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Salem travel guide — Salem tourism and travel information

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about Salem

Salem is the capital of the state of Oregon in the United States of America, and county seat of Marion County. As of 2003 it has a population of 142,940. It lies in the center of the fertile Willamette Valley, one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world.

"Salem" is derived from the Hebrew word "Shalom", which means peace. Historically, Salem has been nicknamed the "Cherry City," because of the cherry festivals that were held periodically during the Twentieth Century.

Salem geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 120.1 km² (46.4 mi²). 118.4 km² (45.7 mi²) of it is land and 1.6 km² (0.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.36% water.

Salem history

The Native American name for the area was Chemeketa, which means "meeting or resting place." The name "Chemeketa" is preserved as the name of the local community college, Chemeketa Community College.

The first white settlement in the area was the Jason Lee mission in 1840. In 1842, the missionaries established the Oregon Institute (the forerunner of Willamette University) in the area that was to become the first townsite of Salem. In 1844 the mission was dissolved and the townsite established. It is uncertain who chose the name for the town, but it is believed to be one of two people: Trustee David Leslie from Salem, Massachusetts, or W. H. Willson who in 1850 - 1851 filed the plans for the main part of the city.

In 1851, Salem became the state capital after it was move from Oregon City. The capital was moved briefly to Corvallis in 1855, but was permanently moved back to Salem that same year. Salem was incorporated as a city in 1857.

The first cherry festival in Salem was held in 1903. In the following decades, the event briefly became an annual event, with parades and the election of a cherry queen, but was disbanded after World War I. It was revived briefly as the Salem Cherryland Festival for several years in the late 1940's

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Salem, Oregon".

This city is also known as: Salem.

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