I was once told that Salem is a city that's full of history. From experince,
I can tell you that Salem is full of something, but I don't think it's history...

Guides might point out about some of the older architecture in the downtown
area but when you compare a squat two-story who-knows-what-it's-for building
that was put up in the 30's with...say...the REALLY old squat two-story who-
knows-what-it's-for building that was built in the 20's, words like history and
venerable seem a bit out of place.

All things considered, I do like the area. There's a few local shops that still
do a brisque business. My favorite coffee shop is here...as is a nice little used
book store. The Reed Opera House-cum-Reed Crafty Mall has some neat little stores
and the food scene is starting to pick up again with Greek, Thai, and Indian joints
available. There's plenty of parking due to the many parking garages and the
occaisional festival (in the summer, mind you) has even drawn the herd from their
domiciles into the downtown core.

It's a nice downtown, just don't expect any history.

There's just something really
poetic about empty streets and red lights...
Bum-free. The Salem Way

The Capitol Center - Salem's tallest building.
It's tall, thin, and peach-colored. It's not even all that tall.
Believe it or not, The dingy weather actually cheers the
place up a bit.
Now we're talking! This is the the grande dame of Salem,
the Elsinore Theatre. Clark Gable was just a farmer's boy
from the nearby town of Silverton when he got his first
on-stage role here. It has played host to many kinds of
acts, from vaudeville to first-run cinema. Nowadays, it's
being slowly renovated and will hopefull reach its former
splendor soon.

Salem was founded by great hordes of Methodists. This church, the First
United Methodist one here is a mark of that heritage. It's nice-looking
and the monster steeple shares the "skyline" with the Capitol building.
My friends got married here too. It's known as "the big church" to the locals.
There you go - two of the only three things
in Salem that pokes out from the treeline.
Progress! Commerce! A big grey pit! Welcome to
the future home of the Salem conference center...
we think. This project has been kicked around for
a while and with the recent exodus of jobs from the
city, the whole idea may be stuck here in "gaping gash"
phase. In the background you can see the bunker-like
home of the city's central fire station and beyond that
lurks the Vern W. Miller Civic Center.
Hmm...upon further consideration it all kind of matches...

Lookie here! All you need you know about the history of the city convieniently
placed near the downtown mall! This marker once adourned the OLD city hall that
stood at this spot. Now it's a parking lot. I love the way that Salem makes way
for progress by knocking down the past. I once saw a picture of the old building -
it was small but had a charm to it. Now we've got a big ugly monster in it's place.
Say...let's pan back a little bit...
Everytime I head downtown with a camera, I feel
compelled to snap a pic of this buidling here.
It's nondescript and unimportant, but still, here
you go.
I forget the name of this street. The Brickish building
on right the is the new Courthouse Square.

Courthouse Square. This is the transit hub of Salem's
mass-transit system, the Cherriots! Hoy-paloy, we've
got a bus system that's mirthly named! Not many people
ride the busses though. It's a shame, really. With a name
like Cherriots, it must be a party on wheels!
I wouldn't know, though. I don't ride the bus either.
Look out! More Whimsy! This bit of sculpture
resides in front of the main buiding of
Courthhouse Square. Whew!

Welcome to the Marion County Courthouse. The transit mall used to
run in front of this building before they moved the works one
block over to Courthouse Square. Back in the day, every manner of
street urchin and ner'dwell could be found slacking about on the
sidewalks here. A few remain, but methinks the county got tired of
having these rather crunchy folks harrassing people trying to report
for jury duty.
Found in the window of the aptly-named Made in Salem store in the Reed
Opera House mall. I felt that it should be included here.
Typical street sign. I've never been on the "Historic
Salem" tour route before. Sounds like a hoot.
It's a trap. There is no way out..

2003 Brent M. Diskin