HISTORIC CONTEXT STATEMENT

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SILVERTON, OREGON

HISTORIC CONTEXT STATEMENT

West Main Street, Silveron, in the early twentieth century.

West Main Street, Silveron, in the early twentieth century.
(Photo by June Drake. Courtesy of Oregon Historical Society, Negative lo.: Drake 1821.)

presented to the City of Silverton, Oregon

By Gail E. H. Evans – February 1996

 

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. iii

INTRODUCTION.. 1

Temporal Boundaries. 2

Spatial Boundaries. 2

Geographic Description. 2

Methodology. 5

Document Format. 6

Endnotes. 7

PART I: HISTORICAL OVERVIEW… 8

Themes. 8

Historical Background. 8

Native Americans, Exploration & Fur Trade, and Initial Settlement (1650s-1850s). 8

Settlement and Early Transportation (1840s-1880). 13

Railroads and Industrial Growth (1880-1905). 20

Industrial Expansion in the Motor Age & Great War Years (1906-1929). 29

Decline, Depression, and World War II (1928-1945). 40

Notable People Associated with Silverton History. 43

Endnotes. 51

Related Study Units. 61

Bibliography. 62

PART II: IDENTIFICATION.. 71

Previous Surveys. 71

Resource Types & Distribution Patterns. 72

PART III: EVALUATION.. 87

Evaluation Methodology. 87

Evaluation Criteria. 87

Historic Property Registration. 89

Evaluation Criteria Rating System.. 91

PART IV: TREATMENT. 94

Survey and Research Needs. 95

Treatment Strategies. 97

 

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The completion of this Historic Context Statement owes much to the efforts of others, many of whom are past or present Silverton residents who have written about the different aspects of the town’s history. Several of their names appear in the endnotes and bibliography, which follow the “Historical Overview” section of this document. This study also benefitted greatly from the information and general helpfulness given freely by several individuals, including Jeff Brekas, Mildred Thayer, Betty and Al Hollin, Robert Edgerton, and Jim Engeman. The project as a whole has received the overall support of Historic Silverton, Inc. Any errors of historical fact or interpretation are those of the author’s alone.

 

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INTRODUCTION

This “Historic Context Statement” has been prepared for the City of Silverton in partial fulfillment of Oregon’s Land Use and Development Commission’s (LCDC) Goal 5 requirements for assessing the presence and value of historic resources in the City. In its “Comprehensive Plan” (adopted in 1979 and most recently revised in 1989) the City indicated its intention to complete an inventory of all historic resources in the City located outside the commercial district, which was formally listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. This document also complies with the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office’s (SHPO) requirements for historic context statements, which are designed to serve as the basis for a detailed inventory and evaluation of historic features. The information contained in this context statement, together with the future inventory of specific historic features in certain neighborhoods, will aid the City in making decisions about goals and strategies to protect valuable historic resources as the City grows. This context statement will also provide an overview of Silverton history that can be used for a variety of purposes by Silverton residents and the visiting public.

In general, a historic context statement describes general patterns of historical development in a community and its region during a specified time period. It identifies important trends that are represented by existing historic features, often referred to as cultural resources. This identification process helps form the foundation for planning decisions aimed at protecting and preserving valued cultural resources. The Silverton Historic Context Statement describes several broad patterns of history that relate to particular themes. Together the thematic categories and chronological periods developed by the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service provide the organizational structure for this context statement.

A knowledge of Silverton’s past is immensely important in planning the community’s future. This context statement is a vital tool for effectively targeting areas in the City and outlining tasks to be undertaken in the future in a more detailed site-by-site inventory of historic features. Information contained in this context statement and the future inventory of important historic sites and buildings will help determine planning priorities and provide greater incentive for historical designation and protection. This study also suggests methods for resolving conflicts over historic preservation issues. Finally, both the context statement and the future inventory of historic features will encourage further research on Silverton’s history and its cultural resources.

In 1986 an overview history of Silverton and inventory of forty-four buildings within approximately seven acres of the downtown core area was completed for the nomination of the City’s historic commercial district to the National Register of Historic Places, the official list of historic properties recognized by the federal government as worthy of preservation. This historic context statement and the future detailed inventory will expand on and extend beyond the information contained in that National Register nomination form.

 

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TEMPORAL BOUNDARIES

The Silverton Historic Context Statement briefly chronicles the history of the City during the period of Native American occupation, European and American exploration, and initial settlement in the Silver Creek country. It describes in greater detail the City’s history from the time of settlement through 1945.

SPATIAL BOUNDARIES

The spatial boundaries include the area within Silverton’s urban growth boundary (UGB), which embraces several acres outside the City limits, particularly around Pine Street in the northwest, Hobart Road in the north, and Water Street in the southeast. (Please see accompanying map.)

GEOGRAPHIC DESCRIPTION

Topography

Silverton is located at the eastern edge of the broad alluvial plain of the Willamette Valley, just north of an area known as the Waldo Hills, near the base of the Cascade’s western foothills. Ancient lake sediments, fluvio-glacial deposits, and volcanic pumice underlay much of the more recent river alluvium in the relatively flat northeastern and northwestern sections of Silverton. Volcanic basalt, interspersed with sedimentary stratum, characteristic of the Columbia River geologic group, are found in a large area of southwestern and southeastern Silverton. Marine sediments exist in the southeast, within the urban growth boundary.

The commercial center of town is around 250 feet above sea level. Steep- sided, wooded hills rise abruptly 200 feet or more above the narrow Silver Creek flood plain, which extends to and pinches off southeast of the center of town. North of the town center, the land levels off at about 200 feet and flattens into broad, open fields dotted with scattered individual or small clusters of trees.1

Silver Creek, a tributary of the Pudding River, which flows into the Willamette River, is a historically important natural feature inside the Silverton UGB. After leaving the human-made Silverton Reservoir south of town, Silver Creek flows in a northerly direction through the town center, then westerly toward the Pudding River. Silver Creek and, to a lesser extent, Abiqua Creek, which flows generally from east to west just north of the UGB, drain the town.

Climate & Soil

The climate throughout the Willamette Valley, and in Silverton, is relatively mild. Considering its northerly latitude, Silverton’s annual temperature fluctuations are small, ranging from only 59 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit. July temperatures average from 52 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit, while January’s average

Silverton Climate & Soil Map

Silverton Climate & Soil Map

temperatures range from 34 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit. Precipitation, primarily in the form of rain falling in the fall and winter, ranges between 40 and 50 inches annually.2

Two basic soil types exist within Silverton’s urban growth boundary. In the nearly level, lower-lying northern and northwestern sections of town, which lie at the edge of the Willamette Valley floodplain, soils are characteristically deep, silty, moderately dark, and somewhat acid. Poor drainage in this area is common. Soils in the southern and eastern sections of Silverton, where the land is hilly and begins to rise toward the western uplands of the Cascade Range, are derived from igneous, volcanic, and sedimentary rock. They are typically dark, clayey, and moderately acid. The soil and climate around Silverton have made this area well suited for growing a variety of crops, for or char ding, and for livestock grazing.3 

Native Vegetation

Since the arrival of Euro-Americans, many of the earlier open prairies have been replaced with closed-canopy oak forests. Settlers and later farmers perpetuated existing grasslands and created new ones by burning grass and clearing trees for diversified farming. The large old oak tree that once stood in the intersection of Silverton’s main commercial streets (Main and First streets) serve as a reminder of the prominent existence of oaks in the town’s pioneering years. Some Silverton street names, like Oak, Pine, Ash, Willow, and Alder streets, also suggest the presence of these tree species at the time that those particular streets were surveyed and named.

Many of the native plant and tree species that existed on the Willamette Valley floor and foothills in the past are still present within the Silverton UGB. Narrow gallery forests of deciduous and scattered coniferous trees and their understory line the moist riparian stretches of Silver Creek. Tree species in this vegetative creek corridor include Oregon white oak, red alder, big leaf maple, “and black cottonwood. On the flatter eastern margin of the Willamette Valley floodplain, which lies inside the northwestern portions of Silverton, the thick trunked, heavy-limbed Oregon white oak often stands as a conspicuous landscape feature along the edges of agricultural fields. Solitary or small open groves of old oaks are scattered throughout this section, and found at places like the Silverton Pioneer Cemetery, the intersection of Hobart and Monitor roads, and between Mark Twain School on Church Street and Mill Street. A small stand of large oaks is near the intersection of West Main and Welch streets.

Older stands of Oregon white oak are often found mixed with Douglas fir and, sometimes, western red cedar in several areas of the hilly central and southern sections of Silverton. Coolidge McClaine Park, on the west side of Silver Creek near the downtown commercial district, is heavily shaded by an aging, stately stand of oak and Douglas fir that dates from the park’s founding in the early 1900s. Open stands of mixed oak and Douglas fir cover several sections of the western slopes and ridges above Silver Creek. White oaks mixed with a few Douglas fir are also scattered along the ridge tops east of the town center. East of these ridges, a distinctive grouping of oaks are scattered throughout a meadow south of Reserve Street between East Park and East View Lane.

 

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METHODOLOGY

Preparation of the Silverton Historic Context Statement involved four often overlapping activities: review of existing historical studies, reconnaissance field survey, archival research, and information compilation

Review of Existing Studies

All existing studies, known as secondary sources, written about the history of Silverton and western Oregon were thoroughly reviewed at the outset of the project. Materials reviewed included books, published articles, dissertations and theses, booklets, pamphlets, and brochures found in or obtainable through the Chemeketa Regional Library Service and the Oregon State Library. Information gathered during the literature review helped determine an organizational Framework, based on historical themes and time periods, for the historical overview section of this context statement. In addition, by indicating the types and distribution patterns of historical features that might be likely to exist in Silverton today, this material also suggested what buildings, structures, and landscape features to look for in the field. Finally, the review of secondary sources indicated areas of missing information that would require more intensive research in other libraries and in archives.

Reconnaissance Field Survey

The purpose of the reconnaissance field, often called windshield, survey was not to gather detailed data about particular structures or sites but, instead, to get a general picture of the distribution of historic features and the overall character of streets capes, commercial buildings, residential neighborhoods, and cultural landscapes. During the field survey which involved driving and sometimes walking throughout Silverton, cultural resource types and their patterns of distribution throughout the city were recorded. Also noted were the environmental and social effects of past growth on historic features. An assessment was made of resource types that were missing from those places they were expected to be found and of the reasons for their absence. The windshield survey helped identify geographically definable concentrations of historic buildings and major cultural landscape features such as parks, cemeteries, and roadways with distinctive land-use patterns. It suggested areas that warranted a more detailed intensive survey in the future. Lastly, this visual reconnaissance raised questions that required further in-depth historical investigation in archives.

Archival Research

Although much of the information required to complete this historic context statement came from existing historical studies, some additional historical research was required when certain information was missing or the accuracy of existing material proved questionable. In such cases, historical records and documents produced and preserved from the time period of interest, known as primary sources, were consulted. Primary sources that provided valuable information for this context statement included scattered back issues of Silverton.

 

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Appeal Tribune, census records, city and county commercial directories, cemetery records, maps, and photographs. This material is housed at various repositories such as the Silver Falls Public Library (in Silverton), the Oregon State Library, the Oregon State Archives, and the Marion County Historical Society (all in Salem), the Oregon Historical Society Library (in Portland), the Kerr Library at Oregon State University (in Corvallis), and University of Oregon libraries (in Eugene).

Information Compilation

After gathering and organizing the historical information, compilation and summarization began. The Historical Overview and Identification sections of the context statement were written first. They formed the basis for the last two parts, the Evaluation and Treatment sections, which were developed in close consultation with the City of Silverton staff.

DOCUMENT FORMAT

The Silverton Historic Context Statement consists of four basic parts: “Historical Overview,” “Identification,” “Evaluation, and 11 Treatment.”

Historical Overview

The overview chronicles important events, trends, influences, and cultural values that have contributed to and help define the history of Silverton. The overview is not intended to be a definitive history of Silverton but, rather, a summary of broad patterns of change and continuity over time. The overview is organized according to historical themes and chronological periods suggested by the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service. The broad themes characterizing the historical development and cultural resources of Silverton include: settlement, agriculture, transportation, commerce, manufacturing and industry, government, and culture (such as architecture, education, fraternal movements, religion, medicine, and recreation).

Identification

Based on information presented in the Historical Overview and previous inventories of historic sites in Silverton, this section identifies the types and distribution of cultural resources that are known or likely to exist in the city. Historic photographs, maps, and other records, as well as a visual inspection of all areas in town, provided information that helped approximate the date of roads, neighborhoods, and landscape features.

Evaluation

Following the completion of the first two parts, the Evaluation section

 

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presents a method for evaluating the types and condition of extant cultural resources in Silverton. It suggests a criteria for evaluating the significance of Historic, architectural, and cultural landscape features by defining those characteristics of good and best existing examples of each resource type.

Treatment

The Treatment section focuses on the future research and inventory needs that have been identified in the other three sections of the context statement. In this section specific recommendations for protecting Silverton’s cultural resources are outlined. Recommended strategies for treating the City’s cultural resources were devised in consultation with the City planner and are directly linked to the City’s planning goals and priorities as articulated in its Comprehensive Plan.

Endnotes

  1. William G. Loy, Atlas of Oregon (Eugene: University of Oregon, 1976), 108-109, 116-17; Ewart M. Baldwin, Geology of Oregon (Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1976, 39-47; “Silverton Quadrangle”, Oregon map and “Stayton NE Quadrangle, Oregon” map (Denver, Col.: U.S. Geological Survey, 1956, photo revised 1985 [Silverton] and 1969 [Stayton NE] ).
  2. Loy, Atlas of Oregon, 130-39; Richard M. Highsmith, Jr., Atlas of Oregon Agriculture (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1962), 6-11.
  3. Loy, Atlas of Oregon, 124-25; Jerry F. Franklin and C. T. Dyrness, Natural Vegetation of Oregon and Washington, U.S. Forest Service General Technical Report, PNW-8 (Portland, Oregon.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1973), 15-16.

 

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PART I: HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

THEMES

Historical themes and chronology provide the basic organizational framework for this Historical Overview. This section begins with a compressed history of Native American occupation, exploration and fur trade, and initial Willamette Valley settlement. The sections that follow discuss: Silverton settlement and early transportation (1840s-1880); railroads and industrial growth (1880-1905); industrial expansion in the progressive era and motor age (1906-1928); and decline, depression, and World War II (1928-1945). Each section includes a brief history of landscape changes. Notable individuals known for their contribution to Silverton’s development are then briefly described. Endnotes referencing material cited are followed by a bibliography, which gives a complete list of the sources consulted in preparing this overview.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Native Americans, Exploration & Fur Trade and Initial Settlement (1650s1850s)

The following discussion of aboriginal history in the Silverton area focuses on the period just before and during Native Americans’ contact with non-native explorers, fur traders, and initial settlers. This does not mean, however, that the mid-Willamette Valley did not support humans long ago. After Pleistocene Age glaciers retreated from the lower Columbia River Basin for the last time eleven thousand years ago and marshlands and shallow lakes slowly receded from the Willamette Valley’s floor, the natural environment became hospitable for humans. About six thousand years ago, native groups gradually descended from the surrounding hills where they had lived for the previous two to four thousand years and began to inhabit the valley floor. 1

Over two hundred years ago, the present site of Silverton was at the periphery of contiguous overlapping territories occupied by Native Americans belonging to two different language families: the Kalapuya and the Molala. Between the late 1700s and the 1830s, when European explorers and fur traders ventured into the Pacific Northwest, several different groups of Kalapuya occupied the Willamette Valley from the falls at present-day Oregon City to the Umpqua River watershed. One dialectic band of the Kalapuya, the Ahantchuyuk or Pudding River Indians, ranged over country west of Silver Creek and south of the Pudding River’s convergence with the Willamette. East and north of land occupied by the Ahantchuyuk band, the Molala language family was widely dispersed along the western slopes of the Cascades from present-day Clackamas County in the north to the headwaters of the Rogue River in the south. Some Molala bands traveled as far east as the Deschutes River drainage. Although the Kalapuya and Molala like all Oregon native cultures did not adhere to the concept of land ownership and had somewhat fluid territorial borders, each group believed that it had the right to use and occupy its own particular territory. 2

The Ahantchuyuk group, like the other Kalapuya bands, relied heavily on edible native plants, particularly camas (lily) shoots and bulbs as well as wapato,

 

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tarweed seeds, hazel nuts, and a wide variety of other leaves, roots, seeds, and berries. The Kalapuya used more than fifty different types of plants for food and medicine. Mammals such as deer, elk, beaver, otter, and muskrat, along with migratory birds, fresh-water fish, crustaceans, and insects, supplanted their basic vegetarian diet. Tobacco, dried for smoking, was the only plant cultivated by the Kalapuya. The semi-nomadic Kalapuya pursued their many land-based subsistence activities of harvesting and hunting on a seasonal basis according to the availability and location of various food sources. From March, when the first camas shoots sprouted in moist wooded margins and open plains, through September and October, when tarweed seeds and grasshoppers were gathered on dry grassy prairies and acorns were collected in oak woodlands, the Kalapuya periodically moved their temporary windbreak shelters or open-air campsites to several different ecological habitats. In the cool wet winter months, the Kalapuya lived in long, multi-family lodges built of sticks, bark, and grasses grouped together in autonomous villages. From these they periodically set off on trips to hunt elk in open country on the Willamette Valley floor and white-tailed deer in dense woods and brush on the lower foothills of the Cascades. Prior to European presence in the area, the Kalapuya traded certain goods, implements, and slaves with native groups on the Columbia River, the Oregon coast, and in northern California, with the Cayuse in northeast Oregon and southern Washington, and with the Molala in the Cascades. About 100 square miles supported the subsistence activities of about 50 Kalapuya, allowing for a maximum population of 13,500 in the entire Willamette Valley. In 1780, on the eve of European contact, an estimated total of 3,000 Kalapuya occupied the valley; at that time around 200 Ahantchuyuk ranged over the Pudding River drainage. 3

Like the Kalapuya, the Molala followed a pattern of seasonal subsistence. In winter they camped in semisubterranean houses along streams at lower elevations on the western Cascade slopes. Summers were spent gathering roots and berries and hunting deer, elk, and bear in higher mountainous country. The Molala had a close trading and social association with the Klamath Indians in the central Oregon plateau region. Seasonally they traveled over the Cascades on the so-called “Klamath Trail,” which passed through the headwaters of the Santiam River to the Waldo Hills and across Silver Creek, about two miles southeast of present-day Silverton, and north to Abiqua Creek and beyond. Intermarriage between the Molala and the Klamath Indians was not uncommon. This alliance eventually contributed to the ultimate demise of the Molala after Euro American overland immigrants, in increasing numbers, settled in the Willamette Valley in the 1840s. 4

The Molala of the mid-Willamette Valley and western Cascade foothills as well as the Ahantchuyuk Kalapuya actually began experiencing grave and ultimately fateful consequences of non-Indians’ arrival in the Pacific Northwest long before armed clashes with Euro-American settlers in the Silver Creek area. Disruption leading to the eventual physical removal of these Native American groups occurred over seventy-five years in three major stages: exploration and fur trade (1770s to 1830s), initial settlement (1810s to 1840s), and armed clashes and relocation (1840s-1850s). During each period the existence of indigenous peoples was challenged in different ways.

Imported diseases of various kinds wreaked havoc with native populations throughout the Northwest, including the area around Silver Creek, during the

 

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period of exploration and fur trade. Soon after the Spanish government sent expeditions under Juan Perez, Bruno Heceta, and Bodega y Quadra to explore the Pacific Northwest shoreline in 1874 and English navigator Captain James Cook sailed along the Oregon coast in 1778, a plague, probably smallpox, swept through the Northwest in the early 1780s. Since Native Americans had not developed an immune resistance to foreign-born diseases, thousands living in the Columbia River Basin fell victim to this scourge and died. Mortality may have reached 2,000 among the Kalapuya in the lower Willamette Valley. In the 1790s venereal diseases, introduced by sailors and traders to natives at the mouth of the Columbia, slowly spread inland and took a deadly toll. Not long after the 1805-1806 Lewis and Clark expedition traveled down the Columbia River and passed by the mouth of the Willamette, fur trading and hunting exploits of men employed by John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company (headquartered at Astoria from 1810 to 1813), the Montreal-based North West Company (that bought Astor’s firm in 1813), and the British Hudson’s Bay Company (that took over the North West Company in 1821) traveled through the Willamette Valley. Men like Donald McKenzie (in 1812), William Wallace and J. C. Halsey (in 1812), William Henry (in 1813 and 1814), Alexander Henry (in 1814), Thomas McKay (in 1820 and 1821), and leaders of the Hudson’s Bay annual Southern Expeditions (from 1825 into the early 1840s), as well as independent fur trappers like Regis Bruguier and countless others, may have wandered through Silver Creek country. During this period, other virulent fevers and epidemics, especially in 1823-1824, spread through the lower Columbia and into the Willamette Valley. Natives experienced the greatest disaster between 1830 and 1833 when an epidemic described as “fever and ague,” probably malaria, ravaged natives up and down the West Coast and interior valleys. Entire villages and bands were completely wiped out. The effects of the epidemic, which climaxed the rapid decline of the Kalapuya, continued for a decade. When U.S. Navy Captain Charles Wilkes, in 1841, led his expedition into the Willamette Valley as far south as the present site of Salem, he reported that the Kalapuya numbered about 600. Not surprisingly, several Willamette Valley explorers, fur traders, and the earliest settlers described native peoples as greatly diminished in number, disorganized, and demoralized.5

In addition to diseases, the arrival of non-natives in the Willamette Valley brought about the gradual depletion of the Kalapuya’s and Molala’s subsistence economy. Beginning in the early 1810s, fur trading company trappers and hunters in the valley began to reduce the once abundant deer, elk, bear, beaver, and otter, upon which aboriginal groups depended for food and trade. By the mid-1820s, years of trapping and trading had extinguished beaver throughout most of the Willamette Valley and greatly reduced the number of large game animals. Additionally, beginning on a small scale in the early 1810s when retired fur trading company employees began settling on French Prairie between the Pudding and Willamette rivers, and continuing into the 1830s when Jason Lee’s Methodist Mission was founded further upstream on the Willamette, cultivating, livestock grazing, and fence-building practiced by these early French Canadians and Euro-American settlers encroached on the Ahantchuyuk band’s food-gathering territory, thus depriving them of vital vegetable stables. Horses and eventually cattle trampled or consumed numerous plants. Swine ate camas and acorns. Plowing for small wheat fields and vegetable gardens disturbed camas and wapato beds. Fences inhibited seasonal animal movements. In 1838 about 26 families lived in the French Canadian colony on French Prairie; in 1841 this colony of settlers numbered 61 families. An estimated 400 non-natives lived in the

 

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Willamette Valley, mostly in Marion County, in 1841.6 At this time, some valley residents and travelers reported that the Kalapuya had been starving.7 Greatly diminished food sources lowered Native Americans’ resistance to disease.8

The continued white encroachment on native territory, the few armed clashes that did occur, and the physical removal of Indians by the passage of laws completed the collapse of the Kalapuya and Molala cultures in the 1840s and 1850s. Glowing reports of the Willamette Valley’s mild climate and promising potential for farming encouraged the first large overland migration to the region in 1842. The following year, nearly 900 emigrants traveled over the Oregon Trail; some settled on land in the hill country (Waldo Hills) southwest of present-day Silverton and on prairie grasslands (Howell Prairie) to the west. In 1845, 3,000 more settlers arrived in Oregon country; a few settled near Abiqua and Butte creeks as well as in the Waldo Hills and on Howell Prairie. Greatly weakened Ahantchuyuk and Molala bands continued to loose their lands and food sources as thousands of pioneer immigrants, some of whom brought swine and herds of cattle, poured into the Willamette Valley during the next three years, claimed ownership of the land, and began farming. In early March 1848, uneasy settlers living in the vicinity of Silverton attacked a group of Molala, led by Crooked Finger, who had been joined at their camp on Abiqua Creek by some Klamath that had arrived in the area over the Klamath Trail. During a two-day conflict known as the 11 Abiqua War, 11 about a dozen Klamath Indians were killed; soon afterward Klamath survivors left the country. In 1851 only 123 northern Molala remained. 9

Following the Abiqua War, laws passed in the 1850s further disrupted the lives of the few remaining Kalapuya and Molala in the Silver Creek area and brought about their final demise. In 1850 Congress passed the Oregon Donation Land Law allowing each male settler and Indian of mixed white-native parentage, who were over the age of eighteen and had been living in the Oregon Territory on December 1, 1850, to gain title to 320 acres. Wives of male claimants could acquire an additional 320 acres. Those who arrived between 1850 and 1855 could obtain a smaller tract. A total of 7,437 claimants in Oregon acquired free land under this act. These generous land policies, which encouraged a great surge of immigration to western Oregon, took 2,500,000 acres from the natives’ land base in the Willamette Valley. Four years later, the Oregon Territorial Legislature enacted a law that banned the sale of firearms to the Molala, Kalapuya, and other Indians, forcing them to use their traditional weapons to hunt whatever scarce game still existed in the Willamette Valley. Finally, in January 1855, by federal laws that established treaties the few remaining Molala and Kalapuya ceded all of the valley (over 7,500,000 acres) and agreed to move onto reservations. For a brief time, the northern Molala lived on a temporary reservation on Silver Creek. By the fall of 1856, all the Native Americans in the Willamette Valley had been moved to the 60,000-acre Grand Ronde Reservation west of the Cascades in the Yamhill River headwaters. About 74 northern Molala lived there in 1870. In 1880, 351 Kalapuya in all lived on the Grand Ronde Reservation. Today both the Molala and Ahantchuyuk cultures are extinct. Reminders of their presence in the Silver Creek area exist only as place names: the Mollala River and town and Crooked Finger Prairie, a few miles southeast of Silverton. 10

Long after native groups left the area around present-day Silverton, another remnant of their culture subtly persisted–their landscape. Since at least the mid-1600s, the Kalapuya had altered their natural environment by

 

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burning extensive sections of the Willamette Valley in order to enhance the availability of food and other resources essential to their subsistence culture. Native peoples derived many benefits from burning. By setting fires to the valley’s dry grasslands in late summer the Kalapuya encouraged the growth of the vital camas lily and a variety of other edible plants and seeds that proliferated amidst broad expanses of tall grasses. They eliminated camas’s competition. They increased the production of acorns without damaging the Oregon white oak, with its fire-resistant, cork-like bark. They cleared and fertilized land for

(From Carl Johannessen, et al., "The

(From Carl Johannessen, et al., “The
Vegetation of the Willamette Valley,” p. 289.)

growing tobacco. They created numerous transitional ecosystems, or ecotones, between prairie and forest, such as those where Howell Prairie meets the forested hillsides converging on Silver Creek. This ecotone supported a profusion of woody shrubs that attracted deer and other wild game hunted by both the Kalapuya and Molala. The Kalapuya ritual of annual burning, in short, maintained a subclimax ecosystem of extensive grasslands and camas prairies broken here and there by large solitary or small stands of oak, along with isolated forest patches of fir and maple along river banks and on the moister northern slopes. Frequent fires prevented the growth of dense continuous forests that would have otherwise invaded the valley floor. Many fur trappers, traders, and explorers recorded their encounters with and the effects of burning, which continued in some sections of the valley into the 1840s. It was this cultural landscape–a natural environment significantly modified by the Kalapuya practice of seasonal burning– that the first Euro-American settlers along Silver Creek inherited. 11

 

The Willamette Valley landscape settlers encountered in the 1830s and 1840s above Willamette Falls shared several features. Typically, narrow gallery forests of deciduous trees composed of Oregon ash, cottonwood, willows, red alder, and big leaf maple bordered the Willamette River and tributary streams. Douglas fir and western red cedar were dispersed throughout. The understory of these forests consisted of shrubs, like hazelnut, ocean spray, and snow berry with smaller plants, including cheat grass, Oregon grape, and tarweed,

 

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at their dryer margins. Gallery forests narrowed along smaller tributary streams like Silver Creek. Back from the gallery forests, a variety of grasses, flowers, and scattered groupings of Oregon white oak trees, or oak savanna, thrived in open meadows, such as the relatively flat areas in the northern and western sections of Silverton. According to one traveler’s account written in 1837, “the general aspect of the plains is prairie, … covered with the richest grasses, 8 to 12 inches tall, . . . but well interspersed with woodlands, presenting the most beautiful scenery imaginable.”12 In the foothills, such as those rising up in the southern sections of present-day Silverton, hardwoods, including big leaf maple, western oak, and madrone flourished. 13

Settlement and Early Transportation (1840s-1880)

Willamette Valley prairies, particularly their wooded margins at the base of upland hills, provided an ideal environment for pioneer settlement. Edges of grassy prairies did not require clearing forests, and their rich soils invited the cultivation of wheat and vegetables as well as grazing. Douglas fir for shelter, fencing, and tools, and oak for firewood could be obtained from nearby stands. Moreover, these upland margins were far less likely to flood in the wet winter and spring months. Early Willamette settlers often selected land near prairie-woodland borders. By the mid-1840s, settlement in the middle Willamette Valley no longer remained concentrated around French Prairie and the open country fifteen miles upstream (at Salem), but extended into desirable prairie-forest margins in the Salem and Eola hills, Rickreall Valley and the Dallas area, and eastward into the Silver Creek area. 14

Sparse settlement existed in the Silver Creek country, northeast of the concentration of families in the Salem

Sparse settlement existed in the Silver Creek country, northeast of the concentration of families in the Salem
area, between 1841 and 1848 . (From Lloyd Black, “Middle Willamette Valley Population Growth , ” p. 43 . )

 

Sparse settlement existed in the Silver Creek country, northeast of the concentration of families in the Salem area, between 1841 and 1848. (From Lloyd Black, “Middle Willamette Valley Population Growth, ” p. 43.)

