Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Veterans' Day Salute

Asahel "Ace" Bush V, pictured above, was the elder son of Asahel Bush IV and his wife, Margaret Boot Bush. Born in December 1912, Ace knew his great grandfather, Asahel Bush II, who built and lived in the Bush House. After graduating from Amherst College in 1933, Ace became a newspaper reporter in Klamath Falls, Oregon. He later worked for the Associated Press in Salt Lake City and San Francisco. In 1934, Ace met and married Faye Cornish; their daughter Jody was born in 1936.

In 1943, Ace signed on as a war correspondent and was attached to General Douglas MacArthur's headquarters in the Pacific Theater. For the next year he covered "nearly every operation launched by Gen. MacArthur." He is pictured below, back row, on the left.

Ace Bush was killed by a Japanese bomb on October 25, 1944, on the island of Leyte in the Philippines. He was 31 years old, and was survived by his wife and 8-year-old daughter.

On this Veterans' Day we salute Ace and other veterans who have served our country through the years.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Once Upon a Time

Did you know that, once upon a time, Asahel Bush II raised prizewinning cattle in the pasture beside his home? Here's the proof:

Aren't you glad you don't have to dodge the cows when you park your car in the parking lot on Mission Street?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sally Bush: Woman Ending Hunger

On October 29, the Bush House Museum celebrates the 150th birthday of Sally Bush. The second daughter of Asahel Bush II, Miss Sally returned to Salem after completing her education and lived in the family home on Mission Street for the rest of her life. She is remembered for her appreciation of gardens and her devotion to animals, especially her beloved cats.

Miss Sally was a kind, generous, and compassionate woman, always prepared to assist families in need of food or clothing. In her honor, the Museum is planning the 2nd Annual Sally Bush Memorial Food Drive in partnership with Marion-Polk Food Share's Women Ending Hunger campaign.

On Friday, October 29, admission to the Bush House Museum is FREE with a donation of canned or packaged food. The Museum and the Bush Barn Art Center will continue to accept food donations through Sunday, November 7.

Although many of these items weren't available to Miss Sally, 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.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dinner at Bush House

Ever wonder what it might be like to be a guest at the Bush House? Salem landscape architect Elizabeth Lord (1887-1976) was a friend and neighbor of the Bush family who wrote down her memories of their hospitality. Thanks to Museum Assistant Brooke Serres for recommending this item.

Dinner at Bush House was always a special treat, beginning with the announcement of “Dinner is served” by playing of the wonderful old Music Box which stood on a table in the Hall near the Dining Room.

Upon entering the Dining Room, an air of hospitality greeted the guests - and guests were very frequent. The table setting was of the finest linens, the silverware and china, all of the simplest patterns - rich in quality. All the linens were purchased from the famous “House of Linens” McCutcheon of New York City. The patterned designs of the collection of table cloths and arrangement of flowers always graced the center of the table, tho’ no color scheme was planned, the first spring blossoms, summer flowers, and the rich colors of autumn all came from the gardens which surrounded the house. The Green House, still in use (NB: Now under construction!), supplied the charming winter bouquets. Fuchsias, lacey long-stemmed Green House begonias, cyclamen and greenery of smilax and tropical maiden-hair ferns intermingled with the exotic collection brought forth exclamations of surprise from the guests.

While Miss Sally was a complete vegetarian, her Father enjoyed the best of meats, the wild game of Oregon and the seafood of the Pacific. Only the lightest wines were served with dinner, no hard liquors were in the house and Mr. Bush was fond of apple cider. After Mr. Bush passed away, Miss Sally discontinued all liquor, and only coffee, tea and milk were on the menu.

Miss Sally was a most thoughtful hostess and always listened to those who gathered around her table. Food was lavish and the cooking of the best and delightfully served. Although Miss Sally never ate meat, fowl, or fish she did not deny her guests the main course of dinner. Quantities of vegetables were served for those to make a choice. Corn was her favorite vegetable - the late, long ear white corn called “Country Gentlemen” which we now seldom see. Every variety of vegetable grew on the hillside south of the Green House. The big, long asparagus bed, planted along the now parking strip, extended to the bottom of the hill. Asparagus by the basketful came to the kitchen every morning during the growing season.

