Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Century Ago: Items in the Christmas 1913 Edition

1913 was an interesting year, and the December 20th Christmas edition summed it up and looked to the next year. Here are some quick-hit clips - not quite random, but not systematic either.

The normal edition of the paper was 8 pages, and this was 32 pages of summary, boosterism, ads, and the usual news and gossip.

Capital Journal, Christmas Edition
December 20th, 1913
It's all about the motorcycles!  Sadly, there are no bike ads, and while the bike dealers are still selling them, the hot new thing is the motorcycle.

Watt Shipp motorcycle ad
In them you can still see a heavy-duty bike frame and pedals.  They are literally motorized bikes, like the little lawn-mower engine conversions you see nowadays, and not the distinct and highway-ready thing we know as a motorcycle.

In 1913, Watt Shipp reorganized his businesses, creating a separate corporation with multiple owners for the sporting goods and bike business, and a single-owner business for his powder sales.

Watt Shipp transitioning to explosives!
Hauser Bros were an early Harley dealer.  You may recall an earlier partnership of Shipp and Hauser.

Hauser Bros Ad
Shipp might have sold powder for the ditch-digging and drainage excavation at Lake Labish. That was a project big enough to support the expansion of his business.

Lake Labish headline news
Both commercial and residential real estate got ink. It seems like there might have been a bit of a boom after the recession of 1907 and today we are able to enjoy several buildings planned and completed in the following years of prosperity before World War I.  More significantly, the biggest commissions went to the state's most important architects, like Knighton, Lazarus, and Lawrence, and we still admire the buildings today. (Salem should prize design today like it did then!)

Cusick House was new; the Spaulding house is gone
Cusick House in 1978, Salem Library Historic Photos

Dome Building had just been completed a year or so before
Note that it has the south wing only

Dome Building today, designed by Edgar Lazarus

The Mausoleum was open,
and would be dedicated in 1914

Mausoleum today

The Supreme Court Building was nearly finished and opened in 1914
Supreme Court Building today
Its designer, William C. Knighton, is responsible for
several of Salem's loveliest buildings

It was big news!

Shot down State Street at intersection with High
The Masonic Building (right) was completed in 1912 also
Shows street enclosure ratio near 1:1
(building height:street width)
For more on 1913 in Salem, see notes here, and also Virginia Green's historical digest on 1913.

Also! Listen to Jim and Virginia talk about 1913 in their half-hour radio show on KMUZ (17mb mp3). This show features King Bing and the Cherrians.

While a century is a round number, it's still arbitrary, and so I don't know that there's any value in trying to be more systematic about reflecting on 1913.  Still, it has significance here because the State Highway Commission was established at the same time the Bicycle Path legislation of 1899 was repealed.  It's definitely a year of symbolic transition. Maybe we'll return to it in more detail later this month.


Asahel Bush died early in the morning
on December 23rd, 1913


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

updated with link to Jim and Virginia's ratio show on 1913, which I missed

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

updated with front page clip on Asahel Bush's passing early in the morning of December 23rd, 1913. He is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery. For more on Bush see Wikipedia and the Oregon Encyclopedia.

The OE particularly misses out on his long life in Salem post-1863, when he sold his newspaper The Statesman. Who else is a credible candidate for "most influential" in Salem during the second half of the 19th century? Though he supported the Union as a Democrat, he was no progressive. From the OE: "Bush opposed slavery but favored the constitutional ban against allowing blacks to immigrate to the state." We laud Bush Park and Ladd & Bush bank and all the Bush legacy, but the reality today of that legacy may be considerably more complicated than "yay Bush Park!" He probably deserves a full-length biography and more study about his role in the development of Salem. Maybe new attention on the gardens of Lord & Scryver, and the relationship with Sally Bush, will be a lure to some of this reassessment.