 

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Soon after early settlers had taken up some of the most desirable land in the Waldo Hills, on Howell Prairie, and along Butte and Abiqua creeks in 1844 and 1845, several immigrants settled on land in the vicinity of present-day Silverton. In 1846 James Brown, a native Kentuckian who had helped lead a group of overland travelers to the Oregon country, arrived at Silver Creek in October that year. Here he claimed land in part of the future site of Silverton and operated what is thought to be Oregon’s first leather tannery until1849. Peter Cox, a native of Virginia who traveled west that year with several members of his family, acquired land just west of the future Silverton town site. One year later in 1847, John Barger, and native Missourian, settled on what became a 640-acre donation land claim that included the southern part of Silverton. The previous year, Barger and native Pennsylvanian James Smith had erected a lumber mill on Silver Creek about two miles upstream from the future Silverton town site, at a place known as Milford. In 1848 James Smith, at age 53, claimed land near this mill site on Silver Creek. Beuford Smith, a native Virginian, likewise settled on Silver Creek in 1848. By then several other settlers had claimed land in the surrounding Silverton hills and in the vicinity of nearby Abiqua Creek. 15

In 1848 settlement activity near present-day Silverton was interrupted by an event that occurred far from Silver Creek–the discovery of gold on the American River in northern California. From Europe, Asia, and all regions of North America, including the Oregon Territory, eager fortune-seekers became part of a mass migration of humanity to the California gold fields. Countless hundreds, possibly two thousand in 1848 alone, left the territory. That year Oregon probably experienced a net population loss. John Barger and James Brown both joined the flood of Silver Creek country pioneers who headed south in 1848 and 1849. Although Barger and Brown only remained away from their families and homesteads for a few months, many argonauts never returned. Of the estimated 35,000 who took part in the great overland migration in 1849, only about 400 came to the Willamette Valley. Despite the immediate disruption caused by gold discovery, its long-term impacts proved far more consequential. By 1850, those who had remained in the Oregon Territory began realizing that money could be made from supplying the California miners with agricultural products 1 like flour 1 meat, and fruit, and with lumber shipped over the Columbia River and the Pacific to San Francisco. Increased market demands and the influx of currency from California bolstered trade opportunities. In short, the Gold Rush wrought profound changes throughout the Willamette Valley by stimulating commercial farming and industry, as well as the growth of towns, where grist and saw mill operations and supplies for farmers were located. Additionally, the promise of free land for farming provided by the 1850 Oregon Donation Land Claim Act (described earlier) helped induce many overland immigrants to seek economic opportunities in the Oregon Territory, rather than the California gold fields. 16

In the 1850s, changes in the Silver Creek country reflected the combined positive effects of the California Gold Rush and the Donation Land Claim Act. Between 1851 and 1854, many overland immigrants arriving in the Oregon Territory filed land claims in and around the future town site of Silverton. In the fall of 1851, Dr. Benjamin Davenport and his wife Sarah (grandparents of early twentieth- century political cartoonists Homer Davenport) claimed 320 acres south of Silverton in the Waldo Hills. That same year, Ai Coolidge and two brothers, all natives of Ohio, filed claims on land southeast of the future Silverton town site. During the winter of 1851-1852, Ai Coolidge cut logs for pioneer settler Beuford

 

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Smith, who had recently begun operating a saw mill in Milford, not far from the existing mill of John Barger and James Smith. To serve the needs of the growing number of settlers in the area, other businesses began in Milford over the next several months, including a general merchandise store opened by Ai Coolidge and a flour mill constructed by Beuford Smith. The stream of settlers into the area north of Milford continued over the next two years with the arrival, in 1852, of Paul and Sarah Crandall and their married daughter Polly, who planned to join her husband Thomas Coon on land just north of John Barger’s land claim. In 1853 Anson Hobart and Erhard and John Wolfard, father and son, claimed land near Silverton. One year later, Waite and Holland erected the first commercial building, a general merchandise store, on part of the Barger donation land claim (in the east side of the 300 block of South Water Street). On nearby land along Silver Creek, John Barger and James Smith, who abandoned their flour mill in Milford, began erecting a new mill in 1854. Soon a blacksmith shop opened for business. That same year, Polly Crandall Coon, following the death of her husband in January 1854 and perhaps in need of income, platted a fourteen-block town site along the east side of Silver Creek, on the Coon claim, in preparation for the sale of lots. 17 All these simultaneous activities marked the beginning of a new town on Silver Creek in 1854.18 Although the town site was probably first known as Silver Creek, then Bargerville (after John Barger), it began to be called Silverton by September 1855. 19

Over the next decade, Silverton’s business and industrial section slowly expanded in response to the local needs of settlers in the surrounding farming district who grew a variety of vegetables and fruits for household consumption as well as commercial quantities of grain (primarily wheat and to a lesser degree oats) , potatoes, cattle, and pigs for export. 20 In 1855 several buildings were moved from Milford, where the steeply sloping hillsides converging on Silver Creek limited future expansion, to Silverton’s platted town site that offered level, relatively easy-to-purchase, 99 x 132-foot lots for about $25. each. The relocation of Ai Coolidge’s two-story, wood-frame general merchandise store building proved to be one of the more ambitious and enterprising efforts. According to local folklore, Coolidge kept his store open for business during the two-mile move to Silverton that took several weeks. (Three years later, Coolidge again moved his store to East Main Street.) Joining Ai Coolidge’s general merchandise store that year was a machine shop. A post office was established in Silverton in 1855 to receive weekly deliveries of mail. Two years later, English-born Charles Worthington opened the first drug store in Silverton. In 1860 the Solomon and Edward Hirsch brothers who had emigrated from Germany in the early 1850s, opened a general merchandise store on Main Street. Unlike most mid-Willamette Valley settlers whose native states were in the upper South or Midwest, Worthington and the Hirsch brothers were one of the very few foreign-born early Silverton residents. 21 The early 1860s also witnessed the establishment of a tannery, which made use of water from Silver Creek. At that time Silverton had a population of about 140. 22

By the mid-1860s, adjoining one- and two-story false-fronted, wood frame commercial buildings lined the creek side of Water Street and stood along both sides of Main Street between Water and First streets. Wooden board walks that aligned these business blocks helped keep pedestrians feet above the mud during the long rainy season and away from horses and wagons tied up along the streets. Dominating the intersection of Main and First streets stood the imposing trunk

 

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and expansive limbs of an old white oak, which served as a focal point of commercial and social activity in the town. 23 Homer Davenport, native Silvertonian who became one of America’s best known early twentieth-century political cartoonists, recalled watching some of the town’s “leading citizens playing marbles in its extensive shadow.” In Davenport’s view, “the old Silverton was given a certain dignity by [this] very large and remarkably shaped old oak tree.” 24

Silverton’s founding and its initial growth as a center of business and industry benefitted somewhat from its close proximity to a territorial road. This road afforded the infant town some access to outside markets that it otherwise lacked since it was not on part of the navigable Willamette River system. Authorized by the territorial government in 1849, territorial roads were twelve-foot wide public roads, cleared of trees, logs, and other obstructions, built for the purpose of connecting sizeable towns. Of the 100 roads established by the territorial legislature the only 2 of importance extended the length of the Willamette Valley on both sides of the valley. Since bridges were not constructed until the late 1850s, the east-side territorial road avoided large rivers by following a route along the upland edge of the valley where smaller streams could be forded. This road extended from Oregon City to Silverton (roughly along the route of present-day Oregon Highway 213), and then to Sublimity, Lebanon, Brownsville, the Springfield vicinity, and Cottage Grove. In the early 1850s, the territorial road crossed Silver Creek slightly north and west of Silverton’s future platted town site. Throughout most of the 1850s, stock and heavy freight loads of wheat could not be transported over the Silverton territorial road between October and May when it became a river of mud. Limited county funds available for improving territorial roads made them impassable most of the year. At a special plank road meeting held in Silverton in May 1858, disgruntled settlers living along the road complained that the deplorable road conditions had caused farmers to turn from wheat growing, which was too cumbersome to transport, to fruit growing. Even fruit, however, could not be transported under the existing road conditions. Soon a Silverton Plank Road Company was formed and a plank road begun between Silverton and East Portland. Although planking was never completed, this road remained in use as a toll road into the 1870s. Additionally, when Oregon achieved statehood in 1859, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation mandating that 5 percent of the net proceeds from the sale of public land to be spent on road building and other internal improvements. Territorial roads slowly began improving in the early 1860s. 25

Gradual improvements made to the east-side territorial road contributed somewhat to Silverton’s slow but continued growth in the 1860s. The construction of the first brick commercial building in 1868 and the comer of East Main and First streets signaled local merchants’ growing sense of confidence in Silverton’s future, and presented an image of permanence. By then Silverton’s business section consisted of three general merchandise stores (Davenport & Wolfard, Levy & Herman, and Charles Worthington), a harness and saddlery shop (operated by G. W. Hobart) , two blacksmith shops, two wagon shops, a drug store, a carding Machine,and two grist mills. The Davenport & Wolfard general merchandise store, which occupied the brick edifice soon after it was built, reportedly made sales of $30,000 a year. In 1870 Silverton population numbered around 150. 26 Silverton witnessed some growth during the 1870s. In 1873 the town was second in size, after Salem, in all of Marion County, which then boasted a

 

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population of over 9, 700. 27 That year a stage running between the state capitol and Silverton initiated daily mail service. In addition to its general merchandise stores, blacksmiths, harness and saddlery shops, a wagon maker, and druggist, mostly concentrated along Water and Main streets, the community now supported two saloons, a book shop, bootmaker, carpenter, and cooper, three physicians, an attorney, and a justice of the peace. “Handsome residences” were scattered around town. 28 Silverton’s industrial enterprises included a sash and door factory and a new flour mill, erected by Ai Coolidge and Jake McClaine on Water Street for around $15,000 drew water from Silver Creek for power. In 1878 this mill, then known as Cooper and Company, had a capacity of about 100 barrels a day. A small new plat, the Skaife and McIntosh Addition, filed and surveyed in 1879, became the site of the Skaife and McIntosh gristmill in the 1870s and early 1880s. With many channels of trade from the surrounding farming country converging at Silverton in the late 1870s, contemporaries confidently proclaimed that Silverton’s ‘future of permanent prosperity seemed assured.’ By the late 1870s Silverton’s population reached around 200. 29

Like many of the Willamette Valley’s early towns, Silverton functioned as more than a local center of commerce and industry. As the rural population throughout Silver Creek country increased, Silverton became the center of educational, social, and religious activities as well. Public education for the children of the earliest Silver Creek settlers began even before the founding of Silverton. In 1849 students attended the first school located on the north bank of Silver Creek near the present intersection of North Water and Grant streets. The next fall, a small unsubstantial pole and board schoolhouse opened on land claimed by Thomas Coon (who taught there in 1852 and 1853) near the future intersection of Oak and Water streets. In 1855, coinciding with the organization of the Silverton school district, a new 20 x 30-foot schoolhouse of dressed lumber was built on Water Street, a quarter mile north of Main Street. By 1862, a two-story, two-room school building stood between North Water and First streets alongside what is now Park Street. Between 1860 and 1870, the school-age population (those between ages four and twenty) increased from 96 to 191 pupils. 30

The Silverton School District demonstrated its early interest in progressive education when, in the fall of 1866, it hired Dartmouth graduate John P. Hunt to found an institution that offered college-level curriculum as well as lower-division courses. Although the so-called “Silverton College” was immediately proclaimed “second to none in the state in discipline and thoroughness” and enrolled over 100 students its first year, the school had only one brilliant commencement, in March 1868, before Hunt resigned and left Silverton. 31 No replacement was ever hired. Although short-lived, Professor Hunt’s Silverton College is said to have brought an atmosphere of culture and learning to the community that remained for many years.

Between 1854 and 1880 1 Silverton also gradually became a central meeting place for fraternal organizations. Around 1866 the Independent Order of Good Templers, a temperance society dedicated to building support for a liquor-free community, organized and began drawing people from the surrounding country to its meetings in Silverton. In the 1870s, the Good Templers met on the second floor of a building that housed a wagon shop at the corner of Main and First streets. The Good Templers’s influence waned by the 1880s as other fraternal

 

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groups organized and attracted members. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) organized in Silverton around 1868. Beginning at that early date, the Odd Fellows held meetings on the second floor of Silverton’s first brick building at the southwest corner of East Main and First streets. Also in January that year, the Masonic fraternity, Lodge No. 45, held its first meeting; it was chartered in June that year. By 1870, twenty men had applied for membership in the Masons. The group first held its meetings in a hall on Water Street but by the mid-1870s relocated to the upper floor of a wood-frame commercial building on the south side of East Main Street between Water and First streets. 32

The gathering places of various organized religious groups in and around Silverton often predated the construction of actual church buildings. Various Christian denominations first met in the early 1850s at revival camp meetings held at Abiqua Creek, the Pudding River, North Howell, and at Silver Creek, west of the Silverton town site. As early as 1856, circuit riders began stopping in Silverton to attend to the needs of the community’s Methodists. This denomination organized the first Sunday school in Silverton in 1870. During the 1870s, Silverton’s small group of Methodists helped purchase and held public services in the Good Templers two-story building. Here they remained until 1882 when the newly consolidated Methodist-Episcopal congregation built its own church building near the southwest corner of West Main and Church (now Fiske) streets. Members of the Christian Church, also known as the Disciples of Christ, living in Silver Creek country organized in 1851, and first met in the home of Elias Cox, who filed a donation land claim just west of the future Silverton town site in Bethany that same year. A church building, known as the Bethany Christian Church, was erected on the Cox property in 1858. Members didn’t organize a Silverton church until 1887. A third Christian denomination, Baptists, organized in Silverton in 1863; members disbanded, however, not long afterward. 33

Landscape changes during Silverton’s period of settlement and early transportation provided

The fenced separation of different land uses on the C. Geer farm in the Waldo Hills south of Silverton suggests

The fenced separation of different land uses on the C. Geer farm in the Waldo Hills south of Silverton suggests
the ordered appearance that the landscape near Silverton took on by the 1870s. (From Edgar Williams & Company,
Historical Atlas Mao of Marion & Linn Counties, Oregon, p. 42.)

visual evidence of the cultural differences between Native American and Euro-American uses of the land. Throughout the Willamette Valley and in the countryside around S:i!lverton, new arrivals claimed ownership of the choice grassy prairies near woodland edges and the sparsely timbered oak openings. During the first years of occupancy, land owners erected rudimentary shelters for their families and barns and outbuildings and built split picket and rail fences to enclose the household garden, small

 

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orchards, and agricultural fields and to protect livestock and harvested crops. Land under cultivation gradually increased over the years from less than sixteen to as much as forty or fifty acres as market demands increased and transportation gradually improved. By the 1870s I the agrarian landscape in and around Silverton, where fences, roads, and waterways marked edges separating different land uses, acquired an appearance of order. Unplowed hillsides and prairies no longer subject to seasonal burnings began filling in with oak woodland. Stands of small trees, particularly Douglas fir and white oak, began to invade the surrounding hillsides. Existing forested lands were left uncleared. In moister places, forested areas acquired a thicker understory of plants and shrubs. 34

Beginning in 1854, when Polly Crandall Coon platted the Silverton town site along the east bank of Silver Creek, the geometric regularity associated with Euro-American land ownership became more apparent. Although slightly eschewed from a precise north-south compass orientation, suggesting the importance of Silver Creek to the town economy, the original Silverton plat established a well-defined grid pattern of right-angle streets, square blocks, and rectangular lots. Except where the creek bank dropped off sharply on the west, the town plat dominated the natural landscape. A similar grid pattern of burial plots also had been laid down on a small hillside west of town where area settlers set aside land for the Silverton Cemetery shortly before the creation of the town plat. As the town slowly grew between the mid-1850s and 1880, this established grid encouraged the orderly alignment of commercial and industrial building facades and the consistent setback of residences. Silverton’s emerging landscape of settlement, superimposed as it was on the Native American landscape of subsistence economy, reflected the practices of a new culture that embraced the concepts of land ownership and a market economy.

Throughout Silverton's pioneer settlement period the white oak standing in the ;iddle of Main Street, once the

Throughout Silverton’s pioneer settlement period the white oak standing in the ;iddle of Main Street, once the
reputed gathering place of native peoples in the area, served as a visual reminder of an earlier era.
(From Down, History of the Silverton Country, p. opposite title page.)

 

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Railroads and Industrial Growth (1880-1905)

Removal of the old oak in Main and First streets in the early 1880s marked the symbolic opening of a new era in Silverton’s history, ushered in by the arrival of the railroad in 1880. Writing of the tree’s demise, Homer Davenport observed in 1910 that a “new element [that] had come to town on [the] railroad to make Silverton like other towns” perceived that the stately giant’s expansive spread interfered with the physical upbuilding of the town. 35 Although Davenport may not have been alone in regretting the loss of the old oak, many Silverton farmers welcomed more reliable access to markets that the railroad insured. The coming of the railroad allowed Silverton to become the main shipping point for one of the most productive farming regions in the Willamette Valley.

The origins of Silverton country residents’ interest in the railroad date back to the late 1850s. In 1858 settler farmers who met in Silverton to consider a remedy for the existing unreliable shipping conditions offered by the territorial road suggested building a railroad that would connect farmers in the area with outside markets. A plank road project was adopted instead when railroad supporters learned of the high cost of such a project. Hopes for rail lines that had been promised to many outlying farming communities without adequate access to the Willamette River failed to be realized, in 1872, upon completion of the first two Willamette Valley railroads: the Oregon Central Railroad on the west side of the Willamette (from Portland to St. Joseph) and the Oregon and California Railroad on the valley’s east side (between Portland and Roseburg). Impatient rural residents of Yamhill and Polk counties soon took matters into their own hands. In 1877 long-suffering wheat farmers proposed a scheme to build a narrow-gauge railroad (with rails three feet apart instead of the four-foot, eight and a half-inch standard-gauge width) from steamboat connections at Dayton to Sheridan, twenty miles to the southwest. Although the railroad was opened for traffic in October 1878, insufficient local financing of the newly formed Dayton, Sheridan and Grand Ronde Railway Company soon brought it into receivership. In 1879, on the eve of a period of robust railroad expansion throughout the Pacific Northwest supported by outside capital, a group of Scottish investors bought the railroad in June that year and made plans to extend the narrow gauge to wheat fields scattered throughout the Willamette Valley. Such action soon proved fortuitous for Silverton and its surrounding farming districts. 36

Under the direction of promotor, businessman, and investor William Reid of Dundee, Scotland, and Portland, the newly named Willamette Valley Railroad Company moved rapidly ahead with construction in 1880. In April Oregon Governor W. W. Thayer’s wife broke ground in Silverton for the east-side branch of the railroad. By the end of 1880, the line from Silverton extended northwest through Woodburn to a landing on the Willamette River near Saint Paul and south to Scio and Brownsville. By 1882, the railroad extended the length of the Willamette Valley to Coburg and had a total trackage of 183 miles. Silverton for the first time had a reliable means of moving farm produce and manufactured goods to market via rail lines and to the Willamette River. When, in mid-1881, Willamette Valley Railroad Company investors accepted railroad magnate Henry Villard’s offer to lease the railroad for ninety-six years, the line through Silverton, soon after known as the Oregonian Railway, became a feeder for Villard’s Oregon and California Railroad. In the late 1880s, the Southern Pacific Railroad absorbed the Oregon and California Railroad. In 1892 the Willamette Valley Railroad Company,

 

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including the Oregonian Railway to Silverton, also passed to the Southern Pacific. By that time, widening of the east-side narrow gauge through Silverton to standard gauge had already begun. In the mid-1890s, two trains ran twice daily between Silverton and the Southern Pacific’s main line passing through Woodburn.37

Ground-breaking for the extension of the narrow gauge

Ground-breaking for the extension of the narrow gauge
railroad took place in Silverton in 1880.
(From Leslie Scott, “The Narrow Gauge Railroad,” p. 141.)

The arrival of iron rails in Silverton enormously impacted nearly all aspects of the town’s growth and character during the next two decades. Although not immediate, Silverton’s rail connection stimulated population growth. Between 1880 and 1890, the town grew from 400 to around 500. Anticipating future growth and expansion, community residents sought to incorporate Silverton in 1885; in 1890 a small building used by the city recorder, marshall, treasurer, mayor, and councilmen, near the northeast corner of Main and First streets, served as the town hall. By the mid-1890s 1 Silverton had nearly tripled in size, claiming a total population of about 1,500 A decade later the population stood at around 1,200 residents.38

In response to anticipated and real population growth, Silverton’s planned streets and residential neighborhoods began to extend beyond the original 1854 town plat. Physical growth often, but not always, occurred where new plats, or additions, were surveyed. Between 1889 and 1893, streets, blocks, and lots were laid out in six Silverton plats, none of which were contiguous to the original plat or to each other. In 1889 the Brown Addition encompassed eight blocks fronting the east side of the railroad tracks and extending from A to D streets. The Phelps Addition, also filed in 1889, took in land just north of West Main between Westfield and Phelps streets. In 1890 surveyors laid out streets and blocks in three additions: the Allen Addition along Pine Street in the north, the Johnson Addition west of South Water Street, and the small Brown “A” Addition sandwiched between Silver Creek and Fiske Street. The Ames Addition, surveyed in

 

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1893, took in sizeable acreage on the sloping east hillside in the vicinity of Ames Street. All but the Ames Addition experienced some residential growth during the 1890s. Construction occurred outside these additions as well. New houses went up along South Water Street and West Main Street and to a lesser extent along Pine Street. The greatest concentration of dwellings in the 1890s, however, existed in the original Silverton plat near the two main commercial streets. 39 In 1894 The Oregonian’s Handbook reported that “new buildings are being erected in different parts of the city, and the vacant lots within the corporate limits are rapidly being occupied by a good class of houses.” Some residences, the handbook noted, “are almost palatial in the handsome appearance of their superstructure.”40

Substantial growth in Silverton stimulated by the arrival of the railroad in 1880 encouraged the platting of

Substantial growth in Silverton stimulated by the arrival of the railroad in 1880 encouraged the platting of
six additions between 1889 and 1893.
(From Philip Duncan McEachern, “Silverton: The Morphology of an Oregon Town,” p. 66.)

 

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Between 1880 and the tum of the century, Silverton’s business district likewise expanded, particularly in the 1890s. Several new businesses joined existing ones along the principle commercial streets of Water and Main. In 1880 pioneer general merchandise store owner Ai Coolidge and Adolphus, known as “Jake,” McClaine opened the doors of their one-story, wood-frame bank office on Main Street. For many years, the Coolidge and McClaine Bank remained the only bank in Silverton and, over the course of its seventy-year life, reputedly became one of the strongest financial institutions in Oregon. 41 Along with the bank, the Silverton Appeal newspaper made its appearance in 1880. In the mid-1880s, Silverton boasted around forty-five businesses. In addition to the general merchandise stores of John and Erhard Wolfard and of Adolf Wolf and the essential livery, blacksmith, wagonmaker, and shoemaker establishments, many new businesses offered specialized goods and services such as jewelry, meat, furniture, stoves and tinware, dressmaking and tailoring, surveying, photography, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and lodging. 42

In the early 1890s, robust commercial building activity accompanied Silverton’s surge in population and the conversion of the narrow-gauge railroad to standard gauge. In 1891 Adolf Wolf erected a substantial two-story brick and cast iron-fronted business block at the corner of Water and Main streets, to house his general merchandise store on the ground floor and offices above. Built at a cost of $10,000, the Wolf Block was considered the finest brick commercial edifice in Silverton. All the brick used for building construction came from local yards, one of which was owned by Adolf Wolf in the early 1890s. Also in 1891, the construction of a two-story, wood-frame hotel on the south side of Oak Street, named the Progress Hotel, boldly advertised the owner’s conviction that Silverton was moving toward the twentieth century with great confidence. One year later, the foundation was laid for three adjoining commercial buildings on the south side of Main Street midway between Water and First streets. In 1893 Ai Coolidge and Jake McClaine, who incorporated their bank in 1890, erected a substantial and stylish one-story brick bank building at the northwest corner of Main and First streets. In the 1890s, the boom in new construction supported many Silvertonians whose businesses represented a variety of building trades, such as carpentry and contracting, masonry, painting, wallpapering, carpet weaving, and architecture. 43 In 1894 The Oregonian’s Handbook boasted that “the main business thoroughfare of Silverton . . . has a decided metropolitan appearance. Imposing blocks … stand on the prominent corners of the business street.” 44

In 1894 The Oregonian's Handbook presented etchings of the newly constructed brick Coolidge McClaine Bank

In 1894 The Oregonian’s Handbook presented etchings of the newly constructed brick Coolidge McClaine Bank
building and the Adolf Wolf block. (From The Oregonian’s Handbook of the Pacific Northwest, p. 187.)