Jersey cows supplied all the milk, cream and butter. After the milking, the buckets of milk were brought to the basement and poured in the regular milk pans and placed on the shelves in the milk room, which was situated at the north end of the basement. Cream was so thick and heavy it had to be taken off with a special skimmer with perforated holes in the center in order to allow the milk to separate from the cream (NB: Still on display in the Kitchen!). The cream was then put into a wide open crockery pitcher for this facilitated dipping the cream out of the pitcher. Butter was churned in the kitchen in the same wooden receptacle we display in the kitchen (NB: Also still on display, now in the pantry!). Those were the days before the milk separators were invented and after this mechanical device became in use, Miss Sally lost her interest in the Jersey Cow room. In fact she did not consider the cream worth using. Many a delicious dessert was served at her table, but with it all, Miss Sally remained the slender wisp like figure during her lifetime.

Miss Sally loved company in her home and guests at her table, but she had no concern about the welfare as the house was run to perfection. Hazel and Teresa were wonderful cooks and they had everything to cook with. And Velma, who gave so many devoted years of service to Miss Sally, was the mainstay of running the home with the assistance of Ollie. They made everyone who entered the big house on the hill feel very welcome.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Look What's Happening!

The bids are in for the Historic Bush Conservatory Restoration Project, the contract is signed, and work is underway!

Gardeners have temporarily relocated some of the plantings in front of the Conservatory so they don't get munched in the construction process.

All of the plants have been moved out of the Conservatory, and tables and shelves are being dismantled.

Check out the crusty old radiators that were hidden under the benches!

As work continues, you can visit the Friends of Bush Gardens website for more information.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sneak Preview

We have wangled the loan of some lovely quilts from a private collection for this year's exhibit, Vintage Quilts: A Garden of Applique. The quilts date to the 19th century, and they are beautiful. The one pictured above, in Mr. Bush's Bedroom, was made circa 1876 to commemorate the nation's centennial. It is even more amazing in person.

Vintage Quilts: A Garden of Applique opens Tuesday, August 24 and continues through Sunday, October 31.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Clear Skies over Salem

This 1936 aerial photo features what was once the Bush family's estate surrounded by the developing neighborhoods of south Salem. The Bush House and Barn area -- at the time still owned and occupied by the family -- are located among the trees at the upper left corner of the property. The open fields to the right had been given to the City for use as a park in 1917.

There are none of the landmarks we see today -- no stadium, no ball field, no soap box derby track -- just trees and open pasture and a number of well-worn footpaths cutting through the fields, and the sinuous line of Pringle Creek winding through the grid.

What a treasure it is to have this land protected as a park for the citizens of Salem. Come and enjoy it while the skies are clear!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's Time!

The Staffordshire dog is guarding the first lavender wand of the season! Many thanks to Sundance Lavender Farm for donating the fresh lavender. We make and sell these fragrant wands to raise funds for the Bush House Museum Restoration Fund, to cover ongoing costs of restoration and preservation of our collection.

Come visit us at the Museum's booth during this weekend's Salem Art Fair & Festival, the main fundraiser for the Salem Art Association. You can purchase a handmade lavender wand (or two), view some historic photos, and pick up a complimentary ticket for a guided tour at the Bush House Museum.

The Museum itself will be open for free guided tours throughout the weekend, starting at 11:00 am every day.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Totally Cool!

In case you didn't see the Statesman Journal this past Sunday, they are featuring a series of articles about Lulu Hughes Bush. Lulu, who married A.N. Bush in 1886, traveled to Europe in the summer of 1905 and kept a journal of her voyage through The Netherlands, Belgium, France, England, and Scotland. The newspaper is publishing the journal, which is on loan to the Museum and has been transcribed by Museum staff, along with photos and a video. A link to the series can be found here.

