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Thomas A. Livesley
(1863-1947)
 
Thomas A. Livesley, mayor of Salem from 1927 to 1931, was known as the "Hop King of Oregon" He served in the legislature as Marion County State Representative from 1937-39. He built and owned the First National Bank Building in 1926-27. After his death the building was called the “Livesley Building” and more recently the "Capitol Tower or Center". Another noted structure he left the community is the former Livesley family home on Lincoln Street in the Fairmont Hill district. This home on the National Register, is now called "Mahonia Hall" and is the Oregon Governor's mansion.

Thomas A. Livesley was born in 1863, in .Ironton, Wisconsin. and came to Salem in 1894. His father Samuel had been a prominent hop dealer in Wisconsin, and Washington State. Soon after Thomas Livesley's arrival in Salem, he bought a large hop ranch, and by 1924 his company had four hop ranches in the Salem area. T.A.Livesley & Co. grew about one million pounds of hops in the early 1920s: about one-tenth of that grown in Oregon, and 1/30th of the annual production world-wide. As one of Oregon's largest hop brokers, his business was approximately 60% brokerage and 40% production. He was noted as a social reformer, providing good living conditions for the seasonal field workers in the hop industry. His Lakebrook Farm in 1924 was the first to provide a day nursery, school, playgrounds and medical facilities. Livesley was also vice president of Oregon Linen Mills, an industry he helped secure for Salem. In 1926-27 he erected and owned the First National Bank Building at 388 State Street (Salem's eleven floor "skyscraper".) After his death in 1947, it was renamed the Livesley Building and later known as the "Capitol Tower" or "Capitol Center".

The former Livesley family home on Lincoln Street SE, a Tudor-style mansion designed by Ellis Lawrence, was built in 1924 and occupied by the Livesley family for 34 years. It was sold in 1958 and had four more owners before being purchased by the State of Oregon as the official governor's mansion. It is now known as "Mahonia Hall" after the state flower, the "Oregon grape".

A civic leader, as well as a successful farmer and business entrepreneur, Livesley served as mayor of Salem from 1927-1931 and State Representative for Marion County 1937-1939. He was known as "The Good Roads Mayor" because his priorities included bridge, street, alley and sidewalk improvements. At least 13 concrete bridges were built during his tenure. Other major projects included expanding fire protection, new playgrounds, the Salem Airport, street lights and traffic signals. He was interested in development that preserved the beauty of Salem. Credited for his repeated efforts to establish a city council-manager form of government, he lived to see it take effect, before dying in 1947, at the age of 84.

Researched and written by Suzanne B. Morrison

Bibliography:
Author: Mission Mill Museum
Title: Program for Panegyric II Date/Copyright - Reprint Date: Jan 13, 1973
Publisher/City of Publication: Mission Mill Museum
SOURCE: Marion Co. Historical Society

 

 
Thomas A. Livesley
Thomas A. Livesley
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Capitol Center
Capitol Center or Capital Tower
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Thomas Livesley gravestone
Thomas Livesley gravestone
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Thomas A. Livesley
Thomas A. Livesley
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