 

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The arrival of the railroad in 1880 also stimulated manufacturing, which relied almost totally on Silver Creek for power. The availability of both water power and regular reliable transportation made Silverton especially attractive to industry. In the rnid-1880s, water from Silver Creek provided power for a sash, door, and blind factory on North Water Street near the railroad depot, as well as a saw mill and two flour mills (Skaife Brothers and the Oregon Milling Company) located alongside the creek on South Water Street. In 1880 railroad side tracks were laid from the depot down Water Street to Oregon Milling Company’s buildings. Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, one of the community’s principle shipments was flour, milled from wheat and other grains grown around Silverton. The Oregon Milling Company alone turned out about 225 barrels a day. By the early 1890s, this enterprise, which shipped the well-known “Royal” and “Pioneer” brands of flour to many parts of the world, reputedly became one of the largest flour mills in Oregon. In 1898 the Fischer family bought the mill. 45 In the late 1880s and through the 1890s, the Ames brothers (Louis and Samuel) operated a successful chair factory, and, later, manufactured doors and sashes along Silver Creek just north of the Oregon Milling Company. By the early 1890s, a creamery opened its doors in Silverton. 46

Silverton’s surge in population and building construction in the early 1890s encouraged a few enterprising entrepreneurs to build the town’s first utility systems. Davis brothers (Lincoln and U. Grant) and John B. Hurst constructed an arc and incandescent electric light works on the bank of Silver Creek between the Oregon Milling Company and Ames Brothers Chair Factory, at a cost of around $8,000. In 1893 the Silverton Electric Light and Power Company plant furnished electricity to about 250 lights in town. Not long afterward, P. L. Brown took over this enterprise; in 1903 he sold it to the Portland Railway, Light and Power Company. In 1893 the Ames brothers spent $8,500 to build Silverton’s first water system, which fed water from a reservoir above town into mains along all the principal streets. P. L. Brown also bought this operation in 1898. In 1893-94 Silverton received its first telephone service, which was long distance. The first local exchange came a few years later. 47

(From The Oregonian's Handbook of the Pacific Northwest, p. 187.)

(From The Oregonian’s Handbook of the Pacific Northwest, p. 187.)

The arrival of the railroad in Silverton not only stimulated industrial, commercial, and residential growth but it also expanded the number of cultural institutions and activities available to residents living in and around this farming community. The construction of a substantial $7,000 two-story, six-room school in 1890 in the center of the block north of Park Street between North Water and First streets, which replaced the existing thirty year-old schoolhouse,48 reflected rising enrollments as well as the continued importance that Silverton residents placed on modern public school facilities and education. In the rnid-1890s, four teachers taught about 225 students who occupied four of the six class-

 

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rooms. Beginning in 1892, high school students occupied the upper rooms. By 1900, all six rooms were in use. (In the early 1920s, the Parent Teachers Association named the building the Emerson School, in honor of New England writer and transcendental philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson.) 49

Community residents’ commitment to learning, as evidenced by its early long history of solid public school education and its support of the Silverton College in the late 1860s, found somewhat unique expression in the 1890s with the establishment of Liberal University. Founded on the philosophy of secularism, the belief that religious faith had no place in the lives of free-thinking individuals, the organizers of Liberal University received a warm reception from several Silverton citizens who were free-thought adherents and members of the Silverton Secular Church. Since 1887, when ten community residents incorporated the Silverton Liberal Union, regular Secular Church and Liberal Union meetings had been held in Liberal Hall, a large meeting space able to seat 300 on the second floor of John Wolfard’s general merchandise brick building at the main commercial intersection of Water and Main streets. Periodically, national secular leaders had been invited to lecture in Silverton and to discuss the organization of a state-wide secular union. In the mid-1890s, Pearl W. Geer, nephew of Oregon Governor T. T. Geer, Silverton Liberal Union member, and an active leader of the newly formed Oregon State Secular Union, suggested that Silverton might be an ideal home for a university dedicated to educating students in the free-thought gospel. With financial support promised by several Silverton liberals, John Earl Hosmer and his wife Minnie Page Hosmer joined Pearl Geer in founding the Liberal University of Oregon in Silverton. Doors opened for the first classes in January 1897, in John Wolfard’s Liberal Hall. Twenty students enrolled in January, and by spring there were thirty-seven. By May, plans for a university building were underway and, soon after, construction began on a forty-four-acre site at the northwest corner of Pine and Grant streets. In the fall of 1897, the Oregonian reported on Silverton’s new university.

The school is strictly nonsectarian in character, and science and natural morality are taught without regard to any creed and religion. The students are encouraged to think for themselves . . . and are allowed to go as far as reason will take them, and, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, to ‘question….the existence of a god. ‘50

The schools own eight-page weekly paper, The Torch of Reason, presented the university’s founding tenets. Philosophical differences, however, between members of Oregon’s liberal community and those with a personal interest in the school’s operation, combined with financial problems, delayed completion of the main three a half-story, wood-frame university building for two years. (In the interim, classes in the school’s three departments of cosmology, biology, and sociology continued to be held in the Wolfard building’s Liberal Hall.) Finally, in the fall of 1899, the university’ s fifteen-member faculty began conducting kindergarten through college-level classes on Liberal University’s new campus for the first time. Only one year later, disaster struck when school President John Hosmer physically collapsed and immediately resigned. Within a month, his wife and university instructor, Minnie Hosmer died. The university soon began failing, and by the fall of 1902 Liberal University closed in Silverton and moved to a new campus in Kansas City, Missouri. (Hosmer stayed in Silverton and became publisher of the Silverton Appeal and president of Cascade Real Estate Company. 51) For years the imposing main university building remained vacant until, ironically, it became the home of St. Paul’s Catholic Church and school. 52

 

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In contrast to the secularism embraced by some community residents in the late 1800s, religion did have a place in the lives of many Silvertonians during the town’s booming railroad era. The wood-frame Methodist-Episcopal Church at the corner of West Main and Fiske streets continued to serve the needs of its growing congregation until 1906, when parishioners added a large wing on to the west wall of the church and expanded the parsonage next door. 53 Christian Church members, who organized a church in Silverton in 1887, constructed their first church building, designed by Silverton architect Ferdinand M. Starrett in the gothic revival style, around 1890 on the south side of Jersey Street between First and Second streets. 54 Around 1892, the Cumberland Presbyterians made their appearance in the community for the first time. 55

In the early 1890s, two groups of Lutherans organized congregations in town soon after a large number of Scandinavians, primarily Norwegian immigrants who first settled in the upper Midwest, concluded that Silverton would make an ideal place for the founding of a new colony of Lutheran believers. 56 Shortly after Ingebret Larson made an exploratory trip to the Pacific Northwest in late 1891 and announced his intention to move from North Dakota to Silverton to form a Lutheran congregation, others followed his lead. Between 1892 and 1897, more than fifty Scandinavians arrived in Silverton; most took up farming, sometimes in combination with other occupations. Andrew G. Steelhammer, for example, farmed twenty-six acres and also worked as a blacksmith. Julius Alm became a well-known Silverton merchant who carried Scandinavian foods along with other general merchandise items. In 1892 several Scandinavian families joined to organize the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church (renamed the Trinity Lutheran Church in 1917). In late 1893 the cornerstone for a church building was laid at the northeast corner of A and Second streets. At the same time, other Scandinavian new arrivals determined to organize a second Lutheran congregation in town, known as St. John’s United Lutheran Church (changed to the Immanuel Lutheran Church in 1927). After meeting in the Christian Church on Jersey Street for six years, they succeeded in raising sufficient funds to erect their own church building in 1898. Following the arrival of more Scandinavian families after the turn of the century, yet a third Scandinavian Lutheran congregation, the · Evangelical Lutheran Free Church (renamed the Calvary Lutheran Church in 1931) became incorporated in Silverton in 1906; that year the congregation purchased the Christian Church building on Jersey Street. 57

Other organized groups and activities added to the cultural vitality of Silverton during its years of robust growth in the late 1800s. The Odd Fellows continued to meet regularly on the second floor of their brick building at the corner of East Main and First streets. From the 1880s to around 1904 1 the Masons continued to hold forth on the second floor of their frame building on the south side of East Main Street. Around 1891 the Knights of Pythias began meeting on the second floor of the brick commercial building adjoining the Odd Fellows Hall on the south side of East Main Street. Soon after the turn of the century, the Woodmen of the World (WOW) organized in Silverton and made their home in a two-story, wood-frame building on the southeast corner of Oak and Third streets. 58

In addition to these four fraternal organizations, community residents could enjoy participation in and entertainment by the popular and active Silverton brass band, organized around 1877, and soon followed by the Trombone Band in 1882, directed for many years by Harvey L. Allen, a furniture dealer and

 

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Well-known early twentieth-century cartoonist, Homer Davenport, fondly recalled his participation in

Well-known early twentieth-century cartoonist, Homer Davenport, fondly recalled his participation in
Silverton’s Trombone Band as a teenager, in his County Boy reminiscences (p. 58).

undertaker in town. Joseph Welch, a dentist, assumed leadership of the band in the early 1900s. According to Horner Davenport, who played a snare drum in the band, the blue-gray, brass-buttoned-uniformed band delighted and amused the town’s people at picnics and other social events. 59 In the 1890s, roller skating became another popular social and recreational activity for Silvertonians of all ages and social standings. On Saturday afternoons the roar of the wooden skate wheels rolling over a board floor could be heard emanating from a vacant hall on Main Street. 60 Baseball also gained great popularity in the 1890s, and Silverton supported several teams that won the valley championship According to long-time Silverton resident and photographer June Drake, the boot and shoe shop of a local merchant on Water Street served as the headquarters for the teams before they ascended West Hill to play Sunday afternoon and holiday games at the ball park near the town’s old water tower. 61 For those who sought more passive entertainment and enlightenment, the town’s small library offered a selection of books. Posters fastened to the inside of the Main Street covered bridge spanning Silver Creek advertised the latest agricultural, political, and theatrical events and town scandals. In the early 1900s, the weekly Silvertonian newspaper, strictly Republican in its political sympathies, competed with the Appeal in reporting local, state, and national news and editorial opinions. Some of Silverton’s leading citizens amused themselves in summer by playing marbles under the extensive shade of the large old oak at Main and First streets, until the tree was chopped down and its limbs divided among the town’s people. 62 

The Silverton Appeal

The Silverton Appeal

 

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THE SILVERTONIAN

THE SILVERTONIAN

The removal of Silverton’s old oak, signaling an end to the town’s pioneer era and character, represented but one of many landscape changes that took place between 1880 and the early 1900s. Railroad-induced growth that encouraged the surveying of five of the six new plats {excluding the Ames Addition on the sloping eastern hillside) in 1889 and 1890 extended a noncontiguous orderly grid pattern of streets and blocks to flatter sections of Silverton, north, south, and west of the original town plat. Although the highest density of commercial and residential buildings existed in the original town plat, new homes were built on lots fronting on some of the newly laid out dirt roads and alleys, as well as along the four major older roads leading into town from the rural countryside. By the early 1900s, Water Street may have been overlaid for a short distance with macadam, pavement with layers of stone bound together with tar or asphalt. In the 1890s, sidewalks and small ornamental shade trees bordered a few of Silverton’s residential streets. Small stands of Douglas fir and oak trees had grown larger on the once burned over sloping hillsides that contained the southern part of town and the rolling hills and flatter prairies surrounding Silverton. The town’s natural setting and street plantings contributed to Silverton’s reputation as a place of picturesque beauty. Outside town, farmers with newly purchased land removed trees to enlarge areas of arable land. In the 1890s, agriculture near Silverton became more diversified due to the diminishing size of farms, the increased number of farmers with different preferences and financial means, and the ability to transport farm products of all kinds much more quickly by rail. The rural landscape surrounding Silverton became a diverse mixture of not only wheat oat, and barely fields, but also fields of timothy, clover, and potatoes, fenced pasture land for dairy cows and horses, orchards, and especially fields of hop vines. In the early 1900s, farmers grew a thousand acres of hops within a five-mile radius of Silverton. The productivity of farms scattered around the countryside in the early 1900s, enabled Silverton to become an established shipping center for not only wheat and flour but also hop bales, fruit (apples and plums), English walnuts, livestock, and hogs, along with other farm produce. 62

 

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Industrial Expansion in the Motor Age & Great War Years (1906-1929)

Farming continued as one of the primary occupations for those living and working in the hills and on the flatter land around Silverton in the early twentieth century (as it did for about 25 percent of people employed in the Pacific Northwest). Even though the average size of farms in Oregon decreased from 281 acres in 1900 to 269 acres in 1920, the number of farms increased from 35,837 in 1900 to 50,206 in 1920.64 Colorful, lavishly illustrated booklets produced around 1910 by the Silverton Commercial Club and the Southern Pacific Railroad promoted Silverton’s many agricultural assets to prospective newcomers. The variety of crops grown in the area included: wheat along with oats, barely, timothy,

The Southern Pacific Railroad, with several trains running daily through Silverton in the early 1900s, produced colorful promotional brochures advertising the town's agricultural opportunities. (From Southern Pacific Railroad. Silverton, Oregon, front cover.)

The Southern Pacific Railroad, with several trains running daily through Silverton in the early 1900s, produced colorful promotional brochures advertising the town’s agricultural opportunities. (From Southern Pacific Railroad. Silverton, Oregon, front cover.)

alfalfa, and vetch; vegetables such as potatoes, onions, celery, peas, beans, carrots, squash, and turnips; fruits like apples, peaches, plums, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, and loganberries; and nuts such as walnuts and filberts. Dairying and stock raising sometimes accompanied general farming, and by the early 1910s the increased production of local milk warranted the establishment of the Silverton Creamery and Ice Company near the corner of Jersey and Water streets. 65 Silverton became the center of one of the most productive and profitable hop-producing districts in the country from the early twentieth century until the 1920s, when prohibition nearly wiped out the liquor industry and hop production.66 Willamette Valley farmers prospered especially during World War I, when demands from war-torn Europe for American agricultural products increased dramatically. Between 1914 and 1919, crop prices more than doubled overall, with wheat, widely grown around and milled in Silverton, shot up in price from 98¢ to $2 .16 a bushel. Fischer Flouring Mills on South Water Street barely kept up with increased war-time demands for flour. Increased fruit production during the 1910s encouraged the founding of the Silverton Food Products Company fruit cannery in 1921 at the corner of Front and D streets near the railroad depot. 67 By that time, farmers had put nearly all of the remaining arable land in the Willamette Valley, including Silverton country, into productive use.

 

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Although the majority of farmers used horsepower before 1914, during and after World War I the gasoline-powered tractor, truck, and automobile gradually replaced draft animals. Agricultural and even town landscapes changed in significant ways as a consequence. On farms, machine sheds replaced barns, feed storage sheds, and fenced grazing fields associated with work horses. 68 In town, blacksmith shops, livery stables, and hitching posts gradually disappeared from the scene and were eclipsed by garage and machine shops. 69 Railroads continued to provide the primary means of transporting farm products to market. Between 1906 and the late 1920s, Silverton remained a railroad shipping point for a variety of agricultural produce and processed agricultural goods.

During this period, however, Silverton become more than a thriving farming town on the Southern Pacific Railroad’s branch line between Woodburn and Springfield. In the early twentieth century, Silverton emerged as a leading regional shipping center for another land-based resource–timber. Beginning in 1899, when lumber production in the Great Lakes states declined markedly after many years of intensive logging had depleted forest resources there, lumbering in the Pacific Northwest expanded rapidly and greatly contributed to the growth of the regional economy. Oregon ranked twenty-third in the nation in lumber production in 1899; by 19091 it ranked ninth. Ten years later in 1919, Oregon became third in the nation in overall lumber production and the largest producer of milled Douglas fir, which alone represented 69 percent of all the species logged in the state. That same year the industry gave employment to nearly 40 percent of Oregon wage earners. In the 1910s, the lumber industry ranked second only to farming in economic importance in Oregon. 70 Silverton, ideally located not only on a Southern Pacific branch rail line but in close proximity to extensive stands of timber on the lower Cascade slopes to the east and southeast, contributed to and greatly benefitted from Oregon’s lumber industry boom. During the 1910s and early 1920s, Silverton rose to become the largest lumber producing town in the Willamette Valley by 1923. 71

Although several mills and logging operations made their appearance in and near of Silverton between the turn of the century and the late 1920s, the two largest mills, the Silverton Lumber Company and the Silver Falls Timber Company, contributed most to the town’s growth and development. Silverton Lumber Company, founded in 1906 by Idaho investors R. A. Cowden, W. H. Reynolds, and H. B. Latham, began constructing modern mill buildings on January 1, 1907 on a large tract of land north of the town center between Mill and Second streets. Logs to be milled into finished lumber at the 100,000-foot capacity mill were transported to the mill over what eventually became a twelve mile-long logging railroad from the Powers Creek area in the Abiqua Creek basin southeast of Silverton, completed by the company in the early 1910s. In 1913 the company employed 80 to 120 men at its mill and another 200 or so at logging camps in the woods. By 1917 the Silverton Lumber Company could boast a more continuous milling operation than nearly any other mill in the Willamette Valley. 72

A second company, the Silver Falls Timber Company, became incorporated in 1903. Ten years later, it began operating in Silverton. Unlike the Silverton Lumber Company 1 Silver Falls Timber Company owners (from the Midwest and Oregon) initially made Silverton the base of logging, not milling, operations that supplied timber to mills on the lower Willamette River and the Columbia. Douglas fir cut on land owned by the company in the Abiqua Creek drainage and

 

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transported from Silverton over the Southern Pacific Railroad to points below Willamette Falls was dumped into the Willamette at Oswego and other river ports and floated to mills further downstream. For this purpose, the company bought the Silverton Lumber Company’s twelve-mile logging railroad, reconstructed and straightened the track, and extended the line thirteen miles further up the Powers Creek drainage to virgin forests. The company’s rolling stock, including Baldwin locomotives and Shay engines, was serviced at the company’s railroad machine shop located on ten acres of land east of Mill Street and just north of the Silverton Lumber Company. Soon the company supplied the Silverton Lumber Company mill with timber. In early 1914, the company also shipped an average of forty railroad cars daily to the Portland area. 73

In early 1916, the Silver Falls Timber Company, encouraged by the upward trend in the lumber market, announced plans to construct a $500,000 mill in Silverton, which would be supplied with timber from the company’s 35,000 acres of forest land in Marion and Clackamas counties 1 tapped by their twenty-six-mile logging railroad. In March 1 construction began of saw and planing mills, dry kilns, sheds, loading facilities, and a 12-acre log pond, all located on 143 acres northeast of the Silverton Lumber Company. When completed in 1917, the Silver Falls Timber Company vice president and general manager M. C. Woodward oversaw the work of 350 to 400 employees in the company’s logging camps and from 350 to 500 men at the mill. Operating at full capacity, this modern electricity driven mill turned out 225,000 feet of lumber in ten hours. By the mid-1920s, the company had become one of the largest lumber mills in the state. Freight cars traveling on railroad sidings that extended from the Woodburn-Springfield branch of the Southern Pacific tracks near the center of Silverton transported milled lumber from the Silver Falls Timber Company, as well as the Silverton Lumber Company, to markets throughout the Pacific Northwest. 74

Located at the end of Mill Street, the Silver Falls Timber Company began operation in 1917 and employed

Located at the end of Mill Street, the Silver Falls Timber Company began operation in 1917 and employed
hundreds of Silverton residents throughout the 1920s. (Photo by Drake Brothers Studio, Silverton, Oregon .
Courtesy of Silverton Country Historical Society.)

 

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The arrival of the large-scale Silverton Lumber Company and Silver Falls Timber Company milling operations profoundly impacted and transformed the town. From a small, quiet farming community on a Southern Pacific branch line with a population of around 1,200 in 1905, Silverton grew into a bustling lumber town of nearly 4,000 people by the mid-1920s. 75 During those two decades, many new enterprises opened their doors for business in the town’s commercial district. Between 1905 and 1910, in anticipation of and in response to the opening of the Silverton Lumber company, a second bank, the People’s Bank (built in 1905 on the southwest corner of Water and Main streets) , the Adams and Porter Opera House (erected in 1906 on Water Street between Oak and High), the 1908 Julius Aim commercial block (on the west side of North Water Street) , and two new brick business blocks on the south side of East Main Street joined the array of existing general merchandise stores, specialty produce shops, trade and artisan shops, and the Silvertonian-Appeal office. In 1915 several new buildings stood in the commercial district: a four-story brick commercial and fraternal block at East Main and First streets, several new business buildings on Lewis Street, the 11 moving picture .. house on the creek side of North Water Street, and a few garages, suggesting the growing presence of automobiles in Silverton. By the mid-1920s, auto garages and supply stores, some of which occupied new structures in the commercial district, far outnumbered general merchandise stores, which had largely been replaced by more specialized food and service establishments. The historic Coolidge & McClaine Bank now occupied a new (1922), slightly larger, one-story, buff-colored brick building on the same site as its previous edifice. Fischer Flouring Mills constructed a modern rusticated concrete block office building alongside South Water Street. In 1925 a two-story, concrete armory building went up on the east side of South Water Street. That same year, the town leaders erected a substantial two-story, reinforced concrete city hall on South Water Street, near the site of the former water works plant. 76 In addition to Fischer Flouring Mills, the Silverton Creamery, and the Silverton Food Products Company cannery that served the needs of area farmers, several other industries made their appearance in Silverton during its boom years as a lumber town. The Silverton Blow Pipe Company, moved into and enlarged a

In 1921 the Silverton Blow Pipe Company was well-known for its production of the affordable "Sibloco" wood burning stove. (From "Silverton Number," Oregon Magazine, p. 28.)

In 1921 the Silverton Blow Pipe Company was well-known for its production of the affordable “Sibloco” wood burning stove. (From “Silverton Number,” Oregon Magazine, p. 28.)

 

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brick building just west of Silver Creek on West Main Street in the late 1910s. By the early 1920s, it became one of the largest furnace manufacturers in Oregon, and was widely known for its production of the affordable “Sibloco” wood-burning furnace, often considered the Model-T of home furnaces. Hubbs Planning Mill and Sash & Door Factory, on South Water Street next to the city water works and later city hall, contributed building materials to the exuberant construction activity in Silverton and elsewhere. By 1924 Silverton Steam Laundry constructed a large one-story building on the east side of James Street next to the railroad tracks. Several hundred yards further east, a number of warehouses for storing a variety of industrial and agricultural goods clustered around the Southern Pacific Railroad depot between Water and Front streets. 77

Silverton experienced enormous residential growth as a result of the town’s four-fold increase in population between 1906 and the mid-1920s. In anticipation of the flood of new arrivals, local land speculators registered a total of fifteen new plats between 1907 and 1924, three of which lay outside the one-square-mile incorporated city limits. Although many of these new additions filled in areas that had not yet been platted, a few involved the replatting of undeveloped

Between 1907 and 1924, Silverton witnessed the platting of fifteen new additions, three of which were outside the one-square-mile incorporated city limits. (From Philip Duncan McEachern, "Silverton: The Morphology of an Oregon Town," p. 68.)

Between 1907 and 1924, Silverton witnessed the platting of fifteen new additions, three of which were outside the one-square-mile incorporated city limits. (From Philip Duncan McEachern, “Silverton: The Morphology of an Oregon Town,” p. 68.)

 

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platted additions. Platting, which designated roads as public rights of way, often, but not always, tended to encourage the construction of new houses. This proved to be true in certain parts of town. Northeast of the original town plat, the surveying of the Mill Addition and the Opsund Addition in 1907 and 1910, respectively, prompted the construction of several bungalow-style homes along Third and Mill streets. Similarly, the 1910 Geiser and 1914 Maplehurst additions laid out along Silver Creek between North Water and Brook streets witnessed the construction of several smaller homes also built in the then popular bungalow style. Nearly all the lots in the 1912 Parkside Addition, encompassing Coolidge Street and Jerome Avenue, had been sold and built up with larger, substantial bungalow homes by 1922. In the mid-1920s, a number of modest bungalows were concentrated in the eastern half of the 1916 Northside Addition, a neighborhood known as “mill town,” located outside the city limits and adjoining the two large lumber mills. Not all new residential construction occurred on platted land. On the crest of “East Hill” north of East Oak Street, a number of Silverton’s resident Scandinavian-Lutheran residents built bungalow-style homes on unplatted land along and between Church and Norway streets, from which many walked but a short distance to work at the lumber mills. Similarly, residential construction took place on unplatted land just north of West Main Street. A substantial amount of infill also occurred on both previously platted and unplatted land. In general, housing density in Silverton increased considerably, particularly in those areas closer to the two mills that lay north of the downtown. 78

Throughout the 1910s, journalists regularly reported on Silverton’s rapid pace of residential construction, accompanied by progressive street and public utility improvements. According to a Silverton promotional booklet, the town witnessed the construction of seventy-two new houses at one time in 1907. 79 In April 1913, soon after the Silver Falls Timber Company announced its intention to buy and extend Silverton Lumber Company’s Abiqua Creek logging railroad, a Sunday Oregonian journalists exclaimed that Silverton was experiencing “municipal growth of startling proportions.” “New buildings are going up everywhere.” 80 One year later, one writer predicted that Silverton’s “many new and attractive homes” and fast increasing population assured a bright future for Silverton. 81 Throughout the 1910s, writers commented on Silverton’s “attractive modern homes that dot the higher lands on each side of the stream.” 82

Improvement of the Silverton’s infrastructure of roads, bridges, and water and sewer systems accompanied the town’s expansive growth. Many writers praised the town for its progressive paving of the town’s dirt roads to accommodate the arrival of new gas-powered automobiles and the development of up-to date sewer and water systems. Although Water Street may have been macadamized in the very early 1900s, street-paving did not become a serious undertaking of city government leaders until after the Silverton Lumber Company arrived in town. In 1907 the city spent $5,000 on street improvements. In 1910 progressive road improvements brought about the replacement of Silverton’s Main Street covered bridge with one of modern design and sturdy wood construction. That same year, city businessmen, led by bankers Ai Coolidge and Jake McClaine, urged the city to consider paving ten blocks in the commercial district and issuing bonds to pay for the construction of a sewer system in town. Street paving began in earnest in 1912 when small sections of road were covered with macadam or concrete. In 1913 road contractors laid a mile and a half of street pavement. In 1914 Silverton had nearly three miles of hard-surfaced macadam and

 

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Around 1912, horses pulling a single-bottom plow graded this Silverton street, probably in the southern part of town. (Courtesy of Oregon Historical Society, Negative no.: Or Hi 25093.)

