Old East Salem

A recent conversation I had with a friend about what Salem used to look like, sent me to my photo “archive” to take a look.  Here’s the building at 12th Street and Center Street today

and here’s the old East School just before demolition in 1950 to make way for the Safeway…

and going a little further back here are some earlier Salem students at East School…maybe about 1890?

East School was fairly tall and many photos were taken from the top…here’s a view looking south with Center street in the immediate foreground and Chemeketa Street in the middle.  The building to the far right is the old state capitol building before the dome was placed on top…

and here’s a view looking east with the corner of Marion and 14th in view…

A town of small white houses, big gardens, barns…just nice to peek into the past sometimes…


  1. My paternal grandmother’s house was close to Willamette U. An old photo of her house shows a wooden boardwalk in front. (circa 1920?) I love to see old Salem photos. Thanks.

  2. At one point Claudia (1871) there was an ordinance stating that every home owner was responsible for building and maintaining a boardwalk in front of their house/business…mud…

  3. Thanks! The library’s historic photo collection has a bunch more images taken from the school – but not these, of course. It also has one taken from the old Capitol looking towards the school, sort of a mirror of the 4th image. Interestingly, even hauntingly, Salmon Brown, one of John Brown’s sons, used to live in the ‘hood, directly across from the school/safeway site.

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