World Events

  • Abraham Lincoln is elected president.
  • South Carolina secedes from the Union.
  • “Pony Express” begins mail service from Missouri to California.

In Salem
John Boon builds this store at 888 Liberty Street. Oregon had become the nation’s 33rd state this year with John Whiteaker as Governor, Lucien Heath as Secretary of State and John Boon as Treasurer. The first State Treasury was located here. A favorite trading place in Salem’s early history, the next owner, William Lincoln Wade, who built his residence on the same block, opened the building’s upper story to serve as a community hall. With the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, Fred Karr transformed into a “beer parlor”. A 1940 photograph shows John and Martha Boon’s house next door, now relocated to Willamette Heritage Center. After 1976, the commercial building was sold and reopened as “Boon’s Treasury”. Purchased by the McMenamins in 1988, it is perhaps the oldest Salem business building in its original location.

When You Visit: Boon’s Treasury
Boon’s Treasury offers food, drinks, and live music.
While you’re there, check out the 1960 historic marker at Mill Creek, across High Street behind Boon’s Treasury, to read about Salem’s founding at this location along Mill Creek in 1842.

Lincoln Wade’s Gothic-style 1870 home, formerly next door to Boon’s Store, is now located at 1305 John Street S. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Other events in Salem this year

  • With the passage of the City Charter, Lucian Heath, who had been our first state Secretary of State in 1859, was now elected our first mayor and took office on Nov. 22. Realizing the shallow wells used by residents and businesses were unhealthy, he initiated a committee of aldermen to discuss diverting water from Willamette Woolen Mill’s Salem Ditch (itself a diversion from Santiam River) to Mill Creek. Negotiations with John Force, who owned the water right, failed.
  • Edward Dickinson Baker, one of Abraham Lincoln’s closest friends, is invited to Salem. He leaves his law practice in San Francisco, to establish residence here and become a US Senator from Oregon.
  • Drake’s Iron Works is established on Front Street, beginning industrial use of our Salem downtown riverfront. Further north at Mill Creek and Liberty Street, Lucian Pratt and Joseph Watt build the successful Willamette Wooden Mill. B.M. Durelle moves his lumber mill machinery from a floating steamboat to a plant on the riverbank just north of Trade Street, but fire destroys his first plant and the replacement is washed away in a flood with in a year.
  • Asahel Bush II, prominent pioneer newspaper publisher and banker, purchases 100 acres, farmhouse and barn from Dr. David Leslie, a pioneer Methodist missionary at the Willamette Mission, who held a Salem donation land claim, for $4,000. (Mary Kinney Leslie and Rachael Beardsley Beers were among the five wives who had accompanied the missionaries to the 1837 settlement abandoned in 1841.)  The Bush family will live in the former Leslie home for the next 17 years.
  • The Rural Gothic Waller-Chamberlain house (above)  is built on State Street, probably in the present 1600 block. It was the home of Alvin Waller, a pioneer Methodist minister and supporter of the school that became Willamette University. He raised funds and oversaw construction of the First Methodist Church. In 1901, after a move to 1658 Court Street, the Chamberlain family was photographed on the front steps. This is the earliest home now in the Court-Chemeketa Historic Residential District. The present owners house remodeled the house in 1982. A few blocks away, on the northeast corner of Chemeketa and 14th streets, Joseph Holman built his log home and the first bridge across Mill Creek.
  • At 738 North Front Street, John Webster Huntington, Superintendent of Indian Affairs builds a home. In this neighborhood, bordering Marion Square Park, other notables live including E. N. Cooke, our second mayor, and Obed Dickinson, first minister of the Congregational Church. The only residence to survive is the rebuilt 1861 Wilson-Durbin House on Water Street.
  • This year, Chemeketa Lodge No. 1, Oddfellows (IOOF), established as the “Mother Lodge of Oregon”. It moves to the Holman Buildin for the next 30 years. Members of the Lodge at this time include many prominent Salem names: B. F. Harding, E. N. Cooke, Joel Palmer, Cyrus Reed and Albert Zieber.
  • Charles I. Roe becomes the second man hanged in Salem: he confessed to the murder of his (second) wife, Angelica, the motive being he “loved his wife better than life, and killed her to prevent others from enjoying her.” The hanging was 150 feet east of Church Street toward near Trade Street, adjacent to the present Lindsay Towers. Roe’s first marriage, to Nancy McKay, was part of the 1838 wedding festivities that also united Jason Lee and Anna Maria Putman at the original Willamette mission.
  • John Phillips farm is already established in Polk County by this year. This historic 1853 vernacular Greek Revival house was built for pioneer John Phillips, who came to Oregon via the Oregon Trail in 1845. He finished his journey to Oregon on the Meek Cutoff as part of Stephen Meek’s “lost wagon train”. Phillips was a native of Wiltshire England who arrived in the U.S. in 1834 and married Elizabeth Hibbard in 1839. He came to Oregon and bought the Turner donation land claim in Polk County for $100. The locale was once known as Spring Valley Ranch. John Phillips’ daughter Hannah married Samuel Barker. The grandson, Samuel E. Barker and his wife Velma were the last occupants. Their niece remembers stories that the local Native Americans would come in the back door to warm themselves by the pot-bellied stove. In 1976 the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2014 it is the oldest residence in Polk County and was owned for 156 years by the same family. This National Register property on Spring Valley Road has been unoccupied since 2002.