Salem Civic Center Nominated for National Historic Register

Posted on March 15, 2022

Nomination Celebrates Community Planning, Development and New Brutalist Architecture

Salem, Ore. – The City of Salem’s Civic Center, located at 555 Liberty St. SE, is being nominated for listing in the National Register of Historic Places at the local level because it represents both important ideals for Salem’s community planning and development in 1960s/1970s as well as is an exemplary example of local https://www.docomomo-us.org/style/brutalist New Brutalist architecture.

The period of significance for the nomination is 1971 to 1972, spanning the dates of construction and completion of the Civic Center. Following World War II, the United States and Salem were rapidly growing. The 1873 City Hall Building was no longer sufficient to house city services and no longer met the needs of Salem government and residents. For two decades, the community completed multiple studies to determine the best approach. Salem ultimately showed strong support for the construction of a new Civic Center, especially after a comprehensive campaign by Salem’s Mayor, Vern Miller [Vern Miller Civic Center Appeal, 1968 attached]. This included making sure the design was both beautiful and functional. The Salem Civic Center is representative of what the residents of Salem wanted as they headed into the future.

The City of Salem and local partners are hosting a series of activities leading up to the 50th anniversary celebration of our historically significant city headquarters on Aug. 18, 2022. For additional information regarding the anniversary celebration, email 50th@cityofsalem.net.

What were you doing in 1972? The anniversary event team is collecting community member’s memories about this unique facility or their life in Salem at the time. If you, or someone you know, had a part in the 1972 opening, please share your memories and photos at https://bit.ly/CIVIC50memories.

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