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Definition: Salem from Philip's Encyclopedia

State capital of Oregon, USA, on the Willamette River. Founded in 1840 by Methodist missionaries, Salem was made territorial capital in 1851 and state capital in 1859. Industries: timber, paper, textiles, food canning, meat packing, high-technology equipment. Pop. (2000) 136,924.


Summary Article: Salem from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Capital of Oregon, in Marion County (of which it is administrative headquarters) and Polk County, on the Willamette River, 84 km/53 mi south of Portland; population (2000 est) 136,900. It is a distribution and processing centre for timber from the Cascades forests to the east, and fruit and vegetables from the fertile Willamette farmlands. Hi-tech goods, building materials, and textiles are also produced. The state government is Salem's largest employer. It was incorporated in 1857.

History The area was settled by Methodist missionaries from the James Lee Mission in 1840. They established the Oregon Institute in 1842; this later developed into Williamette University (1842). The settlement was named after Salem in Massachusetts, which was the home of other early settlers; Salem is a form of shalom, the Hebrew word meaning peace. The mission dissolved in 1844, the year that Salem was laid out, and the city became territorial capital, taking over from Oregon City, in 1851 and state capital in 1864.

Salem has 62 entries on the national register of historic places. Features include the neoclassical marble State Capitol (1937) and several house museums including the Thomas Kay Woollen Mill (1890). Early pioneer homes are now part of Mission Mill Museum. The Salem Arts Fair and Festival is held annually in July and the city is also the home of Chemeketa Community College (1962).

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