September 20-26, 2018

We allowed a week in the Salem area and very much appreciated some downtime. We explored the area, had the front-end of the coach aligned, had the windshield on the Jeep replaced (thank goodness for Florida insurance–no deductible for windshield repairs), and shopped (no sales tax in Oregon).

Of course we had to check out the Oregon capitol. It’s one of only five art deco capitols in the country (we’ve seen two of the others so far: Louisiana and Alaska) and was built in 1938. It’s the fourth-newest capital in the U.S.

The capitol rests on a granite base. Its walls are clad with Danby, Vermont marble.
The capitol is topped by the 23-foot Oregon Pioneer which is made of bronze gilded with gold leaf.
The Oregon Pioneer symbolizes early European-American settlers.
The Oregon Pioneer during its placement on the capitol.

The state seal in bronze is the centerpiece of the rotunda.

A textile version of the state seal shows details more clearly than photos of the bronze seal. The eagle and olive branch symbolize peace through strength. The 33 stars represent Oregon’s place as the 33rd state admitted to the Union. In the water, one can see a British ship leaving and an American ship arriving. Oregon industries are illustrated by timber, grain, pickax, and plow. The importance of pioneers is illustrated with the inclusion of a covered wagon. Finally, the natural environment is highlighted by mountains and elk.
House of Representatives
The carpet in the House chamber features the Oregon state tree, the Douglas Fir. Timber was the state’s leading industry when the capitol was constructed.
A desk in the House chamber
We find it interesting to note what members choose to display on their desks. This note says “Thank you for your leadereship and amazing floor speech on HB 2005! Let’s bet pay equity passed in the Senate.”
A display in the House chamber featured a notable fact for each district.
Senate chamber
The mural behind the Speaker’s chair depicts news of Oregon’s admission to the Union in 1859.
The carpet in the Senate chamber features wheat and Chinook salmon–the second and third most important industries in Oregon when the capitol was constructed.
The Governor’s ceremonial office is used for press conferences or to sign legislation.
Oregon is the only state to feature a two-sided flag. (The other side is the state seal.)

Exhibits in the capitol included rocks and minerals (one of our favorite subjects).

Crystal Mountain nodules
Petrified alder stump
Thunder eggs, the state rock.

We climbed the 121 marble, concrete and metal steps to the observation deck just below the Oregon Pioneer for a view of the surrounding area.

Willamette University
A broader view of the university
Mount Hood through the haze

Here’s a final bit of trivia we learned in the capitol: Kathryn Clark was elected to the Oregon Senate in 1915–four years before women could vote nationally. Women could vote in Oregon in 1912.

We strolled around Salem’s downtown and took snapshots of buildings we found interesting.

Our wanderings took us to Riverfront Park along the Willamette River.

The Peter Courtney Minto pedestrian bridge
Here’s another perspective of the bridge with Dave in the foreground.
Willamette River

Salem’s Riverfront Carousel is a popular destination in Riverfront Park. The carousel was constructed between 1995-2001 and features 34 figures carved with hand tools from basswood from the Linden tree. A horse figure takes about 120 linear feet of wood which is cut into planks and laminated together. Each figure takes between 700-1000 hours to complete, not including time for finishing. The figures are produced by volunteers.

Razzle Dazzle represents a celebration.
This horse is the General.
Abby was a silver medalist in the 1984 Olympics.
The covered wagon is wheelchair accessible.

Dakota Darlin is currently under construction.

A volunteer paints Dragon, a new figure for the carousel.
Categories: Travel


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