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Fires
     
State Capitol fire
 
Guardian Building fire
 
Marion Hotel fire
 
Hotel fires
 
 
State Capitol Fire, 1935
In a spectacular blaze which began as Salemites ate dinner, the Oregon State Capitol was destroyed by fire a second time on April 25, 1935. Smoke was discovered coming out of an elevator shaft at about 6:30 that evening; the fire had apparently started in the basement of the 59-year-old statehouse. Firefighters up and down the valley rushed in to try to save the brick and sandstone structure, but the fire had already reached the dome when they arrived, and smoke poured out of it. The flames moved quickly, spreading between walls, and racing from the basement up through an elevator shaft to the east wing roof, and finally to the dome. Learn More

Guardian Building Fire, 1947
One of Salem’s largest downtown fires gutted the Guardian Building on the morning of November 3, 1947. Built at the turn of the century, the five-story building at the corner of State and Liberty Streets was one of Salem’s largest office buildings, home to approximately thirty business, including two medical clinics, several dentists and attorneys, a medical laboratory, pharmacy and savings and loan, among others. Total damages to the business was estimated at $500,000. Learn More

Marion Hotel Fire, 1971
The Marion Hotel stood out as a classic ever since it opened as the Chemeketa on December 26, 1870, at the southeast corner of Commercial and Ferry Streets. It was billed as "the finest and largest in Oregon" and as "the finest north of San Francisco, with all modern improvements." But by early Saturday morning of 1971 what remained was a jumble of rubble where wooden floors had collapsed, surrounded by smoldering remains of jagged brick walls that had buckled into many nearby streets. No loss of life occurred during this historic fire that many remember to this day. The fire started in the ceiling of the main floor kitchen. Learn More


Historic Hotel Fires
The Marion House, a wooden structure built in 1853 on the southeast corner of State and Liberty Streets, claimed to have the best cook in Oregon. It became the Mansion House in 1861. Like several other Salem hotels, the Marion House suffered from one serious malady - - bedbugs. One person staying in the Marion House hotel in 1857 reported that the bedbugs "hardly let me go in the mornings." Learn More
 
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