|Errantly identified with the Greenbaum building|
(248 is a red herring!),
this is in fact 120 Commercial St NE,
not 248 or 298 Commercial St NE.
(Salem Library Historic Photos)
|Same view today - via Streetview|
Our story is rather about the perpetuation of an error in the City's historic photos database. (This really is just a long and meandering footnote!)
The old photo of the Buren & Hamilton store (at top) shows an address of 248 on the awning, but in the Library's historic photos the image is captioned this way:
Buren & Hamilton furniture store was located at 298 Commercial Street NE in the building now occupied by Greenbaum's Quilted Forest.
|Awning with "24" and part of "8"|
(From a different image at the
Oregon State Library)
|Greenbaum's has seven window bays, not five,|
and the ornament is very different.
(University of Oregon)
|On March 6th, 1906 they started to say "old" address|
|August 8th, 1904 (detail, see below for full page article)|
|Full-page article on early, draft version|
of Ordinance 436
August 8th, 1904
|Later notice about compliance Ordinance 436|
- September 30th, 1905
It's not wholly isolated. Like so often with infrastructure, funding for the Library's photo and history project covered construction but not maintenance. The software used to have a "social" component with a comment field, but that was rarely used and never monitored. Theoretically, it was possible to make corrections there. But that element has been deleted in subsequent software updates, and now there is no formalized mechanism to update the photos and history. Any errors just get reproduced in other materials.
|Salem Cyclery and, Buren & Hamilton, with marching band, circa 1899|
(Oregon State Library)
The two instances of miscaptioning, one at the Salem Library and one at the State Library, are just an example of the entropy and fragility of history. Just when you think you've got something straightened out, a new mess or error pops up! Maybe all the "gate-keeping" and curation in pre-online history was helpful, but there is value in crowd-sourcing, too.
This is a two-story commercial building. The date of construction may have been as early as c.1870. The Sanborn maps show that Durbin's Livery was at this location in 1884; Minto & Lowe Livery in 1888; a hardware and stove shop in 1890; YMCA Rooms in 1895; and an electric painting company and photo shop in 1926. Substantial changes have occurred to the building and the latest remodeling appears to have occurred in the 1990s. The current facade has brick veneer on the first one-and-one-half stories and is stucco-covered above. Windows are arched and fixed. The building does not contribute to the character of the district in its current condition. [italics added]But the actual history of the building as a livery, YMCA, store, and restaurant is more than a little interesting, and it has been a very flexible and useful building. Even if it retains no more "historic" or "aesthetic integrity," its usefulness has created value. The way it has been dismissed in the official history may mean it has not got the attention it deserved and so errors on it and related to it have been easier to slip in.
So now apparently the 120 Commercial Street building will be divided for multiple tenants and it will be interesting to see its next phase of usefulness. And maybe during a new round of remodeling, they will discover older features and be able to restore some of them.
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