Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mission Mill Magazine Features History of a Parking Lot

Willamette Valley Voices, vol. III, No 1
The resurrected Mission Mill/Historical Society journal, Willamette Valley Voices, has an article on the history of a parking lot at the corner of Ferry and 14th, right where the Mill Race deflects from Ferry Street and starts the brief descent to power the woolen mill.

1350 Ferry circled in red
The site went through several iterations in development and business:
  •  An "old warehouse"
  • The Salem Soap & Chemical Works
  • Capital Soap Works 
  • The Angora Rug & Fur Company
  • Lachelle’s Furs 
  • The Parking Lot
 Ending finally in the nothingness we see today:
A diversion of water from the millrace to the fountains of Pringle Park caused the old waterway to become narrower. The millrace which had previously flowed swiftly through the Ferry Street property began to move slowly. The sound of rushing water at that location went silent.

It was in the context of these developments and in response to the growing demand for parking that the Fur Shop was demolished. Chris Lachele’s solid-looking “little house” was also torn down. The weeping willow beside the millrace became firewood. The yard with its tulip tree, rosebushes, dahlias, and other flowering plants was paved over. In 1980 the property became a parking lot.
And change will likely continue in the future. The NEN-SESNA project has identified this area as an "opportunity site" (#8 in map below) and hopefully the parking lot will revert to something more productive and interesting.

Looking Forward SESNA Opportunity Sites
While the article is more sanguine about the role of parking lots than we are here, it's great to have a history of a parking lot that is outside the core downtown and to have a better sense for the loss it represents.

Go check it out (big pdf).

(This is an interesting area. The first location of the blind school was a block away, and a strange sanitarium for dope and liquor addicts was next door. There's probably lots of other interesting history nearby, too!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I lived in the LaChelle's 'little house' upstairs apartment when I was very young, just before it was torn down. I was so glad to find this link to a bit of it's history and I'm hoping to find more pictures. It was an interesting and very unique experience.