Gaiety Hill-Bushs Pasture Park Historic District
The Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.
The Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District is located south of the central business district in Salem, Oregon. The Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District is primarily residential in nature and is roughly bounded by Pringle Creek and Mission Street to the north, Bush's Pasture Park on the east, Cross Street on the south, and by Liberty and High streets on the west. The district encompasses all or portions of 19 city blocks and all of Bush's Pasture Park (including Deepwood and the Yew Park Entrance), a total area of about 143 acres. The district is a concentration of properties from the historic period 1878-1938 and includes examples of popular architectural styles in Oregon from that period. Four of the properties in the district are listed on the National Register and many more are on existing cultural resources inventories.
Preservation, Extent of Area
The Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District area is a historically and architecturally significant grouping of resources. The intact inner city neighborhood is associated with a segment of the city's development over the period of 1878 to 1938. The area maintains the feeling and sense of an early residential area in its streetscapes and architecture. Despite several intrusions adjacent to the district area, particularly along the east side of Liberty Street, the neighborhood area retains the scale and ambiance of an early Salem area. Many of the buildings in the district lack individual distinction, but taken as a whole, the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District conveys a sense of history through the survival of many different architectural and landscape features, which provide a sense of a connected and unified place.
The topography of the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District is varied with several distinctive features. Gaiety Hill to the north commands a view of the downtown business area and the Cascade Mountains to the east. Gaiety Hill, with its choice core of homes on the crest, also provides the district with the front line of defense against commercial encroachment from the downtown core on the north upon a distinctive, intact residential neighborhood surrounding Bush's Pasture Park. South of Mission Street, the topography begins a gradual uphill grade which continues to the south boundaries. Bush's Pasture Park contains a steep north-south ridge which divides the park between a western upper and an eastern lower area. There is one creek in the district, Pringle Creek, which runs through Bush's Pasture Park. Salmon now migrate up this creek to spawn in the gravel bars within the historic district. Watching the large salmon spawn has become an annual event which attracts a large number of people.
Types and Styles
The Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District includes many of the popular historic architectural styles in Oregon. The styles represented are the Italianate, Rural Gothic, Queen Anne, Bungalow, and historic period styles (English Cottage, Colonial, Cape Cod, Norman Farmhouse, French Renaissance, etc.). With several exceptions, most of the buildings in the district are not highly developed or special examples of their architectural genre. Most are generally small and modest, although they exhibit individualized details and examples of fine craftsmanship.
Outstanding examples of architecture in the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District include the following: Bush House and Harding House (Italianate), Deepwood (Queen Anne), Jarman House (Spanish Colonial), Pearce House (Colonial), and the Smith-Fugate House (Bungalow).
A significant element in the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District is the fine collection of bungalows. This style, popular from about 1905 to 1920, includes many variations, with hundreds built in the state. In total, the district has about 40 bungalows. The row of bungalows along High Street facing Bush's Pasture Park is considered one of the best collections of this architectural style in the state.
Existing Historic Inventories
Many of the properties in the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District area have been previously recognized as historically important. Four properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
Asahel Bush House, 600 Mission Street SE
Two properties are included in the Statewide Inventory of Historic Sites and Buildings (1976). Forty-four of the properties are also listed in the Salem Landmarks Commission's Historic Salem: An Inventory of Historic Places (1984). Likewise, many of the resources were inventoried by the South Central Association of Neighbors (SCAN) in 1983. In 1982, the City of Salem established a Heritage Tree program. Two of the designated trees are within the district at 545 Mission Street SE and 787 Cross Street SE. Several of the houses and gardens in the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District have also been the subjects of historic tours and study.
Vistas and Landscape Features
Because of its size, scale and location at the heart of the district, Bush's Pasture Park acts as one of the strongest internal vistas and landscape features which ties the district together. This 95-acre park is a monument to Salem's early history and is a major open space landscape critical to the integrity of the district. Possibly no other large urban city in the Pacific Northwest has a "pasture" adjacent to the downtown area dating from the 1860s. It is significant and unique for a grand Victorian-era mansion and all of its original surrounding property to be intact without major intrusions of residential subdivisions or street development.
In addition to the landscape and gardens of Bush's Pasture, the district is linked historically and aesthetically by the many other distinctive public and private landscapes in the district area. These landscapes and vistas are intricately tied to the park and one another. These include: the topographic feature of Gaiety Hill with its distinctive influence on the growth of Salem; the area of Bush's Pasture, an open space in Salem since the city's origin now in public park use; the Deepwood Estate; the private and public landscape gardening works of the Salem pioneer landscape architecture firm of Lord and Schryver; other private gardens; and landscaped spaces contributing to the neighborhood area. The district area is significant in its historic association with prominent Salem personages, the evolution/settlement of the city, and architecture styles, complimented by the landscape which increases the overall importance of the neighborhood area.
Public improvements include concrete and asphalt streets, concrete sidewalks (some with curb cuts), street lights and overhead wiring. All the streets are in good condition and improved, with the exception of lower Leffelle Street at the southeast corner of the district. Church Street, at the north end of the district, is part of the City of Salem's original town plat and carries out the plat's distinctive 97 foot wide streets. Included in the district is an exemplary bridge on Church Street, built in 1929, that establishes the tone and fashion of the district. Streets run basically north-south and east-west. With the exception of the access road to the Asahel Bush House, no street pierces the original Bush property. There is only one alley in the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District, located parallel to Leslie and Mission streets, between High and Church streets in Block 13 of the original Salem plat. The paved alley is in excellent condition.
Impact of Modern Development
Since the late 1970's, there have been no major intrusions within the district. Major intrusions have not occurred partly because of an economic slowdown and a trend toward residential upgrading and the desirability of living in the closed-in, inner city neighborhood. The major intrusions are along Liberty Street which serves as a major arterial to downtown Salem. These intrusions, which have been excluded from the district, consist mainly of medical offices and other commercial offices which are drawn to the area by its proximity to the hospital, downtown and landscape qualities of the area. The recent consolidation and expansion of the Salem Hospital adjacent to the north end of the district will exert tremendous pressures upon the historic district to make way for commercial expansion and demolition. Recognition of the historical qualities of one of Salem's few remaining closed-in neighborhoods should help reduce this pressure.
