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AN EXTENDED DAY IN SALEM

Museum Visits

sunny 72 °F

Good Morning!

The accommodations are so nice in Keiser (Salem) that I decided to stay another day. Laundry had to be done and there was another museum I wanted to visit.

Yesterday, I ran out of space to mention the Willamette (pronounced- 'Will-lamm-it') Heritage Center. I was corrected by a local! The Willamette Valley of Oregon is a lush, fertile valley extending 150 miles, bordering on the Cascade Range (east), Oregon Coast (west), and Calapooya Mountains (south). Its Alluvial soil was left from glacial times and is very fertile. Alluvial soil, in case you didn't know (I didn't) is fine-grained fertile soil deposited by water flowing over flood plains. In any case, it has provided for Oregon a medium for growing vast fields of crops, orchards, and vineyards. Oregon is noted for its fine wines, and there are plenty to chose from!

The Willamette Heritage Center is a collection of historic buildings moved to the 1/2 block site on Willamette University, Oregon's first institution of higher learning. Founded in 1842, it is the oldest university in the Western USA. Methodist missionaries moved to this area from back East in 1834 to minister to Native Americans to convert them to Christianity. I might add that they had 'mild' success. Among the buildings in the Heritage Center campus are houses of the preachers and their families. The main attraction of the Center is the woolen mill which was owned and operated by the Kay family from 1889-1962. It utilized wool from the many sheep herds in the region. A self-guided tour of the mill was interesting.

My second museum tour was of the Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health. You may find that amusing. In our town in Upstate NY where I lived for 50 yrs. was a State Hospital (now named Psychiatric Center). Much like Salem's hospital it was a major employer with 3,500 staff members and 3,000 patients. The two hospitals grew crops, had a dairy farm for milk, a bakery, and were pretty self-sufficient with labor provided by the patients. Interesting parallels. Even the hospital campuses resembled one another. One wonders if there was a State Hospital model for the buildings. There was for the treatment methods. These methods were described by signage and artifacts in the various rooms of the museum. What intrigued me and drew me to this museum was my exposure to our local mental hospital through our business and the fact that the Salem facility was where the Academy Award winning movie, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', starring Jack Nicholson, was filmed. In producing the movie the film crew lived on the grounds, among the patients for 36 days. It gave them a unique insight into living conditions within the hospital, its daily operations and treatment of its patients on a personal level. It was a very interesting story. I must get the movie and watch it again.

Today, I leave Salem for Eugene's Elks Club. The city of Eugene is most noted as home of the University of Oregon and whose sports teams are called 'The Ducks'. More on this after my visit.

Posted by dixter 08:43 Archived in USA Tagged eugene

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