Around 1912, horses pulling a single-bottom plow graded this Silverton street, probably in the southern part of town. (Courtesy of Oregon Historical Society, Negative no.: Or Hi 25093.)

paving. Around that time, the city expended about $35,000 to install a sewer concrete roads, as well as 25,000 feet of concrete sidewalks, with more work planned for the following year. The city’s own quarry and rock-crushing plant supplied contractors with all the necessary rock for road work. In 1917 the first James Street bridge across Silver Creek was completed. By 1924, Silverton had gained the distinction of having more miles of paved road per capita than most all other towns of comparable size in the United States. 83 In 1912 the city purchased the town’s pioneer water system from P. L. Brown and installed a $50,000 gravity water system, which took water from Silver Creek about five miles upriver. Within a few years, the city also tapped Abiqua Creek to supplement its domestic water supply. 84

As automobile use increased throughout the country in the 1910s with the introduction of the Henry Ford’s affordable Model T, government agencies and business leaders alike joined hands to improve Oregon’s road system in what became known as the national Good Roads Movement. In 1913 Oregon organized a state highway commission to plan and direct a comprehensive, integrated system of improved, year-round roads. The following year, the adoption of a state highway system initiated a series of joint state and county road improvement and construction projects. Despite the states total upgrading of Pacific Highway

 

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(Highway 99E along the east side of the Willamette Valley floor, running north and south a few miles west of Silverton) between 1914 and the early 1920s and the completion of an improved road connecting Silverton and Mt. Angel (now Highway 214) in the early 1920s, Silverton and other towns near the Cascade foothills remained off a through state highway. Many feared that the resultant loss of state highway publicity and the higher freight transportation costs to towns not located on a state highway would handicap future economic growth. In hopes of remedying this situation, businessmen from many communities along the old route of the east-side territorial road (including Brownsville, Sublimity, Silverton, Marquam, Molalla, and Oregon City) met in Oregon City in May 1928 and organized the Cascade Highway Association. Under the leadership of Silverton physician Peter Loar serving as president, Silverton realtor George Hubbs as vice president, and Silverton druggist George Steelhammer as director, this association proposed and promoted the upgrading and completion of a continuous 150 mile-long Cascade Highway connecting the major foothill towns between East Portland and Eugene. 85

Between 1906 and the mid-1920s, Silverton’s rapid population increase swelled the ranks of school-age children. By 1906, Silverton’s school population had outgrown the two-story, six-room school building erected in 1890 in the center of the block west of Park Street between Water and First streets. One year later, Silverton’s Board of Education directed the construction of a $10,000 three and a half-story, six-room, concrete and brick high school (named Washington Irving School in 1922) on the northeast comer of First and Park streets. Only seven years later, over 100 students crowded into this school. 86 In 1915 a second, three-story, brick-faced high school, built by Silverton contractors Anderson and Larson on the southeast comer of First and A streets for $14,000, opened for classes in September. The former high school soon became a three-year middle school. In 1916 a total of 642 students enrolled in Silverton’s three schools, of which 145 were in high school. Five years later 1 the continued rise in Silverton’s grade school population warranted the construction of a new elementary school. In August 1921, the 1890 wood-frame Emerson School was moved several hundred feet to the northeast comer of its block to make way for the construction of the modem, one-story Mission Revival style Eugene Field School. 87   By May 1922 the twenty-two-classroom school, complete with a com

Upon completion in 1922, Silverton's one-story Mission Revival style Eugene Field grade school received wide

Upon completion in 1922, Silverton’s one-story Mission Revival style Eugene Field grade school received wide
acclaim for its modern design. (From C. N. Freeman, “Silverton’s New School Building,” p. 13.)

 

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bined auditorium and gymnasium able to seat a total of 1,150 people, was ready to receive students. These three schools served the needs of Silverton’s school-age population for the next decade. 88

Churches likewise increased in size and number in response to Silverton’s greatly expanded population. In 1907 Silverton’s Christian Church congregation, having outgrown its small sixteen-year-old building on Jersey Street and selling it in 1906 to the Norwegian Lutheran congregation for $600, erected a new larger church at the southeast corner of Park and First streets across from the new high school. 89 The Methodist-Episcopal Church, with its new 1906 addition, remained at West Main and Fiske streets. The three Lutheran Churches also experienced some growth. The Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran congregation by 1911 had built a Norwegian private parochial school building next to their church at Second and A streets. Around 1917, when this denomination was renamed the Trinity Lutheran Church, it replaced its 1893 church and adjacent school with a much larger wood-frame church building at the same site. 90 St. John’s United Lutheran Church members, located on the crest of “East Hill,” raised their building up on a higher foundation in the 1910s to create additional meeting space in a partially above-ground daylight basement. 91 The Lutheran Free Church congregation continued to hold services in the former Christian Church building on Jersey Street but, in 1927-1928, also built a new, higher foundation that allowed for the excavation of basement space (and the widening of Jersey Street). 92 In addition to these five Christian churches, several others made their appearance in Silverton between 1915 and the late 1920s. The Catholic congregation, after meeting briefly in a building at the southwest corner of Jersey and Third streets, established St. Paul’s Catholic Church and school in the old Liberal University building on Pine Street around 1920. 93 Seventh Day Adventists began meeting in Silverton around 1915 in a building on Oak Street, east of Third. 94 The Christian Science Society, which began meeting around 1915 in the Woodmen of the World hall at Oak and Third streets, constructed its own building at Lewis and Third streets around 1923. 95 At about the same time, the Congregational Church began meeting in a modest wood-frame building at the northeast corner of Park and Second streets. 96 By the mid-1920s, the Apostolic Faith Mission was holding Sunday services in a commercial building on North First Street. 97 At that time, a total of ten Christian denominations served the spiritual needs of Silverton’s 4,000 residents.

Fraternal organizations and benevolent societies for both men and women flourished during this twenty-year period and equaled if not exceeded the number of churches in Silverton. Both the Odd Fellows (IOOF) and Woodmen of the World (WOW) continued to hold meetings on the upper floors of their buildings at Main and First streets and Oak and Third streets, respectively. Around 1907, Silverton’s Masonic Lodge No. 45 moved its two-story, wood-frame building on Main Street to the south side of the, where it faced Lewis Street. The Masons continued to meet in this building for several years while they contemplated constructing a new lodge. In 1914 they finally erected and moved into meeting rooms on the upper floors of their four-story, brick building at the southeast corner of East Main and First streets. 98   Around 1924, Silverton’s Knights of Pythias, Home Lodge No. 35, had enough members and financial means to move from its second-floor meeting hall on Main Street next to the Odd Fellows hall into its own newly constructed two-story, wood-frame building on Mill Street, just east of the town’s pioneer two-story schoolhouse that had been moved to

 

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High and Third streets in 1907. 99 Silverton’s newly formed GAR, Post No. 11, probably began using the second floor of this old schoolhouse for their meeting hall around 1910. In 1924 they began meeting in the new Knights of Pythias hall on Mill Street. 100 By the mid-1910s, several other benevolent societies had also organized in Silverton. These included the Modern Woodmen of America and Encampment for men. Silverton women could choose from several benevolent societies: the Order of Eastern Star, Rebekahs, Pythian Sisters, Women of Woodcraft, United Artisans, Women’s Relief Corps, and Royal Neighbors of America. Most of these groups met twice a month in one of the town’s fraternal lodge halls or in the Opera House on Water Street. In the mid-1920s, Silverton boasted no less than twelve benevolent societies. 101

Silverton’s emergence as a major Willamette Valley lumber town directly impacted the medical care available to town residents. In the rnid-1910s, the Silverton Lumber Company and the Silver Falls Timber Company contracted with Dr. Clarence Keene to administer to the needs of mill company workers. After purchasing a substantial house on Main Street, east of Third, Keene equipped part of it as a hospital. In 1918 the Silverton Hospital Association formed and soon after purchased a large, two-story house on the creek side of North Water (north of James Street), which they converted into a twelve-patient hospital. Silverton’s hospital remained at this location through most of the 1920s. 102

Recreational opportunities likewise expanded during Silverton’s years of exuberant growth as a lumber town. The Silverton Band continued to delight and entertain local audiences. The Opera House on Water Street provided space for theatrical performances, as well as a variety of other social and educational activities. The Gem Theatre, which began showing new “moving pictures” in the Opera House before 1911, constructed its own building on the west side of Water Street around 1915. The Silverton Public Library and, around 1917 with the addition of the Silverton Tribune, the town’s two newspapers offered residents abundant reading choices. Baseball, played on a diamond north of the railroad depot in the mid-1910s, gained increasing popularity, particularly among mill company workers, in the 1910s and 1920s. 103

The United States’ growing enthusiasm for an aesthetic appreciation of nature and outdoor sports activities of all kinds (evidenced by the national movement to beautify cities with naturalistic parks and the formation of numerous of hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping clubs) found expression in Silverton soon after the Silverton Lumber Company came to town. In 1909 (or 1915) 104 longtime bankers Ai Coolidge and Jake McClaine donated a large, densely wooded tract of land along the bank and hillside west of Silver Creek near the center of town to the city for a public park. Coolidge-McClaine Park, with its rustic cobblestone and concrete entrance gate at the end of Coolidge Street, soon became a popular gathering place for weekend picnickers and overnight tourist auto campers. According to one writer in the mid-1920s, “Silverton had one of the finest natural parks on the Pacific Coast in which is located a free public swimming pool.”105 Outside the city park, Silverton promoters noted the abundance of trout that could be taken from Silver Creek within the city limits and the myriad opportunities for shooting ducks in nearby lakes, Chinese pheasants in surrounding open meadows, and deer in the foothills south and east of town. 106 By the mid-1910s, when the growing number of automobiles and improved road conditions allowed for more distant travel, Silverton enthusiasts began lavishing

 

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Auto tourists relax in Silverton's City Park (Coolidqe-McClaine) in 1913. (Courtesy of the Oregon Historical

Auto tourists relax in Silverton’s City Park (Coolidqe-McClaine) in 1913. (Courtesy of the Oregon Historical
Society, Negative no.: Drake 1097.)

praise on natural wonders within driving distance of town, such as the celebrated Wilhoit mineral springs near Rock Creek east of Scotts Mills107 and the series of breathtaking waterfalls fifteen miles upstream on Silver Creek. “The canyon of beautiful Silver Creek affords excellent camping grounds and wild scenery,” an Oregonian journalist reported in 1914. “The creek is noted for its waterfalls, some of them lofty, and all picturesque.”108 Throughout the 1920s, Silverton’s Drake Brothers Studio helped draw public attention to Silver Creek’s ten resplendent falls by publishing images of them. In the mid-1920s, Silverton’s landscape displayed many visible signs of the past two decades of growth and progressive development that the land’s nature had permitted. In the Abiqua and Powers creek drainages southeast of Silverton, an increasing number of logged off tracts of land appeared as timber was cut and loaded on railroad cars bound for Silverton 1 s two large lumber mills, whose sprawling structures and mechanized sounds dominated the flat land north of town. Across the widely acclaimed fertile valley floor and hillsides around Silverton stretched a patchwork of fields with hop vines, orchards, grain fields, and grazing pastures, increasingly connected by roads over which automobiles and trucks could travel, at least in the summer months. Closer to town, older Victorian Queen Anne-style homes on the main roads leading into town were now joined by individual or whole neighborhoods of wood-frame, bungalow-style houses, built on once undeveloped flat land and the crests of surrounding hills. Inside the one square-mile city limits hard-surfaced streets and sidewalks as well as overhead electric wires now connected the many new brick and wood-frame commercial, religious, fraternal, and school buildings. Silverton 1 s growth from a town of 1,200 to 4,000 residents in an age of expanding natural resource use and technological innovation brought enormous changes to the landscape in a brief two decades.

 

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Decline, Depression (1929-1945)

For ten years fires from the two mills’ refuse burners illuminated Silverton’s night sky. By 1925, however, it became increasingly difficult to supply the mills with adequate timber from the lower Cascade slopes southeast of town. Additionally, the years of expansion in the lumber industry beginning in 1923 eventually led to overproduction and falling prices. In 1926, after twenty years in operation, the Silverton Lumber Company closed down. A troubling and prophetic silence settled over the company’s multi-acre mill landscape. 109

With the loss of 250 to 300 mill jobs in town, Silverton residents hoped to see the town’s economy bolstered by a historically important natural resource based activity–farming. Following World War I, however, agricultural conditions had changed radically since the early twentieth century when the two large-scale logging and lumber milling operations had brought about a transformation of Silverton’s economy, social life, and cultural landscape. The arable land throughout the Willamette Valley was almost completely settled by the 1920s, which initiated a trend toward more intensive use of farm acreage and the consolidation of family farms into more capital intensive commercial operations. New innovations in technology had also changed agricultural conditions. Animal power used to operate farm machinery had gradually been replaced, in the 1910s and 1920s, by gasoline engines, reducing the need for day laborers and requiring greater capital investment by farmer owners. In addition, falling prices for certain agricultural produce, such as wheat, after World War I brought many ·farmers to the brink of ruin. Those farmers who were able, increasingly diversified their plantings and turned to other crops that filled market demands and yielded higher prices, such as oats, barely, grasses and legumes grown commercially for seed, flax, potatoes, corn, walnuts, apples, prunes, loganberries, and strawberries (which could then be transported in refrigerated rail cars and steamers). Despite such efforts, however, over production after World War I, resulting from farmers’ efforts to increase food production during the war, caused a dramatic drop in farm income and land values after the war. Farming areas throughout the Pacific Northwest remained mired in economic difficulties throughout the 1920s, despite Oregon Senator Charles L. McNary’s efforts, in 1924, to pass congressional legislation that would bring emergency farm relief to farmers throughout the country. In contrast to Silverton’s pre-lumber town days, agricultural development had become increasingly tied to worldwide events and market conditions by the end of the 1920s. 110

Few worldwide events in the twentieth century had a more profound impact on Silverton and the nation than the Great Depression. In the Northwest, the disastrous economic decline of the early 1930s, which hit its lowest point in 1932- 1933, dealt its hardest blow to those who depended on extractive industries-timber and agriculture–for a living. The economic collapse in Oregon brought 90 percent of timber companies to the verge of bankruptcy. The misery of farmers became acute as delinquent taxes and mortgage foreclosures were even more widely shared common experiences. In a mood of great despair over the failed attempts of President Herbert Hoover to arrest the economic decline by advocating voluntary relief measures, in 1932 Oregon uncharacteristically voted for the Democratic presidential candidate, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Immediately upon taking office and at various times over the next six years, FDR fashioned legislation aimed at providing immediate relief to the unemployed and putting the

 

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nation’s economy on the long road to recovery. Included among FD R 1 s so-called 11 New Deal 11 for Americans was a vast array of federal programs run by newly created agencies that spawned a host of soon familiar acronyms: the AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Administration), which paid farmers subsidies for not raising certain crops and livestock; the FCA (Farm Credit Administration), which provided farmers with funds to make payments on mortgages and crop loans; the NRA (National Recovery Administration), which included a provision that required timber industry to set wage and price controls and adopt certain forest conservation practices; and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), the PWA (Public Works Administration), and the WPA (Works Progress Administration), all three of which put the unemployed to work on construction and cultural projects.

Silverton suffered from the effects of the Great Depression no less than hundreds of agricultural and milling communities throughout the Northwest. Financial problems experienced by the Silverton Tribune newspaper, in part, led to its merger with the Silverton Appeal in 1930. In 1932 Fischer Flouring Mill, that had suffered along with wheat and grain farmers in the 1920s, collapsed financially due to a poor wheat market and diminishing crops, causing many to loose their investment of lifetime savings and ending over eighty years of flour milling on South Water Street. Responding to President Roosevelt’s proclamation of a 11 banking holiday, made in March 1933 to halt the collapse of the nation’s

This 1931 scene of apparent prosperity, depicting large homes on West Main Street with smoke from the Silver

This 1931 scene of apparent prosperity, depicting large homes on West Main Street with smoke from the Silver
Falls Timber Company rising in the background, gives little hint of the troubled times ahead for Silverton at
the depths of the Great Depression in 1933. (Courtesy of Oregon Historical Society, Negative No.: CN 006763)

 

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entire banking system, the widely respected Coolidge & McClaine Bank, after fifty years in operation, closed its doors and froze depositors’ accounts until July 1934. Three and a half years later, the First National Bank of Portland bought out Silverton’s pioneer banking institution. Beginning in the spring of 1933 the Silverton School District became unable to pay teachers’ salaries. In order to avoid closing the schools and laying off teachers, the district arranged with the banks and the American Legion Post No. 7 to print Silverton paper 11 Script.” For much of 1933 and 1934, teachers received “Script” instead of money, which could only be used in Silverton to pay for rent, utilities, and groceries. In the depths of the depression, Silver Falls Timber Company managers severely cut back millworkers’ wages and, later in the 1930s, the mill ran fewer shifts. 111

In addition to the severely depressed economic conditions that Silverton experienced along with the rest of the nation, townspeople suffered in other ways as well. In the early morning hours of April 23, 1935, three days before the Salem state capitol building burned, a devastating fire destroyed nearly all the buildings on the downtown block bound by Water and First and Oak and High streets, including the 1906 Palace Theater (the opera house) with countless reels of explosive nitrate film, and ten business establishments. Property damage was estimated at over $100,000. Only one building in the block survived, the Digerness dry goods store. Silverton old timers claimed it was the worst fire in sixty years. Three years later in October 1938, another fire engulfed and totally destroyed several businesses along Main Street, causing $60,000 of damage. 112

Despite the devastating effects of both fire and depression on Silverton townspeople, the community was not shrouded in gloom during the entire decade of the 1930s. Because the Silver Falls Timber Company continued operating during the 1930s, many town residents were not forced to join the ranks of the unemployed. After a substantial drop in population following the closure of the Silverton Lumber Company in 1926, the town even showed a slight population gain from 2,460 in 1930 to 2,925 in 1940. In 1931 town residents celebrated the opening of Silver Falls State Park, which helped bring motoring tourists to town. Silvertonians found distraction and pleasure in the great successes of the semiprofessional Silverton Red Sox baseball team, which won fifteen straight games in 1936, hosted Oregon’s semi-professional tournament in 1937, and won the state semi-professional tournament and the regional championship in 1939. In 1936 a new Palace Theater began being raised from the ashes of the old one on Water Street. The following year, construction began on a new Silverton hospital. 113

In addition, Silverton benefitted materially from several of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. Beginning in 1935, work relief programs like the CCC constructed several rustic buildings, trails, picnic tables, and other facilities at Silver Falls State Park. In 1935 a New Deal program was responsible for completing improvements on Silverton’s old 1917 airport located north of Pine Street. Two years later in 1937, when Oregon held its semi-professional baseball tournament in Silverton, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) assisted with the construction of McGinnis Field near James Street. Between 1937 and 1939, the Public Works Administration (PWA) designed and built a new high school on Schlador Street. In the late 1930s, the WPA built the wood-frame, ship-lap-sided bathhouse at the town’s newly completed outdoor swimming pool, across Silver Creek from McClaine & Coolidge Park. These and other projects provided needed facilities and work for many Silverton residents. 114

 

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Notable People Associated with Silverton History (In progress; additions are invited)

ADAMS, Alfred. Part-owner, with E. S. Porter, of Silverton’s large opera house built in the early 1900s on North Water Street.

ADAMS, Louis J., born in Ohio in 1862, came to Oregon in 1884. After working in a Silverton flouring mill, he became cashier and manager of the Coolidge & McClaine Bank in the late 1890s, and, later, the bank’s legal consultant. For many years Louis Adams practiced law in Silverton. Adams served on the Silverton city council in the late 1880s. In 1901 Oregon citizens elected him state senator. He and his wife May Coolidge, daughter of bank owner Ai Coolidge, built a large home in the 400 block of West Main. Adams died in 1931 at age sixty-nine.

ALLEN, Harvey L., was born in the Waldo Hills near Silverton in 1865. Allen directed two Silverton bands from 1885 until 1901. That year he moved to Baker City, Oregon, where he became engaged in the furniture and undertaking business. Around 1908, he moved to Missoula, where he was working as an undertaker when he passed away in 1911 at age forty-six.

ALM, Julius. Successful grocer in town of Norwegian decent.

AMES, Laura. Teacher at the Liberal University in Silverton in the late 1890s and early 1900s.

AMES, Samuel, born in the 1850s in Ohio. Samuel arrived in Silverton in 1877 and eight years later bought a half interest in a hardware business with John Hicks. In 1899 Samuel and Louis Ames, his brother, became partners in this hardware enterprise. Beginning in the late 1880s, Samuel and Louis jointly owned a planning mill, followed by the Silverton Chair Factory around 1890. This enterprise had begun manufacturing sashes and doors by the early 1900s. By 1906, Louis had turned to growing hops near Silverton, while Samuel oversaw operation of the hardware store and the sash and door factory. Samuel Ames served as a Silverton city council member for many terms between the late 1880s and the early 1900s. Samuel died in Silverton in 1937.

BARGER, John, born in Missouri in 1822, immigrated overland to Oregon in 1847 and erected a saw mill, with James Smith, on Silver Creek. That year Barger settled on 640 acres that later became included in the southern part of the Silverton town site. After pioneering near Silverton, Barger and his wife, Rebecca Smith, the daughter of James Smith, moved to Salem and later to eastern Oregon. James Barger died in 1891 at age sixty-nine.

BLACKERBY, Arthur F., born in 1853 about three miles south of Silverton, took up dentistry in Salem as a young man. In 1886 he received his dentistry license and that year established the first dentist’s office in Silverton. Blackerby was active in Silverton’s fraternal life, participating in Odd Fellows activities for over fifty-five years. Blackerby died in 1934 at age eighty.

BROWN, James, born in Kentucky in 1814, traveled overland with his wife and young son, James Madison, in 1846, arriving in the Silver Creek area in

 

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October that year. The family settled on land that later became part of the Silverton town site. A tanner by trade, Brown started a tannery on Silver Creek, but soon pursued other business enterprises. Late in his life, Brown moved to Woodburn, where he died at age seventy-three in 1887.

BUFF, James (“Jim 11), a native of Missouri born in 1843, came overland to Oregon with his parents in 1852. Buff was widely known in Silverton and throughout Marion County for his unusual habits of dress and his mental and physical abilities. After graduating from Willamette University in 1868, he began a forty-five-year career teaching public school. Between school terms in the summer, he customarily moved houses. When he was younger, he sometimes walked eight to twelve miles each way from his home to school, apparently without tiring. He later became widely known for the strange clothing he wore in public, such as women’s corsets. After an apparent paralytic stroke in 1909, which accentuated his eccentricities, he was committed to a sanitarium where he died in 1910.

COOLIDGE, Ai, born in 1823 in Ohio, arrived at the small hitching-post community of Milford on Silver Creek in 1851. Here he started a general merchandise store, which, in 1855, he moved to the new town site soon known as Silverton. In 1868 and 1870, Coolidge served as Marion County commissioner. Ai Coolidge is probably best known for the bank that he established in Silverton, with “Jake” McClaine, in 1880, the year the railroad arrived in town. The Coolidge & McClaine Bank became widely known as one the Willamette Valley’s most solid and trustworthy financial institutions. Coolidge contributed to the up building of Silverton in other ways. In the early 1870s, he bought, rebuilt, and later sold the a grist mill on South Water Street. He promoted the founding of the Silverton Electric Light Company in the late 1800s. Over the years, Coolidge acquired around six thousand acres of land in and around Silverton, some of which he farmed and raised stock on. Before his death in 1908, Coolidge actively campaigned for paved streets in Silverton. About fifteen wooded acres of the Coolidge estate was deeded to the city in 1909 as a public park.

CUSITER, George, born near Edinborough, Scotland, in 1863, arrived in

CUSITER, George, born near Edinborough, Scotland, in 1863

CUSITER, George, born near Edinborough, Scotland, in 1863

Portland, Oregon in 1886, where he worked as a bookkeeper and later manager for the Oregon Milling Company for five years before arriving in Silverton. In 1893 he started a successful general merchandise and grocery store on the north side of Main Street. In the early 1900s, Cusiter was considered among the most successful businessmen in the Willamette Valley and, largely for that reason, was elected president of the Oregon Merchant’s Association. Silverton residents elected Cusiter mayor four times in the 1890s and early 1900s and twice as a councilman.

DAVENPORT, Homer, born in the Waldo Hills south of Silverton in 1867, showed a natural aptitude for drawing as a small child when he began sketching while recovering from smallpox. He sold his first drawing at age twenty-four. In 1892 he won first place for a sketch of a horse he submitted to the Chicago Herald newspaper. As a young man he worked several months for the Portland Mercury before getting a job as an artist and writer with the San Francisco Examiner and

 

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then the Chronicle. In 1895 famous newspaper publisher William Hearst hired Davenport as a caricaturist for the San Francisco Chronicle; the following year Hearst transferred Davenport to his New York Journal office. Davenport, whose well-known cartoons reputedly helped Theodore Roosevelt win reelection as president in 1904, helped him gain a reputation as one of the foremost political cartoonists in the United States in the early twentieth century. Davenport died from pneumonia at his home in New Jersey in 1912. Silverton has for many years celebrated his life with an annual summer festival of events known as “Homer Davenport Days.”

DAVENPORT, Timothy W., born in New York in 1826, came to Waldo Hills south of Silverton in 1851. Although trained in both law and medicine, his working career encompassed a wide range of activities. In 1964 he won election as Marion County surveyor, and later was elected Oregon state representative in 1866, 1868, and 1870. In 1874 the Independent party nominated Davenport as representative to the U.S. Congress, however, he was not elected. Between 1895 and 1899, he served as director of Oregon State Public Lands. Throughout his life, T. W. Davenport was well-known for his great affection for and support of his son, Homer. T. W. Davenport died in Pasadena, California, in 1911, one year before Homer’s death.

DAVIS, Plat A., born in Ohio in 1825 1 received medical training in Cleveland before traveling overland to Oregon in 1852 and settling in Silverton. Davis was among the earliest doctors in the town and practiced his profession there for over fifty years. Davis died in Silverton in 1902.

DeGUIRE, Charles Francis, born in Missouri in 18461 immigrated to Oregon, in 1854, with his parents who settled on and farmed land about six miles southeast of Silverton. As a young man, DeGuire first worked in a woolen mill as a weaver, before establishing a jewelry business in Silverton. For many years, he also served as deputy postmaster in town. He also engaged in real estate for many years. In 1877 he organized Silverton‘s first brass band, which he directed until1885. DeGuire was one of three men who helped organize Silverton’s People’s Bank (predecessor of the First National Bank), located at the southwest corner of Main and Water streets, in the early twentieth century. DeGuire died in 1928 at age eighty-one.

DRAKE, Charles Wesley, a native of Ohio born in 1851, came overland with his parents to Oregon when less than a year old. The family and, later Charles, farmed on land in the Marquam area for many years, before Drake moved to Silverton in 1889. Drake engaged in a series of businesses activities there, including hotel management and butchering, before pursuing carpentry. He became actively involved in local civic affairs, serving as a councilman for several terms and also town mayor. Drake died at his home in Silverton in 1911.