The rest of the district is primarily residential in character with the exception of two churches and Bush's Pasture Park (including Deepwood and the Yew Park Entrance). The churches contain landscape qualities which blend with the neighboring areas within the district even though the architecture of both is modern.
Bush's Pasture Park contains one major intrusion. A 9-acre parcel of this property was sold to Willamette University in 1946 and now contains McCulloch Stadium and ball fields. Its location below the ridge line and isolation at the north middle part of the park significantly reduces any impact it might have on the integrity of the district. In addition, public improvements such as the tennis courts and playgrounds have been placed and controlled with sensitivity to the original pasture character of the Bush estate.
Visible parking lots within the area include one at the First Church of Religious Science, one belonging to the First Church of Christ Scientist and several in Bush's Pasture Park.
For the most part, alterations to houses within the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District have been additions to the rear portions not visible from the street and have been compatible with existing architectural styles. One house at 630 Leffelle Street SE, received extensive remodeling in 1960 which converted it from a 1914 bungalow style home to a Swedish Colonial. This completely changed the character of the house. However, the resulting structure is compatible with the character of the district. Several homes were moved into the district including: 460 Oak Street and 505 Mission Street.
Parking in the Gaiety Hill area is restricted to two-hour parking on weekdays, with the exception of residential owners in the area. Parking restrictions are necessary to prevent the streets in the north end from being clogged with parked cars belonging to downtown employees; host residents in the Gaiety Hill area have their own garages and off-street parking. Parking along High Street is restricted only to the west side due to its narrow width.
With the district's location downtown, traffic flow has a major impact. Bush's Pasture serves as a barrier to through traffic. There are two major arterials within the district, Liberty Street which runs one way, south to north, and Mission Street which runs two ways east and west. In addition, High Street, which runs in two directions north and south, serves as a collector street for residences in the area and also as an overflow for Liberty Street. Traffic on these streets is heaviest during commuting hours. Much of the heavy east/west traffic on Mission has been diverted to the north, outside the district, to the Pringle Parkway. At one time, Mission Street within the district was to be widened to carry four lanes of traffic and connected to a bridge over the Willamette River to West Salem. This was found unfeasible and lead to construction of the Pringle Parkway and improvements to roadways to the south of the district. Local zoning requirements, however, still require large setbacks along Mission Street within the district should there be land use changes or construction with the intent to accommodate a major thoroughfare. This requirement is a holdover from earlier plans and has not been required by the City Council in recent land use changes.
The Salem Memorial Hospital, adjacent to the district, is currently  undergoing expansion of its facilities. While this construction is taking place outside the district, increased traffic and the potential addition of new medical/professional complexes may impact traffic flow and parking, and it may place development pressures on the residential character of the district.
The State School for the Blind, located adjacent to the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District along Mission and Church streets, has been the center of controversy for years. Politicians have tried without success to close the school and either sell it or convert it to other state uses. At this time, there are no major changes proposed for the campus of the State School for the Blind.
Given the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District's proximity to downtown, the civic center, the hospital, and its desirable landscape qualities, it will undoubtedly attract additional development proposals.
The central, unifying feature of the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District is a 95-acre public park comprised of the house, barn, garden area, creek-lined woodlot, and pasture which historically belonged to Asahel Bush. The district includes residential development on the park periphery, most notably along the cross axes of High and Mission streets, southeast, which demarcate the west and north boundaries of the park, respectively. The neighborhood retains with few exceptions the integrity it had at the end of its historic period of development.
The Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District chronicles the growth and evolution of a south Salem area from its origins as a suburban location for large estates and farms to a densely established inner city neighborhood during the historic period 1878 to 1938. Three distinct episodes of peripheral residential development are represented in the district. In the 1880s and 1890s, the area was clearly suburban, with a few houses in the Italianate style occupying generous parcels dotted with fences, outbuildings and fruit trees. In the early years of the 20th century, 1900 to about 1915, the suburban parcels were subdivided and improved with bungalows. Those along the west side of High Street, opposite Bush's Pasture, were erected in solid succession and provide a markedly cohesive perimeter. Development in the neighborhood was completed in the 1920s and 1930s by further infill, particularly on the crest and south slope of Gaiety Hill, near the northwest corner of the Bush family acreage. The historic period of significance has been identified as the six decades between 1878, when Asahel Bush's Italianate house was completed, and 1938, the year in which Depression-era development in the district ended for all practical purposes. The modest extension of the historic period of significance two years beyond the normal 50-year cut-off date is justified by the distinction of several projects completed in the culminating year of house and garden development in the district.
The Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District's period architecture of the 1920s and 1930s is dominated by two styles. In fact, the diffusion of Colonial and Cape Cod houses throughout the district is a distinguishing characteristic along with the phalanx of bungalows along High Street. The district is unified by historical associations on the one hand and visual traits on the other, including recurring right-of-way, consistent scale of buildings, and an array of front lawns and private gardens distinguished by their lushness.
The district is significant because it contains an exceptionally well-preserved aggregation of houses and gardens which illustrate the evolutionary development of a neighborhood adjoining the downtown and original town plat.
The Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District is significant to Salem for its association with a number of leading figures in the political, academic, business, and social life of the capital city, most notably Asahel Bush (1824-1913), newspaper publisher, banker and Democratic political leader whose historic house, but not his entire holding, has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Bush's extensive holding forms the hub and major portion of the district. It was dedicated to public park by his heirs beginning in 1917. Other historic personages woven into the history of the buildings in the district include Dr. Luke A. Port, Joseph Smith, Governor Lafayette Grover, Senator Benjamin F. Harding, and Virgil E. Pringle.
The Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District is significant because it contains the city's largest concentration of houses and gardens resulting from the collaborative efforts of Clarence L. Smith, leading local exponent of period residential architecture in the 1920s and 1930s, and the outstanding landscape architectural firm of Elisabeth Lord and Edith Schryver. The district is a showplace of four major Lord and Schryver gardens and six fashionable homes by Clarence Smith. Other prominent architects who created fine buildings in the district were Wilbur F. Boothby, William C. Knighton, and Glen C. McAlister.
The district, 143 acres in extent, is delimited by the boundaries of Bush's Pasture Park and by development not associated with the historic period of significance on the northeast, east and southeast. It is delimited by non-conforming/non-residential development on the west and northwest. The southern boundary includes a limited amount of associated residential development on the perimeter of the park, but, for the most part, in the area south of Leffelle Street Southeast, and Cross Street Southeast, there is a perceptible change in scale, density, and age of buildings.
