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Salem Online History This site is provided by Salem Public Library (Salem, Oregon).
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Waterways
     
Mill Creek
 
Pringle Creek
 
 
The Creeks of Salem
Salem has had an abundance of waterways from its earliest days. It is believed that in ancient times the North Santiam River emptied into the Willamette River by flowing through what is now downtown Salem rather than flowing south of the city as it does today. Mill Creek, perhaps Salem's best known creek, originates in the hills on the south edge of Silver Falls State Park. In the period 1840 to 1841 missionaries built Salem's first grist and saw mill along this waterway. Unfortunately, the mill was frequently idle because of the light flow of water in Mill Creek. In 1855 this situation was rectified when settlers cut through the gravel bar at Stayton, east of Salem, thus bringing Santiam River water into Mill Creek. Learn More

How Pringle Creek Got Its Name
Pringle Creek is formed from several smaller streams. It flows between Bush's Pasture Park and historic Deepwood estate and along the south side of Pringle Park. The reference Oregon Geographic Names, on page 690 states that Pringle Creek was named after Virgil K. Pringle, who arrived in Salem December 25, 1846. He took a donation land claim near the stream which accordingly he named for himself. This stream rises in the hills south of Salem, and flows through the southern part of the town. The other adjoining buildings and features in the area accordingly took the name of the creek in their names as well, such as Pringle Park Plaza. Learn More
 
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