Uptown Salem: Residences Tour
Just a few blocks north and east of downtown exists a significant inventory of finely restored residences dating between the 1880's and early 20th century. In addition to this architecture is an outstanding landscaping of old growth trees. Salem residents are generally putting a lot of effort into restoring their historic homes and maintaining their landscape of old trees. These images are but just a few examples.
Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial
There are many good reasons why we should probably wait until after a conflict is over before constructing a memorial to war dead. After all, suppose a few "dead" are found in enemy camps afterward? Should we not wait for the conflict's resolution in history for it to have some historical perspective? There are many reasons.
Be that as it may, for various reasons the decision was made to build the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom memorial during the conflict. It is far larger than any of the other past war memorials in the area near the state veterans office. A huge space exists on the stones for adding many more names to the list of those killed in combat.
The monument consists of a flat world map, with a fountain erupting out of north western Africa. An Octagonal pillar with a man (possibly a soldier, but he doesn't hold a weapon as is frequently the case with war memorials) posed as if pointing at Portugal.
The monument is located just north of the state of Oregon Veterans Affairs building on Summer Street.
Salem Riverfront Carousel
A huge volunteer effort was launched some years back to construct an authentic carousel on Salem's waterfront. The carousel would be electric and not steam, and completely enclosed inside a building. Other than that, the idea was to create a true hand crafted work of art, just as it would have been built in the 1800s or 1900s.
Today, Salem's Riverfront Carousel is located inside a nice modern building, and operates on almost all days. It is open to the public except when there are private groups that have rented the space for a special party.
Children under a certain height must be accompanied by an adult, and one of the modern features of the carousel are straps for holding children into the saddles.
It is very much a work of art. According to the displays inside the building, no power tools were used in the construction of the carousel horses. Unique hand crafted decorations cover the entire machine, and many of those feature items that are particular to the state of Oregon.
If you are interested in the wood carving, go into the memorabilia store that is next to the carousel. Along the west wall, you will find the entrance to the restoration shop. Visitors are asked to please touch the horses and other carvings that are under repair or construction here. If they are open, you can ask the volunteers about the stories that go with each of the carousel horses. Some of them know some fairly good stories about the inspiration behind the animals.
I have created a Salem Riverfront Carousel Travelogue with more photos of the Carousel and one or two of the restoration shop.
The carousel operates inside Salem's Waterfront Park. There is a special parking area for the carousel, but it is nearly always full. There is a larger parking lot on the north side of the park near the old railroad bridge. It is also possible to park on one of the downtown streets or parking garages. Crossing Front street is easy at the traffic lights, but it is a very busy road so be careful.
A day trip of white water...
A day trip of white water rafting is fun, too. From Salem, you have many excellent choices. Most of them closer to Salem, though, are rougher and colder water. We chose to go to one up east of Mt. Hood out of a little town called Moupin. The river is the Deshutes. It's known for being a fun 'warmer' river with lots of water fights on it. It proved to be so. You'ld have water fights with anyone and everyone---not just people from the same rafting company. It was a lot of fun. It even had 2 level 4 rapids that we went through---the 2nd one almost ditched us!
In order to get an early start on the river, we did stay in a little metal hut in Moupin over night. We were told those were original moveable huts that were used by workers on the railroad back when the railroad was being built. They were neat little places.
Churches of the Capitol Area: Congregational
A smaller but architectural noteworthy church building in the capitol area is that of the First Congregational United Church of Christ Church building. The origin of the congregation dates back to 1852. Interesting the current structure was inspired by Rev. Robert Hutchinson who had been born in Ireland and educated in England, and retained his English accent, in collaboration with another Englishman, Mr. Fred Ely, designed the current Tudor Gothic church reminiscent of the English countryside but built of stone quarried locally in the Willamette Valley. The building took some four years to complete, being dedicated in 1941. Subsequent expansion and builing of a parking lot on adjacent property has occured since the building of main santuary. The congregation dates back to 1852.