Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Oregon Civic Justice Center

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Institution Name: Willamette University
Original/Historic Place Name: Carnegie Library (Salem Public Library)
Location on Campus: 900 State St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1912original construction Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete
Walls: brick; wood (window sashes); stone (lintels and cornice)
Roof: tile; metal
1912-ca. 1970other (Salem Public Library)
ca. 1970-2004other (YWCA annex)
2004-present (2007)other (Oregon Civic Justice Center, under the auspices of Willamette University School of Law)

Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The Oregon Civic Justice Center of the Willamette University School of Law was originally built in 1912 as a Carnegie library. The Salem Woman's Club, which established the first public library in 1903, purchased land in 1909 and received funds from Andrew Carnegie's foundation to help build this structure. Salem was one of 24 Oregon communities to receive and match Carnegie funds in order to build libraries during the period 1901-1915. The elegant Beaux-Arts structure exemplifies the type of libraries that were built with Carnegie's support during the free library movement across the country in the early twentieth century.

The building served as Salem's public library until the early 1970s and then subsequently as a program center, during which time it was subject to heavy use. Currently in mid-2007, the building is structurally sound and in fair condition, with most of its historic fabric and details intact. But it is in need of an upcoming renovation which is being planned to restore it to near-original condition.

The Oregon Civic Justice Center contributes to the row of historic campus buildings extending along State Street to the east. It also complements the general massing and style of the Art Building, which is located directly across Winter Street.

I. Bibliographic sources:

"Willamette University Set to Renovate Former City Library." (Online, August 22, 2006). Willamette University, Salem, OR.

II. Location of other data:
University: Facilities Management Office, Unknown
—details: Publications Office, Willamette University

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Last update: November 2006