Relocating the Houses – The First Collaboration
Jason Lee House with many Victorian additions as it looked standing at its original location at E Street along Broadway in Salem, prior to its move. WHC M3 1993-102-0003.
The historic Jason Lee House (1841) was acquired by the Marion County Historical Society in early 1963 after the property was acquired by a private developer. Demolition work began on the house in February 1963, even though a site had not been determined. The Lee House was moved on Thursday, March 7, 1963 to a temporary location on the 600 Block of Front Street in Salem.
Lee House on the move to temporary Front Street Location. WHC 0091.010.0001 Photo appeared in the Capital Journal, Thursday, March 7, 1963.
Despite being an eyesore, the house continued at the Front Street location, while the city and concerned citizens debated where its final resting place should be. Likely candidates included Marion Square Park and Bush Pasture Park. Eventually, the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill Site was selected and ground breaking ceremonies were held June 13, 1965. The Lee House was moved from Front Street to the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill Site on July 22, 1965, despite a delay caused by it getting stuck under the Center Street Bridge on Front Street for about an hour. After years of research and restoration work, the Lee House was dedicated and opened to the public July 4, 1974.
Methodist Parsonage on the move in 1953. WHC 0084.012.0002.008.
When the property the 1841 Methodist Parsonage was on was acquired by the Salem School District for building a new office building, preservation activists lobbied for saving it. The Marion County Historical Society acquired the building and moved it to temporary storage on the grounds of the still operating Thomas Kay Woolen Mill on October 14, 1953. It was rolled down Ferry Street by 23 workmen. The temporary site for the parsonage was on the Northeast corner of the site, by the machine shop. This was the second move for the Parsonage, which had originally been located about where the watertower for the mill now stands.
Sometime before 1966, but probably after the establishment of Mission Mill Museum in 1964, the parsonage was moved to its current location and restored. The restored Parsonage was dedicated May 21, 1972 by then secretary of State Clay Myers. The ribbon was cut by Mrs. John Sprouse, daughter of Burt Brown Barker — a former resident and strongest advocate for the preservation of the Parsonage. Read more about the Parsonage’s complex history here.