DRAKE, June was born in nearby Marquam in 1880 and came with his family to Silverton in 1889. In 1900 June and his brother Emory bought the photography business and photographic collection of William L. Jones’s (who moved to and set up a new photo business, now Jones Photo Company, in Aberdeen, Washington). The Drake brothers had two commercial studios before building a third in 1911 at 303 North Water Street. June’s wife, Eleanor, occupied half of the building with a hat shop. In addition to leaving a rich visual legacy of scenes, people, and life in

 

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and around Silverton covering the first half of the twentieth century, June Drake is known for his instrumental role in establishing Silver Falls State Park in 1931. Drake retired from his photography business in 1959 and passed away in 1969.

EASTMAN, Lester C. Part-owner of Eastman Brothers Garage and manager of the Silverton Blow Pipe Company in Silverton in the 1910s and 1920s.

ENGEMAN, Joseph and Dora, moved from Minnesota to Silverton in 1902 where, in 1904, they built a farmhouse on Grant Street. For about twenty-five years, they, with the help of their nine young children, operated a dairy farm, and had one Silverton’s early retail milk routes, before selling their milk to the Silverton Creamery for processing. In addition to dairying, Joseph began doing custom hay bailing in the early 1920s. Joseph died in 1939; Dora continued to live in the family farmhouse with one son, “Ted,” until her death in 1968.

FISCHER, Louis Henry for more than thirty years served as the president and general manager of the Fischer Flouring Mill, which once occupied about eleven acres between Silver Creek and South Water Street. The Fischer family previously owned flour mills in Portland and Corvallis before purchasing the Oregon Milling Company in Silverton in 1898. Poor wheat yields and markets during the early years of the Great Depression led to the mill’s closure in 1932. Louis Fischer moved to Champoeg in 1945 and died four years later at age 78.

GEER, Theodore Thurston, born in the Waldo Hills, moved to Silverton as a boy in 1855. He served as governor of Oregon from 1899 to 1903.

HIBBARD, Trenton R., born in Illinois in 1836, came to Oregon with his parents in 1847 and settled in Waldo Hills south of Silverton. In 1874, Hibbard moved to Silverton. Four years later, he was appointed the town’s postmaster. In the mid-1880s, he became Silverton’s first mayor, a position which he held several times over the next twenty years. Hibbard died in Silverton in 1910.

HICKS, John, a native of Iowa who was born in 1850, came to Oregon with his parents in 1866. After teaching school for a few years, he then became engaged in the hardware business, first with Samuel Ames and then on his own. Hicks served on the Silverton city council in late 1880s and early 1890s, as city treasurer in 1893, and as mayor in 1896. Hicks died in Silverton at the age of fifty-eight in 1908.

HIRSCH, Solomon, born in Wurttemberg, Germany in 1838, owned and operated, with his brother Edward, one of Silverton’s first general merchandise stores from 1860 to 1864. He was one of five Hirsch brothers who immigrated from Germany and among the few Jewish merchants in Silverton during its settlement period. After leaving Silverton in 1864, Hirsch went to Portland where he eventually became a partner in the wholesale house of Fleischer, Mayer &, Company, the largest Jewish business in the Northwest. Hirsch was elected to three terms in the Oregon Senate and in 1880 became its president. In 1889 President Benjamin Harrison appointed Hirsch as ambassador to Turkey, where he remained for three years. Hirsch passed away in Portland in 1902.

HOBART, Scott, a native of Illinois born in 1845, came to Oregon with his parents in 1853. After the family first settled on 320 acres four miles southeast of

 

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Silverton, in 1857 they purchased acreage about a mile east of the Silverton town center. Scott Hobart, after teaching for a few years, turned to general farming and stock raising on the family’s land. Hobart was one of the early members of Silverton’s Methodist congregation and helped erect its first church in 1885. Active in the politics, he represented his congressional district at Republican county conventions for about a decade during the prime of his life. Hobart died in Silverton in his home on McClaine Street in 1935 at the age of ninety.

HOBLITT, John T. Publisher and editor of the Silverton Appeal

HOBLITT, John T. Publisher and editor of the Silverton Appeal beginning in the late 1910s.

HOBLITT, John T. Publisher and editor of the Silverton Appeal beginning in the late 1910s.

beginning in the late 1910s.

HOSMER, John Earl, born in Wisconsin in 1862, began teaching there at age twenty before moving to Tillamook County, Oregon, in 1890. Soon after receiving a bachelor’s degree in scientific didactics from the Oregon Normal School, Hosmer and his wife Minnie Page moved to Portland where John became the minister of the Portland Secular Church and, with Minnie, began raising funds for the founding of a liberal university in Oregon. The Hosmers’ moved to Silverton in the fall of 1896 after the towns Liberal Hall at Main and Water streets was chosen as the place to begin Oregon’s new Liberal University. Hosmer helped establish and served as president of the Liberal University of Oregon from 1896 until 1901, when he resigned. Hosmer then bought and published the Silverton Appeal for a brief period before becoming fully occupied with his responsibilities as president of the Cascade Real Estate Company in Silverton.

HUBBS, George W. was a Silverton realtor from the early 1910s into the

HUBBS, George W. was a Silverton realtor from the early 1910s into the 1930s who specialized in medium-size and larger tracts of farmland around Silverton and Waldo Hills.

HUBBS, George W. was a Silverton realtor from the early 1910s into the 1930s who specialized in medium-size and larger tracts of farmland around Silverton and Waldo Hills.

1930s who specialized in medium-size and larger tracts of farmland around Silverton and Waldo Hills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McCLAINE, Adolphus Fielding, known as “Jack,” was a native of Illinois, born in 1832. He came with his aunt to Salem, Oregon, in the 1850s and moved to Silverton in 1859. For many years, Jake and Ai Coolidge were partners in the Coolidge and McClaine Bank in Silverton. Together they invested in several tracts of land in and around Silverton. Coolidge died in 1899.

 

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McGINNIS, William L. was Silver Falls Timber Company for many years in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1936 he organized, coached, and managed the Silver Falls Timber Company baseball team, known as the 11 Red Sox, which in 1936 won fifteen straight games. McGinnis also served as chairman of the Silverton Athletic Commission.

MORLEY, George, son of John Morley, was born near Sublimity in 1856, but moved to Silverton with his parents in 1864. As an adult, Morley purchased land near Abiqua Creek in 1886 and became one the Willamette valley’s first successful hop growers. He pursued hop raising until 1912. For many years, Morley lived on South Water Street (in a house latter occupied by the Skaife family). He died while on a Willamette River fishing trip in 1927.

MORLEY, John, born in 1823 in Ohio, immigrated to Oregon in 1847 and first settled on and farmed land near Sublimity, south of Silverton. In 1862 Morley and his family moved to Silverton and operated a grist mill there for about eight years. In 1871 he bought a farm about three miles northeast of the town and began general farming and stock raising. By the early 1900s, he, like many others in the area, had turned to raising hops.

PORTER, Edward S., who was born in Parkersville, Oregon, in 1860, graduated from Silverton High School. He took up general farming and stock raising about five miles from Silverton and eventually acquired about 1,400 contiguous acres of Willamette Valley land. In addition to farming, Porter became associated with D. C. Kinney in the early twentieth century and together they engaged in Kinney & Porter general merchandising. Porter owned several pieces of property in Silverton; he and Alfred Adams owned Silverton’s opera house on North Water Street for many years after its construction in 1906. Porter held various public offices in town, and for twenty years was clerk of the Silverton School Board. Porter died in 1937 at the age of seventy-six.

PRICE, Polly Crandall Coon, born to Paul and Sally Crandall in New York in 1825, traveled overland with her parents to Silverton in 1852 to join her husband Thomas Coon, who had arrived two years earlier and settled on land near Silver Creek. Shortly after the death of her husband in 1854, Polly platted land that became the original Silverton town site. Polly married Stephen Price in 1855, a millwright who had helped build an early gristmill on Silver Creek with James Smith and John Barger. In 1861 Polly and Stephen Price moved from Silverton to Salem where she died in 1898.

SKAIFE, Michael and Thomas, brothers, were both born in Iowa in 1845 and 1847, respectively. They traveled to Oregon via the Isthmus of Panama with their parents in 1867. Both Michael and Thomas first went to work in a flour mill in Salem. In the 1870s, they moved to Silverton and acquired, with two other Skaife brothers, a half interest (with the Mackintosh brothers) in a flour mill on South Water Street near the Cooper and Company flour mill (predecessor of the Oregon Milling Company and, later, Fischer Flouring Mill), which they operated until the mid-1880s. In 1887 Michael moved to a farm about three miles south of Silverton. Over the years, Michael held several public offices in town 1 including school clerk and mayor. Michael died on his farm in 1913. Thomas died in 1930.

 

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SMITH, Beauford, born in Virginia in 1806, came to Oregon in 1848 and settled on Silver Creek. Smith briefly operated a saw mill in Milford (Silverton’s forerunner two miles up Silver Creek) and, soon after, erected a flour mill on Silver Creek. After living several years in the Silverton area, Smith moved to northern California. When his health began to fail he returned to Oregon where he died in 1870.

SMITH, James, a pioneer of the Silverton area, was born in Pennsylvania in 1795. In 1848, at age fifty-three, Smith and his family (with children Simeon, Jennings, Solomon, and James) came overland to Oregon and settled on a land claim on Silver Creek. With John Barger, Smith erected a flour mill first in Milford and, in 1854, in the area of the new town site of Silverton. Smith died in Silverton in 1868.

STARRETT, F. M. was Silverton’s first architect. He designed the Wolf building in 1891 as well as many other commercial, civic, and residential buildings in Silverton from the 1890s through the early 1900s. Starrett served several terms as a Silverton council member in the 1890s.

STEELHAMMER, Andrew G., born in Sweden in 1847, immigrated to the United States in 1869 where he eventually apprenticed as a carriage-maker in Minnesota for several years. In 1881 he went to North Dakota and worked as a blacksmith for ten years before coming to Silverton in 1892. For many years, Andrew Steelhammer operated a flourishing blacksmith in Silverton and built a substantial home on twenty-eight acres of land on East Main Street. He was well known for his virtuosity on the violin and clarinet. Steelhammer died at the age of ninety in 1937.

STEELHAMMER, George W., born in North Dakotan born in 1889, came with his parents to Salem, Oregon, in 1891. After attending the North Pacific College of Pharmacy in Portland and spending a couple of years in eastern Oregon, Steelhammer bought, in 1912, the business of long-time Silverton druggist John Brooks. Steelhammer served on the city council for several years in the 1910s and early 1920s and also sat on the Silverton’s Hospital Board. In the late 1920s, Steelhammer served as director of the Cascade Highway Association, which sought to improve automobile and truck traffic between several communities along the base of the Cascade foothills between East Portland and Eugene.

TINGELSTAD, Bent, born in Norway in 1852, immigrated to the United States in 1872. After spending several years in North Dakota, Tingelstad came to the Silverton area in 1892 and farmed on Brush Creek for several years before moving to Center Street near West Main in Silverton. Tingelstad was a charter member of the Trinity Lutheran Church. One son, Edvin, was the Silverton high school principle in the 1910s. Another son, 0. A. Tingelstad, served as president of Pacific Lutheran College, in Parkland, Washington, in the 1930s. Tingelstad died in Silverton in 1939.

WARNOCK, Fred, born two mile east of Silverton in 1868, began an apprenticeship under H. G. Guild, editor of the Silverton Appeal, at age twelve. In the early 1890s, he purchased the Appeal, edited and published it until 1901, when he moved to Heppner, Oregon. Warnock returned to Silverton around 1912 and established the Silverton Journal. Warnock had recently become editor of the Corvallis Daily Republican when he died in 1915.

 

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WEBB, George Allen, born in New York in 1842, moved with his parent to Michigan at age four. In 1863 he enlisted as a volunteer in the Union Army, during the Civil War, before being severely wounded in the battle of Fredericksburg. Around 1886, Webb and his family moved to Silverton, where he became the town’s first and very successful real estate agent. In the 1890s and early twentieth century, Webb held various positions in Silverton city government, including council member, marshal, and justice of the peace. Webb died in Silverton in 1911.

WOLF, Adolf, born in Austro-Hungary in 1837, came to the United States at

WOLF, Adolf, born in Austro-Hungary in 1837, came to the United States at about twenty years of age.

WOLF, Adolf, born in Austro-Hungary in 1837, came to the United States at about twenty years of age.

about twenty years of age. After moving to the West Coast in 1866 and settling first in Portland and then in Independence, Oregon for several years, Wolf moved to Silverton in 1884, where he purchased a general merchandise business. In 1890 Wolf brought his son, Julius, into the business; a year later they erected the substantial, two-story, cast-iron-fronted Wolf Block at the intersection of Water and Main streets. After selling their general merchandise enterprise in 1899, Adolph and Julius began raising cattle and sheep and became successful hop growers and dealers, known throughout the country. Active in the town’s civic affairs, Adolf Wolf served as a Silverton council member, as well as president of the city council in 1888.

 

WOLFARD, John M. , born in Ohio in 1842, came overland to Oregon at age nine with his parents who settled on land about five miles south of Silverton in the Waldo Hills. As a young adult, Wolfard began working for his uncles, De and John Davenport, in the general merchandise business. Beginning in the early 1870s, he established his own general merchandise business, known as Wolfard & Company, and for more than forty years conducted his general merchandise business in the two-story brick building at the southeast corner of Water and Main streets. Wolfard served as Silverton mayor in the late 1880s. In the early 1890s, he became proprietor of the Silverton Hotel on North Water Street, later taken over by John’s aunt, Mrs. Kate P. Wolfard. In the early twentieth century, Wolfard took up hop raising. Later in life, he served as vice president of the First National Bank (earlier the Peoples Bank). Wolfard died at age eighty-six in 1928.

WOODWARD, M. C., a native of Wisconsin born in 1875, attended Beloit College, before becoming employed by a lumber company in Minnesota and learning many different aspects of the industry. After coming to Oregon in 1908 and working first in Portland and, later, for the Westport Lumber Company, Woodward came to Silverton to organize the Silver Falls Lumber Company. In 1916 he moved from Portland to Silverton, where he became actively involved in local affairs. For many years, he served as the company’s president and general manager.

WORTHINGTON, Charles Lorraine, studied medicine in his home country of England before immigrating to the United States. Around 1857, he opened the first drug store in Silverton. In the 1860s and 1870s, he continued to operate a drug store as well as general merchandise store, and became one of the town’s first doctors. At various times he also taught school.

 

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Endnotes

  1. Presently, the earliest definite evidence of human habitation in the Willamette Valley only dates back to about 5,500 years ago. The association between stone chips and artifacts found near 1ammoth bones near Tangent, Oregon and similar mammoth bones found not far from Silverton that can be dated approximately ten thousand years ago by pollen found in the same stratum of soil suggest that humans inhabited the Willamette Valley in the post· Pleistocene Age. Harold Mackey, The Kalapuyans: A Sourcebook on the Indians of the Willamette Valley (Salem, Oregon: Mission Mill Museum Association, 1974, 1; Stephen Dow Beckham, The Indians of Western Oregon: This Land Was Theirs (Coos Bay, Oregon: Arago Books, 1977), 19-24.

 

  1. Jiff Zucker, Kay Hummel, and Bob Hog Hogfoss, Oregon Indians: Culture, History and Current Affairs: An Atlas and Introduction (Portland, Oregon.: Western Imprints, Press of the Oregon Historical Society, 1983), 9-10, 14, 48-53; James L. Ratcliff, “What Happened to the Kalapuya?,” Indian Historian 6: 3 (Summer 1973), 28, 30; Mackey, Kalapuyans, 4-13, 33-36; Beckham, Indians of Western Oregon, 36-38, 43-44; Robert Carlton Clark, History of the Willamette Valley, Oregon (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 1927), 541-42; J. Neilson Barry, “The Indians of Oregon–Geographic Distribution of Linguistic Families,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 28: 1 (March 1927), 56-57; Claude E. Schaefer, “Indian Tribes and Languages of the Old Oregon Country: A New Map,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 60: 1 (March 1959), 129-33; Robert Horace Down, A History of Silverton Country (Portland, Oregon.: Berncliff Press, 1926), 1-2.

 

  1. Rick Minor, Stephen Dow Beckham, Phyllis E. Lancefield-Steeves, and Kathryn Anne Toepel, Cultural Resource Overview of the BLM Lands in Northwestern Oregon: Archaeology, Ethnology, History (Eugene, Oregon.: University of Oregon, Anthropological Paper No. 20, 1980), 45-52; John A. Hussey, Champoeg: Place of Transition (Portland, Oregon.: Oregon Historical Society with Oregon Highway Commission and the National Park Service, 19670, 8-9; Robert H. Ruby and John A. Brown, A Guide to the Indian Tribes of the Pacific Northwest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992, revised), 3; Beckham, Indians of Western Oregon, 34-35, 45-49; Zucker, Oregon Indians, 21-31, 33, 42-44; Mackey, Kalapuyans, 10, 43·44; Clark, History of the Willamette Valley, 42-64. A lively, well-written summary of the Kalapuya environmental relationship with the Willamette Valley can be found in Peter G. Boag, Environment and Experience: Settlement Culture in Nineteenth-Century Oregon (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1992), 3-23.

 

  1. Ethnologists and anthropologists have long debated the original territory occupied by the Molala and their tenure there. Some have hypothesized the Malala and Cayuse once lived in the same area; others believe that the Cayuse pushed the Molala westward over the Cascades from central Oregon; still others suggest that the Tenino or the Paiute drove the Molalla westward. Minor, et al., Cultural Resource of the BLM Lands, 63-65; Zucker, et. al., Oregon Indians, 10·11; Clark, History of the Willamette Valley, 542; Ruby and Brown, Guide to the Indian Tribes, 91, 137-39; Robert H. Ruby and John A. Brown, Indians of the Pacific Northwest: A History (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981), 108-109; Down, History of Silverton Country, 2.

 

  1. An estimated 75 to 90 percent of Native Americans in western Oregon succumbed to exotic diseases. Beckham, Indians of Western Oregon, 98-109; Zucker, Oregon Indians, 58-60; Hussey Champoeg, 9-11, 20-38; Mackey, Kalapuyans, 20·21; Clark, History of the Willamette Valley, 61-64; Down, History of the Silverton Country, 5-6; Robert T. Boyd, “Another Look at the ‘Fever and Ague’ of Western Oregon,” Ethno history 22: 2 (Spring 1975), 135-54; William A. Slacum, “Slacum’s Report on Oregon, 1836-7,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 13: 2 (June 1912), 184-86, 200-202; S. F. Cook, “The Epidemic of 1830-1833 in California and Oregon,” The University of California Publications in American Archeology and Ethnology 43: 3, (May 1955), 303-26; Carl Waldman, Atlas of the North American Indian (New York, N.Y.: Facts on File, Inc., 1985), 166-67. For those who wish to read further about the biological consequences of the interaction between European and North American ecosystems, including the spread of diseases to the “New World,” see Alfred W. Crosby, Jr., The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1972) and Alfred W. Crosby, Jr., Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).

 

  1. Lloyd D. Black, “Middle Willamette Valley Population Growth,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 43: 1 (March 1942), 40-41.

 

Page 51

 

  1. Ratcliff, “what Happened to the Kalapuya?,” 27-33.

 

  1. Hussey, Champoeg, 22-24, 33-34 38-59; Beckham, Indians of Western Oregon, 114-16; Slacum, “Slacum’s Report,” 210; Zucker, et al., Oregon Indians, 60-62; Clark, History of the Willamette Valley, 64, 215-26, 439-43, 745; William A. Bowen, The Willamette Valley: Migration and Settlement on the Oregon Frontier (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1978), 9-12, 79-81, 87; Joseph Gaston, The Centennial History of Oregon, 1811·1912 (Chicago: S.J. Clark Publishing Company, 1912), 449.

 

  1. Beckham, Indians of Western Oregon, 116-17; Clark, History of the Willamette Valley, 226-67, 358-61, 542-52; Zucker, et al., Oregon Indians, 62-73; Bowen, Willamette Valley, 12-16; Down, History of Silverton County, 8-31, 47-58; Ruby and Brown, Indians of the Pacific Northwest, 108-10; Ruby and Brown, Guide to the Indian Tribes, 137.

 

  1. James M. Bergquist, “The Oregon Donation Act and the National Land Policy,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 58: 1 (March 1957), 17-35; Stephen Dow Beckham, “History of Western Oregon Since 1846,n in Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 17, ed. Bruce G. Trigger {Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1990), 180-88; Beckham, Indians of Western Oregon, 117-19, 123-35, 147-69; Zucker, et al., Oregon Indians, 67-96; Ruby and Brown, Guide to Indian Tribes, 3, 137-39; Ruby and Brown, Indians of the Pacific Northwest, 116; Mackey, Kalapuyans, 10, Down, History of Silverton Country, 2-3, 97-114; Lewis A. McArthur, Oregon Geographic Names (Portland, Oregon.: Oregon Historical Society Press, 1982, fifth ed.), 223-24, 574-75.

 

  1. Peter Boag, in Environment and Experience (pp. 10-23), provides a well-documented summary of Kalapuya burning practices and their environmental effects. See also Robert T. Boyd, “Strategies of Indian Burning in the Willamette Valley,” Canadian Journal of Anthropology/Revue Canadienne d’ Anthropoloqie 5: 1 (Fall 1986}, 65-86; Carl L. Johannessen, William A. Davenport, Artimus Millet, and Steven McWilliams, “The Vegetation of the Willamette Valley,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 61 (June 1971), 286-302; Jerry C. Towle, “Changing Geography of Willamette Valley Woodlands,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 83: 1 (Spring 1982), 67-14; Bowen, Willamette Valley, 59-61; James R. Habeck, «The Original Vegetation of the Mid-Willamette Valley, Oregon,” Northwest Science 35: 2 (? 1961), 67.

 

  1. Slacum, “Slacum’s Report,” 202.

 

  1. Habeck, “Original Vegetation,” 65-77; Franklin and Dryness, Natural Vegetation of Oregon and Washington, 116-29.

 

  1. Towle, “Changing Geography,” 74-77; Bowen, Willamette Valley, 62-64; Black, “Middle Willamette Valley,” 41-42. See Boag, Environment and Experience, 41-73 for a discussion of a similar settlement patterns in the upper Willamette Valley’s Calapooia River drainage.

 

  1. Down, History of the Silverton Country, 30-32, 42, 59, 223; Fred Lockley, impressions and Observations of the Journal Man,” Oregon Daily Journal, July 17, 1835.

 

  1. Down, History of the Silver Country, 36, 82-85; Lockley, “Impressions and Observations”; Bowen, Willamette Valley, 14-16, 90-91; Black, “Middle Willamette Valley,” 42-44; Holtgrieve, “Historical Geography of Transportation Routes,” 16-18; Clark, History of the Willamette Valley, 452-54; Charles Henry Carey, History of Oregon (Portland, Oregon.: Pioneer Historical Publishing Company, 1922), 505-508.

 

  1. Polly Crandall Coon later married Stephen Price in September 1855. R. J. Hendricks, “bits for Breakfast” Oregon Statesman, August 25, 1936, 4.

 

  1. Down, History of the Silverton Country, 92, 115-23, 135-40, 223-25, 227, 229; Lockley, impressions and Observations”; Florence Read Bowman, How Silverton Got Its Name, ” Genealogical Forum of Portland 14: 61 (February 1965), 67-68; Hugh Marshal, “Two Votes Saved Oregon to U.S.A.,” Oregon Magazine, November 1929, 27; “Silverton Old Timers Hear Story of Pioneer Settlers,” Salem Capital Journal, August 5, 1952, 13; Ruth Geer Kephart, “The Silverton Story,” Marion County History, 5 (June 1959), 34.

 

Page 52

 

  1. The origin of the name “Silverton” have been much debated. Perhaps most plausible is early Silverton historian Robert Down’s and others’ contention that Polly Crandall Coon Price named Silverton after Silver Creek. Down, History of the Silverton Country, 227; McArthur, Oregon Geographic Names, 768-69; Jiff Breaks, “Future of 147 Year-Old Home Is Uncertain,” Silverton Appeal Tribune/Mt. Angel News, October 25, 1995, 6A.

 

  1. Agriculture, generally, grew rapidly in the Willamette Valley between 1850 and 1860. Clark, History of the Willamette Valley, 456; Harvey W. Scott, History of the Oregon Country, Vol. III (Cambridge, Mass.: Riverside Press, 1924), 73; Bowen, Willamette Valley, 87-94, 96; Down, History of the Silverton Country, 233-34.

 

  1. Bowen, Willamette Valley, 43-52; Black, “Middle Willamette Valley,” 50-51.

 

  1. Down, History of the Silverton Country, 224-29; Philip Duncan McEachern, “Silverton: The Morphology of an Oregon Town” (Master’s thesis, University of Oregon, 1990), 22-27; Lockley, “Impressions and Observations”; “Chronicles of Silverton,” Oregon Statesman, March 30, 1941, 17; Holtgrieve, “Historical Geography of Transportation Routes,” 243.

 

  1. Down, History of the Silverton Country, photo opposite title page.

 

  1. Homer Davenport, The Country Boy: The Story of His Own Early Life (New York: G. W. Dillingham Company, 1910), 16 and 6.

 

  1. McEachern, “Silverton,” 21, 24, 28-29; Down, History of the Silverton Country, 163; Holtgrieve, “Historical Geography,” 51, 65-72; Clark, History of the Willamette Valley, 482-83; Black, “Middle Willamette Valley,” 45; Jonas A. Jonasson, “Local Road Legislation in Early Oregon,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 42: 2 (June 1941), 162-75; Oscar Osburn Winther, “The Roads and Transportation of Territorial Oregon,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 41: 1 (March 1940), 40-43.

 

  1. Down, History of the Silverton Country, 229; Henry G. Langley, Pacific Coast Business Directory, 1867 (San Francisco: Henry G. Langley, Publisher, 1867), 289. Geographer Donald Holtgrieve has noted that nearly every early Willamette Valley town had a cluster of buildings that housed, at a minimum, a general merchandise store and a post office (often in the same building), a blacks1ith, and a grist or saw mill, which were vitally important producing goods for export as well as local consumption. Holtgrieve, “Historical Geography,” 21-28, 243.

 

  1. Gaston, Centennial History of Oregon, 450.

 

  1. R. L. Polk and Company, Oregon Business Directory, 1873 (Portland, Oregon.: Polk and Company, 1873), 274-75.

 

  1. Ibid., 275; Pacific Coast Directory, 1880-81 (San Francisco: L. M. McKenney & Co1pany Publishers, 1880), 320; Edgar Williams and Company, Historical Atlas of Marion and Linn Counties, Oregon (San Francisco: Edgar Williams and Company, 1878, reprinted 1975), 24; Silverton Lodge No. 45, A.F. & A.M., History of Silverton Lodge No. 45, A.F. & A.M. of Oregon, 1868-1996 (Silverton, Oregon.: Silverton Lodge No. 45), 1993, revised), 4; McEachern, “Silverton,” 64-66.