This is totally cool for a number of reasons. First, a lot of people who wouldn't otherwise know about the journal can read about Lulu's trip to Europe, which would have been an unusual experience for any Salemite. Second, we would never be able to show the journal to the public with the level of detail provided by the newspaper series -- even if a visitor could decipher Lulu's handwriting, it would take a lot of time to go through the journal page by page.

Like many women of her era, Lulu lived in the shadow of her husband. We have only a few photographs of her, and no letters. This journal gives us a chance to learn a little bit more about who she was as a person, and to share her story with the community. Totally cool.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hello and Goodbye

Hello to Ross (on the left), our new Museum Assistant. With a background in art and historic preservation, Ross comes to us most recently from the Benton County Historical Society. We are glad to have him here.

Goodbye to Pablo (on the right), who leaves us to attend graduate school in Boston. Doesn't he look happy?! We will miss him.

Best wishes to both of these gentlemen in their new adventures!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

160 Years Ago, on the Oregon Trail...

Eugenia Zieber, pictured above ca. 1850, was born in Princess Anne, MD in 1833. She was educated at the Moravian Seminary for Young Ladies in Bethlehem, PA. She left school to join her family as they moved to Oregon Territory in search of a more healthy climate.

As the eldest daughter of the family, 18-year-old Eugenia's responsibilities included caring for her younger siblings, helping her mother with meals, and washing laundry. In her limited free time she collected plant specimens and wrote in her diary. The pressed-flower album that she compiled on this trip across the plains can be found in the Bush House Museum archive, along with her handwritten journal.
Sunday June 22nd, 1851
On another Sabbath do I attempt to write a few lines in my journal, which has been long neglected. There is scarcely time, upon such a journey, for those who have aught that is essentially necessary to do, to keep a diary. It must be done by snatches or at any moment, or not at all. That does not suit everyone.

...We are traveling today. I regret doing so, but the company generally are not willing to lie by, and we of course who would like to, being the smaller number, must comply with the others' wishes. It is very warm, but little air stirring today.

This evening is cool and rather windy again. I can scarcely make myself believe that this is Sunday, because we are traveling, it does not seem right. A watch was lost by one of the company today, a very valuable one I believe. Camped on a small branch of the Platte. We are to remain here tomorrow the women are to wash, the men to search for the watch, and go hunting.
The Zieber family arrived in Oregon City in October 1851, where Eugenia's father, a printer by trade, went to work for Asahel Bush II at the Oregon Statesman. Three years later, Eugenia married Asahel Bush and moved with him to Salem. They were married for nine years and had four children together before she died of tuberculosis at the age of 30. Mr. Bush never remarried.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Asahel Bush!

We are celebrating the 186th birthday of Asahel Bush II this weekend, with an Open House on Saturday from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at the Bush House Museum. There will be birthday cake, balloons for the kids, and stories about Mr. Bush. Please join us!

Asahel Bush II was born in Westfield, Massachusetts on June 4, 1826. In 1850, at the age of 26, he left Westfield for Oregon. He settled in Salem in 1853 and lived here for the next 60 years. He passed away in Salem on December 23, 1913.

When Mr. Bush was about to leave Westfield to come to Oregon he published the following poem as a farewell to his boyhood home and friends:

We do not know how much we love,
Until we come to leave;
An aged tree, a common flower
Are things o'er which we grieve;
There is a pleasure in the pain
That brings us back the past again.

We linger while we turn away,
We cling while we depart;
And memories, unmarked till then,
Come crowding round the heart.
Let what will lure our onward way,
Farewell's a bitter word to say.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why We Do What We Do

We welcomed a group of local fourth grade students to the Museum today. Here's Wayne, one of our veteran tour guides, answering a question about what an item in the kitchen was used for. Along with our other guides, Wayne has led dozens of school tours over the years, though not so many this year -- we have noticed a definite decrease in the number of kids coming through the Museum this month, when we are usually booked solid with school groups.

This Victorian kitchen is so interesting to children. There's no refrigerator or microwave, there are no counter tops and only a few cupboards. Kids can't identify the wood-burning stove -- in fact, the only thing they recognize in this room is the (modern) sink in the corner. And the fascination extends to the Museum as a whole. Children are challenged to imagine what life would be like without electricity: no computers, no TV, no iPods, no videogames.

