In 1929, Douglas McKay, his wife Mabel and daughters Shirley and Marylou, moved to this house on Jerris Street. Mr. McKay, a veteran of World War I, had moved to Salem in 1926 and founded a Chevrolet auto dealership. In 1941, Mabel McKay and the landscape gardening firm of Lord and Schryver created a garden there. It would be the family’s only home in Salem.
A natural-born politician, McKay was Salem mayor 1933 to 1934, elected as state Senator 1935 to 1949 and became governor in 1950. President Eisenhower appointed McKay as Secretary of the Interior in 1952. After returning from Washington, D.C. in 1956, this continued to be the McKay home until his death in 1959 and Mabel’s death in 1969. A biography of Douglas McKay was published in the Salemhistory website.