05 September 2017

[maps] Salem, Oregon, Within Her 1956 Boundaries

I'm leaving this here as a pretty and a bauble and a sort of a bookmark, and also drilling down into some more interesting detail of the 1956 Oregon Official State Map.

The back of the map has, as intimated, a number of insets giving detail of larger Oregon towns. One of the more important would be, of course, the state capital - then, as now, doughty Salem. The 1950 Census, as recounted in the city list in the index plus, one would assume, estimates for the six years thereunto, give a population for Salem as 43,140 (today's population is around 165,000, headed for 170,000, which is a change from my own childhood my mind's still having trouble encompassing). According to the state map, Salem laid out about thusly:

I could look at that hand-done lettering all day, it's so charming.

Okay, anyone familiar with the current geography of Salem will probably gasp a little at how small she was. Commercial Street, the main drag south (labelled BUSINESS 99) ends, in this panel, right at the point where modern-day Liberty Road forks off, or just south, where Vista Avenue crosses. By the time the late 60s were around, barely a decade later, the city had annexed Commercial all the way out to where it merged with what was then being called I-5 (and what was being called BY-PASS 99 in this map). The city also breached the bypass freeway on the right by the mid-60s. Another obvious difference is that what we today call Market Street NE is, on this map, outside the modest city limits, anyway, "Garden Road". Swegleing to the freeway would have to wait a few years.

I'm going to try to combine information from this and another map to tell a third story. It won't be a complicated one, but it'll be a story that I enjoy being told and telling again. Check back here for that.

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