 

  1. Down, History of the Silverton Country, 189-90, 197-99, 216; Minnie Engeman, “History of Silverton Public Schools, 1849-1949,” typescript, 1973, 1-4; Minnie Engeman, “History of Early Schools in Silverton Country,” typescript 1993, 17-18; Robert Goetz, “School Enroll1ent Depicts Growth,” Oregon Magazine 23: 4 (November 1929), 33; Marshall, “Two Votes Saved Oregon,” 27, 47.

 

  1. Down, History of the Silverton Country, 216. The Silverton College at first occupied an old building up Silver Creek. The school moved into town with the completion of a new building, which was later used in the 1930s for the Grand Ar1y of the Republic. H. Earl Pemberton, “Early Colleges in Oregon,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 33: 3 (September 1932), 241-42.

 

Page 53

 

  1. Down, History of the Silverton Country, 239; Silverton Lodge No. 45, History of Silverton Lodge No. 45, 1-9; Laura Watts-Olmstead and Elizabeth O’Brien, “Silverton Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination” (Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, 1986).

 

  1. “Pageantry Scheduled as Silverton Methodist Church 100 Years Old,” Oregon Statesman, September 6, 1956, II 21; Down, 32, 141-44, 167, 240; Clark, History of the Willamette Valley, 602-603, 669; Marceil, Middlemiss, A History of the Christian Church in Silverton (N .p.: typescript, c. 1976), 1-21; “Church Events,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 33: 2 (June 1932), 178.

 

  1. Bowen, Willamette Valley, 61, 74-75; Towle, “Changing Geography,” 77; Johannessen, et al., “Vegetation of the Willamette Valley,” 296-301.

 

  1. Davenport, Country Boy, 17.

 

  1. Clark, History of the Willamette Valley, 483, 503-27; Leslie M. Scott, “History of the Narrow Gauge Railroad in the Willamette Valley,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 20: 2 (June 1919), 141-47; Gaston, Centennial History of Oregon, 533-36; Joseph Gaston, “The Genesis of the Oregon Railway System,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 7: 2 (June 1906), 105-32.

 

  1. Scott, “History of the Narrow Gauge Railroad,” 143, 147-58; Carey, History of Oregon, 704-705; Randall V. Mills, “A History of Transportation in the Pacific Northwest,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 47: 3 (September 1946), 287-302; Holtgrieve, “Historical Geography of Transportation Routes,” 84-119; The Oregonian’s Handbook of the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Oregon.: Oregonian Publishing Company, 1894), 186. Dorothy Johansen and Charles Gates note the great importance of Willamette Valley railroad projects, such as the narrow-gauge railroad, in opening up fertile farmlands back from the Willamette River. Johansen and Gates, Empire of the Columbia: A History of the Pacific Northwest (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1957), 373.

 

  1. Holtgrieve, “Historical Geography of Transportation Routes,” 119-21, 139-40; Sanborn-Perris Map Company, Ltd., “Silverton, 1890” (New York: Sanborn-Perris Map Company, Ltd.); Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1889-1890 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk, 1889), 464; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1889-90 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk & Company, 1889), 108; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1902 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk, 1902), 208-209; Oregon and Washington Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1905-06 (Portland, Oregon.: R . L. Polk, 1905), 517; Aitch Ell, “ In Marion County: Farming Lands of That Section,” Oregonian, 14 April 1893.

 

  1. McEachern, “Silverton,” 42-48, 56-59, 64-67; Sanborn-Perris Map Company, Ltd., “Silverton, 1890” and “Silverton, 1892.”

 

  1. Oregonian Publishing Company, The Oregonian’s Handbook, 186.

 

  1. Down, History of the Silverton Country, 94; Gladys Turley, ‘Horse-and-Buggy Bank Days,” Oregonian, 19 July 1953, Magazine Section, 10-11. Silverton native Homer Davenport, in The Country Boy, reminisces about the early days of the Coolidge McClaine Bank and the colorful character of these two men and their business partnership (pp. 121-38).

 

  1. Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer and Business Directory, Vol. II, 1887 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk, & Company, 1887), 392-94.

 

  1. Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer, 1889-90,464-66; Oregon, Washington and Idaho Gazetteer, 1891-92 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk & Company, 1891), 572-74; Sanborn-Perris Map Company, Ltd., ‘Silverton, 1890″ and “Silverton, 1892”; Laura Watts-Olmstead and Elizabeth O’Brien, “Silverton Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination” (Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, 1986).

 

  1. The Oregonian’s Handbook of the Pacific Northwest, 186, 187.

 

Page 54

 

  1. Oregonian Publishing Company, Oregonian’s Handbook, 186; Thayer, “Silverton Country History,” 31, 36; Ell, “In Marion County.”

 

  1. Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1886-87 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk & Company, 1886), 392-93; Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1888 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk & Company, 1888), 495; Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer, 1889-90, 464; Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer, 1891-92, 572-74; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1893 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk & Company, 1893), 162; Sanborn-Perris Map Company, Ltd., “Silverton, 1890” and “Silverton, 1892”; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1903a (New York: Sanborn Map Company, 1903).

 

  1. Sanborn-Perris Map Company, Ltd., “Silverton, 1892”; Marshall, “Two Votes Saved Oregon to U.S.A.,” 47; Oregonian Publishing Company, Oregonian’s Handbook, 187; Ell, “In Marion County;” Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer, 1892 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk and Company, 1892), 573.

 

  1. The two-story, wood-frame schoolhouse was sold in 1890 and moved across First Street to the northeast corner of Park and First streets. In 1907 the building was again moved to the intersection of Third and High streets where the ground floor served as school classrooms and the second floor as a meeting hall for fraternal organizations, possibly the GAR as well as other fraternal groups. Engeman, “History of Silverton Public Schools,” 4; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1913 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk & Company, 1913), 349; Sanborn Map Company, 8 Silverton, 1903,” “Silverton, 1906,” and “Silverton, 1915.”

 

  1. After being moved in 1921, the Emerson School burned down in December 1924. Oregonian’s Handbook, 187-88;Engeman, “History of Silverton Public Schools,” 5; Sanborn-Perris Map Company, “Silverton, 1890” and “Silverton,1892”; Engeman, History of Early Schools, 18; Ell, “In Marion County”; Goetz, “School Enrollment Depicts Growth,”33; Fred Lockley, “Silverton–Young and Growing at 75,” Oregon Sunday Journal, 11 January 1931, 5.

 

  1. “To Teach Liberal Ideas,” Morning Oregonian, 23 October 1897, 6.

 

  1. Patricia Brandt, “Organized Free Thought in Oregon: The Oregon State Secular Union,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 87 (Summer 1986), 200; Oregon and Washington Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1903-04·, 420.

 

  1. The Liberal University buildings, including a dormitory able to house 200 students, were later torn down and replaced by a Catholic school and, eventually, St. Paul’s Catholic Church. Brandt, “Organized Free Thought in Oregon, 167-204; Down, History of the Silverton Country, 218-21; Ben Maxwell, “Silverton Boasts Varied Industries, Distinguished Past,” Capital Journal, 12 April 1957, Section II, 10; “Silverton Once Had a College, Daily Paper-Few Residents,” Oregon Statesman, 2 April 1952, 9.

 

  1. “Pageantry Scheduled as Silverton Methodist Church 100 Years Old,” Section II, 21; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1903” and “Silverton, 1906.”

 

  1. Down, History of the Silverton Country, 240; Salem and Marion Countv Directory, 1889-1890, 108; Sanborn-Perris Map Company, Ltd., “Silverton, 1890”; “Church Events,” 178; “Church Adopts Legal Title,” Capital Journal, 26 March 1945, 2; Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer, 1891-92, 574; Middlemiss, A History of the Christian Church, 22- 31; Louis C. Androes, “First Christian Church, National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination,” (Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, 1984).

 

  1. Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer, 1891-92, 572; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1893 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk and Company, 1893), 162; Ell, “In Marion County.”

 

  1. Salem and Marion County Directory, 1893, 162.

 

Page 55

 

  1. ·Gertrude Tingelstad, Scandinavians in the Silverton Country (Corvallis, Oregon.: Gertrude Tingelstad, 1976); Down, History of the Silverton Country, 240; “Trinity Church to Celebrate 60th Year,” Statesman, 15 May 1952; Androes, “First Christian Church, National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination~; Silverton Commercial Club, Silverton in 1910 (Silverton, Oregon.: Silverton Commercial Club, 1910), 14.

 

  1. Watts-Olmstead and O’ Brien, ‘Silverton Commercial Historic district, National Register of Historic places Inventory-Nomination Form’; History of Silverton Lodge No. 45, 8-9; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1893 (Portland, Oregon: R. L. Polk and Company, 1893), 162; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1696 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk & Company, 1896), 146; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1902 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk and Company, 1902), 208-209; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1890,” “Silverton, 1892, “Silverton, 1903” and “Silverton, 1906.”

 

  1. Minnie Engeman, compiler, “Many Attended Funeral; Remains of H. L. Allen Laid to Rest,” in ~collection of Obituaries of Silverton Country Pioneers” [Silverton, Oregon.: Minnie Engeman, 1980; Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1886-87, 393; Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1888, 496; Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer, 1691-92, 572, 574; Oregon and Washington Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1903-04, 421; Davenport, Country Boy, 49-61.

 

  1. Davenport, Country Boy, 150-60.

 

  1. Mildred Thayer, “Silverton Country History” (Silverton, Oregon.: N.p., 1995), 39·40.

 

  1. Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer, 1886-87, 392; Oregon, Washington, and Idaho Gazetteer, 1890, 464; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1893, 162; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1906, 146; Oregon and Washington Oregon and Washington Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1903-04, 419-20; Lou Ann Speulda, “Oregon’s Agricultural Development: A Historic Context, 1811-1940” (Salem, Oregon.: State Historic Preservation Office, 1989), 13-14.

 

  1. Clark, History of the Willamette Valley, 728.

 

  1. Southern Pacific Railroad, Silverton, Oregon (N.p.: Southern Pacific Railroad and the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company, c. 1910), 5, 9-10; Silverton Commercial Club, Silverton in 1910 (Silverton, Oregon.: Silverton Commercial Club, 1910), 8-12; “Silverton Number,” Oregon Magazine 6 (December 31, 1921), 31; Marion County Directory, 1911 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L .. Polk, 1911), 355; “Silverton, Not Now Country Town, Is Up-To-Date Business-Like City,” Oregonian, 22 February 1914, 8; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1915.”

 

  1. Oregon and Washington Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1907·1908, 560; Oregon and Washington Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1909-1910, 493; Oregon and Washington Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1913-1914, 538; 0regon and Washington Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1917·1918, 366; Clark History of the Willamette Valley, 729; Speulda, “Oregon’s Agricultural Development,” 14.

 

  1. Oregon and Washington Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1921-1922 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk and Company, 1921), 383; Sanborn Map Co1pany, “Silverton, 1922.”

 

  1. Speulda, “Oregon’s Agricultural Development,” 17; Dorothy Johansen and Charles M. Gates, Empire of the Columbia: A History of the Pacific Northwest (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1957), 445-48.

 

  1. Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1906,” Silverton, 1915,” and “Silverton, 1922.”

 

  1. Clark, History of the Willamette Valley, 732-34; Johansen and Gates, Empire of the Columbia, 444, 460-74; Carlos A. Schwantes, The Pacific Northwest: An Interpretive History (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989) 1 178-81.

 

Page 56

 

  1. Down, History of the Silverton Country, 234; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1g24 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk and Company, 1924), 360.

 

  1. “Capitalists Give Renewed Life to Homer Davenport’s Home Town, Sunday Oregonian, 13 April 1913, Section 5, p. 10; “Silverton, Not Now Country Town, 8; Mildred Thayer, “Trees: An Important Oregon Resource (Silverton, Oregon.: N.p., 1996, forthcoming), 1·3; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1915.”

 

  1. “Capitalists Give Renewed Life,” Section 5, p. 10; Thayer, “Trees,” 2; “Silverton, Not Now Country Town,” 8.

 

  1. “Silverton to Get $500,000 Sawmill,” Morning Oregonian, 22 February 1916, 16; “Silverton Falls Timber Company- The Largest of Silverton’s Industries,” Silverton Appeal, 21 December 1917; Thayer, ‘Trees,” 2-3; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1922”; “Silverton Number,” 19; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1925 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk and Company, 1925), 361.

 

  1. Silverton, Oregon and Its Environs in Pictures (Silverton, Oregon.: Drake and Hoblitt, 1924); Oregon and Washington Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1905-1906, 517; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1924 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk and Company, 1924), 360.

 

  1. Salem and Marion County Directory, 1905, 214; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1907-1908, 259; Oregon and Washington Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1905·1906, 517; Oregon and Washington Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1907-1908, 560, 562; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1926-1927 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk and Company, 1926), ?; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1906,” “Silverton, 1915,” and “Silverton, 1922”; Watts-Olmstead and O’Brien, “Silverton Commercial Historic District National Register of Historic Places.”

 

  1. Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1922”; “Oregon Number,” 28-29; Silverton, Oregon and Its Environs in Pictures.

 

  1. McEachern, “Silverton,” 59·62, 64-71; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1906,” “Silverton, 1915,” and “Silverton, 1922.”

 

  1. Southern Pacific Railroad, Silverton, Oregon, 1.

 

  1. “Capitalists Give Renewed Life,” 10.

 

  1. “Silverton, Not Now Country Town,” 8.

 

  1. Salem and Marion County Directory, 1913, 347; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1917, 265.

 

  1. Flora Hoblitt, When Silverton Was Young (Silverton, Oregon.: Silverton Country Historical Society, 1984), 40; Silverton Oregon and Its Environs, 2; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1924 (Portland, Oregon.: R. L. Polk, 1924), 361.

 

  1. Oregon Bureau of Labor, Biennial Report and Industrial Directory of the Bureau of Labor of the State of Oregon: 1904-1906 (Salem: Bureau of Labor, 1907), 207; Southern Pacific Railroad, Silverton, Oregon, 2; “Capitalists Give Renewed Life,” 10; “Silverton, Not Now Country Town,” 8; “Silverton Humber,” 11; Thayer, “Silverton Country History,” 60; Marshall, “Two Votes Saved Oregon,” 47.

 

  1. Gordon J. Taylor, “Foster Straighter, Faster Highway,” Oregon Magazine 23 (November 1929), 29, 45; Clark, History of the Willamette Valley, 740-44; Holtgrieve, “Historical Geography of Transportation Routes,” 175-81; McEachern, “Silverton,” 51.

 

  1. “Silverton, Not Now Country Town,” 8.

 

Page 57

 

  1. The wood-frame Emerson School burned in December 1924, just three years after it was moved. Engeman, History of Early Schools in Silverton Country, 20.

 

  1. Engeman, “History of Silverton Public Schools,” 5-7, 12, 18, 50; Engeman, History of Early Schools in Silverton Country, 20; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1907-1908, 259; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1915” and “Silverton, 1922”; Goetz, “School Enrollment Depicts Growth,” 51; C. N. Freeman, “Silverton’s New School Building,” Oregon Magazine 6 (December 31, 1921), 13.

 

  1. The Christian Church congregation held their Sunday services in the Opera Rouse on Water Street for several months between the sale of their old church and the completion of their new one. Middlemiss, A History of the Christian Church, 32-37.

 

  1. Salem and Marion County Directory, 1911, 356; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1906,” “Silverton, 1915,” and ‘Silverton, 1922.’

 

  1. Silverton Commercial Club, Silverton in 1910, 14; Silverton, Oregon and Its Environs, (unnumbered page with photos of Silverton churches.)

 

  1. Androes, “First Christian Church, National Register of Historic Places.”

 

  1. Salem and Marion County Directory, 1913, 349; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1915”; Silverton, Oregon and Its Environs, unnumbered page with photos of Silverton churches.

 

  1. Salem and Marion County Directory, 1917, 265 Salem and Marion County Directory, 1921, 282; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1915.”

 

  1. Salem and Marion Country Directory, 1915, 297.

 

  1. Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton 1922”; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1924, 361; Silverton, Oregon and Its Environs, unnumbered pages with photos of Silverton churches.

 

  1. Salem and Marion County Directory, 1924, 361.

 

  1. Silverton Lodge No. 45, History of Silverton Lodge No. 45, 9-13, 16-18; Watts-Olmstead and O’Brien, “Silverton Commercial Historic District National Register of Historic Places”; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1913, 349.

 

  1. Salem and Marion County Directory, 1924, 372.

 

  1. Salem and Marion County Directory, 1917, 273; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1924, 362.

 

  1. Silverton Lodge No. 45, History of Silverton Lodge No. 45, 9-13, 16-18; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1906” and “Silverton, 1915, w “Silverton, 1922″; Watts-Olmstead and O’Brien, “Silverton Commercial Historic District National Register of Historic Places”; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1911, 356; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1913, 349; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1924, 361-63.

 

  1. Salem and Marion County Directory, 1915, 298; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1917, 266; Thayer, “Trees: An Important Oregon Resource,” 2; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1922.”

 

  1. Salem and Marion County Directory, 1911, 356; Salem and Marion County Directory, 1915, 298; Sanborn Map Company, “Silverton, 1915.”

 

  1. The “Silverton Humber” of the Oregon Magazine 6 (December 31, 1921) says the park was donated in 1915 (p.20).

 

Page 58

 

  1. Salem and Marion County Directory, 1924, 361.

 

  1. Silverton Commercial Club, Silverton in 1910, 14; Southern Pacific Railroad, Silverton, Oregon, 8-9. 107. John Wilhoit claimed land in the area of the Wilhoit Springs in 1866 and began operating a health and pleasure at the mineral springs in the late 1800s. In the early 1900s, Wilhoit Springs attracted thousands of tourists and campers every year. McArthur, Oregon Geographic Names, 908; “Silverton Number,” 11.

 

  1. “Silverton, Not Now Country Town,” 8.

 

Page 59

 

RELATED STUDY UNITS

 

Silverton has played an important role in the settlement and economic development of the Willamette Valley. Related to the broad themes of settlement, transportation, commerce, industry and manufacturing, and culture, there are several related sub-themes that have been recognized during research of the historic context study area. They include:

Native American–Euro-American relations: landscape features, conflicts

Settlement: immigration, regional settlement

Agriculture: wheat, hops, fruit, dairying

Transportation: territorial roads, railroads, Good Roads movement

Commerce: community centers, wheat and other agricultural produce, lumber

Industry and manufacturing: flour, lumber, metal fabrication, canning, dairying, electrical generation

Government: local

Culture: twentieth-century architecture, city planning–parks, education, ethnicity (Scandinavian) , fraternal movements, medicine, recreation, religion

 

Page 61

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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——. The Indians of Western Oregon: This Land Was Theirs. Coos Bay, Oregon. : Arago Books, 1977.

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Cox, Thomas R. “Lower Columbia Lumber Industry, 1880-93.” Oregon Historical Quarterly 67 (June 1966): 160-78.

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Down, Robert Horace. “Churches in the Willamette Valley.” In History of the Willamette Valley, Oregon, compiled by Robert Carlton Clark. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1927.

——. A History of the Silverton Country. Portland, Oregon. : Bemcliff Press, 1926.

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Elkins, Barbara. “Letters to the Editor.” Oregon Historical Quarterly 58 (June 1957): 164-67.

Engemann, Minnie, compiler. “Collection of Obituaries of Silverton Country Pioneers.” Silverton, Oregon. : Minnie Engeman, 1980.

——. History of Early Schools in Silverton Country. Silverton, Oregon.: Minnie Engeman, 1993.

 

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—— “History of Silverton Public Schools, 1849-1949.” Silverton, Oregon. : Minnie Engeman, 1978.

——,compiler. Silverton Cemetery. Salem, Oregon.: Minnie Engeman, 1980

Ernst, Alice Henson. “Homer Davenport on Stage.” Oregon Historical Quarterly 66 (March 1966): 39-50.

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Federal Cooperative Extension Service. Oregon’s First Century of Farming; a Statistical Record of Achievement and Adjustment. Corvallis: Federal Cooperative Extension Service, Oregon State College, 1959.

Francaviglia, Richard V. “The Cemetery as an Evolving Cultural Landscape.” The Annals of the Association of American Geographers 61 (September 1971): 501-509.

Franklin, Jerry T. and C. T. Dryness. Natural Vegetation of Oregon and Washington. U.S. Forest Service General Technical Report PNW-8. Portland, Oregon. : U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1973.

Freeman, C. N. “Silverton’s New School Building.” Oregon Magazine 6 (December 31, 1921): 13.

Gaston, Joseph. The Centennial History of Oregon, 18111-1912. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 1912.

Gaston, Joseph. “The Genesis of the Oregon Railway System.” Oregon Historical Quarterly 7 (June 1906): 105-32.

Geer, T. T. Fifty Years in Oregon: Experiences, Observations, and Commentaries Upon Men, Measures, and Customs in Pioneer Days and Later Times. New York: Neale Publishing Company, 1912.

Goetz, Robert. “School Enrollment Depicts Growth.” Oregon Magazine 23 (November 1929): 33, 51.

Habeck, .James R. “The Original Vegetation of the Mid-Willamette Valley, Oregon.” Natural Science 35 (1961): 65-77.

Hamrick, James and Lou Ann Spuelda. “Handbook to Preservation Planning in Oregon. ” Salem, Oregon. : State Historic Preservation Office, 1989.

Hickman, Mickey. Homer, the Country Boy. Salem, Oregon.: Capitol City Graphics, 1986.

Highsmith, Richard M., Jr. Atlas of Oregon Agriculture. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1962.

——, editor and Robert Bard, cartographer. Atlas of the Pacific Northwest.

 

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Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1973.

Hines, Harvey K. An illustrated History of the State of Oregon. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1893.

Hoblitt, Flora. When Silverton Was Young. Silverton, Oregon.: Silverton Country Historical Society, 1984.

Holtgrieve, Donald Gordon. “Historical Geography of Transportation Routes and Town Populations in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oregon, 1973.

Huot, Leland and Alfred Powers. Homer Davenport of Silverton: Life of a Great Cartoonist. Bingen, Wash.: West Shore Press, 1973.

Hussey, John A. Champoeg: Place of Transition. Portland, Oregon. : Oregon Historical Society in cooperation with Oregon Highway Commission and the National Park Service, 1967.

Johannessen, Carl., William A. Davenport, Artimus Millet, and Steven McWilliams. “The Vegetation of the Willamette Valley.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 61 (June 1971): 286-302.

Johansen, Dorothy 0. and Charles M. Gates. Empire of the Columbia: A History of the Pacific Northwest. New York: Harper & Row, 1957.

Jonasson, Jonas A. “Local Road Legislation in Early Oregon. 11 Oregon Historical Quarterly 42 (June 1941): 162-75.

Kephart, Ruth Geer. “The Silverton Story.” Marion County History Society 5 (1959): 34-37.

Koler/Morrison Planning Consultants. “Marion County, Oregon: Historic Con- text Statement.” Salem, Oregon.: Marion County, 1990 (typescript).

Lang, H. 0. , editor. History of the Willamette Valley. Portland, Oregon. : Himes & Lang, 1885.

Langley, Henry G. Pacific Coast Business Directory, 1867. San Francisco: Henry G. Langley, Publisher, 1867.

Lockley, Fred. History of the Columbia River Valley From the Dalles to the Sea. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1928.

——. “Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man.” Oregon Daily Journal, 17 July 1935.

——. “Silverton–Young and Growing at 75. 11 Oregon Sunday Journal, 11

January 1931.

Loe, Oscar H. “Diverse Crops from Silverton Soil. 11 Oregon Magazine. 23 (November 1929): 17.

 

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Lomax, Alfred L. “Commerce and Transportation in the Siuslaw and Willamette Valleys, 1850-91.” Oregon Historical Quarterly 36 (September 1935): 217- 46.

Lowenstein, Steven. The Jews of Oregon, 1850-1950. Portland, Oregon. : Jewish Historical Society of Oregon, 1987.

Loy, William G. Atlas of Oregon. Eugene: University of Oregon, 1976.

MacKey, Harold. “The Indians of the Willamette Valley. ” Ph.D. dissertation, Oregon College of Education, 1968.

——. “New Light on the Molalla Indians.” Oregon Historical Quarterly 73 (March 1972 ) : 63-65 .

——. The Kalapuyans: A Sourcebook on the Indians of the Willamette Valley. Salem, Oregon.: Mission Mill Museum Association, 1974.

Marshall, Hugh. “Silverton Lands Beckon to Farmers.” Oregon Magazine 23 (November 1929): 15, 45.

——. “Silverton Walnuts Paying Venture.” Oregon Magazine 23 (November 1929): 21, 41.

——. “Two Votes Saved Oregon to U.S.A.” Oregon Magazine 23 (November 1929): 27′ 47.

Maxwell, Ben. “Silverton Boasts Varied Industries, Distinguished Past.” Capital Journal, 12 April 1957.

McArthur, Lewis A. Oregon Geographic Names. Portland, Oregon.: Oregon Historical Society Press, 1982, fifth edition .

—–. “Oregon Geographic Names.” Oregon Historical Quarterly 28 (March

1927): 103.

——. “Oregon Geographic Names: Fifth Supplement.” Oregon Historical Quarterly 44 (December 1943) , 353.

McClintock, Thomas C. “Henderson Luelling, Seth Lewelling and the Birth of the Pacific Coast Fruit Industry.” Oregon Historical Quarterly 68 (June 1967): 153-74.

McEachern, Philip Duncan. “Silverton: The Morphology of an Oregon Town.” Master’s thesis, University of Oregon, 1990.

Metsker, Charles Frederick. Metsker’s Atlas of Marion County, Oregon. Portland, Oregon. : Charles Frederick Metsker, c. 1929.

Middlemiss, Marceil. A History of the Christian Church in Silverton, 1851-1876. N. p . : typescript, c. 1976.

 

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——-. “The Roads and Transportation of Territorial Oregon.” Oregon Historical Quarterly 41 (March 1940): 40-52.

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PART II: IDENTIFICATION

 

This section identifies the types of cultural resources (such as single-family residences, churches, fraternal buildings, lumber mills, roads, natural features, etc. ) that are likely to be found within the historic context study area, as they relate to broad historical themes that have been presented in the historical overview of this context statement. This section aims to identify the important characteristic features, condition, and distribution of the different resource types. To accomplish this, the identification and general distribution of resource types draws on information (including both primary source documents and secondary source newspaper articles, maps, and photographs) gathered during the historical overview phase of this project, as well as data found in the survey of cultural resources done in 1985 for the National Register nomination of Silverton’s commercial district. A windshield survey completed of the entire study area in conjunction with this project helped confirm the existence or absence of various resource types, their characteristic features, and their distribution.

PREVIOUS SURVEYS

In 1976 Stephen Dow Beckham completed reconnaissance survey forms of historic features throughout Oregon, compiled in the Statewide Inventory of Historic Sites and Buildings, for the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office in the State Parks and Recreation Division. No Silverton historic properties were inventoried in this survey.

Marion County, in partial compliance with LCDC’s Goal 5 cultural resource objectives, has also completed an inventory of cultural resources in the county. To date, only the northern portions of the county have been inventoried. Nothing inside the Silverton city limits is included in the Marion County survey.

