Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sleepy Hollow at End of Mission Street: Down the Memory Hole!

Earlier this week I mentioned "Sleepy Hollow" as a distinct place and historic name in Salem. It has been lost, and it appears that very few, maybe no one, remembers it. (If you know of any research or discussion of it, please add a comment! The usual suspects are silent on it.)

Sleepy Hollow area at the head of Mission Street -
The "hollow" between Gaiety Hill
and what is now Fairmount Hill
(1876 Birdseye view of Salem, Library of Congress)
This isn't at all a narrative or much more than a couple of scattered notes, but maybe someone can build off this. (If not, I'll try to get back to it sometime.)

Here's a couple of notes from Willamette Farmer, an early paper associated with John Minto. From 1875, so far these are the earliest mentions I have found. It would be surprising, however, if they were the earliest in absolute. Maybe buried in the Statesman there are earlier citations.

June 18th, 1875

January 22nd, 1875
This is from 1912, when it appears already to be obsolete.

 June 17th, 1912
These citations are pretty vague and rely on local common knowledge of what is being mentioned.

A Ben Maxwell note from 1953 is more specific, and suggests the Daue House and Daue Store was in Sleepy Hollow. It makes sense that the hollow between Gaiety Hill and what we now call Fairmount Hill, an area for a while just outside of city limits, would have a name. Rural-ish, it probably was "sleepy." And just as there was an implied contrast between Gaiety Hill and Piety Hill, maybe there was an implied contrast between Gaiety Hill and Sleepy Hollow.

From the Daily Capital Journal, June 23, 1953
Daue's store, 1003 South Commercial street, a Sleepy Hollow landmark dating back to the late 1860's, may also be Salem's oldest retail business in respect to continuity of ownership....[in 1869 the newspaper] proclaimed that improvements in South Salem belied the common reference to this locality as "Sleepy Hollow." Now South Salem has two circular sawmills, a flour mill, a brewery, wagon shop, machine shop, sash and door factory, chair factory and a black-smithery.
(The February 3rd, 1955 Journal has more on the brewery. And here is a suggestion that the brewery was where the Meridan's parking lot and the Minto houses are today.)

Daue House on Sagniaw and Owens - via Wikipedia
Significantly, the 1984 National Register Nomination for the Daue House shows no awareness that the neighborhood was at one time known as "Sleepy Hollow."
It is located in the NW 1/4 of the SW| of Section 27, Towns[h]ip 7 South, Range 3 West of the Willamette Meridian, Marion County, Oregon, and is otherwise known as Tax Lot 2400, encompassing Lot 5 and a portion of Lot 4 of Block 2, Hugh Owens Addition to Salem, Marion County.

Directly south of the Daue residence is a late Queen Anne style house. [The Scoville House?] This house was also built for the Daue family during the 1890s, shortly after the family moved to Salem from Portland. The house proved to be too small for the growing family however, and within 15 years they had moved out of this house and into the Craftsman style house across the street. Both houses are listed on the City's inventory of historic sites and buildings, and are among the oldest residences within the immediate neighborhood....

Alexander Daue moved from Portland to Salem about 1891, and joined his brother as a partner in "Daue Brothers. . . dealers in groceries, crockery, clothing, boots and shoes, glassware, wood and willow ware." Alexander Daue became the sole proprietor of the store by 1898, and in 1909 the business was expanded to include his sons. After Alexander's death in 1929, his son, Elmer, took over the store's operation. The store was operated as a grocery until 1962, when Elmer Daue retired; the building was demolished later that same year.
The 1980 Nomination for the Minto houses on Saginaw at the corner with Mission is also silent, though it does mention in passing the neighboring brewery.

More recently, the 2011-ish draft (and ultimately abandoned) Nomination for the Fairmount Historic District only says
In 1878 the area between Mission Street and Fairmount Hill was first platted. This area first was developed beginning in the 1850s with the construction of a sawmill and a flour mill located at the foot of Owens Street. Logs were originally cut and taken from Fairmount Hill and cut at the mill or rafted to the Slough. The mill was purchased by David Miller (whom the street is named after). In 1865 the mill was bought by Witten and Roork, they sold the sawmill to the Moores family who then moved it to the foot of Ferry Street.
These are the kinds of places you'd expect to see at least a mention in passing of the district's name.

Still, even though the information seems to have been lost in the later 20th century, between Maxwell's notes and the other newspaper citations, the place name seems secure enough - though it would be nice to find somewhere a mention or discussion of its origin and more about early residents' self-identification with it or repudiation of it.

So there you have it. In addition to Piety Hill and Gaiety Hill, Salem can add a "Sleepy Hollow" to its collection of 19th century neighborhood names. (Virginia Green's presentation on Piety Hill is online again at her new website, by the way.)


Almost the whole of Sleepy Hollow is zoned RM2
(City of Salem Zoning map)
This is interesting and may be worth a follow-up note. Nearly the entire area of Sleepy Hollow is now upzoned RM2 for multi-family housing. As you walk or bike through here, there's lots of apartment in-fill already, and it looks like the official policy is for more.

A blog favorite circa 1913: Paul Hauser, bike dealer
The house is still there today, near Kearney and Saginaw
(George Post, architect)
In addition to the Daue and Minto houses, here are other terrific vintage houses here it would be a shame to lose. At the same time, the transition is already well underway, and so there is no "historic integrity," to try to preserve.

So this is an example of a mixed neighborhood in whose mixture we should have an interest. If it becomes all apartments of one age, it is less interesting than as a jumble.

Because of the barriers constituted by River Road, Commercial, Liberty, and Mission, this neighborhood is a bit of an enclave, and is not as well connected for walking and biking as it should be. If we are going to continue to put more density here, then we need to make it easier not to drive places.

We'll come back to this...

Second Addendum

Daily Oregon Unionist (Statesman), August 5th, 1869
Here's the 1869 article Ben Maxwell was citing in 1953.
Improvements in South Salem - Sleepy Hollow is [?] glow of the past, for the tract, adjoining Salem on the south once so called has waked up of late, and now hears the clamor of two steam circular saw mills and flouring mill and brewery, also it has its wagon shop, sash and door factory, and blacksmithy. In addition to these, private residences are going up on every hand, but the most significant proof that South Salem is progressing is the fact that Mr. Hugh Owens has contracted for the erection of a brick store, to be 24x60 feet, at a cost of $3,250. This new brick will stand on the west side of the road near the black-smith shop.
This is a 4th generation copy and is a little hard to read. The Daily Oregon Unionist was a successor to the Statesman - later it reverted to the Statesman.


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

updated with note on zoning

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Also lots of material in the SCI "South of Mission" project.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Added article clip from 1869.