Along the way, there are some humorous episodes in it that involve Salem, and one of them was about the total melt-down during the 1897 Legislative session. It was nuts. US Senators were still selected by the Legislature rather than by direct vote, and the session got stuck quite spectacularly. (Rather than littering the quote with square brackets or footnotes, I have inserted reference links, a few brief newspaper clippings, and the photos of the Eldridge Block. Comments, like this, are in italics.)
|Greenbaum's (right) in the intact Eldridge Block, 1954|
Commercial Street at Chemeketa
(University of Oregon)
|The north part of the Eldridge Block earlier, circa 1905.|
(Salem Library Historic Photos)
|Start of session, on January 11th|
Bourne set up in Eldridge Block - Jan 9th, 1897
I then hired the best chef in the State of Oregon; sent him to Salem to fix up apartments in the Eldridge Block; things to eat and drink and entertainment. I said to the chef, 'I pay all expenses. I want to take care of all my friends in the lower House who signed pledges with me, the friends of silver.'Bourne and Simon gained the support of William U'Ren, the future father of the Oregon System's direct legislation and the leader of the state's populist movement. U'Ren felt betrayed by Mitchell's refusal to honor a pledge to support U'Ren's efforts to enact Initiative and Referendum amendments to the Oregon Constitution.
|A contemporary note - February 19th, 1897|
|Still No Quorum, January 20th, 1897|
|Schism! Rump House Organized, January 21st|
|Probably sensationalized a little: Bribery attempted|
with Rep. Howser - February 2nd, 1897
When the 40 day session ended on March 3, 1897, nothing had been accomplished.
|Legislators just gave up and "abandoned" the session|
(March 5th, 1897)
Here and here are a couple of notes on the Eldridge Block's demolition for parking - it's now the site of the Chemeketa Parkade - and about the section that was saved by Greenbaum's. Recently, you may recall, Salem Summit Shop purchased it and ensured another generational transition for the building.
Update, June 20th, 2019
The 1897 version of the story was amusing. But this time it reads more like institutional vandalism. Republicans are striking again.
They bailed in May for a few days and extracted a couple of concessions and promised to be on good behavior.
|GOP on strike at the Legislature|
(May 8th, Oregonian)
|No more levity - via Twitter|
|A real nullification crisis, June 27th|