It is hard to imagine, but when the Oregon State Hospital was built, it stood in farmland about half a mile outside the city limits of Salem.  The route between town and the hospital would, as this article suggests, get pretty mucky when the rainy season came.  Four years before Salem’s official street car debut, a raised wooden walkway definitely sounded like a good idea to the 27 year old Edward J. Frazier (1857-1935)

[1], a New York native who grew up on his father Alexander Frazier’s farm in North Salem.[2]  Frazier (or Frasier as the spelling would mutate during his life) would go on to be a prosperous real estate agent in Eugene.[3]  Perhaps this was the beginning of his career? 


Ed. J. Frazier, who is trying to raise money for a sidewalk from the city on Asylum avenue to the asylum, has nearly a sufficient amount subscribed to buy the material for the walk.  Most of the property owners along the avenue have agreed to bear the expense of putting down the walk.  The lumber can be laid down $2 per thousand cheaper than after the rains set in.  Mr. Frazier will call on you again for subscriptions.  The walk should be laid down now, and it is hoped enough can be raised to buy the materials.

Note: It’s also interesting to note that the planning spirit was passed down to Edward’s daughter, Brownell Frasier who would become the director of the Interior Decoration Program at the University of Oregon’s Department of Architecture.  I found this description of her interesting:

In the early 1930’s a fiery thin brunette was hired to teach in the interior decoration program.  Her name was Brownell Frasier.  The program in interior decoration had been initiated in 1927 under N.B.Zane, a Portland artist who had won national recognition for his Oriental decorative panels. Miss Frasier had been a student in the University in the early 1920’s, minoring in art.  She had won several prizes for her drawings.  She was a thin, sharp-witted woman, who chain-smoked cigarettes.  She was very much attuned to the national and international styles of decoration, and very outspoken in her taste.  She would soon become the program director in Interior Decoration, which would in time come to be considered one of the finest programs in the country.[4]

A scholarship at the University of Oregon still bears her name.[5]

Frasier Household in Eugene, Photo from the Lane County Historical Society Collections

[1] 1900 US Federal Census. Census Place: Eugene, LaneOregon; Roll: T623_1349; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 111. (searchable on; Oregon Death Index lists Edward Frasier’s death on 5 December 1935.

[2] 1880 US Federal Census. Census Place: North SalemMarionOregon; Roll: 1082; Family History Film: 1255082; Page: 52D; Enumeration District: 81; Image: 0444

[3] 1900 US Federal Census; 1920 US Federal Census Census Place: Eugene Ward 2, LaneOregon; Roll: T625_1495; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 244; Image: 1116.


[5] Brownell Frasier Interior Architecture Scholarship. This tuition scholarship was established in 1998, in memorial to professor Brownell Dorris Frasier (1896-1967) through gifts from friends and former students.