|Houses of Grant Neighborhood|
But one of the themes to this blog is that a form of atomic analysis that breaks things down into component parts and doesn't look enough at pattern and relation and system really hinders the ways we can think about urban form. Travel by auto erases too much space and makes it difficult to think about connections between things. As a commenter pointed out the other day, talk about transportation systems also entails talk about land use. If stores, homes, and schools are too far apart, even the best bike boulevards, bike paths, and cycletracks won't attract meaningful numbers of people to use them. Here, talk about housing forms and development patterns also should entail talk about other kinds of infrastructure and system.
Some of the most interesting history is the effect our waterways have had on development. The introductory material talks about the flood of 1890 and about needing to drain marshy land in some of the Grant neighborhood in the 20th century - but then there's this interpolated section of boilerplate about the State Capitol, which isn't in the Grant neighborhood!
|Too much on the Capitol, not enough on water!|
But it seems like a good hypothesis that it could be related to draining the marshy areas. Until encountering this note about draining marshes, for a few years it has seemed like it was a candidate for a buried creek. Maybe it's a little of both.
|The H-alleys of Oaks Addition|
The increasing popularity and use of the automobile played a significant role in the development of the Ranch, which incorporated carports and garages into the main body of the house. The impact of the automobile is reflected in many features of the house. For example, the traditional front door sidewalk connects to the driveway rather than directly to the street as it had done in previous house typesIt would have been nice to see the impact of the auto on housing form and site plan featured more prominently. Instead, it is more the level of background noise, framed up as "inevitable" - and maybe thereby a little invisible.
Another factor contributing to Grant’s development was the paving of streets in 1907 as the automobile became an increasingly popular mode of transportation. Prior to this, the streetcar was the most prominent form of transportation. It began in 1889 as horse-carts running between the downtown business district and the train depot. By 1890, electric streetcars hit the scene and expanded to the State Penitentiary and Rural Cemetery, but inevitably, the automobile lead to the streetcar’s decline and the last streetcar ceased operation in 1927.The auto wasn't actually very popular in 1907, so that's a bit of a retro-reading anachronism. Several years later, in 1913 Salem still had only 358 automobiles registered with the State. The triumphalist narrative of autoism consistently places its dominance earlier than actually happened!
Since the neighborhood is completely gridded, a streetcar map of routes through the neighborhood might have been a useful addition. Even today, the neighborhood remains streetcar-scaled far more than auto-scaled.
|Four Rail Lines in Grant?|
December 16th, 1911
- The current Union Pacific alignment along 12th street
- A mystery streetcar alignment along Summer street
- A mystery streetcar alignment along Belmont and Nebraska, going out to Englewood School
- A buried Oregon Electric alignment along High Street and Broadway
Rose Palmer Beecher
Hallie Ford, 2011
More than this, it is something to consider right at this moment because now that the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is essentially over, we should pay a whole lot more attention to the 150th anniversary of Reconstruction, that period after the war that has largely gone down the memory hole. Grant was a key President during the period, and its issues of Civil Rights, race, and economic opportunity loom unresolved today. (Was there redlining in Salem, for example?)
Back to more innocent things, though most of the housing types and development participated in larger, nation-wide trends, two elements are highlighted as especially distinctive: the frequency of wooden arch detailing, and a kind of compact Bungalow form possibly unique to the northern Willamette Valley. (Did this come from a local pattern book or architect? More detail would have been nice!)
|Wooden arches are a distinctive neighborhood detail|
|A local bungalow form|
The Grant Neighborhood Association annual meeting is on Thursday May 7th. The potluck starts at 6:30 p.m., and the meeting proper follows at 7 p.m., both in the Library of Grant Community School, 725 Market St NE.
AIA Peoples Choice Awards 2015
Earlier this week the Salem chapter of the Architectural Institute of America posted the winner in the 2015 "people's choice" awards.
More interesting perhaps than the winner this year is the way the six entries show a distinct lull in building and design.
Two of the non-winning entries aren't from Salem:
- The Oregon Veteran's Home in Lebanon
- A coffee shop at Sun River, all "eco" and "sustainable," complete with a stonehengian name "Ecliptic" - but featuring a drive-through.
- A new car dealership on the Parkway
- Fluent's Offices on State and 21st, which remodeled an old union office, and don't really interact with Mill Creek very much.
- The McGilchrist and Roth renovation, which showed only the market and not the other storefronts or apartments.
|Northwest Rehabilitation Associates Sports Clinic|
via AIA Salem and CB|Two
Previous AIA Salem awards (2010, 2014, and the Columbarium should be mentioned) have featured a larger range of buildings. Since buildings take time to develop, we're still seeing effects from the Great Recession, when projects didn't start, and there's just simply not much of a pool of development projects to submit for awards.
I don't know that there's really much to say on this round.
I'm hopeful that once the Boise apartments finish, they'll lease up and jump start the other parts of the development. There's also the stalled project at State and Commercial, the various parts of the Fairview redevelopment, and the Goodwill project in West Salem. So hopefully there will be more to consider in 2016 and 2017.