Casebere Standard Kindergarten

Casebere Standard Kindergarten

1916 Casebere Standard Kindergarten -  WHC image 2014.011.0001












“At the 1916 Oregon State Fair, under the sponsorship of the Oregon Congress of Mothers, “a free kindergarten will be maintained in the old pavilion, where children of fair visitors will be cared for. Miss Nellie Casebere, of Salem, will superintend this department.” (The Morning Oregonian, Monday, September 25, 1916)

Nellie Christina Casebere was born in March 1887. Her parents, Edwin G. and Mary E (Frickey) Casebere were residents of Salem, Oregon and Nellie was their second child. Nellie’s father, Edwin was the superintendent of the farm at the state asylum for three years prior to his rather sudden death in 1892 from a “hemorrhage of the bowels” . Nellie’s mother Mary was left to provide for her 3 children : son Cordes Arthur (1885- ), and two daughters, Nellie Christina (1887-1942), and Freda Ethel (1890-1944) with the help of her extended family: Christian & Christina Frickey (grandparents), Frank Frickey (uncle) and Minnie (aunt and appointed guardian-ad-litem of the minor children on 10 July 1893 under the terms of Edwin’s will).

Nellie graduated from Salem High School in 1907 and attended Willamette University until leaving for the East Coast in 1912 for further training at the Lucy Webb Hayes National Training School for Deaconesses and Missionaries in Washington D.C. She was accompanied by her Aunt Minnie Frickey. For two years, she worked and trained as an Assistant Kindergarten Teacher.

In 1914 Nellie returned to Salem and can be found living with her mother Mary and sister Ethel according to city directories of that time. By 1916, the two sisters have established the Casebere Standard Kindergarten in their home at 388 Winter St. as documented by this article from the Daily Capital Journal, June 17, 1916.

“About one hundred proud parents and friends attended the lawn fete given by the little tots of the Misses Ethel and Nellie Casebere’s kindergarten, at their residence on Winter street, Wednesday morning.

The affair which closed the school season for the little ones was interesting and artistic to a degree. The grounds were prepared for the festivities and were adorned with huge baskets of red roses, from which festoons of graceful Rambler roses formed a semi-circle enclosure and background for the dainty little participants.

Numbers that completed the artistry of their charming little programme were the spring songs, and the especially quaint dance “Lads and Lassies of Long Ago.”

During the morning, the guests assembled in the house, where an interesting and remarkable exhibition of the year’s work was displayed.

Assisting the Misses Casebere were Miss Eva Hogue, pianist, and Miss C. Jory.

Those little ones taking part were: Virginia Berger, Billy Cupper, Helen Darby, Maxine Glover, Eldon Jory, Frances Harlan, Rutheta Hoffnell, Nancy Hunt, Edith May Jenks, Elizabeth Lewis, Norma Lorendine, Doro McCracken, Catherine Taylor, Richard UpJohn, Frederick Choat, Robert Choat, Jene Wilson, Richard Wilson, Eloise White, Gordon Bennett.”

In 1919 Nellie made the move to Portland after accepting a position at the Williams School (7439 N Charleston Ave) in the St. Johns neighborhood of North Portland. Her mother Mary and sister Ethel moved to Portland with her, setting up residence first at 680 E. Harrison St. and later at 1285 Ave. The Portland School District and its Free Kindergarten Association were recognized as West Coast leaders in the movement to integrate kindergarten into the public schools. Nellie quickly became a highly recognized kindergarten authority, often called upon to give speeches , write articles , prepare demonstrations , train fellow teachers and parents and represent the state of Oregon on the West Coast level as the Oregon state secretary to the Kindergarten Primary Council of the West and on a national level as one of Oregon’s delegates of the International Kindergarten Union.

After the death of their mother Mary in 1927, the sisters moved to 280 Omaha Ave. in Portland and Nellie accepted a position as the director of the kindergarten program at the Holladay Demonstration School (East Ninth and Clackamas Streets) , an institution used to train teachers. She continued her work furthering kindergarten education on the statewide and national level until her death on November 9, 1942. She is buried in River View Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.

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Evangelical United Brethren Church Mystery, 2011.034

We have a been processing a large donation of materials from the Clear Lake area (an unincorporated area of Marion County north of Keizer), that includes photos from what is now the Keizer Clear Lake United Methodist Church (UMC) and Clear Lake School.  We had the church historian come through and look through the photos, only to discover that a series of these photos (2011.034.0092-0100) do not appear to be from the church now known as Keizer Clear Lake UMC.  One of the unidentified photos has a sign that reads: “Evangelical United Brethren Church.”  Anybody recognize this building, or have any ideas of whom to ask?

