Friday, June 19, 2015

First it was Salemites, now it's Bridges: The Loss of Local Knowledge

Too much local knowledge is being lost at the paper - notwithstanding all the reprints of the headstones series.

First it was "Salemites," now it's bridge confusion.

Today's paper has a picture of the High Street Bridge over Pringle Creek from the 1890 flood. Only it's badly misidentified as a bridge over the Willamette.

This is from Fry Hill/Gaiety Hill looking north. Probably about where the driveway of the Woodland Chapel is today.

Here's a scan from the library correctly identified.

The thing is, just under a year ago they already ran a picture of the Center Street Bridge and the flood of 1890!

These are obviously not the same bridge! But if you have too many newbies or have outsourced too much page editing, you might not notice. This sure looks like a casualty of staff turnover and corporate economizing.

On February 3rd, 1890, the first Center Street Bridge washed out and collapsed in the big flood. Again, notice the flat land and the elevated support structure. Different bridge, wider river. Not ambiguous.

Ruins and Aftermath:  Center Street Bridge Collapsed
in Flood on February 3rd, 1890
Photo, Salem Public Library
And here are two citations for Salemite, one from a direct predecessor to the Statesman-Journal.

Pre-Statehood!  Oregon Argus, August 28, 1858

Front Page:  Capital Journal, April 5, 1907
We should be able to rely on our "paper of record" for a more secure recital of the facts and the historical record.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just another symptom of a town struggling with its own identity. "Keep Salem Weirder" Really!? The implication is that we should strive to be even Portlander than Portland. We can learn plenty from Portland but Salem is never going to be Portland, nor should it be, nor does anyone want it to be. That columnist really stepped in it there.