Andy Zimmerman

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Andy Zimmerman - was the culmination of more than three years of...
was the culmination of more than three years of work, from deciding where to site the new Capitol to placing the Oregon Pioneer atop the n ewly constructed $2.5 m illion building. T he Oct. 1, 1938, dedi- c ation of the new state C apitol drew more than 1,000 residents as well as 42 state officials and former governors Jay Bowerman, Oswald West, Ben Olcott, Walter Pierce and A.W. Norblad. It was the fourth ceremony in the development of the new Capitol. There w as a groundbreaking e vent on June 8, 1936, the l aying of cornerstone on J une 17, 1937, and a formal opening of the building on July 2, 1938. The dedication of the building designed by Francis Keally of Trowbridge & Livingston had asmaller crowd than the July opening. That event drew 6,000 people and had a line nine blocks long of people waiting to get their first look inside the building, the Oregon Statesman reported. The event coincided with Gov. Charles H. Martin’s 75th birthday. It also was one of the last big public events for the governor, as he lost in the Democratic primary earlier in the year. L eslie Scott of Portland delivered the dedicatory address. “This great house m arks a goal of individ- u alism, of local self gov- e rnment, against the ever recurring pressure of mass despotism,” Scott said. Its streamlined walls s ymbolize the climax of a w estward march that b egan centuries ago, Scott added, and the state it represents “is a monument to American expan- s ion,” the Oregon States- m an reported. J udge Robert Sawyer, aBend newspaper owner, s poke on behalf of the C apitol reconstruction c ommission. He exp lained the meaning of t he artwork within and on the new building, as well as the pieces that were yet to come. John McLean, chairman of the Capitol Commission, made the formal presentation and presented a ceremonial key to Martin. Martin, who broke ground on the project in 1936, offered a speech in accepting the new Capitol. “No citizen has fulfilled his or her duty by merely paying taxes. The obligation is much greater. The obligation can be fulfilled only by active participation in the affairs of the state and in s election of officers who will execute the laws for the benefit and protection of all, without fear or f avor,” Martin was quote d as saying in the Oreg on Statesman. “We have the opportunity right at hand to strike a valiant blow for the defense of democra- c y against the forces of d issension and disruption t hat now seek to attach themselves onto the body politic and gorge themselves on the tax dollars m eans for the benefit of a ll of us. We can rout the e nemy from our midst by our vigorous and whole- h earted participation in the affairs of the state, beginning with the November election.” Voters “can thrust from our midst those whose programs and doctrines lead to class warfare ... Therefore, I ask of you all that you s eriously appreciate and understand the symbolism of this great building,” he said. A ccording to a 2013 S tatesman Journal story, t he crowd started pushing toward the revolving doors at the dedication, which concerned Martin. He reportedly grabbed a b ullhorn and shouted, “ Get back, you bastards, g et back!” The crowd apparently listened. The dedication hap- p ened nearly 65 years to t he day of the 1873 cere- m ony on the same grounds to celebrate the laying of the cornerstone for the second Capitol. Not everything in the Capitol or on the grounds was finished by the dedication, and some items weren’t in place until the days or weeks before. About $30,000 in furnishings for the executive, treasury and secretary of state departments were installed the d ay before the ceremony, the Oregon Statesman reported. The symbol atop the building, the O regon Pioneer, didn’t a rrive in Salem until S ept. 15, a day later than officials expected. It was put in place on Sept. 19. Work continued on the new Capitol even after t he dedication. The Oreg on Pioneer didn’t get its f irst gold leaf coating until mid-October. Some of the murals in the Capitol rotunda weren’t comp leted until months later, a nd neither were the c arved statues flanking the Capitol steps on the north side of the building. Some such works weren’t completed until 1939, the Oregon Statesman reported. Oregon Statesman editor and publisher Charles Sprague was the first governor to serve a full term in the new building. As 1939 began, the Oregon Statesman wrote o f the new era: “It may be seen that the loss of the old statehouse, much as it may be regretted, m ade way for a much n eeded greater Capitol b uilding in a modern age and paved the way to better facilities for Oregon’s state government.” Andy Zimmerman is a f ormer Statesman Journ al copy editor who w rites a column about local history twice per month. You can contact him with comments or s uggestions for future s tories at SJTimeCapsule @ Capitol dedication signaled new era for state OREGON STATE ARCHIVES The Oregon State Capitol is seen before completion in 1937-38. Andy Zimmerman Special to the Statesman Journal ONLINE Go to TimeCapsule to find previous stories and photos published in the Capital Journal and Oregon Statesman. LOST SALEM Do you know of an iconic Salem event, location or business that has been lost to history and should be remembered? Send suggestions to . SALEM PUBLIC LIBRARY HISTORIC PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTIONS, SALEM P UBLIC LIBRARY, SALEM, OREGON Gov. Charles Martin speaks during the dedication of the state Capitol on Oct. 1, 1938.

Clipped from
  1. Statesman Journal,
  2. 27 Sep 2015, Sun,
  3. Main Edition,
  4. Page E2

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  • Andy Zimmerman

    Ferg89 – 02 Feb 2017