Native Salem Exhibit

This summer (2021) I was approached by the Bush Art Museum to do something for Native American month. Over the period of several months of discussion, we centered the exhibit themes on a few Native stories directly related to Salem. I wrote out those themes over the course of a few days and then we began picking images for the exhibit. What emerged was a mostly narrative-driven exhibit with some images to support the narrative. This was decided even though the majority of exhibitions are light on words and image-heavy. But the nature of the early history of Salem, Oregon … Continue reading Native Salem Exhibit

Wallace House, The First American Building in the Willamette Valley; and the Taking of Fort Astoria

Fur traders with the Pacific Fur Company, an American company, left Fort Astoria in 1812, 23rd, October (Franchere), for the Willamette Valley to establish a fur trading outpost.  The intent was to establish a fur trading post close to the Kalapuyan tribal villages and form positive relationships with the tribes.  Wallace House was built by William Wallace and Stephen Halsey in December 1812 with the help of fourteen other men included Donald McKenzie (Henry, et al. 1897). Wallace house became the first American building in the Willamette Valley and was occupied until at least 1814. The first information the fur traders had heard … Continue reading Wallace House, The First American Building in the Willamette Valley; and the Taking of Fort Astoria

The Kalapuya Village of Champoeg

Champoeg is a monument to early Oregon settlement by French- Canadians and Americans from the 1820s to the 1850s. Champoeg, situated on the edge of the French Prairie, the breadbasket of early pioneer Oregon territory, served as a center of community governance, as a cultural center and as a trade port where shipments of grains and other trade goods (fleece, wheat, timber, vegetables) would be sent downriver to Oregon City. There these products may be processed in mills and factories (powered by the Falls) into flour, lumber or woolens and be shipped to world markets. Champoeg was the community which … Continue reading The Kalapuya Village of Champoeg

Observations of John Minto, Salem, Oregon 1874

The following is an annotation to accompany John Minto’s 1874 editorial in the Willamette Farmer newspaper. Minto, a notable settler in Salem participated in many aspects of early Oregon society;  in the formation of the government and in the blazing of various trail systems in the area. Minto was an expert on sheep, was on the board for the early Oregon Agricultural Association, and later he took over as the prison warden  in Salem after his brother died. There are some writings by him in various magazines, newspapers and journals, and he was a notable writer of early Oregon history. … Continue reading Observations of John Minto, Salem, Oregon 1874