Oldest Buildings in Salem
Salem contains several historic districts and buildings ranging in age from the mid- to late 1800s to mid-1900s. Downtown State Street-Commercial Street Historic District, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. The area was first planned in 1846, and the remaining buildings contain architectural structures seen from the 1860s to the 1950s. For instance, the Smith & Wade building [historic name] is ca. 1870, while the Salvation Army building [historic name] is ca. 1930. Also downtown is the Historic Elsinore Theatre and the Old First National Bank, both built in 1926. The Theatre was restored in 2002.
There are also countless historic homes scattered about the city. This includes the Court Street-Chemeketa Street Historic District, added to the Registry in August, 1987. It is a residential area with all the homes being built in two waves between 1860 and 1937, the Primary Period being 1860-1918, and the Secondary Period 1920-1937. The oldest house remaining from the Primary Period is the Rural Gothic Waller-Chamberlin House [1658 Court Street NE] built in 1860.
The oldest single family residence is the John D. Boon House [1313 Mill Street] built in 1847. Boon served as Oregon Territorial Treasurer, and later in 1851-1862 as Oregon State Treasurer.
May is Historic Preservation Month in Salem, which means the 8th Annual Historic Preservation Fair will be held on May 26 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will be held on State Capitol grounds, opposite the building on the north side of Court Street. There will be 24 non-profit and agency heritage organizations bringing objects that exemplify Oregon’s past, including military vehicles, artifacts, and several exhibits. There will also be a free trip to the Gold Man on the top of the Capitol building that will occur at 11:50 a.m. The entire event is free.