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Meatpacking
 

The two most prominent names in the meat processing business in early Salem were Cross, Steusloff, and West. In 1880 Arthur and John West ran a meat business on Commercial between State and Court streets. Mr. Thomas Cross emigrated from England and founded Salem's first packing plant in the early 1850's. His meat market and slaughter house were in an attractive white two-story wooden building with a wide porch and picket fence and tall trees around it on Center Street. He was succeeded in the business by his son Edwin C. in 1884, and by his grandson Curtis B. in 1907.

In 1892 Fred W. Steusloff came to Salem and had a market at 284 N. Commercial with a slaughterhouse on 25th Street. Steusloff's brother William later joined him and they opened a new market on the NW corner of Court & Liberty in 1902.

Curtis B. Cross, the two Steusloffs, and A.N. Bush joined in January 1919 to found the Valley Packing Company. Their slaughterhouse was on the west side of 25th Street just south of Mission Street (then Turner Road); the retail market was on the south side of State Street just east of the alley behind Ladd & Bush Bank.

The Valley Packing Company was in a 4-floor concrete building on 55 acres just west of the Southern Pacific Railway crossing on Portland Road near the city limits. It was the only U.S. Inspected full-line meat processing plant in the state outside of Portland. One year they processed over 10,000 hogs, 4,000 sheep and 2400 head of cattle; they produced more than twenty varieties of sausage and marketed their meats under the "Cascade Brand". In 1933 a commercial photographer was hired to document most of the operations and employees of the company and these photos were mounted and prominently displaced on the main office wall where customers and farmers could appreciate the diversity of their plant. Most of the accompanying photographs are taken from that collection.

Cascade Meats Inc. took over the plant in 1956.

Researched and written by Joan Marie "Toni" Meyering

Bibliography:
Information from Douglas Chambers whose family was associated with Valley Packing Company through three generations and grew up working there.

"The Valley Packing Company has Handled 10,000 Hogs in Past Year"

 

 
Additional Links
 
Advertisement for West's Palace Market, 1880
Advertisement for the West's 'Palace Market,' 1880.
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Cross Meat Market
Cross Meat Market & Slaughter House, Center Street, 1867.
( Ben Maxwell Collection )
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Valley Packing Company, 1933
Valley Packing Company, 1933. From the Valley Packing Company Collection.
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