Quick History of The Ram

The Ram Pub, April 1974.  Salem Area Chamber of Commerce Collection, Willamette Heritage Center, 1998.013.0189.

The Ram Pub, April 1974. Salem Area Chamber of Commerce Collection, Willamette Heritage Center, 1998.013.0189.

The Ram Restaurant and Brewery, located today at 515 12th St SE in Salem has been a gathering place since about 1940, when then proprietors Walter Goughnour and Merle E. Pruett converted their auto service station into a “gas station and beer parlour.”  Here’s a quick look at the history based off of listings in the local Salem City Directories:

1938-39 Pete’s Service Station

(Joseph L. West & Walter Goughnour)

1940/41 – 1945 Pete’s Service Station, gas station and beer parlor

(Walter Goughnour & Merle E. Pruett)

1947-1951 Walter Goughnour Beer Parlor
1953/54-1962 Walt’s Place, tavern (Walter Goughnour)
1963-1972 Hof Brau, tavern (Virgil A. Zwicker)
1973-1978 Vacant or not listed
1979 – Present The Ram Pub

There are no listings in the Classifieds, white pages, nor in the reverse address directory (either the original 515 12th Street nor the alternative 1170 Bellevue St.) for any iteration of the Ram Restaurant/pub/tavern until 1979.  However, a photo found in a collection given to the Willamette Heritage Center by the Chamber of Commerce and dated April 1974 (seen above), suggests that the city directories may have been incorrect in their listings.

When Walter Goughnour first converted the service station into part beer parlor in the 1940s, the neighborhood looked much differently than it does today.  The map below shows the building that housed Walt’s Place (circled in orange).  The yellow colored buildings marked “D” all indicate residential housing.  These houses are, for the most part, gone replaced by hospital buildings to the south (left) and the Willamette University soccer fields to the north (right).

Sanborn Map updated to August 1958.  Corner circled in orange is where The RAM stands today.

Sanborn Map updated to August 1958. Corner circled in orange is where The RAM stands today.

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About whclarc

We are devoted to providing information fresh from the Archives, Library and Collections of the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, Oregon. We specialize in the history of Marion County and the greater Salem area.
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