Before establishing the significance of the district and the properties within the district, one must trace the larger histories of Oregon and the City of Salem as it applies to the historic context of the district. The Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Historic District includes properties associated with historic events and personages significant in the development of the state and its capital city.
Oregon Territory and Statehood
The Oregon Country, until the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1805-06, was the relatively undisturbed home of numerous nations, tribes, and bands of native peoples. Oregon and its riverine inlets and seacoast had been lightly explored by sea during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, but permanent settlement would not be established until 1811 at Astoria, a fur trading post under the direction of John Jacob Astor.
For the next two decades, Oregon was principally the domain of under the Hudson's Bay Company. Oregon City, founded by Dr. John McLoughlin in 1829, would be the first incorporated city (1844) west of the Rocky Mountains, and later the end of the overland trail for countless thousands of American immigrants who came seeking a new home in the Oregon Country. In 1843, the initial American settlers in Oregon met at Champoeg and voted by majority to establish a Provisional Government. (In the same year, the first large group of Americans arrived over the Oregon Trail, approximately 900 who came to the Willamette Valley.) However, Oregon was still a sparsely populated area in 1848 when the U.S. Congress passed an act establishing a territorial government in Oregon. The first territorial governor was General Joseph Lane who took office in 1849. It would be ten years before Oregon was admitted to the Union in 1859. The seat of the Provisional and Territorial Governments was first at Oregon City, but in 1851 moved to Salem. After some dispute and a vote of the people, Salem become the state capital in 1864.
The territorial decade was marked by many momentous events that influenced Oregon's development, including the Donation Land Act (1850), the California Gold Rush (1849), the discovery of gold in Southern Oregon (1851), the Rogue River and Yakima Indian Wars (1851-54), and improvements in both water and land
Third only to Astoria and Oregon City, the City of Salem dates its founding from the establishment in 1840 of Jason Lee's second attempt at a Methodist Mission in the Oregon Country. Jason Lee (1803-1845), a missionary from New England, chose "distant and untamed" Oregon after several missionary field posts were proposed. After an overland route, he arrived in Oregon in 1834 and established on the east banks of the Willamette River about ten miles northwest of the present site of Salem the Oregon (Walamet) Mission. The mission did not work out as anticipated. By this point in Oregon's history, most of the native people in the Willamette Valley had already been decimated by disease, leaving only a small population to be "Christianized." In 1840 Lee moved the headquarters of the mission to a more productive and central reach of the Willamette Valley. The missionary party began construction of a house and combined sawmill and gristmill at the confluence of Mill Creek and the Willamette River, now in North Salem. (In 1840, there were no houses nearer than ten miles and the people around were chiefly engaged in stock raising. The first considerable drove of cattle brought into Oregon was brought by the mission in 1837.)
Discouraged in their endeavors to educate and convert the few natives, the missionaries turned their efforts toward laying out a town site and selling lots to finance the Oregon Institute or Indian Manual Labor Training School (later to become Willamette University) for the education of pioneer and native children. Nearly all the people in or about Salem at this period were either members or employees of the Methodist Mission.
In 1844, the material assets of the mission were disposed of, with the school building going to the trustees of the Oregon Institute. Shortly thereafter, the trustees entered into a contract with William H. Willson to gain title as claimants to the Institute's land claim, which was to be platted as a townsite and sold. The platting of the new town was laid out in 1846, but was not filed with Marion County until 1850. The original town was laid out parallel to the Willamette River, 13 blocks long and five wide, which was increased to 10 north of Court Street when the plat was filed. Each block was 300 by 350 feet and the streets were 97 feet wide. Early additions were platted north and south along the river. (With the coming of the Oregon and California Railroad in 1870, east of town, the city spread in that direction, but remained compact for fifty years.)
Early on, the town was named Chemeketa, a Calapooyan Indian word reputedly meaning "place of peace." The missionary brethren preferred a biblical word, Salem, with a similar meaning. The first store was opened in the new city in 1847 by Thomas Cox, but town growth was slow until miners, returning from the California gold fields, brought some of the wealth to development of the struggling townsite. Although designated the territorial capital in 1851, Salem would not become the "fixed capital" until 1855, after some squabbles with Marysville (Corvallis). In 1850, perhaps a dozen families lived in Salem. The first state capitol was built in 1852, but later burned. Asahel Bush's Oregon Statesman newspaper, first established in Oregon City, was moved to Salem in 1853.
Salem, from the 1850s onward, was actually several adjacent towns along the broad Willamette River terrace. The Salem of 1852, later embracing all others, went from the river to today's Cottage Street, to Mission Street on the south, and Division Street on the north. North Salem and south Salem offered real competition because of their woolen and flouring mills, businesses, housing, and entertainment. East Salem, on Salem's other land side, was smaller and mainly agricultural. In 1850, Marion County had a population of approximately 2,749; in 1860, the population was 7,088. In 1860, the population of North Salem was about 600 and that of South Salem about 800. The total vote cast in the Salem precinct in 1859 was 513. North and South Salem would later be developed by the Oregon Land Company, organized by Dr. Henry J. Minthorn, a Quaker leader.
In 1860, Salem proper finally incorporated and formed a city government. Growth in Salem was slow in the mid-nineteenth century, and the city was still a frontier town. By 1870 Salem had a water plant, a gas works, and in 1870, the first train ran on the Oregon-California route. By 1870 the population of Salem was 1,139 persons. There were 700 private residences and it was not easy to find a comfortable home to rent. Before 1869, 32 brick stores had been built, primarily along Commercial Street, paralleling the river. Marion County's population had increased to 9,965 in 1870. Thereafter, a new and faster age of commercial growth began, with an age of industrialization that added to the new enterprises — wool, iron, flax seed oil, grain, lumber, and paper mills. A stone capitol was built in 1876, with other state and county buildings following through the years. The city became the hub of state government, mid-valley commerce, and a center of education.
The twentieth century brought greater growth. In 1912, the Oregon Electric Railway was completed in Salem, providing inter-urban electric railroad service in the Willamette Valley. In 1938 another new capitol was completed. Salem became the third most populated city in Oregon, after Portland and Eugene. The 1980 census indicated that the city limits contained a population of 89,233.
