A View from the Top

This is the second state Capitol Building here in Salem…the one that burned on April 25, 1935.

Many many photographs of the views of the surrounding town were taken from the top of this cupola.  One of the early views of Salem though was a drawn as an aerial  map …before photos were readily available…

note the State Capitol building on the left (and Waller Hall at Willamette University visible as well).  The diagonal street heading off into the trees above and to the right of the Capitol is Center Street.  If you know Salem you can also probably pick out the woolen mill, the train station, Bush House.

and if you zoom in even further you can see the rudimentary beginnings of the Court Chemeketa Residential Historic District. The road running on a diagonal from the bottom left is State Street, and the last house on the north side of State is our house, before it was moved the first time in 1893.

Here are some other views I’ve found over the years…in this one looking south you can identify Eaton Hall and Waller Hall on the Willamette Campus with an early roof later destroyed by fire, and the current quad at Willamette then as a race track.

In this view looking west you can see the old Marion County Court House, the Methodist Church, the Ellis Lawrence Building and the current-day Grand Theater side by side on High Street…

I found this photo below at the Oregon Historical Society years ago looking east with Waverly Street at the bottom, Court Street to the left and State Street to the right.  The Supreme Court Building was under construction and you can see the foundation of the house that was moved to make way for the office Building…the house that was moved to our neighborhood and has been on 17th Street for over 100 years.  It was originally the residence of the Willamette University president.  The interior was remodeled by architect Pietro Belluschi in the early 1940’s for owners Phil and Lucille Schramm (Belluschi had designed a summer house for the Schramm’s on the North Santiam River and so agreed to take on the remodel as well).

(I know this house well as it backs up to our garden, with also a view of the back of the Schramm house before it was remodeled)

In the 1980’s OHS made a more detailed photo of the east-facing view for me when I was researching the neighborhood

At the bottom center of this photo below is the white Schramm House and to left is our house with the State Penitentiary visible in the background

In this photo below the large white building on the left in the photo was East School on Center Street

shown here before demolition in 1950 (site of the current Center Street Safeway).  Many photos were taken from atop this school building which had a clock tower…

(think of these kids when you run into the Safeway one day…soon I hope)

the farm house at the center of this photo below still stands at 14th and Marion.

Finally…to complete the Spaulding/Griffith story begun in yesterday’s blog post, Charles Spaulding bought two adjacent houses for his daughters as wedding presents.  Beulah (Spaulding)and Roy Mills lived at 1474 Court street from 1910 until their deaths in 1950.  Next door at 1456 were Ila (Spaulding) and Lewis Griffith who married in 1922.  Their son John S. Griffith remodeled the house in 1962 and continued to live there until his death in 2019…photos below of before, during and after.

and the two houses as they look today enshrouded in greenery…

Here’s a view looking west from the Mills’s front porch in a 1914 snowstorm and a view from the same spot in the 1990’s


across the street at 1457 lived Lewis Griffith’s parents Kate (Dalrymple) and John C. Griffith…this house below now famous for the amazing Japanese maples carefully tended by Julie Francis…

Enough history for today.  Too much information but more to come.

Keep in touch…











  1. More interesting history! Love the picture of the little fella pushing what I believe is a lawn mower. That flower is gorgeous!

  2. The Schramm house? I didn’t know I had a house there. I’m a Schramm…but the closest I ever came to you in Oregon is being born and growing up for several years in Vancouver (Canada).
    The things you learn….
    : )

      1. Yes, that would make a nice change. Like you, I am hitting a wall right about now. And the endlessly dreary weather we are having instead of our usual spring isn’t helping.

  3. Just back up and running after an electrical error. Fun to see my old neighborhood/current neighborhood in the “olden” days. Thanks.

Leave a Reply to Katy Vigeland Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s