Friday, March 14, 2014

Be Sure to Enjoy the Cherry Trees this Weekend

Cherries are blossoming and the weekend's going to be sunny! Be sure to get out.

And if you're feeling contemplative, there might be no better time to visit the historic cemeteries in Salem.

Cherry trees in the cemetery
Even when it's overcast the grounds are lovely. (And remember that crazy snow right around the spring equinox in 2012?  The snow + cherry trees maybe was the best!)

Here's Watt Shipp's family monument in City View Cemetery.

Watt Shipp's family burial plot

Watt Shipp (on quad, second from left) in 1898 at Fairgrounds
Notice the huge chainring where Shipp stands!
Shipp (1875-1922) was a prominent racer in the 1890s, then was a bike dealer in the 1900s and even held a patent.

Patent for a head lamp bracket in 1909
The Cherry Fair "Electric Parade" on Commercial
at night in front of Watt Shipp's.
(2004.010.0004 Print, Photographic.
The Willamette Heritage Center)
His store on Commercial in the Starkey-McCully building is also in the panorama for the Moose Carnival of 1913. At this time he was also getting into blasting powder.

Watt Shipp, Powder King
He died young from complications after surgery, and the description of it sure sounds like cancer.

Though City View records aren't directly online, burials for the Lee Cemetery on D Street and for the Pioneer Cemetery are online and they're mostly google-able, too. Maybe there's someone in Salem's history you're curious about? See if you can find their burial site and go pay your respects.

Or work it the other way.  Go for a walk and write down a few names on monuments you find interesting and then research them when you get home.

Either is a great way to learn about our history.

1 comment:

Laurie Dougherty said...

Yes, I saw the cherry trees in bloom yesterday. Last Sunday they were barely in bud. Talking about cemeteries reminded me of the annual bicycle Tour de Graves around Halloween time in Boston, tracing eras and cemetery styles from colonial graveyards with faded tumbledown headstones to late 19th century garden-style cemeteries like Forest Hills with graceful landscaping and elaborate tombs and grave markers. Here's a link to photos of last year's Tour de Graves (if it works, sometimes links I post here don't show up).

Dick Bauer, the guy in the orange pumpkin shirt researches the graveyards and leads the ride. He organizes other history-themed bike rides too, like one for National Train Day in May. The commuter rail system around Boston has a couple of rail cars with two dozen or so bike racks used on summer weekends on routes to beach towns north and south of Boston. The MBTA puts one of these cars in use for National Train Day - cyclists take the train to an outlying station and bike back in town, stopping to see remnants of long-gone rail lines and old depots, some abandoned, some re-purposed.

Sorry to be like a broken record here about Boston, but there are many interesting themed rides there.