In August 1986, Laura Watts-Olmstead, of the Oregon Downtown Development Association, and Elizabeth O’Brien, representing the Historic Preservation League of Oregon, prepared a National Register of Historic Places nomination for Silverton’s downtown commercial district. The successfully nominated irregularly shaped district includes approximately seven acres encompassing forty-nine properties. The nomination briefly describes the architecture and historical significance of twenty-seven buildings in the district, considered of primary or secondary significance. The documentation presented in the nomination form constitutes an inventory.

Only one other historic building inside Silverton’s urban growth boundaries has been nominated to the National Register and, thus, has been comprehensively inventoried. In 1984 property owner Louis C. Androes completed National Register documentation of the First Christian Church, located two blocks south of the historic commercial district.

The vast majority of Silverton has never been inventoried, despite the City’s intention to undertake such a project in the mid-1980s in order to comply with LCDC’s Goal 5 cultural resource requirements.

 

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RESOURCE TYPES & DISTRIBUTION PATTERNS

The types of cultural resources likely to be found inside Silverton’s urban growth boundaries are related to several historical themes that have been described in the historical overview section. Each theme is represented by certain cultural resource types. For example, resources related to the broad theme of railroads and industrial growth would predictably have several resource types associated with transportation and trade such as a depot, warehouses, and rail lines. Resource types related to manufacturing and industry could include flour mills, lumber mills buildings, wigwam burners 1 mill flumes 1 and log ponds. Resource types associated with all the various themes in Silverton’s history include:

Features associated with Native Americans; Fur Trade & Exploration

Agriculture (farmhouses, barns, outbuildings, and landscape features, such as orchards, cultivated fields, etc.)

Domestic (frame house of various architectural styles, lodging house, etc.)

Commerce & trade (store, bank, livery stable, garage, hotel, etc.)

Transportation (road, ford, bridge, road pattern. railroad, depot, etc.)

Manufacturing & Industry (mill, flume, food processing, quarry, mill pond, warehouse, etc.)

Education & religion (church, parsonage, school, college/university, etc.)

Social (fraternal meeting hall, opera house, sport facility, etc.)

Government (post office, city hall, armory, fire hall, hose house, etc.)

Landscape features (cemetery, street trees, park, artificially created reservoir or pond, culturally significant tree or grove, etc.)

Identification and evaluation of these resource types can reveal the reasons for their historical existence and continued use. A study of broad historical themes and their predicted resource types can determine future inventory needs and help define the scope of work to be accomplished .

 

Features Associated with Native Americans; Fur Trade & Exploration

Ethnological and historical research confirms the presence of the Kalapuya and Molalla groups in the Silverton area. Archaeological studies, however, have not been done to identify the precise location of Native American activities or features associated with their use of the land. Broad expanses of burned-over prairies, many of which have been substantially altered in size, shape, and vegetative composition, or have become forested, at one time represented the most visible legacy of Native American occupation in the area. No known cultural features presently exist in Silverton that are associated with Native American’s presence. Similarly, although it is known that Euro-American fur traders and explorers traversed the Silverton country, the precise paths of their travels have not been identified with certainty. No known resource types associated with fur traders and explorers presently exist. Further investigation may be warranted to confirm the presence or absence of these resource types.

 

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Agriculture

Agriculture has historically been a dominant land-use activity in and around Silverton (and throughout Marion County) since the time of early Euro American settlement. Early general farming operations tended to include a diverse variety of crops and livestock used for both domestic consumption and commercial markets. Beginning in the 1850s and continuing for several decades, wheat and other grains were grown and milled locally. As time went by, commercial specialization occurred. Specialty farming in Silverton country, which began around the turn of the century, included hop culture, orcharding, and dairy farming.

Resource Types. Silverton’s settlement era and later historical periods were usually characterized by multi-unit groupings of farm structures, including a farmhouse, one or more barns, and several outbuildings whose form and design related directly to their particular function. In the Silverton area, outbuildings predictably might have included a privy, woodshed, a pump house or water tower, cool house, above-ground root cellar, tool or equipment shed, granary, hop house, and silage pit. After the turn of the century, a machine shed, fuel shed, garage, hog shed, poultry house, dairy barn, or stock shed, might have been added to the ensemble of farm outbuildings depending on the specialization of the farm. Many farm operations that evolved over more than one historical period and produced a variety of agricultural products according to market demands inevitably included several different building types that were adapted over time for new uses.

The majority of farmhouses built between the 1850s and 1900 were built in the vernacular style, distinguished by its simplicity and lack of distinctive stylistic features. Typically, vernacular farmhouses were one and one-half to two-story, wood-frame buildings, laid out in a T or L plan, with gable roofs, and multi-paned, double-hung sash windows with plain board moldings. A few farmhouses may have adopted particular architectural styles, especially after the turn of the century (described under 11 domestic11 in this section). Early barns .. most likely had a hand-hewn framing system resting on a field stone foundation and a high profile capped by low-pitched gable roof. Beginning in the 1870s, hewn-frame barns became higher and also had steeper-pitched roofs. By 1890 barns featured a full second story and, perhaps, a hay forklift assemblage and hay hood. Farm outbuildings varied widely in size, shape, design, and building materials depending on their date of construction and function.

Distribution Patterns. During the town’ s settlement and railroad eras, agricultural ensembles consisting of farmhouses, barns, and outbuildings historically existed on flatter ground north of Silverton’s originally platted town site and back from the crests of east and west hillsides. Many farm structures disappeared during Silverton’s subsequent development as a booming lumber town in the early twentieth century. Those remaining resource types related to agriculture, including not only structures but farm fields, are known or presumed to exist around the periphery of the urban growth boundary. It is predicted that only a few isolated farmhouses, barns, and outbuildings remain standing, many of which are probably in altered condition. Several farm fields, on the other hand, date from Silverton’s earlier historical periods and now create valuable open spaces at the edges of the town’s built-up areas.

 

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Domestic

Dwellings representing a wide array of construction methods, sizes, and architectural styles have been built in Silverton since Euro-American settlement began in the Silver Creek area in the late 1840s. Although single-family residences have been the predominant resource type, a few boarding houses and apartments existed between the 1910s and 1945. Single-family domestic buildings historically and today greatly outnumber all other building types in Silverton.

Resource Types. During Silverton’s settlement period, the very earliest homes were probably of log, followed by hewn log, and, finally, frame construction, possibly with a shed-roof lean-to porch. Since lumber was available from mills in the Silverton area at an early date, many settlers’ first homes were probably one or one-and-a-half stories and built partly or totally of milled lumber. A gable roof was the most likely roof form. Simple decorative details probably adorned the gable ends, eaves, and door and window moldings. Many of these earliest homes, including farmhouses, did not adhere to any particular architectural style, and are considered Vernacular forms. A few examples of vermicular forms are likely to exist in Silverton’s older central sections.

Two distinct architectural styles are known or likely to have existed in Silverton during its settlement era. A few scattered examples of this style may still exist in somewhat or greatly altered form. The Classical Revival style, popular in Oregon from the 1840s to the mid-1860s, is characterized by:

One or one-and-a-half stories

Rectangular shape and additions

Low-pitched, gable roof

Entablature that includes an architrave, frieze, and cornice

Wide frieze board under the eaves

Symmetrical door and window placement with multi-paned, double hung sash windows

Shed- or gable-roof porch supported by thin column-like supports

Horizontal weatherboard siding with vertical comer boards

The Wolfard {Brown Bouse, built near Silver Creek on West Main Street in the 1850s and demolished sometime after 1939, exemplifies the characteristic Classical Revival style. (Courtesy of ODS, Neg. no.: Drake 576.)

The Wolfard {Brown Bouse, built near Silver Creek on West Main Street in the 1850s and demolished sometime after 1939, exemplifies the characteristic Classical Revival style. (Courtesy of ODS, Neg. no.: Drake 576.)

 

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The second architectural style likely to have been built during Silverton’s early settlement era is the Gothic Revival style, built in Oregon between 1850 and 1895. Landscape designer Andrew Jackson Downing promoted and popularized this style in his 1842 and 1850 house pattern books of domestic architecture. A small number of examples of this style may still exist in Silverton. Identifying features of this style include:

One-and-a-half to two stories

L or T shape

Steeply pitched gable roof

Jigsaw patterned decorative details in shed or hipped roof eaves and porches

Unsymmetrical door and window placement with tall two-over-two, or four-over-four, double-hung sash windows

Vertical emphasis of windows and overall form

Horizontal weatherboard siding followed by shiplap siding after 1875

 

Between the 1870s and 1890s, Silverton predictably saw the construction of a few larger residences built in one other architectural style known as Italianate. Inspired by elaborate Italian Renaissance. villas and French Baroque architecture viewed by a growing number of Americans who traveled to Europe after the mid- 1800s, this style is characterized by:

Two or three stories

Rectangular shape

Low pitched hipped or gable roof

Wide overhanging eaves with large decorative brackets

Pronounced decorative window and door moldings

Tall thin first-floor windows with segmental arched door and window openings and, sometimes, projecting bay windows

Horizontal shiplap siding

Gothic Revival style and Italianate style

Gothic Revival style and Italianate style

 

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As Silverton entered the railroad era, new architectural styles became popular. The Queen Anne style, built in Oregon between 1870 and 1905, received its inspiration from English manor houses, particularly those designed by successful British architect Richard Norman Shaw. The Queen Anne style became one of America’s favorite styles in the late Victorian era. Several modified examples of the Queen Anne style are likely to be found on or near Silverton’s original platted town site or along the historic roads leading into town. This style’s defining characteristics include:

One-and-a-half to three stories

Irregular shape and massing, often with projecting bay and dormer windows

Medium to steeply pitched gable roofs, often with gables, turrets, and decorative iron roof cresting

Various window shapes, including straight-topped and roundarched, often incorporating leaded or stained glass

Porches and verandas that wrap around corner walls

Varied wall surfaces, such as horizontal wood siding, patterned wood shingles, carved wood panels, patterned brick, and brick covered with stucco

Contrasting paint colors

This Queen Anne style house on North Water Street was built in the late 1890s. (Courtesy of Oregon Historical Society, Negative no.: Drake 2024)

This Queen Anne style house on North Water Street was built in the late 1890s. (Courtesy of Oregon Historical Society, Negative no.: Drake 2024)

The Eastlake and Stick styles are variants of Queen Anne style decorative ornamentation. East Lake received its name from the well-known English interior designer, Charles Locke Eastlake. Eastlake decorative elements include: rows of spindles and knobs, turned columns, latticework, curved brackets, and cutout and sunburst details. The Stick style is characterized by its “stick work” place over the exterior siding at horizontal, vertical or diagonal angles, suggesting the unseen frame of the building.

 

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Inspired by the 1876 Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia, the Colonial Revival style focused on the colonial period of American history. It made its appearance in Oregon between 1890 and 1915 and coincided with Silverton’s emergence as a lumbering town in the motor age. Only a few of Silverton’s larger homes are likely to exemplify the characteristic features of this style. This style’s defining characteristics are:

Two stories

Rectangular form

Low pitched gable roof; sometimes a gambrel roof

Classical entablature with architrave, frieze, and cornice

One-over-one, double-hung sash windows, dormers, bays, and bows

Bilateral symmetry usually with central prominent entrance

Decorative trim including quoins, garlands, swags, columns, dentil molding, and some Queen Anne elements

Thin horizontal weatherboard siding

The Arts and Crafts architectural style gained popularity in Oregon between 1885 and 1915, during Silverton’s railroad and early lumbering eras. The English Arts and Crafts movement strongly influenced both art and architecture in the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The movement reacted against new technological advances made in the Industrial Revolution and appreciated natural materials and fine handcrafted workmanship. A few examples of this style are known or are likely to exist near Silverton’s older platted additions and on the four major roads leading into town. The Arts and Crafts style is characterized by:

One or two stories

Generally rectangular shape but with asymmetrical roof, window, and porch projections

Steeply pitched gable roof, often with intersecting gable dormers

Casement windows with multiple small panes; segmented and rounded- arched openings

Stucco, shingle, brick, or horizontal wood siding, often in combination

Simplified English vernacular elements, such as simulated half-timbering and thatched roof materials

The Bungalow style became enormously popular in Silverton and the rest of Oregon (and the country) between the late 1800s and the mid-1920s, when the town quadrupled in population during its lumber boom period. Influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, the Bungalow style advocated the use of natural materials and simple handcrafted designs. Architect-designed large and lavish bungalows appeared before World War I. After the war, however, trade magazines like the Craftsman provided plans for more compact and modest bungalow houses that middle and lower income families could afford. Bungalow style homes of varying sizes and design details can be found throughout Silverton and are often clustered together in neighborhoods. The Bungalow style’s identifying features are:

One or two stories

Rectangular shape, often with horizontal earth-hugging quality

 

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Low pitched gable or hipped roof with wide overhanging eaves with exposed rafters and perlins and decorative brackets

Shed or hipped roof porches across the main facade often supported by tapered posts

Double-hung sash windows, often with small panes in upper sash; large windows often flanked by smaller windows; dormer windows projecting from the roof

Rustic exterior materials such as singles, rock, and brick

One of Silverton's many Bungalow style homes on Coolidge Street, built in the late 1910s. (Courtesy of Oregon Historical Society, Neg. no.: OrHi 93066.)

One of Silverton’s many Bungalow style homes on Coolidge Street, built in the late 1910s. (Courtesy of Oregon Historical Society, Neg. no.: OrHi 93066.)

Silverton’s continued growth as a lumber town also coincided with emerging popularity of Historic Period styles of architecture, which were designed in ·· Oregon between 1910 and 1935. This style is characterized by the simultaneous appearance of numerous architectural modes that revived the design features of earlier periods and places. Some Historic Period styles likely to exist in Silverton, particularly in the West Main-Welch-Phelps neighborhood, include: the English Cottage, Tudor, Georgian, Norman Farmhouse, Classical, Gothic, and Spanish Colonial.

Distribution Pattern. Older residences representing the vernacular form and early architectural styles would have been built close to Silverton 1 s commercial district or along one the four major roads leading into town. Queen Anne, Arts and Crafts, and Colonial Revival style domestic resource types constructed during the railroad era would have predictably continued this pattern of growth, however, some homes would have been built on discontinuous tracts platted slightly away from the town center in the late 1880s and early 1890s. Expansive growth in the early twentieth century brought about the construction of hundreds of Bungalow style homes spread over a wide area. Bungalow homes were built on undeveloped lots near the town center, as well as newly platted tracts, where they created entire neighborhoods of a single architectural style. Boarding houses, which most likely occupied larger single-family residential structures

 

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of various architecture styles, and apartments occupying the upper floors of commercial buildings, probably were located closer to the center of town.

Generally, the increasing age of a domestic resource type diminishes the likelihood of its existence in an intact, unaltered condition. This is especially true for residences built near the center of town where the greatest amount of sequential development has occurred over the years. Isolated examples of vernacular forms and early architectural styles may still exist, however, in somewhat altered condition near the center of town and along the four historic roads into Silverton. A few scattered examples of larger homes built in the Arts and Crafts, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival styles are more likely to remain just outside the town center. Entire neighborhoods of Bungalow style homes, of varying sizes and decorative details are known to exist in intact condition on land platted in the first three decades of the 1900s.

Commerce & Trade

Since its founding as a pioneer settlement town in the rnid-1850s, Silverton has been the center of commerce and trade for farmers in the surrounding countryside. The arrival of the railroad in 1880, which assured the regular and reliable movement of produce and goods to market, stimulated new commercial construction. Silverton’s expansive industrial growth during the motor age and World War I prompted the replacement of older buildings with ones of more modern design and construction materials and the infill of previously vacant lots in the town’s six principle commercial blocks. A pattern of building replacement and slight outward expansion from the commercial core characterized the 1930s depression and 1940s wartime eras.

Resource Types. Typical resource types that existed during Silverton’s settlement period included general merchandise stores, specialty shops selling meat, medicines, stoves and tin ware, and harness and saddlery supplies, as well as buildings occupied by wagon makers, coopers, and blacksmiths. Historic Photographs and sketches suggest that early commercial buildings were one- or two-story, wood-frame, buildings typically sheathed with horizontal wood siding. Gable roofs were often but not always concealed by square, false-fronted parapets on the main facade. Raised wood sidewalks and shed-roof awnings along parts of the two main streets provided pedestrians with some protection against inclement weather conditions and mud. Silverton’s first brick commercial building appeared in 1868.

The fire-retarding qualities of brick (with iron shutters at the window and door openings), even though more costly, made it the preferred building material of several Silverton merchants during the railroad era. Although many commercial buildings along the creek side of Water Street remained of wood-frame construction, the 1880s and 1890s witnessed the erection of substantial one- and two-story brick buildings fronting on Main Street, sometimes faced with decorative cast iron overlay panels. Decorative details often adorned the roof cornice and window head moldings. General merchandise stores, specialty shops, and businesses catering to needs of wagon and horse owners persisted as the predominant types of commercial businesses. Two or three hotel buildings, usually two-story, wood-frame, gable-roof structures, stood on or within a block or two of

 

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Silverton’s Main Street and also across from the railroad depot, four blocks north of Main Street.

As Silverton entered a new era of industrial expansion and the arrival of the gas-powered engine, wood and brick continued to be used to construct some new commercial buildings. However, concrete, sometimes faced with brick, glazed tile, or stucco, became an increasingly popular building materials used for commercial edifices constructed between 1905 and the mid-1920s. The kinds of commercial business began to change as well. Merchants moved toward greater specialization of goods and services. Automobile garages and service shops proliferated near the town center.

Silverton’s and the nation’s period of severe economic depression during the 1940s and World War U, saw the loss of several business structures in 1935, due to fires, one of which destroyed a large wood-frame theater building and wiped out most all of the other business in the same block (bound by Water, First, Oak, and High streets). Reconstruction of new concrete buildings in this business block began in 1936 and took place over several years.

Distribution Pattern. Since the beginning of Silverton’s founding as a town, early merchants moved or constructed new commercial buildings at the edge of property lines aligning Silver Creek and fronting on Water Main streets. Although spaces between buildings were not uncommon during the town’s settlement period, they gradually filled in after 1880. By the tum of the century, adjoining commercial buildings lined Water for one block north and south of Main. A nearly continuous row of commercial buildings also lined Main Street for one block between Water and First streets. By that time, a few commercial structures, particularly livery stables, had expanded onto neighboring blocks. One or two warehouses used for storing the town merchants’ commercial stock stood near the railroad depot north of the town center. During Silverton’s period of expansive growth in the 1910s and 1920s, commercial structures spilled over onto parts of four or five blocks adjoining the commercial core. Relatively little new commercial growth occurred between the late 1920s and 1945.

Presently, Silverton’s extant older buildings (dating from the late 1860s through the 1930s), as well as newer ones, remain concentrated in or near the town’s original commercial district (now listed on the National Register of Historic Places) . A number of commercial structures in the vicinity of First and Second streets, including a couple of old hotels buildings, have been demolished in recent years to make way for new businesses and parking lots. The architectural integrity of extant historic commercial buildings varies greatly. Although a few retain considerable exterior integrity at both the first- and second-story levels, many ground-level storefronts have been periodically altered to modernize their appearance. In the most recent past, small shopping plazas, anchored by grocery stores, have been built several blocks away from the town center. As a result, some consumer traffic has been diverted from the commercial district, and many downtown buildings no longer provide the essential goods or services that they once did.

 

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Transportation

Since the platting of the town’s original town site, road and railroad transportation has played an important role in Silverton’s location, development, and continued existence. The location of the Willamette Valley’s east-side territorial road in the late 1840s most likely influenced early settlers’ decision to move pioneer Milford buildings, roughly two miles up Silver Creek, to the area that later became Silverton’s commercial district. The 1880 arrival of the railroad, which within a decade became a branch line of the Southern Pacific Railroad’s extensive rail network, stimulated moderate commercial, industrial, and residential growth for the next twenty-five years. Increasing railroad freight and passenger service permitted Silverton to grow and maintain its economic base as a lumber mill town from the early twentieth century into the 1930s. Beginning in the 1910s, Silverton residents enthusiastically joined the national Good Roads Movement, which promoted the construction of roads. Such improvements allowed for and encouraged automobile travel within the town’s city limits and to neighboring towns and outdoor recreational retreats.

Resource Types. Linear roads and railroad tracks, along with structures and buildings related to the construction and maintenance of these facilities, comprise the principal resource types associated with Silverton’s transportation history. The narrow, dirt territorial road, part of which may have been laid with wood planks, was located northwest of the original town plat and crossed Silver Creek at a fording place near the present-day James Street bridge. Throughout Silverton’s settlement period, this road, linking small farming communities up and down the eastern fringe of the Willamette Valley, served as two of the four principle transportation routes leading to Silverton. A third road connected the old milling site of Milford with Silverton. A fourth traveled in a westerly direction through the nearby community of Bethany. Other wagon roads linking the town with outlying areas appeared as common use or need demanded. Silverton’s settlement period also witnessed the creation of right-angle roads in the original town site. New additions platted between 1889 and 1924 added to Silverton’s grid pattern of roads.

Railroad tracks enlarged the pattern of linear transportation routes in 1880. By 1890, a rail siding extended down the middle of Water Street to the Oregon Milling Company buildings. After the turn of the century, rails from the two lumber companies north of town connected with Southern Pacific rails near the depot. Beginning in the 1880s, a railroad company warehouse and dwelling/ depot, later replaced by a larger freight and passenger depot, stood near or alongside the railroad tracks, between North Water and Front streets.

The growing number of automobiles that appeared in town after the turn of the century and the strengthening momentum of the Good Roads Movement in the 1910s encouraged a vigorous program of street grading and paving along with sidewalk construction. In the early 1910s, a new bridge replaced the old Main Street covered bridge, and James Street received its first bridge over Silver Creek. The planting of street trees also probably began in some residential neighborhoods at this time, as programs to beautify cities became increasingly popular throughout the nation. In the late 1920s, Silverton businessmen led a campaign to improve roughly the route of the old territorial road by raising funds to build the improved 11 Cascade Highway.”

 

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Distribution Pattern. The pattern of linear streets and rail lines largely conforms to the directional orientation of Silver Creek or, at a minimum, respects the topography of its banks. Platted streets scattered throughout town created a grid pattern of rectangular blocks. Older historic roads and the newer rail lines were not necessarily oriented on a north-south compass direction. The railroad and warehouse were located at critical break-in-bulk transfer points in Silverton’s transportation network.

Silverton’s grid pattern of streets established before 1945 is largely intact in 1996, although the surface materials, widths, and the existence of sidewalks have been greatly altered since their construction. Railroad tracks and embankments of the Southern Pacific’s branch line remain in place, however, rail sidings and lines from the two large lumber companies have been mostly torn up. The railroad depot was moved several blocks south on Water Street in 1982, where it now serves as a museum for the Silverton Country Historical Society.

Manufacturing & Industry

Manufacturing and industry began even before the establishment of the Silverton town site in 1854 and have had a continuous presence in and just outside the town limits nearly up to 1945. Just before the platting of the original town site, the earliest settlers erected a lumber and flour mill and even a tannery along Silver Creek, which provided the necessary source power and water. Up to the early 1900s, Silverton’s major industries of flour milling and manufacturing chairs, doors and sashes, chairs, and furnaces all took place on or near Silver Creek and in close proximity to the commercial district. Only the widespread use of electricity as a source of power to run machinery in the early twentieth century permitted Silverton’s industrial enterprises of lumbering and fruit and milk processing to be located away from Silver Creek.

Resource Types. Little documentary evidence exists that depicts the appearance and functioning of Silverton’s lumber and flour milling operations on Silver Creek dating from the time of early settlement. After the 1880 arrival of the railroad caused industry to flourish, Silverton’s wood product factories (notably a chair factory and door and sash factory) were one-story high and of wood-frame construction, probably sheathed with horizontal siding and with low pitched gable or shed roofs. The two wood-frame, gable-roofed Oregon Milling Company buildings, bought by the Fischer family in 1898, stood on the steep sided east bank of Silver Creek and ranged in height from two to four stories. A wood flume carried water from a small mill race upstream to the buildings below. Until the early 1900s, a one-story flour warehouse stood near the mill buildings and alongside the Water Street property line. Substantial reconstruction and enlargement of the Fischer Flouring Mill took place in the early 1900s on the eve of Silverton’s expansive growth as a lumber mill town. By the mid-1920s and into the 1930s, this mill, then powered by its own turbine-generated electricity, consisted of a large complex of milling, elevator, warehouse, and office buildings.

In addition to the expansion of the Fischer Flouring Mill, a few new manufacturers and food processors made their appearance in Silverton during it’s era of industrial expansion in the early twentieth century. In the late 1910s, the Silverton Blow Pipe Company moved into a large one-story brick building, which

 

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they enlarged by adding a two-story, wood-frame structure onto the rear brick wall. Intersecting gable roofs capped the T plan building. By the early 1920s; the Silverton Creamery and Ice Company and the Silverton Food Products Company occupied one- and two-story, wood-frame buildings, capped with gable roofs. By the mid-1920s, the Silverton Steam Laundry (which earlier occupied the creamery building) had moved into a newly constructed one-story, concrete building with large, fixed casement, multi-paned windows.

Lumber milling became Silverton’s major industry during the motor age. Around the turn of the century, the saw mill operation of John Lais, comprised of a small cluster of one-story, wood-frame buildings surrounded by irregular piles of lumber (located on the north side of present-day McClaine Road near Silver Creek), presaged the arrival of Silverton’s two behemoth lumber milling operations in 1906 and 1916. During the Silverton Lumber Company’s and Silver Falls Timber Company’s heyday of operations between from the mid-1910s to the mid- 1920s, their multi-structure complexes included saw and planning mill buildings, machine and filing shops, a dry kiln, lumber, loading, and sorting sheds, refuse burners, an office building, plus numerous smaller buildings. Major mill buildings were usually one- to four-story, wood-frame and gable-roofed structures. The steel rails of a logging railroad traversed the property of both complexes. Each mill had its own multi-acre log pond. Several rows of stacked milled lumber were piled near the mill buildings and alongside the train tracks.

Distribution Pattern. For half a century after Silverton’s founding as a town, industry positioned itself next to Silver Creek and within a few blocks of the heart of the commercial district. With the notable exceptions of Fischer Flouring Mill and Silverton Blow Pipe Company, this location pattern changed with the advent of gas-powered engines and electricity. By 1906, proximity to the railroad depot or rail lines had become the most critical factor in siting industry. Increasingly industrial activity moved further and further away from the commercial center to level land west and north of town.

Very few buildings associated with Silverton’s industrial past remain · standing in 1996. Exceptions include the Fischer Flouring Mill office building, now a city-owned meeting hall, and the Silverton Steam Laundry, now a photographic gallery. Only remnant foundations, turbine casings, a mill race intake site, and a single lumber mill log remain today as evidence of Silverton’s historic industrial activity. A relatively new industrial park embraces much of the land inside the northern urban growth boundaries formerly occupied by Silverton’s two large lumbering operations.

