Uncovering the record of our lives following early settlement is one of the perks of being the City Archaeologist, according to Kimberli Fitzgerald, who also wears the hat of Salem's Historic Preservation Officer.
Salem's latest Public Archaeology project is just finishing up at the site of a redevelopment project at 960-990 Broadway Street and E Street NE, just kitty-corner from the historic Boon's Treasury restaurant building. The current owner of the property contacted the City to find out about the history of the site and enthusiastically offered to host an archaeological dig site on the property. [Note: If you'd like to see what's proposed for this site, check out the Salem Planning Commission Staff Report.]
Although the public archaeology project has just completed, you can check out three videos Kimberli created to document the process: Taste of History-Jason Lee Archaeological Site - Part 1; Part 2; and Part 3.
During this site work, a third inadvertant discovery of sections of the old Scotch Mills millrace occurred. You'll recall the first such discovery was in 2017 at Front Street & Division at the rail crossing, the second during work on the new Police Headquarters at Division & High Streets in 2019, and this new one at Division & Liberty Street. Public records show the entire length of the North Mill Creek millrace was collapsed and covered over in 1924 after numerous complaints about its posing a public safety hazard were lodged. Evidently, those earlier construction efforts were very husky.
Another story about history coming alive again is about the Holman Building in downtown Salem. This hotel building was integral in Oregon history as it served as the seat of the territorial and state governments from 1857-1876, following the burning of the second Capitol building (the first capitol also burned). Located at the northwest corner of Ferry & Commercial Street, the Holman was at the very hub of downtown Salem. The Marion Car Park was most recently located on this site. Construction of a new boutique hotel, aptly named the Holman Riverfront Park Hotel, is now underway. The owners plan to showcase its illustrious history with lobby displays.
~~Posted by Deb Meaghers