The city of Salem became the capital of Oregon in 1851, and today it is recognized in the Pacific Northwest for its scenic beauty. Its location attracts both beach lovers and skiers.
Here are five facts about Salem:
Located almost equidistant from Eugene and Portland, Salem sits in the fertile Willamette Valley, which is known for its wineries. For those who prefer a less potent drink, there is always water: Salem's water has been recognized as one of the best tasting in the Pacific Northwest.
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Salem has a population of about 150,000 people, making it one of the largest cities in Oregon.
The area now known as Salem got its start as a Methodist mission established in the 1830s. Native Americans in the region suffered from many diseases introduced to their communities by earlier traders. The missionaries offered food and medicine to orphaned children, but their hope of establishing a school for the native population was never fully realized, an online history of Willamette University said.
Eventually, the focus of the mission shifted away from Native Americans to new white settlers and their families. The mission was later sold and its main building became the Oregon Institute, now known as Willamette University.
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Salem's top industry is government. Almost 30 percent of Salem's workers are employed by the local, state, or federal government, according to City-Data
. Other major industries in Salem include trade, transportation, and utilities; education and health services; and professional and business services.
Herbert Hoover spent three years in Salem, working as an office boy for his uncle's land settlement company. Born in Iowa, Hoover lost both of his parents by the age of 10 and moved to Oregon to live with his aunt and uncle. Hoover credited his Sunday school teacher in Salem, Jennifer Gray, with positively influencing his life, according to Salem History Online
When he became the 31st President of the United States, Hoover decided to donate his entire salary to charity. He remained attached to Salem his entire life, returning in 1955 for an 81st birthday celebration and a dedication of his boyhood home.
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