Salem, Oregon

00-salem-capitol-jonquilSalem, Oregon

  • Oregon became a state February 14, 1859, the 33rd state admitted to the Union.
  • Salem became state capital 1859
  • Established: 1850
  • Name Origin: Possibilities include named for Salem, Massachusetts, or last letters of “Jerusalem,” or version of “Shalom” for peace

William Willson filed plats in 1850 for the main part of the city, and suggested the name Salem as an Anglicized version of the word “Shalom.” David Leslie, President of the town’s Trustees, suggested using the last five letters of “Jerusalem.” Leslie was educated in Salem, Massachusetts, which also may have influenced his suggestion.

The gold-leafed bronze statue on top of Oregon’s capitol symbolizes the rugged pioneers who carved Oregon out of the wilderness. But the building, completed in 1938, is a modern Greek-Art Deco design, matched by four more state buildings in Capitol Mall. On the grounds are many statuary and monuments.

Salem is in the beautiful Willamette Valley; Willamette University, the oldest institution of higher learning west of the Missouri River, is here too; on campus visit many historic buildings and the Mark Hatfield Library.

At Mission Mill Village fleece is turned into fabric in the Woolen Mill Museum; several parsonages interpret missionary family life of the 1800’s. Deepwood Estate and the Bush House are authentic Victorian mansions open for tours; Honeywood Winery is Oregon’s oldest producing winery.

Key Words: pioneers, Willamette, woolen, missionary, winery

Things To Love About Salem

The freshness of the air, the farms surrounding everything, the milk, the cheese, the golden-hearted people there, the independent spirit of the pioneers, the love of place. The rhodies everywhere you look.

Blogs To Read About Salem

Shut The Front Door!

Sunday Church

Once Upon A Time

When Babies Are Born

That Very Pleased Look

Tell Me About It

Like Little Bear’s Porridge

Go Tell Aunt Rhodie

Elephant DNA

The Wheels On The Bus

Cut The Cheese

And The Beat Goes On

Capital City Basics

  • Population: 154,637, 26th largest in population of the 50 capital cities
  • Population density: 3,229 persons per square mile
  • Land area of city: 47.9 square miles
  • Elevation: 154 feet, 38th highest in elevation of the 50 capital cities
  • Normal high/low temps: January 48/35, July 82/53. Annual rainfall: 40 inches
  • Time Zone: Pacific
  • Water near: Willamette River
  • Mountains near: Cascade Mountains, Coast Range. Mount Hood in the northern part of the state is the highest point in Oregon at 11,249 feet.
  • Miles to three nearest State Capitals: Olympia, WA 161; Boise, ID 454; Sacramento, CA 536
  • Miles to National Capitol in Washington, DC: 2,856

Population Statistics from US 2010 Census

  • 154,637           Population
  • 25.2%              Under 18
  • 12.0%              Over 65
  • 2.7%                Asian
  • 1.5%                 Black
  • 20.3%              Hispanic/Latino
  • 1.5%                 Native Alaskan or American Indian
  • 0.9%                Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • 70.7%              White

Education Statistics from US 2010 Census

  • 20.9%              English Not Spoken at Home
  • 85.6%              High School Graduate
  • 25.9%              Bachelor’s Degree or Higher

Economic Statistics from US 2010 Census

  • 17.4%               Below Poverty Level
  • $23,162           Per Capita Income
  • $44,226          Median Household Income
  • $199,500        Median Value of Home
  • 56.6%              Home Ownership