Friday, May 31, 2013

Bicycling Best to Appreciate Preservation League's Most Endangered Places

Yesterday the Historic Preservation League of Oregon revealed their 2013 list of "Most Endangered Places."

One building is in Salem, and a group nomination has several representatives nearby in rural Marion and Polk counties.

Historic Preservation League:  Most Endangered Places
Phillips House in middle photo
The group nomination, for Pioneer Farmsteads of the Willamette Valley (1840-1865), shows, but does not name, the Phillips and Waldo Houses. The Phillips House is out in Zena, and the Waldo House is out in the Waldo Hills naturally enough.

Red dots show demolished houses; black dots show remaining.
Several remain in Polk and Marion counties.
There are several more in and around the hills and prairie surrounding Salem. Geercrest Farm, the home and farm of R.C. Geer on Sunnyview near Silverton, might be the best known. You're likely to bike by them on your rides!  (You can see the full infographic here.)

The building in Salem is the Dome Building at the State Hospital on the north parcel slated for sale and redevelopment.

Dome Building last fall

Dome Building in winter, South facade
Does bicycling have any necessary connection to these? Nope.

But the scale of a good mixed use redevelopment at the State Hospital will be perfect for bike travel to downtown, to many employers, and for many errands.

The Pioneer Farmsteads are often set back from the road, invisible to speedy car travel, and most accessible by bike. They are also spaced out at horse-and-buggy or footspeed distances, and bike travel is perfectly suited for traversing these. I would argue that there's a harmony, a fitness, between bike travel and the disposition of 19th century farms.  And as people on bike we should be more attentive to them.

There's a cluster of black dots in Keizer and it will be interesting to learn more about it.

As the weather will be glorious this weekend, as you're out-and-about, be alert for really old buildings!  They might be some of the early settlement farmhouses!

No comments: