Friday, November 20, 2009

The best, after all...

Here's how members of the Bush family spent Thanksgiving Day, 1911, in the words of A.N. Bush:
A heavy fog hung on all day. I planned to take advantage of the holiday and go to Portland with the bank plans and show Vogt the changes I want. (NB: A.N. Bush was working with Vogt, an architect, to renovate the interior of Ladd & Bush Bank). I tied them up yesterday so they would be ready. This morning I got up with the thought that I must see that the bank was all right and feed the cat before I leave, but not once did I think of the plans. On the train Durbin sat in front of Mrs. Bush and myself, and he began to talk library plans to Mrs. Bush. At the word “plans” I realized I did not have mine and there was no use to go to Portland. I got off at Hood street and walked back to the bank thoroughly disgusted with myself and the evidences of old age coming on me. I do not know but a keeper will have to take me in charge and think for me or something shocking may happen to me any time. I heard of an absent-minded professor who, while thinking of a lesson, at a reception shook hands with his worst enemy. Who knows but I may be walking down the street arm in arm with Hofer. I had fed the cat. I did not forget that.

I spent the whole day at the bank, not leaving there till seven. I had the whole day to myself and did many things I have been striving for days to do. The public will not let me work business days. I sit around hours for minutes I work, and if I get half a chance after the bank closes, Bingham is most sure to come over for a long visit. I felt pretty mean over myself till late in the afternoon, and as this something done was put away and then others, began to get in better spirits, and tonight I do not know but it was the best after all. For Thanksgiving dinner I had a cold handout on turkey at Sally’s.

Father and Sally had the Websters to dinner. Webster is here painting Father’s picture for Sally. (NB: The Webster portrait hangs in the main hall at the Bush House Museum).

I spent the evening at Father’s and going to meet Mrs. Bush on the eleven o’clock train.
Wishing our friends the best, after all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Twin Houses

Photograph courtesy of Discover-Neighborhood-History

Compare the house pictured above to the photograph of the Bush House Museum in the right sidebar. Although the photographs are taken from different angles, it's easy to see that these houses closely resemble each other.

The picture above shows the Adolph House, built for Samuel Adolph and his wife Mary. Samuel Adolph was born in Prussia about 1835 and came to Salem in 1867. He founded a brewery and later constructed a block of buildings on the south side of State Street, including a saloon.

In 1878, Adolph commissioned Wilbur Boothby, the architect of the Bush House, to build a suburban farmhouse on five acres of land near the State Penitentiary. The house still stands in its original location on the northwest corner of 25th and State Streets.

Did Adolph specifically request a house that echoed the newly-built Bush home? Or did Boothby simply specialize in the Italianate style he had seen in his youth on the east coast? Either way, the family resemblance is evident in the facade -- which is almost identical to the Bush House -- as well as in smaller exterior details such as the window moldings, the gabled roofline, and the carved panels along the eaves.

The similarities continue inside the house, though on a smaller scale. In particular, the staircase, though narrower and steeper than the one at the Bush House, nevertheless includes the same newel post and balusters, and the same carved detail on each riser. There's also a black and white photo of the house in its early years, with the penitentiary buildings visible across the fields.

Samuel Adolph died in 1893, but the house remained in the family until the 1970s as the home of Adolph's son-in-law, Isidore Greenbaum, and his family. Like the Bush House, the Adolph House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It now houses professional offices.

N.B.: Should you choose to admire the Bush House's twin in person, please respect the occupants' privacy.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thank you, Sam Bush

"I thought you might appreciate having some writings of mine on family history and photos to go with them..."

So begins a letter received this past summer from Sam Bush, cousin of Jody (see below) and great-great-grandson of Asahel Bush II. Born in Portland in 1949, Sam was the younger son of Stuart Bush and his wife, Mary Patricia Livesley. After spending several years on the East Coast, Sam settled in Portland and worked as a woodworker, designer, and teacher. As the descendant of two important Salem families, Sam maintained an interest in family history along with albums and folders and boxes of historic photographs and documents. However, due to complications from a chronic illness, Sam had not visited the Bush House Museum in more than ten years.

About six weeks after writing that letter, on August 13, Sam passed away at the age of 60. A couple of months later came an unexpected gift for the Museum: the long-term loan of furniture, accessories, photographs, and papers that had been in Sam's keeping.

Details have yet to be finalized, but next year we expect to display the original suite of dining room furniture (table, chairs, and sideboard), a marble sculpture, and assorted pieces of china that have remained in the Bush family until now, and will be passed along to Sam's children in several years.

Equally exciting are the family photos, books, letters, and documents that fill some of the gaps in our knowledge of the Bush family, especially the years from 1880 to 1910: a journal of Lulu Hughes Bush's 1905 trip to Europe! A.N. Bush's scrapbook from his college years! College diplomas for several generations! Family correspondence! Home movies!

In the weeks to come, we'll be able to tell you more about these items and what we're learning from them. In the meantime: thank you, Sam.