|Your route south towards Eugene takes you out
of Salem past the old paper mill, along Minto-Brown Island.
The first station, two miles along the track, is Hazelau, now
lost to history. It was named for the native German birthplace
of a nearby landowner.
The name of the next station, Croisan, is perpetuated as Croisan
Creek. It was named for John Henry Croisan who came to Oregon
on the Applegate Trail in 1846 and settled there.
As we reach the next station, Livesley, we may say to ourselves,
"But this is Roberts." That's right. The station was
named for the T. A. Livesley hop yard, and when John J. Roberts
bought out the Livesley interest, it became the Roberts hop
yard and the station name was changed accordingly.
Our route moves to the Willamette River, past the present site
of Hall's Ferry. The ferry began operating in 1868 and was named
after its operator, B. F. Hall, who bought it in 1882.
The ferry at Independence, near where the bridge now stands,
was more popular, leading as it did to the pioneer river town.
Elvin A. Thorp, who settled there in 1845 named the town for
his home in Independence, Missouri. The new community was stripped
of most of its men in 1849 by the California gold rush. Thorp,
his brother and father, mined $10,000 in gold and came back
to infuse the new town with their wealth. The flood of 1861
sent water through the first story of every home, and the tragedy
was repeated in 1880.
The Oregon Electric station serving Independence had a relatively
short period of popularity. Within a few years of its opening,
the city got an interurban rail line from the west leading directly
into the town, eliminating the need for a ferry connection.
This left the Oregon Electric station serving the sparsely populated
east side of the river.
A high point in Independence history occurred in 1959, as part
of the Oregon statehood centennial when a covered wagon train
from its namesake city of Independence, Missouri arrived at
Your route now continues south along the river past the miles
and miles of hop yards that dominated the landscape during the
years of the Oregon Electric operations. But our journey through
the Salem area has ended.
End of the ride!
Researched and written by Wes Sullivan.
McArthur, Lewis A. Oregon Geographic Names, Fifth Edition.
Portland, Or.: Western Imprints, 1982.
Federal Writers Project. Oregon, End of the Trail. Portland,
Or.: Binford and Mort, 1940.
Friedman, Ralph. In Search of Western Oregon. Caldwell, Id.:
Caxton Printers, 1990.
Lowry, Robert, et al. Railroading in the Lower Willamette
Valley. Corvallis, Or.: Horner Museum, Oregon State University,
Abbott, Carl. Gateway to the Northwest. Northridge, Calif.:
Windsor Press, 1985.
Abbott, Carl. The Great Extravaganza. Portland, Or.: Oregon
Historical Society, 1981.
Moore, Lucia. The Story of Eugene. New York: Stratford House,
Culp, Edwin D. Stations West, the Story of the Oregon Railways.
Caldwell, Id.: Caxton Printers, 1972
Also, my thanks to my former colleague at the Statesman
Journal in Salem, Al Jones, for his counsel.