A.N. Bush was two years old in 1860 when his family moved to this property outside of the city limits. As a youth he tracked foxes in the South Salem hills and took one bath a week in the washtub beside the kitchen stove. In his lifetime, A.N. saw the invention of the light bulb, the telephone, the phonograph, the radio, and television. Transportation moved from riverboats to railroads to automobiles to airplanes. In his lifetime, the population of Salem grew from less than 1,000 people in 1860 to more than 43,000 people by 1950. That's a lot of change!

We can tell kids that things haven't always been the way they are now, but it's a lot easier for them to grasp the concept when they're experiencing it first-hand in, let's say, an old-fashioned kitchen. And that's why we do what we do.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Three Days' History of a Bogus Dollar

Guest blogger A.N. Bush, from the Ladd & Bush Quarterly, November 1912:

In 1885 Dee Howard had a butcher shop on State Street, where S.W. Thompson & Company's jewelry store is now. Oliver Higginbotham was cutting meat for him.

One Saturday afternoon Dee came into the bank with a bag of silver to deposit. Those were the days of an open counter and he had plenty of room to stack it up. When he was done he called to Claud Gatch to receive it for him. Claud's eyes instantly located something queer in one stack of dollars, and pushed back to Dee a lead dollar. It was twice as thick as a silver dollar, and almost black. It had been molded imperfectly, and was at best a crude imitation. Dee remarked with disgust that anything could be passed on Oliver.

Claud asked to have the bogus dollar returned to him, saying that he had not ordered his meat for the day and would try to see if he could pass the lead dollar on Oliver. Dee told several of the boys what was coming, and they waited about the butcher shop for Claud. Claud soon came in and picked out a dollar roast. Oliver tied it up and raked the bogus dollar into the till without looking at it. When they all got through laughing at Oliver, Claud handed him a silver dollar for the meat.

Dee then picked up the bogus dollar and invited all the boys into the alley saloon to have a treat. The barkeeper was as easy as Oliver, and the bogus dollar went into the till without a question.

Nothing more was heard of that dollar till the next Monday morning, when a prominent Salem minister attempted to deposit it, but Claud informed him that he had seen that dollar before and it was not current at our counter.

We are sorry not to be able to recount how the lead dollar got from the saloon into the contribution box, but we will leave the reader to surmise.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pretty Pictures

We came across this great local blog, Salem Photo Diary, the other day. Check it out for lovely pictures from our area, including lots from the Bush House Museum, Bush's Pasture Park, and SAA.

And speaking of pretty things, we have been working with our fabulous collections database to research and document objects at the Museum.

This beautiful iridescent art glass vase was one of many vases that came to us from the Bush family. It was made by the Quezal company, which operated in the United States between 1902 and 1924. We don't know how the piece came into the family, but we know they owned at least one other Quezal vase that also remains in the Museum's collection.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Something Special for Mom

Are you looking for a special treat for Mom on Mother's Day? Join us at the Bush House Museum on Sunday, May 9th for our annual horse-drawn carriage rides!

Carriage rides are FREE with paid admission to the Bush House Museum, and Moms are free when accompanied by a family member. Families can also enjoy complementary tea and cookies served in the Bush Barn Art Center.

For more information, please call the Museum at (503) 363-4714. Reservations are recommended and will be accepted starting April 27.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Moving Day

It's not every day that furniture is moved around at the Bush House Museum, so this past Monday was a big day.

Large pieces of furniture were taken apart, including this sideboard:

Some items were moved into different rooms, and some were moved into storage: down one flight of steps, through three doorways, and up another flight of steps. Ooof.

Interesting discoveries were made.

For example, as you can see, we found out that our dining table was made by one A.T. Yeaton in "Salem, O.r.". Pretty cool. The sideboard in the first photo was made by a man named Wallace in Walla Walla, WA.

Finally, the truck arrived with the new (old) furniture.

