A GREAT PLACE TO BE A TOURIST Salem, Ore­gon

Words and photos by Den­nis Be­gin

Snowbirds & RV Travelers - - Oregon -

For snow­birds trav­el­ling along I-5, Salem is usu­ally only a fuel stop with most peo­ple know­ing lit­tle about the Cap­i­tal of Ore­gon. Even the ori­gin of the names Salem and Ore­gon are not well known. Salem is the orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion where the Kala­puyan In­di­ans lived along the Wil­lamette River and was re­ferred to as a “meet­ing or rest­ing place”. Salem is also a He­brew word ‘shalom’ mean­ing ‘peace’. As for the word Ore­gon, or Ouragon, the name de­scribes the ‘Great River of the West’, now known as the Columbia River. This lit­tle city is one of my favourite places in Ore­gon and a great place to be a tourist.

Salem was first set­tled by Ja­son Lee, a Cana­dian Methodist in 1840, and later be­came the State Cap­i­tal in 1851. This city of 160,000 is called ‘The Cherry City’, be­cause of its cherry blos­soms in the spring. The gov­ern­ment build­ings are easy to find in the down­town area. The ar­chi­tec­ture of the State Cap­i­tal is de­scribed as clas­sic art deco, with var­i­ous types of mar­ble mak­ing up the build­ing ma­te­ri­als. The Ro­tunda is fin­ished in his­toric mu­rals de­pict­ing Ore­gon’s his­tory, such as Lewis and Clark and the Ore­gon Trail. On top of the State Cap­i­tal is the statue of the Golden Pi­o­neer or The Gold Man. The statue is 8.5 tons in weight, cov­ered in gold leaf and is 7 m (23ft) high. There is an Ob­ser­va­tion Deck at the base of the Golden Pi­o­neer, pro­vid­ing a panoramic view of the city. Guided tours are rec­om­mended.

In­side the cap­i­tal build­ing are the Of­fices of the Gov­er­nor, Sec­re­tary of State and the State Trea­surer. The ma­jor demo­cratic func­tions take place in the dual cham­bers of the Leg­is­la­ture (House) and the Se­nate. A visit would not be com­plete with­out a walk through the State Cap­i­tal Park across the street from the main en­trance. Plaques through­out the park de­pict the his­tory of the state. The mod­ern water sculp­ture in the park is known as The Wall of Water. Ad­dress - 900 Court St. NE Salem COV­ERED BRIDGES The State of Ver­mont is well known for its cov­ered bridges, al­though Ore­gon is not far be­hind. Cov­ered bridges were con­structed largely be­tween 1900 to the 1930’s to help pre­serve the life of a wooden bridge. Orig­i­nally 450 cov­ered bridges ex­isted in the state, but only 53 re­main. Since Salem is split be­tween Mar­ion and Polk Coun­ties, only two cov­ered bridges ac­tu­ally re­main in Mar­ion County. To the north­east is The Gal­lon House Cov­ered Bridge near Sil­ver­ton, which is the old­est cov­ered bridge in the state. Built in 1916, the bridge is 25m (84ft) long and crosses Abi­qua Creek. Dur­ing pro­hi­bi­tion the bridge was used as a drop zone for the boot­leg­gers, with the bridge re­ceiv­ing its

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