed or barn in very much the location the older photo suggests. The 1926 map shows neither a house in the same location nor a house with the same footprint on the block. More mystery! And perhaps another note...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Zwickelmania Avoids Salem; Gilgamesh Rumors

Saturday is Zwickelmania! But once again, Salem area brewers are on the sidelines.

You'll have to go south to Corvallis or north to McMinnville for the nearest participating breweries.

Check the full list and set your itinerary here!

Gilgamesh with new Tap Room?

Also, there are rumors that Gilgamesh has finally landed in a new spot downtown! Stay tuned.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Keep Him Home Evenings: The Lure and Role of Good Beer in Domestic Relations

Keep the menfolk from the Saloons! On Valentine's Day in 1903, this ad promised results:
Keep Him Home Evenings

With the promise of a bottle of good beer - such as he knows ours to be - and see the good results. Salem beer is good for the family, better than most medicines, and you ought to have a case or two in the house right along. What did you say your street number was?

MRS. M. BECK, Prop

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

U Think on God and Country, the Prez Thinks on Pulsars

During the Civil War the United States started using "In God we Trust" on coinage. According to the Department of the Treasury, the Rev. M. R. Watkinson petitioned the Secretary of the Treasury:
The recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our coins...would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my hearth I have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters.
In 1956, just after adding "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance, we adopted it as our official motto, and it started appearing on silver certificates the following year, and our familiar greenbracks in the mid-60s . The history here is more recent than you might think!

Tomorrow night, U Think takes up this question. On Wednesday the 8th at Brown's Towne Lounge, Willamette University Professor Dr. Steven Green will talk about the invention* of our identity as a "Christian Nation."
Law professor, litigator, historian and author Steven K. Green...will present “How America Became a Christian Nation – and Other Myths.”

Green will discuss the widely held, but indeterminate belief that Christian values and traditions underlie the nation's founding principles – that America is "one nation under God." He’ll explore how this idea arose, why it is so compelling and the practical implications of claims that America is a "Christian nation." He will also discuss related myths: that people settled America in pursuit of religious freedom; and that the Founders were deeply religious men who intended for government to reinforce religious values.
Also, you may recall back in May we wished for a Science Pub with President Thorsett.

Hopefully in yesterday evening's Science Cafe for students, part of the inaugural festivities, Dr. Thorsett's talk on Pulsars will be a dry run for a properly wet pub talk!

* See the previous discussion about the invention of Jesus.

$20 bill from wikipedia