Monday, August 23, 2021

Beer and Buildings Featured in Latest History Talks at the Mill

The Mill's announced another round of history talks for the "zooming back to history" series.

"Finding Louisa Weinhard" - OHQ, Summer 2021

Two are of particular interest here.

History talk, Sept. 16th

You may recall back in May when Pioneering Oregon Architect, W. D. Pugh was released. On the cover are images of our Old City Hall and the second Mill building, both of which Walter D. Pugh designed. Author, former Salemite, and retired professor of history Terrence Emmons will give an online talk on September 16th.

The remarkable architectural career of Salem native W. D. Pugh and the question of why so little was known about it until now. How I came to make this inquiry. “A life in buildings” is the giveaway subtitle of my book; that is, an attempt to answer that question and to learn more about the life of W.D. Pugh, especially during the quarter century of his greatest activity (roughly 1885-1910), by searching out the buildings he designed, with photographs if possible. It also examines his later career as building contractor and road builder, all in the context of the social and economic development of the American Northwest.

And on December 16th, pioneering Beer Archivist Tiah Edmunson-Morton of Oregon State University will discuss “Women behind the pints: Oregon’s 19th century brewery wives.”

An important detail is missing from most 19th century Oregon beer history: these brewers didn’t arrive alone. Though the name over the door was a man’s, and women weren’t likely to be found in the brewhouse or serving lager in a saloon, their involvement as wives, widows, and daughters is an important, unknown, and untold story.

Edmunson-Morton has an article in the current Oregon Historical Quarterly about Louisa Weinhard (at top).

Advertising in Salem, January 1st, 1910

Maybe she'll talk also about figures in Salem. At least one woman here had a significant and even public role. After Seraphin Beck died in April of 1899, his widow Margaret Beck assumed control of the downtown brewery for a few years. Her ads specifically mentioned, "Mrs. M. Beck, Proprietor." It's reasonable to suppose she had participated in the business earlier, though accounts also suggest she was protecting the value of a family asset, which the other partners in the brewery had been trying to grasp from her or to discount.

Mrs. M. Beck, Proprietor
July 15th, 1902 and Feb. 6th, 1903

The brewery after several rounds of expansion
at the Conference Center Sculpture Garden site
(Sick's Brewery via Salem Library Historic Photo)

There are likely other women here whose contributions in brewing or saloon-keeping have been forgot, minimized, or outright erased.

Apparently the Mill is aiming now for a "hybrid" model, and you can attend in-person or listen online. The talks are $10 each or $30 for the series of four. More details at the Mill.