Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sally's Table

Sally Bush was the second daughter of Asahel Bush II and his wife, Eugenia Zieber Bush. Born on October 29, 1860, she was not quite three years old when her mother died. Like all of the Bush daughters Sally attended the Moravian Seminary for Young Ladies in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She went on to graduate from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts before returning to Salem in 1883. "Miss Sally" lived with her father until his death in 1913, then continued as the mistress of the Bush House until she passed away in 1946.

Miss Sally was known around town for her generosity to those in need. By 1916 she had so many requests for assistance from so many people that her brother, A.N. Bush, decided to chronicle her experiences in a little pamphlet entitled "Sally's Charities, or Twenty-Five Days of Alms Giving." Here's one encounter:
Breakfast Menu.

At Sally's Hobo Table D'Hote.
Served on the east steps.

Fried bacon and eggs
Baked beans warmed over
Fried potatoes

Sally prepared the eggs herself. The meal was served on platters with plates and accessories and a young tramp consumed it with much apparent satisfaction.
Sally Bush took great pleasure in sharing with others, and it's in honor of her generous spirit that we announce the first Sally Bush Memorial Food Drive, in partnership with Marion-Polk Food Share.

On Thursday, October 29, Sally's birthday, admission to the Bush House Museum is FREE with a donation of canned food. The Museum and the Bush Barn Art Center will continue to accept food donations through Sunday, November 8.

Although fried bacon and eggs are out of the question, we encourage you to consider this list of the "10 Most Wanted" foods when making your donation:

Canned soup
Canned chili
Boxed macaroni and cheese
Breakfast cereal
Peanut butter
Canned tuna
Canned fruit
Canned vegetables
Pasta sauce

Even if you don't plan to tour the Museum, please consider making a donation to help the hungry in our community, in the spirit of Miss Sally Bush.

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Who was Lida?

As we read journal entries written by A.N. Bush from 1911-13, we encounter many names of characters who populated the lives of A.N. and his family. Some of the names are easy to recognize, while others take a bit of puzzling over.

Take "Eliza", for example.

Eliza Sloan Nolan was the daughter of A.N.'s cousin, Octavia Painter Nolan. Eliza was born in 1895 and was about 16 years old when the journal entries began. She was a student at Sacred Heart Academy in Salem, but her family lived 'way out in the Clear Lake area of what is now Keizer, which was too far for a daily commute. So Eliza lived in town with A.N. and his wife, Lulu Hughes Bush, during the week, and went home to Clear Lake every weekend. A.N. enjoyed Eliza's company and detailed their adventures together, from visits to the vaudeville theater to picnics at Silver Falls. Around the same time, A.N.'s sister Sally made a portrait of Eliza so we even know what she looked like. Although A.N. never gave her last name or mentioned the family relationship, "Eliza" was easy to figure out.

Lida, not so much.

"Lida" first appeared in A.N.'s journal in November of 1911. Lida (no last name given) lived in Eugene, but had come up to Salem on her way to Detroit (Oregon) where she had been appointed postmistress. She stayed with Sally for a few days and went to visit with Eliza's family in Clear Lake one weekend. In later entries it's clear that Lida had taken up her post in Detroit and found the snowy winter weather to be a challenge. From the context one can infer that Lida was an old friend or family member, someone who literally needed no introduction -- but her actual identity was never clear.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I received an e-mail message from a gentleman who lives in Australia, who has distant ties to the Bush family. He had been browsing through our online photo collection and was writing to correct some of our information. Turns out his ancestor, Colin McIntosh, had been married to one Eliza Zieber, another cousin of A.N. and Sally Bush. This Eliza, who was divorced from Mr. McIntosh by 1900 and was living in Salem by 1916, was also known as... Lida. Eliza "Lida" Zieber McIntosh.

We don't have any photographs of Lida (that we know of) and we still don't know very much about her. But now we can tell her relatives that she was the postmistress in Detroit during the winter of 1912, and that she preferred the whole back over any other piece of chicken.

That's who Lida was.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A House of a Different Color!

It has been a busy summer at the Bush House Museum. In addition to the usual excitement around the Art Fair & Festival, the Museum has been surrounded by machinery, equipment, and people -- painters! The end result is a solid exterior with a high-quality paint job in a fancy new/old color:

Research indicates that the Bush House had been the same blue-gray color since at least the late 1970s, when it was placed on the National Register. However, an article written in 1878, just after the Bush family moved into their newly-built home, described the house as a "light mouse-brown" color. Also, during restoration of the porte-cochere in 2007 we discovered some remnants of what might have been the original exterior color, a greeny-browny-gray.

So, after consultation with the state Historic Preservation Office and the City of Salem, we decided to make a change, hoping that a different color will help folks see this old house in a new light.

What do you think?