In the rush of development in the last few decades, most pioneer evidence and buildings from its early stages of growth have vanished in Salem, save for a few prized landmarks and historic sites in the city. The most valuable early properties at the original townsite on Mill Creek have been moved to the Mission Mill Museum. Two of the grand Victorian-era mansions have been preserved as public museums and are included in the district — Asahel Bush House at 600 Mission Street SE and Deepwood Estate at 1116 Mission Street SE.
Significance Areas of the District
The Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Historic District has significance in several major areas of historic interest. These areas include settlement and historic personages, architects and architecture, and landscape architecture and community public spaces.
Early Historic Settlement
Prior to pioneer settlement of the district area, it was the traditional home of the Chemeketas, one of nine identified bands of the Calapooyan or Kalapooian Indian nation. Once a numerous peoples, the nine tribes were scattered throughout the Willamette Valley, from Oregon City south to the Umpqua River. Each tribe was named after one of its leaders, and the tributaries of the Willamette, where they lived. At their peak around 1780, the nation numbered about 10,000. They were short, with wide mouths, thick lips and fleshy broad noses. The natives were hunters and gatherers, migrating seasonally in their search for fish, wild game, edible plants and roots. Generally peaceful, the natives fared well until disease and pioneer settlers brought about their demise. By the time pioneer settlement fully began in Oregon, there were only about 500 natives left in the Willamette Valley. In 1855, the last Kalapooians were moved to what is now the Grande Ronde reservation between Salem and Lincoln City.
Little evidence in the district area indicates permanent encampment at this location. Potential sites might be along Pringle Creek, which runs through Bush's Pasture Park. The main tribal home of the Salem band was at the confluence of Mill Creek and the Willamette River (both North and South hill creeks, as earlier so named). The district area most likely served as a hunting and gathering area, but not a permanent settlement. Local legend indicates that Chief Quinaby of the band was buried near the district, in the present location of Bush School. This has not been substantiated by archeological research. The district includes no inventoried archeological sites.
Pioneer development in the district area began in the mid-19th century with the establishment of donation land claims. The northwest area, north of Mission Street, was the claim of William H. Willson. This claim was settled in 1844 and included 615 acres, much of which became the original plat for the city of Salem. Willson, born in Cheshire County, New Hampshire in 1805, was a Methodist lay worker. He arrived in Salem in 1837 with a background as a ship's carpenter and whaler. He worked at the Willamette Mission and later preached in the Puget Sound area, returning to the Willamette Valley in 1839. Willson, in addition to platting Salem, was also the first treasurer of the provisional government of Oregon.
The area east of and including Deepwood Estate, was part of the Francis S. Hoyt donation land claim of 140 acres, settled in 1852. Hoyt arrived in Oregon in 1850 from Vermont. He was born in 1822/23 and died in 1912. He was principal of the Oregon Institute from 1850 to 1853 and president of Willamette University for its first seven years as a university.
Bush's Pasture and the area west of High Street was part of the David Leslie donation land claim of 1851. The claim totalled 625 acres, lying between what is now Mission Street and McGilchrist Street and between the east edge of Bush's Pasture Park and the Willamette Slough. David Leslie (1797-1869) arrived in Oregon in 1837. Born in New Hampshire, Leslie came to Oregon as one of the first reinforcements for Jason Lee and became the principal assistant in organizing the Willamette Mission. Licensed to preach in 1820, David Leslie met Jason Lee while both were members of the New England Conference of the Methodist Church. Admiration seems to have quickly become mutual and a lifelong friendship was established. In 1836, Leslie volunteered his services and was to join his old friend in the Oregon Territory. His first work as missionary was to aid in establishing a mission station near the Hudson's Bay Company's fort at Nisqually on Puget Sound. This was followed by terms of circuit riding and assisting in the management of the Willamette Mission. In 1843, Leslie presided over the meeting of settlers, leading to the eventual organization of government. In 1842, he was one of nine men chosen as trustees to direct the affairs of the Oregon Institute. He succeeded Jason Lee as president of that body when Lee left the field. David Leslie held that position through the school's transition to Willamette University in 1853. Earlier in his career, in 1842, Leslie went to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), but returned to Oregon in the same year. He opened the first frame church in Oregon City in 1844 and was the chaplain of the first territorial legislature in 1849.
Although much disputed, David Leslie is believed to have first used the name of Salem for the city. (Other sources give the credit to William Willson.)
David Leslie built a house on his donation land claim at a location slightly back and to the east of the present Asahel Bush House. It was reported to be the fourth house built in the Salem area and the first to South Salem. He cleared the ground and planted a large orchard of apple and pear trees, extending from south of what is now Miller Street to Mission Street and from Commercial Street to his house location. (Some of the trees are supposedly still standing, according to an early historic account of Salem.)
The original David Leslie House survived until the late 1970s/early 1980s. The Asahel Bush family lived in the house at its original location from 1860 until 1878, when the present Bush House was completed. The Leslie house was moved to the grounds of the present State School for the Blind (or to the southeast corner of Mission and Church Streets) and later, to the corner of Mission and Liberty. It was destroyed to make way for other developments.
The oldest house in the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District dates from the early pioneer era of Salem. The Smith-Fry House, 606 High Street SE, on the top of Gaiety Hill was built in 1859. The house, in the rural Gothic style, is one of the oldest houses on its original site within the Salem city plat. The house was built by Joseph Showalter Smith, who lived in the house from 1860 to 1868. Smith was a lawyer who became president of the Willamette Woolen Mill in 1865. Smith was also one of the incorporators of the Oregon Central Railroad (1867), which was a contender for the grant to construct a railroad to San Francisco.
The house at the top of Gaiety Hill was a center of capital city politics and social life for many years. After Smith, the house belonged to Lafayette Grover, Governor of Oregon (1870-77) and U.S. Senator (1877-83). Other owners include George Edes, sheriff, county clerk and mayor; and Daniel Fry, Secretary of the State Board of Control during the Great Depression and early war years.
Significant in the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District area is the George H. Jones Addition or Subdivision, located west of the Bush property and part of the original David Leslie DLC. The addition, platted in 1865, included twenty-plus blocks. Jones, son-in-law of David Leslie, was the husband of Mary Leslie. According to the Salem Business Directory (1878), Jones was a real estate and general agency businessman. Originally from Ohio, he came to Oregon in 1852. Jones served as alderman to the city in 1857 and later in 1872.