Blow up of church title

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Salem Hardware Company, 1912

It’s nice to know we aren’t the only ones who make typos.

Source: Capital Journal.  July 13, 1912 Section 1, page 7.

Source: Capital Journal. July 13, 1912 Section 1, page 7.

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New Discoveries in Old Collections: The Holman Building

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I sat in on a presentation once by an archaeologist once who talked about doing archaeology in archives rather than in the field.  Today we made a discovery in the storage room that would have made that archaeologist proud.  Today we found 9 pieces of plaster and five pieces of wood with square nails in two wooden crates.  Notes inside these indicate that the pieces are architectural detailing from the Holman Building (X2014.006).  The Holman Building is important, because it served as the meeting place for the legislature in Oregon after the fire in the first Capitol building and before the 2nd Capitol Building was completed.  The most exciting part about this find is that we now have the materials entered into our collections management database, meaning that someone who is interested in learning more about the building might actually be able to find them.

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Bush College or Brush College?

Original Brush College Schoolhouse built in 1860.  Photo courtesy of Salem-Keizer School District.

Original Brush College Schoolhouse built in 1860.
Photo courtesy of Salem-Keizer School District.

In the past few weeks this question has come up several times here at the Willamette Heritage Center from people within our community and a person living out of state. The latest phone call came from a gentleman living in Minnesota. According to a self-published book containing the genealogy of his wife’s family, Asahel Bush founded a city and college named after himself, “Bush College” somewhere in the vicinity of Salem, Oregon. Our gentleman caller’s question? Where exactly was the college located in Salem and when was it founded.

We all recognize the name of Asahel Bush, prominent editor and publisher of the Oregon Statesman during the second half of the 19th century and partner with W. S. Ladd in the Salem Ladd & Bush Bank. Bush house in Salem is listed in the National Register and a central feature of Bush Pasture Park. But a Bush College? Let’s turn first to the book Oregon Geographic Names.

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Request for Proposals for Heritage Invitational Exhibit 2015

5th Annual Heritage Invitational Extravaganza!
Made in the Valley (draft title only)
2015 Heritage Invitational Exhibit Proposal

The Willamette Heritage Center is accepting exhibit proposals for participation in the 5th Annual Heritage Invitational from Heritage Organizations around the Mid-Valley. The theme/draft title for the 2015 Winter Exhibition is Made in the Valley. The exhibit will explore themes of manufacture and production in Polk, Marion, Linn and Yamhill Counties. The exhibit will run Thursday, January 15 (invitation only reception) through Saturday, March 14, 2015.

Through the Heritage Invitational, and other future projects, the WHC hopes to become a model for community-based exhibition processes and projects, fostering broad-based participation in the development of several exhibitions and programs. The Center also envisions the Invitational as providing a venue for heritage groups and organization to share their message to a wider audience, and offering exhibit development experience to the WHC heritage partners. To get a better idea of the invitational, visit our website (, where information as well as slide shows of the first 4 exhibits (Hidden Gems in 2011, Willamette Women in 2012, Childhood in 2013 and Work in 2014) are available.

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The Return of William Oliver Brubaker

New Brubaker Family photo from 2009.058 collection.

New Brubaker Family photo from 2009.058 collection.

In April 2012, we shared a few photos of Colorado Dentist William Oliver Brubaker that had made its way into our collection via a bunch of family photos (see the post here.)  As luck would have it, Mr. Brubaker returned this past week in a collection of materials our volunteer Doug was processing.  This new find indicates deeper connections with the Mid-Willamette Valley for Mr. Brubaker, and may provide much needed clues to uncovering the mysterious owners of this new collection.

To get the full scope of how exciting this find is, we have to go back a few years to 2009 when an olive green plastic file box was delivered to the Marion County Historical Society.  The donor had acquired the materials from her sister, who had found the photos in the basement of the “Liberty Apartments” in the 1940s.  The finder of the photos had unsuccessfully searched for the original owners of the photographs.  The photos are a wonderful mix of tin types, carte de visite, studio portraits and snapshots, and many have Salem photographers listed.  A few have even been marked on the back with the names of individuals pictured.  One such marked photo was a near Continue reading

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