Can you see the word "Bush" inscribed in pencil? This photo shows the top of a sideboard that was delivered yesterday -- the sideboard that belonged to the Bush family when they lived here. As of Monday afternoon, we also have the family's original dining table and chairs, a display cabinet, a marble statue, and some books from the libraries of Asahel Bush II and his son, A.N. Bush.

These items are on loan to us from the estate of Sam Bush, the great-great-grandson of Asahel Bush II. They will be on display for a limited time, so make sure to come by sometime in the next twenty years to see them...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Something Special

The Museum has woken up from our long winter's nap and is open for tours again, complete with a new exhibit of vintage accessories and embellishments from our collection. The photo above shows a selection of our beaded purses, on display for the first time in at least five years. The exhibit also features embroidered silk shawls, elaborate collars, delicate gloves, and fancy hats. The items will be on display at the Museum through Mother's Day, May 9.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Three Big Men

From the Oregon Voter, May 1, 1915:

With the death of the Hon. John Minto at Salem there passed the last of the junto known as the Big Three -- Asahel Bush, Wm. P. Lord and John Minto. For over fifty years they held the political reins more or less, and a wag says they divided the swag as follows: the Mintos held the offices, Lord had the honors, and Bush got the money. Anyway, they were three big men.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Census Fun!

A copy of the 1870 Federal Census for Marion County, Oregon fell into my hands recently. Actually, it's better than that -- someone has taken the time to go through the original census forms and transcribe them into an easy-to-read typewritten document, and that's what I was looking at: four hundred pages of names, numbers, occupations, and relationships describing Marion County's residents ten years after Salem got its start.

The first thing I did was scan the columns to find the Bush family, and there they were, in ...North Salem? What?!? The town was divided into four precincts: Salem, North Salem, East Salem, and South Salem. The property that we now know as Bush's Pasture Park -- which the Bush family purchased in 1860 -- is definitely NOT in North Salem. If the family was living here, why were they enumerated there?

There's no mistaking it: Asahel Bush is listed right on the page (M, occupation: Banker, 46 years old) along with his children E. (F, at school, age 14), A.N. (M, at school, age 12), S. (F, age 10) and E. (F, age 8). The household also included a hired laborer named Annio Martin (M, age 40, born in Denmark), a housekeeper named Mary Kezar (F, age 43, born in New Hampshire), and a "domestic" named May Malarkey (F, age 25, born in Ireland). Quite a cosmopolitan setup, for the time!

Poking around through the census, I found that about 12% of households in Salem employed a live-in worker in 1870. Many of these workers were Chinese men who served as cooks; there were 11 Chinese cooks in town, ranging in age from 12 to 26 years old. South Salem must have been farm country because the precinct included 22 live-in laborers, mostly employed by farmers and dairy men. The oldest of these hired hands was 52 and the youngest was 17; by contrast, the average age for a live-in female "domestic" was 17 and the youngest was 14.

Of course, looking at the census figures raises as many questions as it answers. Where was the Bush family actually living in 1870? How long did their servants continue to live with them? How did the demographics of servants in Salem change over time, as limits were placed on Chinese immigration and the city became more urban?

Good thing I know where to find a copy of the 1880 census...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Out the Window

More than 100 years ago, this was the view from the upstairs window at the Bush House Museum:

That building off to the right is the Bush Conservatory, constructed in 1882. It's the second oldest conservatory west of the Rocky Mountains. It has been in continuous use for almost 130 years.

Here you can see Miss Sally Bush on the left, together with (we think) her father and an unidentified woman, on the south side of the conservatory. Miss Sally had a green thumb and liked to grow and arrange flowers for the family home and business.

This is Miss Sally's cousin, Octavia Painter Nolan, in the conservatory. You can see that the building was well-used. It must have been a pleasant place.

Unfortunately, the conservatory is falling down, and the City of Salem cannot commit funds to restore it. So it is covered with plastic, and the door is closed and sealed with "caution" tape to protect the public.

The good news is that the Friends of Bush Gardens are on the case! These heroic people are working to raise money to restore the conservatory to its original condition. Their effort is well underway, and your support is welcome. Click on the link above to visit their website, where you can read more about the project and make a donation.