Early settlement in the district area was sparse during the 19th century. The area north of Mission Street was a part of incorporated Salem. Original plat blocks 12-15 were not subdivided for residential development until after the 1920s. The area south of Mission Street was not be annexed to the city until 1903.
Major Nineteenth Century Historical Personages and Institutions
The Bush House, and earlier the Smith-Fry House, were the first of several large estates built in the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District area in the 19th century by successful merchants and professional people.
The historic personage who left the major imprint on the historic district area was Asahel Bush (1824-1913). Any history of Oregon, touching upon its early political, commercial or civic development, must include reference to Bush. As a newspaperman, banker, and public official, he was recognized as one of Oregon's influential men for nearly sixty years.
Born in Massachusetts, he arrived in Oregon in 1850. At Oregon City, he became the editor and publisher of the Statesman in March of 1851. In 1853, he transferred his newspaper to Salem. In 1868, he became associated with W.S. Ladd in the Salem Ladd and Bush Bank. With the growth of Salem, he extended his efforts into other business affairs, and became important in many financial and civic enterprises. Bush served as the first territorial printer, but held no public office. In 1854, Bush married Eugenia Zieber of Salem, and they had four children.
In July, 1860, Bush bought 100 acres from David Leslie, part of the Leslie Donation Land Claim. The Bush family lived in the David Leslie house prior to the completion of the Bush Mansion in 1878. The Bush House was occupied by members of the Bush family until 1953, when the house and adjoining property was acquired by the city of Salem as a historical museum. The Bush suburban farm included a substantial herd of Guernsy cattle, founded in 1884.
The Bush house and pasture stand as a monument in Salem's early history. The house and adjacent barn remain much as they were when the family lived there, and hold much of the romance of earlier days in Salem. The house and barn are managed by the Salem Art Association for the city of Salem. Much of the Bush property is included in present-day Bush's Pasture Park, although several acres are now owned by Willamette University. Bush's Pasture Park is one of Salem's major public parks. The preservation of the Bush House and property is truly an asset to the city and local area. This open space, surprisingly not subdivided for residences or city streets, is an "island" in the city and affected the quality of residential growth on its periphery.
Benjamin F. Harding
In 1884, the Benjamin F. Harding House, 1043 High Street, was built as a suburban house on a full block of land. The Harding House was built for lawyer, state legislator and U.S. Senator Benjamin F. Harding (1832-1899). He lived in the house during the period 1884-1888. Harding was clerk of the territorial legislature in 1850-51, a member and Speaker of the House in 1852. He was appointed U.S. District Attorney in 1853 and Territorial Secretary in 1855-59. He again served in the Oregon legislature from 1858-62 and was speaker of the assembly 1860-61, the first U.S. Senator from 1862 to 1865.
The Harding House was later owned and occupied by Jacob Amsler, a farmer who was Asahel Bush's farming operator and chauffeur. Amsler and his descendants lived in the house from 1903 to 1952. Amsler was hired by Bush in 1884.
Virgil E. Pringle
Two blocks north of the Harding House is the Virgil E. Pringle House at 883 High Street. This Italianate house was built about 1880. Little is known about when Pringle built the house, but it is known that he sold the property in 1892. Virgil Pringle arrived in Salem in 1846 and took a donation land claim near the stream in Salem that now bears his name. The Pringle House took on considerable significance in a later period, being the residence of Governor and present  U.S. Senator, Mark Hatfield. The house belonged to Senator Hatfield between 1958 and 1968.
Dr. Luke A. Port
Second only to the Bush House in integrity, splendor and significance in the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District is the Dr. Luke A. Port House, located east of the Bush House at 1116 Mission Street. Like the Bush House, this property is in city ownership, is part of Bush's Pasture Park, and is maintained as a historical museum. The house is administered by the Friends of Deepwood for the City. The Port House, an elaborate Queen Anne mansion, was built in 1894. Port, a wealthy merchant, moved to Salem in 1884 and purchased a drugstore which grew steadily and was sold in 1887. Port lived in the house only briefly (1894-1895) before selling the house to Judge and Mrs. George Bingham, whose surviving daughter sold the property to Clifford and Alice Brown. Brown's widow, Alice, married Keith Powell and it was they who bestowed the name "Deepwood" on the estate and further develop its character. Mrs. Brown lived here from 1925 until the city acquired the house and property in 1971. The house is located in the Yew Park 220-acre subdivision, platted in 1889. Deepwood, along with the before mentioned properties, constitutes the core of 19th century residences in the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District.
Prior to the turn of the century, the district area was lightly populated with large suburban estates with adjoining agricultural/farming acreage. Other developments had occurred in the area. In the vicinity of the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District area, South Salem saw its beginnings in a town development, first in the 1850s when it was named and created as a voting precinct. Nathaniel Colwill built a sawmill and flour mill at the front of Owens Street. His logs came from Fairmount Hill or were rafted to the slough. The coming of the street cars in 1889 expanded Salem from its original plat into the suburbs, beyond Mission Street southward. The original streetcar line ran down Commercial Street, west of the district, out to the Rural Cemetery (later Pioneer Cemetery). In 1905, the South Commercial Street line was extended to Liberty. (The last electric street cars were replaced in 1927 by buses.) Streetcar lines began serving the Yew Park area about 1892, east of the district on 12th Street.
The first school in the general district neighborhood was the South School, built in 1866, first located at Fir and Myers Streets. It was moved in 1892 to South Commercial Street to become, in order, a cider mill, machine shop and the W.A. Barkus Food Mill. Lincoln School was built in 1891 at a cost of 19,000 and stood at Myers and Liberty, on the site now occupied by St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
The Yew Park Grammar School was built in 1890 at the block bounded by Mission, 13th, Lee and the railroad, east of the district. Bush School, on the north boundary of the district, was not built until 1936.
The Oregon State School for the Blind was created through legislative provision, in 1872, for the education of the blind. The original school was established in 1873 in the William Nesbet home in Salem. In 1883, the school was moved to the Snowden Building on 12th Street, near Ferry Street. The school located at its present site at Church and Mission streets in 1895. This seven-acre wooded site provides a campus-like atmosphere which is integral to the neighborhood. It complements Bush's Pasture Park and the residential neighborhoods to the west and Pringle Park to the north.
