Our public buildings were not overlooked in this modernization movement which resulted in the demolition of many highly ornate historic buildings. The Richardson Romanesque Salem City Hall and the High Victorian Marion County Courthouse are examples of buildings replaced with the now-vogue styles of Brutalism-Monumentalism and International--concrete, glass, and marble-like monuments in which the industrial production techniques and marks are highlighted and incorporated into the design. Many of the fine older homes of the Piety Hill area are demolished and replaced with the modern-designed State buildings of the Capitol Mall: Public Services Building, 1949; Transportation Building, 1951; Labor & Industries Building, 1961.
It will be interesting to see what architectural styles will be tagged as signature styles within our lifetime. The Ranch style of the 1970-80s is now old enough for historic designation. Perhaps it will be the French Normandy or Provincial, hipped-roof style of the 1990-00s, or the return to the Arts & Crafts styling found in the early 21st century. Whatever it will be, some of us will love it and some of us just won't be able to appreciate it at all. Fortunately for our future generations, historic preservation is charged to protect them all.
Deb Meaghers and Christy Van Heukelem, historians and authors, are passionate about the history of Salem and the entire mid-Willamette Valley. We love sharing our enthusiasm for our rich historic legacy with others.