One would rarely think of Salem as the hotbed of archaeological events, but now we have our second "dig" in as many years! City of Salem Historic Preservation Officer/Chief Archaeologist joined us to talk about this public archaeology site as well as other above-ground historic preservation projects happening in our fair city.
This public archaeology field dig is located on the site of the new Police Station on Division Street NE, just north of the downtown core. As federal monies are being used for part of the construction funding, this type of review and inspection was required.
Another hot topic in the preservation community is the demolition of the Colonial Mortuary/Rigdon & Son Funeral Home/Ike Box building at 299 Cottage Street NE. This building, owned by the YMCA, will be razed to provide the construction staging area for the redevelopment of the YMCA building across Court Street. This building was never listed as a local or national resource, so there is no governmental protection. However, the City Council has directed the HLC to work with the YMCA to document the building's history and character-defining features. Kimberli also reported that the community-constructed Peace Mural, located on the corner of the YMCA building at Court and Cottage Streets, is designated as part of the City Art Collection. The Public Art Commission is considering ways to preserve or possibly relocate this art installation.
Additionally, the HLC itself is looking for new members-at-large to fill upcoming vacancies. Although the nine-member HLC must be made up of at least five professionals by statute, the other positions are open to any citizen who has an interest in historic preservation and lives or owns property within the City limits. You can find out more at this page on the City website or by contacting Kimberli. To see how they operate, attend any of their public meetings held in Council Chambers at 5:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month.
As usual, Kimberli invites you to contact her about any of the information she shared in this episode. You can reach her by email at email@example.com or by phone at 503-540-2597.