Twentieth Century Development and Change
In the nineteenth century, the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District area was one of sparse suburban residences, farming land, orchards, and much undeveloped space. The beginning of the next century saw the area develop rapidly, as part of the city of Salem's growth and expansion. The Bush Property remained in private, family ownership, except for a portion of that property deeded in the city as public parkland in 1917. The George H. Jones Addition filled to near capacity in the early 1920s. The original Salem plat area in the district, especially blocks 14 and 15, did not become densely developed in residential use until the 1930s. The Smith-Fry property on the crest of Gaiety Hill was originally a large acreage extending east to Church Street and southward to Leslie Street. The land on the east side of the hill along Church Street was planted by the owner as potential city parkland. The east slope was never purchased by the city, and subsequently was subdivided for residential development, as well as that area along Leslie Street. This subdivision occurred in the 1920s.
According to maps of the buildings in the district area, the major infilling in the area occurred about 1920 and the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District still contains these buildings in their full integrity. The Sanborn Insurance Maps of the area in 1915 and 1926 indicate that the number of buildings (houses) nearly doubled. Today, the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District includes 129 houses, only a slight increase from 1936 and only a small reduction from 1966. The neighborhood has remained stable. The fluctuations in housing numbers in recent years have resulted from some conversions from residential to commercial buildings, but supplemented by the relocation of houses into the neighborhood from other locations in Salem. Bush's Pasture, a focus of the area, has remained the same, except for its conversion to public park and Willamette University use. In spite of potential developmental pressures, the Bush's original 100-acre property is still open space and retains the integrity of its original condition.
Because of its proximity to downtown and Bush's Pasture, this neighborhood developed into a high-quality residential area. Thus far, the neighborhood has not been intruded upon by major commercial and institutional developments, despite its proximity to the central business district and such strips along Liberty and Commercial Streets, and the medical complex expansions north of Mission Street, east of Winter Street. Particularly on Gaiety Hill, several large, expansive residences were built in the 1920s and remain intact. In 1924, an imposing Colonial House was built at the crest of Gaiety Hill at 490 Oak Street. Across the street to the north at 567 High Street, Daniel B. Jarman built in 1929 a large Spanish Colonial period estate and garden on two city lots. Jarman was a retired J.C. Penney Company branch manager. Two other large houses are located at 446 Oak Street, ca.1925, and 695 High Street, ca.1935. These large houses, accompanied by more modest bungalows and period style houses, established Gaiety Hill as a prestigious residential area. Primarily the homes of professional and business people, these residences are well maintained and the key to the neighborhood's integrity in that area of the district. Construction of the city's civic center and Salem Public Library on the west slope of Gaiety Hill eliminated many older homes in the neighborhood, and those to the north, at the north foot of High Street, were lost to the Pringle Creek Parkway development.
High Street Homes
South of Gaiety Hill on the west side of Bush's Pasture Park along High Street remains a showcase of fine bungalows in Salem, intermixed with different architectural styles and houses of the 19th and 20th centuries. These homes, built to enjoy the amenities of the open space of Bush's Pasture, are part of this inner city neighborhood which has managed to survive and resist the pressures of non-residential developments. These houses serve as a buffer for Bush's Pasture Park today and contribute to the vitality of the park.
Major Buildings Still Intact
The properties in the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District represent the growth and development of Salem, from its beginning to the present, with associated buildings from the 1878 to 1938 period. No other area in Salem retains the integrity of Salem's history, as reflected by intact buildings with few intrusions. The Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District contains the center/core of Salem's major historic residential properties located at their original location. Primary historic properties in Salem such as the Boon House and the Lee House were moved to Mission Mill to prevent their destruction. Most of the 19th century mansions in Salem were concentrated and clustered on what is now the Capitol Mall and in the city's core area. Most have been lost, although a few have been moved to other areas for restoration and preservation. Today, only a handful of these grand old houses stand to remind us of that "glory that once was early Salem." Deepwood Estate, Asahel Bush House and other 19th century houses in the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District establish Salem's link to that early era of servants, splendor, parties, grace, and gentility, that was characteristic of that period.
Architecture and Architects
The district area has a diversity of architectural styles. With several exceptions, most of the individual buildings within the district are not highly developed or special examples of their architectural genre. They are generally small and modest, although many have individualized details and examples of fine craftsmanship.
The most numerous and prominent style is the bungalow, in which the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District excels in types, size, and variety. The district area contains the finest concentration and collection of outstanding bungalow buildings in the city of Salem. This style of architecture, was popular in Oregon from the 1900s to the 1920s. Excellent examples of the bungalow style are found throughout the district, but the row on High Street facing Bush's Pasture Park between Bush and Myers Streets is an architectural style book example of the best of the building style.
The district includes houses and buildings attributed to architects, but most are designs which reflect the influence of pattern book designs popular at the time, loosely interpreted by the owner and/or builder.
The following discussion deals with those houses where an architect is known, particularly architects of significance in Salem and Oregon.
Wilbur F. Boothby
The Asahel Bush House (1878) is the finest example of high style Italianate architecture in Salem. Local contractor Wilbur F. Boothby is credited with the design of the Bush House. The house design was purportedly a copy of a fashionable wood frame house in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where Asahel's wife, Eugenia, had attended the Moravian Seminary. Plans may have also been based upon one or more of the builders' handbooks of the day. Boothby also built the Second Empire Baroque Marion County Courthouse.
The Benjamin Harding House (1884), also Italianate in style, may have been designed by Boothby. Salem directories show that Harding boarded with a family named Boothby in 1850. Its proximity to the Bush House and historical associations between Bush and Harding indicate that a common architect/contractor is feasible.
William C. Knighton
The Dr. Luke A. Port residence (Deepwood Estate, 1894) was the work of noted architect, William C. Knighton. This house is recognized as one of the finest Queen Anne structures in Oregon. Knighton served his apprenticeship by working as a draftsman on the Capitol National Bank building (now Globe Travel) on Commercial Street in Salem. The bank was the work of C.S. McNalley and was copied from a design by leading Philadelphia architect Frank Furness. By 1894, Knighton had designed the Soldiers Home at Roseburg, the Masonic Temple at Corvallis, and the Port home. Between 1913 and 1917, he served as State Architect, designing the Supreme Court Building in Salem, the administration building at the University of Oregon, and the state hospital at Pendleton. In 1927, he joined partnership with L. D. Howell, and designed Salem High School, the State Office Building in Salem, and the Boys Training School at Woodburn.