Education and Religion

Even before Silverton’s founding, first settlers began attending to the sparsely settled community’s educational and spiritual needs. Although early religious gatherings first took place in settlers’ homes and the meeting rooms of fraternal organizations, the earliest public schools occupied their own crudely constructed buildings. Before the arrival of the railroad in 1880, Silverton had built a substantial school house and had even established a short-lived college. Silverton’s railroad era witnessed the construction of a new school building and the erection of a large university structure and dormitory building. A least three

 

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church buildings were also constructed. Silverton’s growth as a lumber town prompted the construction of three new school buildings and several new churches. Economic hard times and declining population growth during the depression resulted in the addition of only one new school building and minimal church alterations and new construction.

Resource types. The defining characteristics of buildings associated with education in Silverton varied greatly between the early 1850s and the late 1945. The earliest known school building, erected around 1850, has been described as a pole and plank structure. Two subsequent school buildings, built around 1862 and 1890, were both two-stories and of wood-frame construction. While the early school, with is horizontal wood siding and gable roof, was decidedly vernacular in form, the 1890 schoolhouse, with a steeply pitched roof, projecting bays and dormers, and various exterior wall textures, clearly embodied elements of the Queen Anne style. The irregular massing, multiple projections, and multi-texture exterior of the late 1890s Liberal University main building also incorporated many Queen Anne design features. The subsequent 1907 three- and one-half- story and 1915 three-story high school buildings of substantial concrete and brick construction reflected design features characteristic of the Bungalow (1907 school) and Jacobethan Historic Period (1915 school) styles. The 1922 one-story Eugene Field School, with rounded-arch openings and stucco exterior wall treatment, incorporates features of another Historic Period style, the Mission Revival. Silverton’s new two-story, brick high school, constructed in the late 1930s, possesses design features resembling the Art Deco style.

All of Silverton’s historic churches have been wood-frame, gabled roof structures sheathed with horizontal wood siding. Windows were often pointed arch openings, characteristic of the Gothic Revival style. A tall pointed spire projecting skyward from a square turret usually attached to the maid facade, in most cases, marked each church’s main entrance and vestibule space. Only the more modest churches lacked a spire.

Distribution Pattern. Typically, Silverton’s schools and churches were located two to four blocks from the town’s commercial district. Since the early 1860s, the block bounded by Water, First, Park, and A streets has been occupied by a school building. Nearly all of Silverton’s historic churches have been built on or near Second and Third streets, east of the commercial district.

Three school buildings dating from Silverton’s early 1850s to 1945 historic period remain standing. The early 1860s two-story, wood-frame schoolhouse, originally built in the center of the block bounded by Water, First, Park and A streets, has been moved twice and possibly three times before being positioned at its present location near the T intersection of High and Third streets. Although its integrity of site has been lost, it otherwise retains a high degree of design integrity. The 1922 Eugene Field school building remains largely intact on its main facade, although it has received a number of additions to the side and rear walls. The late 1930s high school has likewise received at least three additions, which have substantially compromised its original form, volume, and design.

Four Silverton churches built between the early 1850s and 1945 are known to exist in 1996. The Christian Church on Jersey Street, although slightly altered, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Christian

 

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Science Society structure, the First Congregational Church, and the Trinity Lutheran Church, all located on Second or Third streets two to three blocks east of the commercial district, remain standing and in fairly intact condition except for the Trinity Lutheran Church, which has been enlarged and considerably altered on the exterior. Other church buildings have been demolished and replaced by more recent church structures.

Social

Various fraternal organizations and benevolent societies have been well represented in Silverton throughout its historic period from the 1860s up to and beyond 1945. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Masons, in particular, have had early and long histories in the town. Benevolent societies for both men and women probably reached a peak in number and membership in the rnid- 1920s when Silverton boasted a total of twelve to fourteen benevolent societies

Resource Types. During Silverton’s settlement era, only the Odd Fellows and Masons owned their own buildings, which housed commercial space on the ground floor and a meeting hall above. The Odd Fellows constructed the first brick building in town, a two-story edifice at the corner of Main and First streets. The Masons met on the second floor of a wood-frame building on Water Street before buying their own two-story, wood-frame, gabled-roof commercial building on Main Street in the 1870s. Other pioneer benevolent societies, such as the Order of Good Templers, a temperance society that appeared early in Silverton but had faded from existence by the 1890s, and the Knights of Pythias also held their meetings on the second floors of commercial structures during this period. Few changes in this pattern of holding fraternal meetings on the second floors of commercial buildings occurred during Silverton’s railroad era.

With Silverton’s rise as a lumber town in the early twentieth century, fraternal and benevolent groups grew larger and financially stronger, thus allowing them to purchase or build their own buildings. Around 1905, the .. Woodmen of the World moved into a two-story, wood-frame and shiplap-sided building, with a raised parapet across the main gable end, three blocks from Water Street. In the mid-1910s, both the Odd Fellows and Masons constructed new three- and four-story brick commercial blocks with meeting halls on the upper floors. In the rnid-1920s, the Knights of Pythias built and moved into their: new wood-frame, two-story, parapeted building three blocks from Water Street. Other benevolent societies often used these four buildings for meetings, as well as the second floor of the old 1860s schoolhouse, which was moved in 1907 to a site three blocks from Water Street. Fraternal groups continued to hold forth in these meeting halls through the 1930s depression years.

Distribution Pattern. Historically, Silverton’s benevolent societies have met in buildings in the heart of the commercial district or roughly three blocks from it. The town’s four fraternal buildings constructed between the late 1860s and the rnid-1940s remain standing on their original site. All have retained considerable exterior integrity except for the brick Odd Fellows building, which has undergone considerable alterations since its construction.

 

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Government

In 1855 the first post office was established in Silverton. Thirty years later, in 1885 the town incorporated, at which time it began holding regular elections for the town mayor, recorder, council members, and police chief. In the early twentieth century, the town added a health officer, street commissioner, and city engineer to its list of city officers. At around the same time, the town created a board of education. Silverton’s fire department dates back to at least the late 1880s. Although water and sewer systems, which came into existence in the 1890s and early 1900s, were at first privately owned, the city took over the sewer system in the first decade of the 1900s as it undertook street paving projects; it purchased the water supply system in 1912.

Resource Types. For many years after the establishment of a post office in Silverton, the postmaster dispersed mail from various commercial buildings on Main Street. Throughout much of the 1890s, the post office was located near the southeast corner of Main and Water streets. In the early 1900s, the post office moved to the Odd Fellows building on the southwest corner of Main and First streets and remained there for several years.

For several years in the late 1880s and 1890s, the city conducted its business on the second floor of a wood-frame building on the east side of First Street near its intersection with Main. In the early 1900s, the town hall may have been located at various places on Water Street, before local contractors erected, in 1925, the present two-story, reinforced concrete city hall building on the site of the former city waterworks plant. The city became the owner of the Coolidge and McClaine public park in 1909 when Silverton bankers Ai Coolidge and Jake McClaine donated a several-acre wooded parcel on the west side of Silver Creek to the city for a city park.

Distribution Pattern. Buildings occupied by federal and city government functions were historically located near the heart of the commercial district on or pear Main Street. Government buildings have since moved two to three blocks away from Main Street but remained in the downtown commercial area. Only one of the buildings that is known to have housed the post office early in Silverton’s history, the Odd Fellows building, is extant. The 1925 city hall, now in the Silverton’s National Register commercial district, has been somewhat altered by the addition of a south wing and a carport attached to the north side wall.

Landscape Features

Resource Types. Known landscape features of historical note include Silverton’s city cemetery, the Coolidge and McClaine city park, and, possibly, street trees planted in certain sections of town in the early twentieth century when cities across the country began efforts to beautify cities with nature and art by establishing rows of streets and city parks and playgrounds, among other things. More research on the landscape history of Silverton needs to be done to determine the location of older noteworthy street plantings and of the possible historical value of individual or clusters of aged white oaks, Douglas fir, and other native species.

 

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PART III: EVALUATION

 

This section describes the methodology used and criteria for surveying and evaluating Silverton’s cultural resources. Evaluating surveyed properties involves assessing the significance of each property’s historical, architectural, and environmental characteristics. The properties contemporary cultural value is also taken into account. The evaluation process also considers the integrity and condition of a property when determining its significance. The City of Silverton currently has no established and approved method for evaluating historical properties since no comprehensive inventory has ever been undertaken in the town.

The following three sections discuss the evaluation methodology, evaluation criteria, and a list of registered historical properties in Silverton.

 

EVALUATION METHODOLOGY

Architectural and historical information gathered during the survey phase of an inventory project will be evaluated on the basis of objective criteria that will yield valid results. Objective criteria should provide a standardized method that can be used by surveyors to evaluate the significance of buildings, sites, and landscape features in Silverton.

It is proposed that the evaluation methodology incorporate the recommendations of James Hamrick and Lou Ann Speulda in the 1989 “Handbook to Historic Preservation Planning” (p. 17). The basic organization and method of rating proposed for this evaluation adopts the system used in San Francisco, conducted by Charles Hall Page and Associates, Inc. , published in Splendid Survivors ( 1979) . This same evaluation system has subsequently been used for the Portland Historic Resource Inventory, coordinated by Virginia Guest Ferriday, for the Portland Bureau of Planning in 1981-1982. Counties and cities in southern Oregon have used this system as well.

Architectural classifications for the inventory will be drawn from Architecture Oregon Style (1983) , developed by Marion Dean Ross and Elisabeth Pater, in collaboration with the book’s author, Rosalind Clark. This work is an invaluable guide to architectural styles in Oregon.

 

EVALUATION CRITERIA

Significance. All properties that are inventories will be evaluated by applying an established criteria. Evaluation criteria are derived from standards used for determining eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places. This evaluation criteria specifies that a building, site, or landscape feature is significant if it generally retains integrity of location, design, setting, materials, crafting, feeling and association and it meets one or more of the following criteria:

 

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  1. is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
  2. is associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or
  3. embodies the distinctive characteristic of a typed, time period, or method of construction, or represents the work of a mast, or possesses high artistic values, or represents a significance and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
  4. has yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in pre-history or history.

For the purpose of evaluating Silverton properties, the criteria are divided into three broad categories related to architecture, environment, and history. Each of the three broad categories is divided into several criteria that are considered separately.

Each of the criterion in the three categories of architecture, environment, and history will be rated according to four qualitative levels: excellent (E), very good (V), good (G), and fair/poor (F). An explanation of each rating is given on pages at the end of this “Evaluation” section. Each qualitative rating will also be assigned a quantitative value. Although the rating of excellent, very good, good, and fair or poor stay the same for all three categories, the assigned numerical value of each rating is different in each of the three categories in order to compensate for the predictably high incidence of structures with identifiable historical significance and the limited number of buildings of a definite architectural style. To avoid prejudice in the evaluation process, numerical scores and total scores will not be given until all properties have been qualitatively rated. An evaluation worksheet will be completed for each property.

A Historic Inventory Advisory Committee, perhaps comprised of city Planning Commission and City Council representatives and a small number of · Silverton residents with training in or knowledge of the town’s history, architecture, or historic preservation, might make a valuable contribution to the evaluation stage of the inventory process. Upon completion of the inventory, it should be presented to Silverton city officials for approval. Public input will be encouraged and welcomed throughout the project.

Integrity. A property possesses integrity if its historic form, original or historic use of materials, setting, and site together convey the property’s original design or the design of a later period of significance. The integrity of each property will be evaluated according to following five-tier rating system. Each tier will be assigned a numerical value.

Tier 5 = Intact features

Tier 4 = Slightly altered features

Tier 3 =Very altered features

Tier 2 = Few remaining features

Tier 1 = No remaining features

 

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Condition. The physical condition of a property will be evaluated on the basis of structural status. A rating system of good, fair, and poor will be used.

Good = roof, exterior siding, windows, doors, foundation intact

Fair = one or two of the above are in need of repair, but structural integrity is still maintained ·

Poor= the structural integrity of the property is compromised

It should be kept in mind that a property in poor condition can still have a high degree of integrity if a majority of its historic design, materials, and workmanship remains intact.

Ranking. The total cumulative numerical points for each property evaluated for architectural, historical, and environmental significance, as well as integrity and condition, will establish its overall significance according to the following categories.

            Primary = individually the most important sites, buildings, structures, objects, or landscape features distinguished by outstanding qualities of architecture, historical associations, and relationship to the environment.

            Secondary = sites, buildings, structures, objects, or landscape features which are not of outstanding distinctiveness or rarity architecturally; they may have experienced some loss of environmental integrity, but have sufficient historical significance to make them worthy of preservation.

            Contributing = sites, buildings, structures, objects, or landscape features which are less significant examples of architectural, structural, and environmental context, and have less historical relation to the community, state, and nation.

            Non-compatible = sites, buildings, structures, objects, or landscape

features that are not compatible with the significant architectural,

historical, and environmental characteristics of Silverton because of severe deterioration, loss of integrity, and/or significant alteration.

HISTORIC PROPERTY REGISTRATION

The City of Silverton has no local landmark designation program. A single church structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. In 1986 forty-nine buildings were listed on the National Register as part of a commercial district nomination. The following list includes the National Register church and the buildings considered of primary and secondary significance located in the National Register Silverton commercial district.

Historic Name                                     Address

Christian Church                                 314 Jersey Street

Not applicable                                     110-114 North Water Street

Not applicable                                     203 Oak Street

Silverton Bakery                                 207-209 Oak Street

 

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Inman Building                                   110-112 First Street

Wolf Building                                     201 East Main Street

Coolidge & McClaine Bank               217 East Main Street

Hande Building                                  108 North First Street

Wray’s Furniture                                 301 North First Street

Silverton Masonic Building                101-110 South First Street

Silverton Auto                                                109 South First Street

Silverton Auto Company                    303 South Lewis Street

IOOF Lodge                                       100 South First Street

IOOF Lodge                                       218 East Main Street

Knights of Pythias                              216 East Main Street

Lewis Johnson & Company                206 East Main Street

The Woolen Mills                                204 East Main Street

Liberal Hall/Wolfard & Co.                200 East Main Street

Fischer Flouring Mills Office              400 South Water Street

Silverton City Hall                              306 South Water Street

Hubbs Door and Sash                         210 South Water Street

Ames Building/Peoples Bank             100 South Water Street

Not applicable                                     101 North Water Street

Hicks & Ames                                     119 North Water Street

Russel Building                                   203 North Water Street

Syring and Banks Grocery                  209 North Water Street

 

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EVALUATION RATING SHEETS

ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Style: significant as an example of a particular architectural style, building type, or convention.

E = especially fine or extremely early example

V = excellent or early example

G = mediocre example

F = of little particular interest

  1. Design/Artistic Quality: significant because of quality of composition or detailing

E =excellent

V =very good

G =good

F = fair or poor

  1. Materials/Construction: significance as an example of a particular material, method of construction, or craftsmanship

E = especially fine or extremely early example

V = excellent or early example

G = good example

F = of little particular interest

  1. Rarity: significance as the only remaining or one of few remaining properties of a particular style, building type, design, material, or method of construct ton

E = one of a kind

V = one of few remaining

G = one of several

F =one of many

 

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HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Person: associated with the life or activities of a person, group, organization, or institution that has made a significant contribution to the community, state, or nation.

E = has particularly strong associations with the life of a person, group, organization, or institution of significant contribution

V =has strong associations with the life of a person, group, organization, or institution of significant contribution

G = has association with the life of a person, group, organization, or institution of significant contribution

F = has no notable association with the life of a person, group, organization, or institution of significant contribution

  1. Event: associated with an event that has made significant contribution to the community, state, or nation

E =has a particularly strong association with an event that has made a contribution to the community, state, nation

V =has a strong association with an event that has made a significant contribution to the community, state, or nation

G = has some association with an event that has made a significant contribution to the community, state, or nation

F =has no notable association with an event that has made a significant contribution to the community, state, or nation

  1. Patterns: associated with, and effectively illustrative of, broad patterns of cultural, social, political, economic, or industrial history in the community, state, or nation

E = has particularly strong association with broad patterns of cultural, social, political, economic, or industrial history in the community, state, or nation

V =has strong association with broad patterns of cultural, social, political, economic, or industrial history in the community, state, or nation

G =has some association with broad patterns of cultural, social, political, economic, or industrial history in the community, state, or nation

F =has no notable association with broad patterns of cultural, social, political, economic, or industrial history in the community, state, or nation

  1. Information: resource has yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history

E = has yielded, or may be likely to yield 1 information that is extremely important in prehistory or history

V = has yielded 1 or may be likely to yield, information that is important in prehistory or history

G = has yielded 1 or may be likely to yield, some information regarding prehistory or history

F = is unlikely to yield, or may be likely to yield, information that is extremely important in prehistory or history

 

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ENVIRONMENTAL SIGNIFICANCE

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Landmark: significance as a visual landmark

E = a site, building, structure, or object which may be taken as a symbol for the community or region as a whole

V = a conspicuous and well-known structure, site, building, or object in the context of the community or the county

G =a conspicuous and well-known structure, site, building or object in the context of the neighborhood

F = no particularly conspicuous or well-known

  1. Setting: significance because the current land-use and landscape surrounding the property contributes to the integrity of the pertinent historic period

E = excellent

V =very good

G =good

F = fair to poor

  1. Continuity: significance because the property contributes to the continuity or character of the road, neighborhood, or area

E = of particular importance in establishing the character of an area

V = of importance in establishing or maintaining the character

G = compatible to the dominant character of the area

F = incompatible with the dominant character of the area

 

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PART IV: TREATMENT

 

The treatment section of this historic context statement identifies future research and survey needs that will enhance our understanding of Silverton‘s local history and help protect and preserve significant historical resources within the town’s urban growth boundary. The recommended treatment strategies are based on information gathered during preparation of the Historical Overview 1 Identification, and Evaluation sections of this context statement. The strategies suggest possible future preservation work that might be undertaken by the City of Silverton and groups interested in maintaining the community’s unique historic character that contributes to the town’s social and economic vitality. It is understood that the following strategies may be somewhat altered or amended over the years as new information about the City’s historic resources is uncovered. Implementation of the recommended strategies by the City of Silverton will depend on a variety of considerations, including priorities set by the City government and available funding.

A summary of the primary survey and research needs and the recommended treatment strategies, roughly in order of priority, are listed below.

Survey and Research Needs

* Survey and inventory of historic resources

* Historic research

Treatment Strategies

* Public involvement, education, and heritage tourism

* Preservation incentives

* Preservation planning

* Funding historic preservation program activities

 

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  1. Need: Complete an intensive historic inventory of, first, those neighborhoods with high concentrations of cultural resources, followed by an inventory of all the remaining sections of Silverton with the urban growth boundary but outside the town’s National Register historic commercial district.

Only the central portion of Silverton’s downtown commercial district has been inventoried. This was accomplished in 1986 in the course of preparing a National Register of Historic Places nomination for forty-four buildings in an area that comprises approximately five blocks. Since this inventory work was completed, new more detailed information about the City’s commercial district and particular buildings in it has been found and will continue to be uncovered during the course of inventorying Silverton’s residential neighborhoods. The National Register nomination form should be amended to include this new data uncovered these commercial properties. For these reasons, some additional information and updated findings need to be included in Silverton’s National Register-listed historic commercial district.

  1. Need: Add newly uncovered information about buildings in Silverton’s existing historic commercial district to the National Register nomination.

 

Historic Research

Considerable research has been done on certain aspects of Silverton’s history. Histories of the town’s pioneer settlement era are abundant. Local historians have also compiled information about specific cultural history topics, such as education, particular fraternal groups, and the early twentieth-century influx of Scandinavians to Silverton. A history of Silverton as a lumber mill town is nearing completion.

Limited but much-needed historical information exists on Silverton’s historic landscape features, on non-European groups, and on women. Several ·· forested areas bordering Silver Creek and along the slopes and ridges above the central and southern sections of Silverton contain mixtures of white oak, Douglas fir, and, in places, western red cedar that have been allowed to mature and grow large since the time of settlement, when Native American seasonal burnings no longer limited forest growth. In many respects these forested areas could be considered cultural landscapes since past residents’ found no need to or consciously chose not to remove these trees. Today certain forested areas in Silverton, particularly those in Coolidge McClaine Park and along the town’s southern slopes and ridges give the town a unique feeling of containment, which many visits and residents appreciate. Additionally, some open agricultural fields in the level northern and eastern hilly sections of town have been farmed for decades and serve as a reminder of the town’s early farming history. Research on and documentation of Silverton’s landscape resources, some of which have already and may soon be developed, would help identify particular forested and farming lands that are valued and worthy of protection.

Although general studies have been written on the Kalapuya and Molala occupation of the Willamette Valley at the time of European contact, very little research has been done on either of these groups’ subsistence inhabitance of the Silverton area. Future archaeological and historical investigation of the occupa-

 

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tion, sites, and activities of Native Americans in this area would shed light on their culture and economy. Similarly, there is little known about the presence of non-Europeans in Silverton. Sanborn-Perris Company fire insurance maps dating from the 1890s indicate that a Chinese laundry stood at the southeast corner of Jersey and Second streets but their is no written history that describes the number of Chinese, Japanese, African American, or other non-European groups in Silverton or their contributions to the social, cultural, and economic life of Silverton. Also overlooked in the historical record is the role that women have played in the historical development of Silverton. Research on these groups would be valuable additions to the existing literature on the town’s history.

  1. Need: Encourage historic research on the following three topics: rural and landscape resources, non-European groups, and women.

 

TREATMENT STRATEGIES

Public Involvement, Education, and Heritage Tourism

In the past, the City has supported the work of Historic Silverton, Inc. , a group of downtown property owners organized to stimulate economic redevelopment and to restore the National Register commercial district to its historic period extending from 1885 to 1935. The City has had little involvement with the activities of the Silverton Country Historical Society.

Silverton’s popularity as a small-town family community and its recent surge in residential housing construction has encouraged an influx of newcomers to town. Many newer residents are unfamiliar with the history and cultural resources that contribute to the town’s unique physical character. Also, even those who have lived in Silverton for years and are well acquainted with certain aspects of its history, may not appreciate the vitally important relationship between knowing the history of a place and maintaining or recovering the authentic fabric of historically significant buildings and features. Furthermore, many residents may associate any historic preservation activity with unwanted government infringement upon the rights of private property owners. For all these reasons there is an ongoing need to promote public education and involvement in activities that inform residents of the town’s history and the value of protecting its cultural resources.

Many tourists are expected to visit Silverton once the Oregon Garden Project, a world class botanical display garden and horticultural education center, is completed and opened to the public in 1998. This anticipated surge in tourism could provide an ideal opportunity to showcase Silverton’s historic commercial and residential districts and, thereby, stimulate the local economy. Possibilities for heritage tourism activities abound and need to be developed in order to draw Oregon Garden Project visitors to Silverton’s historic downtown districts.

Some groups in the community focus on or encourage history- or historic preservation-related activities. These include not only Historic Silverton, Inc. but also the Silverton Country Historical Society, the Silver Falls Public Library, and other groups. Opportunities exist to share among these groups resources

 

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and knowledge of common interest and benefit. For example, the Silverton Country Historical Society has a rich collection of historic photographs that could be extremely useful to historic property owners who need documentation of the historic appearance of their building before undertaking restoration. Conversely, Historic Silverton, Inc. might help boost visitation at the historical society museum by including it in any heritage tourism promotional literature they prepare and distribute.

  1. Strategy: Continue to support programs and activities undertaken by Historic Silverton, Inc. aimed at promoting heritage tourism and educating residents and visitors alike about the value of Silverton’s rich history and those extant authentic cultural resources that reflect that history in and around the historic commerc:1al district.

 

  1. Strategy: Promote collaborative efforts between the City, Historic Silverton, Inc., and Silverton Country Historical Society to organize educational programs and activities focusing on the town’s history and historic preservation issues. These might appropriately be done during National Historic Preservation Week, celebrated every May.

 

  1. Strategy: Encourage and provide guidance to owners of historic property who wish to restore or rehabilitate: their commercial, residential, or related landscape resources by preparing advisory design guidelines for historic rehabilitation.

 

Preservation Incentives

Presently, there are a minimal number of economic incentives that encourage property owners to maintain and preserve historic resources. Additionally, building codes, zoning, and other building requirements can discourage authentic restoration and rehabilitation of historic property. Mechanisms do exist, however, to encourage the appropriate protection and preservation of cultural resources.

  1. Strategy: Make information about Oregon’s Special Tax Assessment Program available to commercial property owners who plan to rehabilitate their historic building.

 

  1. Strategy: Encourage changes to local zoning and land use regulations that will increase incentives for historic preservation, including increasing options for variances to standard zoning regulations that would otherwise compromise the integrity of historic buildings and resources.

 

  1. Strategy: Inform property owners that the Oregon State building and capo codes may allow variances for the authentic rehabilitation of historic buildings.

 

  1. Strategy: Consider allowing the use of low-interest loans administered by the City for rehabilitation work done on historic structures.

 

  1. Strategy: Support state leg1alat1on that will provide incentives for historic property owners, as well as broader state-wide preservation goals.

 

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Preservation Planning

In 1985 the City revised its zoning ordinance in order to better protect historic structures. Ordinance No. 820, entitled “Historic Landmarks,” provides for the local designation of historically or architecturally significant buildings, fifty years of age or older. Such designation is designed to encourage the use and preservation of landmark structures by permitting commercial uses of buildings in Rl, RL, and R2 zones. This designation also requires the owner of a landmark property to apply to the City building inspector for a permit and obtain approval from the Planning Commission for any planned demolition, moving, or exterior alteration to a designated landmark. This ordinance has never been implemented.

  1. Strategy: Review this ordinance and determine 1f it best meets the needs for which it was intended, or requires revision. Implement the existing or revised ordinance by a) creating an application form for local landmark designation, b) alerting City staff and the public of the ordinance’s existence, and 3) initiating the process laid out in the ordinance for designating local landmarks.
  2. Strategy: Create a separate Design Review Committee, which shall include at least one representative from the Planning Commission and Historic Silverton, Inc., that advises owners of a National Register-listed property about historically appropriate building facades, signage, and landscape design options, whenever plans for new construction or exterior alterations to historic buildings are submitted to the City for approval.
  3. Strategy: Consider adopting other planning polices and guidelines that encourage the protection and restoration of not only historically s1gn!f1cant buildings and structures but also important cultural landscape features that substant1ally add to the overall historic integrity and character of neighborhoods.
  4. During the Comprehensive Plan review process, strive to integrate historic preservation components, including preservation polices that may be needed to address specific issues or opportunities.

 

Funding Historic Preservation Program Activities

The City of Silverton has, thus far, not actively pursued funding for historic preservation activities. It has never applied to the State Historic Preservation Office for federal funds to accomplish preservation survey and planning work or educational activities.

  1. Strategy: Seek federal grant assistance through programs administered by the State Historic Preservation Office to fund: a comprehensive inventory of cultural resources within Silverton’s urban growth boundary but outside the National Register historic commercial district; educational and heritage tourism materials, including a self-guided walking tour brochure of the commercial district and portions of adjacent historic neighborhoods and historic features of interest; and, possibly, preparation of National

 

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Register nominations for historic residential district(s) and multiple property listings.

  1. Strategy: Solicit other support and funding, possibly with other community groups, for special educational and preservation planning projects and for historic research activities.

 

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