The city of Salem was founded in 1842 along the Willamette River at the former site of a Calapooya Indian village. The site was "rediscovered" by a Methodist missionary group led by Jason Lee. The group originated from New England, having migrated their way along the Oregon Trail in search of new land.
The site of the Calapooya Indian village, named Chemeketa, was chosen owing to its close proximity to the Willamette River. The name Chemeketa means "place of rest." The site is graced by glorious views of the surrounding area.
As more people migrating along the Oregon Trail heard tales of large quantities of available land, the city grew rapidly. They quickly rendered a layout for the community that was finalized in 1848. The new city plan became the core document for establishing the city. Settlers were readily able to build on designated spaces without fear of land shortages, due to its abundance.
Throughout the years, Salem has experienced numerous economic influences. The major industry from the city’s beginning has been the harvesting and processing of lumber. That industry has proven to be successful throughout the years and continues to be a major industry leader for the area. Although the lumber industry's production has slowed, it is not the only industry that keeps the city of Salem up and running.
Salem enjoys a diverse industrial and economic base that includes the growth and processing of crops. It is able to utilize the land from the lumber clearcutting of previous years by leasing it to local farmers. That land is utilized by the farmers to provide Salem and the surrounding areas with local foods. Before the land has “dried up" due to of the depletion of nutrients that are pulled out of the land from crops, the land is replanted with young trees to fertilize the area.
The city’s rich history and drive for fertile land made Salem an excellent choice for Oregon’s state capitol. Besides the economic base of lumber and crops, the city is home to many of the state’s government offices.
Salem is home to numerous points of interest, including the Mission Mill Museum and the Robert S. Allen Archaeology Museum.
With all of the rich information and historical museums available in Salem, it is fitting that the city is home to major schools in the state. The schools that claim Salem as home are Chemeketa Community College, Western Baptist College and Willamette University, originally Oregon Institute.
Other major points of interest in the area include Silver Falls State Park, and the Champoeg State Park. Each of those parks plays host to many activities throughout the year.
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