Glen C. McAlister
The Daniel Jarman House, a uniquely styled Spanish Colonial house in the district, is the work of California architect Glen C. McAlister (1873-1961). The Spanish Colonial Period house, built in 1929, was similar to eight other houses designed by McAlister in the Beverly Hills community in California.
Clarence L. Smith
Clarence L. Smith (1894-1951), Salem's major architect between the two world wars, created a legacy of fashionable period style residences in Salem. The significance of the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District is enhanced by the collection of six of his designs within its boundaries. Between 1923 and 1942, Clarence Smith is credited with building or designing about twenty-five residences. Two of his outstanding houses, the Curtiss Cross House (1924), 1635 Fairmount Avenue South, and the Dr. and Mrs. Charles G. Robertson House (1932), 460 Leffelle Street South, are now listed on the National Register. Two other of his particularly fine residences are the Herbert and Rose Stiff House (1937), 796 Winter Street Northeast, the Governor's Mansion for the State of Oregon; and the Otto and Modjeska Johnson House (1930), 355 Lincoln Street South, the home of the Willamette University president. The six Clarence Smith-designed houses in the district are listed below. Others in the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District may be attributed to him, but await further research and confirmation:
Mrs. Ethel L. Patton House (1938), 420 Leslie Street S.E.
Robert and Marguerite Rieder House (1942), 760 Liberty Street S.E.
Elizabeth Lord House (Lord and Schryver Office) (1932), 545 Mission Street S.E.
David and Beryl Eyre House (1926), 505 Mission Street S.E.
Walter and Delia Smith House (1938), 460 Mission Street S.E.
Custer and Virginia Ross House (1934), 787 Cross Street S.E.
Clarence L. Smith was born in Portland, Oregon, and was three years an apprentice to Charles Ertz and, subsequently, O.L. DuPuy in his native city. He later served as draftsman to Gibb and Waltz in Ithaca, New York (1915-1916), Green and Wicks in Buffalo, New York (1916-17), Kidd of New York City (1918), and Sutton and Whitney in Portland, Oregon (1919-1920). He studied two years at the Cornell University School of Architecture. He arrived in Salem as draftsman for contractor Cuyler Van Patten.
Although Smith used the title of architect for at least ten years, he qualified for a license by the senior examination of the State Board of Architect Examiners as late as 1940, and he did not keep his fees paid after that year. Those who knew him in Salem characterized Smith as a creative person, a sort of "unsung artist" and "genius." All acknowledged his modesty and wonderful ability to design. In 1938 he took the examination of the State Board of Architect Examiners and failed but one subject, architectural history. In 1940, the year in which he was successful in his bid for a license, letters of recommendation were submitted on his behalf by noted community leaders including Paul Wallace, William S. Walton, and J.M. Devers.
It is ironic that Smith failed in architectural history, as his finely-designed residences cover the range and variety of period styles popular during the 1920s and 1930s and reflect a learned knowledge of their historic precedents. Many of his projects were developed jointly with the landscape architectural firm of Lord and Schryver. This union created residences of great unity and fine design relationships between the house and the grounds. When Elizabeth Lord built her home and firm office at 545 Mission Street Southeast, Clarence Smith was selected as architect. Possibly the most mature work of Smith's, the Dr. and Mrs. Charles G. Robertson House, 460 Leffelle Street South, also contains one of the most beautiful and well-designed examples of garden architecture by Lord and Schryver. This collaboration of architects, building and landscape, set a high ideal for creative and intellectual design in Salem and the Pacific Northwest.
Landscape Architecture and Community Public Spaces
Lord and Schryver, Landscape Architects
Of major significance to the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District is the private and public gardens of the Oregon pioneer landscape architectural firm of Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver. Their contribution to the neighborhood displays some of the finest works of that firm, and the gardens designed and executed by them retain the integrity of their original creation and pattern.
Considered one of the milestones in the history of Northwest garden design was the 1929 founding of the firm of Lord and Schryver in Salem. They were the first women landscape architects in the Northwest. Elizabeth Lord, daughter of William P. Lord, Chief Justice of Oregon's Supreme Court (1880-94) and Governor of Oregon (1895-99), and Edith Schryver, a Hudson River Dutch from the East Coast, were both educated in New England.
Lord graduated from the Lawthorpe School of Landscape Architecture, Groton, Massachusetts. Schryver graduated from landscaping school in 1922. She then worked for the prestigious firm of Ellen Shipman in New York City. Shipman was a protege of Charles Adam Platt, famous New York architect (1861-1933). The two women met in the 1920s in Europe on a tour of estates and gardens. Lord suggested that Schryver join her in Oregon to establish a landscape firm, with Schryver concentrating on design and construction and Lord specializing in plant composition.
The landscape firm of Lord and Schryver brought to Oregon an intellectual Eastern command of craft and style, combined with an instructive sense of landscape taste unknown in Oregon during this period. For the next four decades, the office designed and supervised work in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, and Salem. Though the volume of work was comparatively small, the quality was consistently high. (Elisabeth Lord died in 1976 and Edith Schryver died in 1984). Their former residence at 545 Mission Street was constructed by Clarence Smith in 1932 and contains fine unaltered examples of their landscape style. These gardens contain a very old oak tree recognized by the city of Salem as Heritage Tree.
In addition to their work in landscaping, the two women provided much public service to Salem, including the promotion of public parks, tree planting, the Capitol Planning Commission, the Salem Art Association, Bush Park House furnishing and park landscaping, the acquisition of Deepwood Estate by the city, the Marion County Historical Society, the Oregon Historical Society, etc.
Wallace Kay Huntington, in an article on landscapes in Space, Style and Structure: Building in Northwest America (1974), establishes the significance of this pioneer landscape firm, particularly as relates to the private garden at their residence:
"...Lord and Schryver's meticulous detailing was available to clients developing no more than a city lot, and the structural clarity of formal walk, panels of lawn, boxwood edging and alleys of flowering shrubs were utilized to dignify Georgian, French Provincial or Tudor town houses. Plant composition with them was an art form — albeit fragile and transient — and in the Salem garden of Elizabeth Lord we have, still, surviving...a lost art. So subtle are the foliage colors and textures and so skillfully arranged is the succession of bloom that, like an impressionist painting, it may at first seem deceptively simple but upon closer examination, the incredible command and knowledge of their media — plants instead of paints — is truly stunning. Here the geometry of the compartmental scheme is at its most effective and the quality of design in arbor and fences at its classic finest. Anyone who conceives of a formal garden as being static has only to study the calculated intricacy of spatial relationships in this tour de force of garden design."
