Thursday, October 31, 2013


Not to be too gloomy, but between Day of the Dead and the recent loss of one mid-century building, another mid-century building comes to mind.

Sometimes when you're in the library or walking by, you can see a puff of smoke and the heatwaves shimmering the air.  It's a moment to say a prayer, tip your cap, or however it is you honor the departed.

Virgil T Golden Building at Sunset in Fall
This one, like most mid-century buildings, runs horizontal, not vertical. They don't use surface area very efficiently. They sit on parking lots and express the logic of auto-distance, not walking distance. They were built when energy was cheap and suburbs seemed like the answer.

Virgil T. Golden Building Midday in Spring
But while we've given attention to the 19th century Victorians, the streetcar era storefronts, and the early 20th century Bungalows and Craftsmen, hardly any consideration has gone to mid-century modern buildings.
Contrasts:  The great play of corner and curve
Not all of them are worth keeping, but at least some of them offer interesting details or historical significance, and it's time to start thinking about them and how they fit into the urban fabric. The National Register of Historic Places uses a fifty-year rule of thumb and Salem's buildings from 1940 - 1960 deserve more attention and consideration.

For another building worth considering, remember the Ellis Lawrence associated Mount Crest Abbey Mausoleum. It's a little older, from 1913 and dedicated in 1914, but it is not in great health and needs some repair and TLC.

Lord Family Crypt:  Governor Lord, his wife and daughter
There you can visit the Lord crypt, sadly absent Elizabeth Lord's partner Edith Schryver.

Halloween's also a great time to consider walking.

It might be the day (or night) when adults walk the most in their own neighborhoods.   Or perhaps feel their neighborhood is so unsafe or so lousy for walking that they load the kids into the car and go find a better neighborhood.

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