|March 5th, 1917|
project of beautifying the parking of Marion Street...another plan will be taken up soon to plant a rose hedge along the parkings of some promenade street leading to the fair grounds this will likely be either Capitol or Summer Street...You may recall that "parking" used to mean not something for temporary car storage on the paved margins of a road, but instead meant the curb strip planting area and its landscaping.
|An old rose on Marion Street at a driveway|
between Winter and Summer Streets
DAS Yellow Lot in background (2013)
Another tantalizing reminder is the old honeysuckle "tree" at the corner of Cottage and Union Streets.
|Venerable Honeysuckle at|
Union and Cottage (2013)
Salem's last remaining tree from a program called "Beautify America," a federal program that was existing in the latter part of the 19th century.I think it is more likely to be something associated with the Floral Society and its "City Beautiful" effort in the early 20th century.
(As a national movement, City Beautiful had its origins a whole generation earlier, but here, as elsewhere, ideas diffused gradually and took a while to reach Salem's fashionable society.)
|March 14th, 1916|
In 1916, a year before the rose plantings was announced, Elizabeth Lord's mother, Juliet Montague Lord, apparently proposed a larger plan for the Floral Society.
Lord believes that Salem has the opportunity of making itself one of the most artistic cities in the country....
"I came here 36 years ago from the east," said Mrs. Lord, "and noted the beauties of Mill creek and the possibilities for making it a beauty spot, but regret to say that it is in the same condition now as when I first saw it." The fact that Mill creek seemed to be a general dumping ground for glass and tin cans was noted by Mrs. Lord.
"There are great possibilities for Mill creek and many eastern cities would give a million dollars for such a stream running through the residence district. It has many beautiful trees in and along its banks would grow the Japanese cherry tree, syringias, white show berry, dogwood and many shrubs that grow in our woods."
If the beautifying of our streams had been taken up years ago and many of the Japanese ideas followed, Mrs. Lord believes that Salem would have been a city twice its present, size, and although the citizens have been negligent, it is not too late to begin.
Mrs. Lord also noted the fact that about 20 years ago the women of the city made an attempt to organize a society to work for the good of the city and to beautify the streams, but at that time, it was not customary for women to take an active part in civic life, and the men came in and proceeded to run the society until it died a year or so later. With the changed ideas of women's activities, Mrs. Lord hoped that the women of the Floral Society would go forward in their work and make Salem within a few years what it should be, the city beautiful of the northwest.
|Juliet Montague Lord|
via State Library
But again, it seems, the Floral Society was not able to institutionalize itself for sustained action, and after another hiatus, in 1920, before she went off to Lawthrope School of Landscape Architecture in 1924, Elizabeth Lord was elected Secretary.
|March 29th, 1920|
Later work by Lord & Schryver that is now public, like gardens at Deepwood and Bush Park, seemed to have started as features at private residences; instead I'm thinking of things in the public right-of-way, in parks, or at public buildings. Things that were public in conception from the start.
Before the Lord & Schryver Conservancy was up and running at Gaiety Hollow, Bonnie Hull wrote about some of their work in the Plane Trees at the Courthouse and at North High, and a show at Hallie Ford in 2011 showed a plan for Marion Square Park. There was also a plan for Pringle Park between the Hospital and Church Street. There are bound to be other public bits planned by Lord & Schryver we don't know enough about.
This still, though, is from a layer of work subsequent to the "city beautiful" efforts of the Floral Society.
There's not probably any important preservation work along these lines, but there might be a kind of mapping or signing project that could be interesting. As we redevelop the city, whether in public works like roads and sidewalk, or private redevelopment like new buildings, there are bound to be traces of the earlier projects, and especially when bits of plan are intact or venerable plantings remain healthy enough, it would be nice to be able to recognize them. The urban fabric is a little bit of a palimpsest. "What was there before?" and "Why did they do that?" are always interesting questions!
At the same time, in no small part because of our autoism, lack of interest in walking places, and general presentism, even when heritage trees have plaques and official city parks surrounding them, we still forget to notice them and let ivy take over.
|2015 Ivy Pull at Waldo Park, whose tree is from 1872|