The landscape firm is accredited with about twenty-five gardens in Salem. Several of the gardens are already included in the National Register of Historic Places, as features contributing to the significance of the subject buildings. Within the Gaiety Hill-Bush's Pasture Park Historic District are the Deepwood gardens, ca.1930, and the Daniel B. Jarman gardens, 1929. Not in the district boundaries is the Dr. and Mrs. Charles G. Robertson house (1929) at 460 South Leffelle Street. Other works of the firm outside the district include the Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service, Salem; the historical plantings at the McLoughlin House, Oregon City; and the Herbert Hoover House (Minthorn), Newberg.
The most significant example of their work in a public garden in Salem is at the Deepwood mansion. These gardens are recognized statewide for their excellence. The Powell garden, added to the late 19th century Dr. Luke A. Port house, was commenced in 1929 and added to for over a decade. Its original concept was an ingenious series of related spaces surrounded by woodland contained by a variety of framing devices that formed a structural skeleton: boxwood and holly hedges, fences, iron railings, and shrubbery borders. Spatially, one of the most interesting gardens in Oregon, it also has one of the highest quality accessories — the decorative wrought iron gazebo is from the rose garden at the Lewis and Clark Exposition (1905) at Portland, used as the terminus of the main north-south axis. The "scroll" garden originally had a large oriental jar purchased in the Philippines by Lord and Schryver. The garden can be characterized as having subtle spatial relationships and a relaxed formality which gives spirit to the Victorian house. The garden is under restoration at present to its original condition by the Deepwood Garden Club.
In 1929, Lord and Schryver designed the gardens to complement the Spanish Colonial period house of Daniel Jarman on Gaiety Hill. The private garden to the west of the house is enclosed by a wall. The garden is characterized by formal parterres edged with boxwood and outlined by flagstone paths. A concrete and tile-trimmed octagonal fountain pool is the centerpiece of the garden, and a small pegola-shaded tile-paved terrace is the focal point at the far west wall. The beds and walks have survived, and this is one of the gardens wherein the firm's design is wholly intact.
The Walter and Delia Smith residence (1938), designed by Clarence L. Smith, is one of the Lord and Schryver gardens built to accompany a modest house still containing the integrity of the original design, this garden is under restoration. This garden, characterized with boxwood outlining the paths, retains the original sundial and birdbath and basic plantings, including now mature tree-like lilacs and camellias. Mrs. Walter Smith was a personal friend of Miss Lord and Miss Schryver. The garden they designed for the Smith residence included a proliferation of spring blooming plants and shrubs. Mrs. Smith was a member of the Gaiety Hill Garden Club and her garden was frequently part of a tour of local gardens for the public.
Bush's Pasture Park
This 95-acre park, a legacy to the city of Salem and initial gift from the Bush family, is a major open space landscape. Possibly no other city in the Pacific Northwest has a "pasture" in its immediate environs dating from the 1860s. It is most unique also for a grand Victorian era mansion and all of its original surrounding property to survive as a unit, without major intrusions of residential subdivisions or street development.
The present Bush's Pasture Park consists of several pieces of property, carved out of Bush's original 100 acres. The first 57 acres was given to the city on January 15, 1917, by A.N. and Lulu Hughes Bush and is the "lowlands" area on the eastern portion of the property. A 9-acre parcel of this property was sold to Willamette University in 1946, now including McCulloch Stadium and ball fields. The "uplands" area, or west/south area, of 43 acres was offered to the city in 1944, for $175,000. In the first election, voters agreed to accept the offer, but failed to pass the bond issue needed to confirm the agreement. The bonds, necessary to complete the purchase, was authorized by voters in a second election, held January 11, 1945. The purchase cost of this portion had been reduced to $150,000. The Bush House and a few acres were acquired by the city of Salem in 1953 as a historical museum. Subsequent enlargements of Bush's Pasture Park have occurred with the addition of the Deepwood Estate, four acres, acquired in 1971 and 1973 and the Yew Park Entrance, a vacant area of two acres acquired in 1979.
The Bush House and Barn is administered by the Salem Art Association for the city. The remainder of the park, except the Willamette University portion, is administered by the Regional Parks and Recreation Agency. The barn was partially destroyed by fire in 1963, but was remodelled for gallery and classroom use. It presently includes the A.N. Bush Gallery. An addition was added to the barn in recent years for ceramics instruction.
Bush's Pasture Park, in addition to its prime function as a regional public park, is also a significant open space and landscape feature of the city of Salem and the neighborhood. The oak groves south of Bush House, in particular, are ancient stands of trees. Once common all over the Willamette Valley, these trees date back several hundred years, as indicated by growth ring counts. These trees originally were quite numerous around the Bush House, but most have now died and been removed, the principal cause of death being root rot brought on by the present irrigation system for the lawn. Similar giant oaks and other mature trees are found along the streets and amidst the houses in the remainder of the district area. A particularly fine old oak is in the garden at the Lord and Schryver House, 545 Mission Street SE.
A historic landscape feature of the Bush House, no longer in existence, but present at a lesser degree at Deepwood, was the display of wild spring flowers, particularly lamb's tongue on the slope to Mission Street. The Bush family never allowed the grass in which the flowers grew to be cut until after the Fourth of July, after the spring flowers had dropped their seeds and were ready for next year's bloom. The wildflower area around the house is now in lawn, cut regularly. Wildflowers still bloom, however, in the park, especially camas on the eastern portion of the grounds.
Bush's Pasture has been developed as Salem's finest urban park. Its development includes sidewalks, picnic areas, play areas and fields, tennis courts, and rose gardens. On the south side of the park is a fine sculpture, "Guidance of Youth," by noted Oregon artist, Avard Fairbanks. Annually, the park is the site of the Bush Park Art Fair, one of the largest arts and crafts fairs on the west coast.
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† James W. Millegan and Dwight A. Smith, Historic Committee, South Central Association of Neighbors, Gaiety Hill / Bush's Pasture Park Historic District, Salem, Marion County, OR, nomination document, 1986, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.