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    Asahel Bush House Museum

    Asahel Bush House in Salem, Oregon

    Bush House typifies a Victorian home in the truest sense of that word. Built by Asahel Bush II in 1877-78 and occupied by members of his family for the next seventy-five years, the house remains theirs in spirit. In fact, much of what once belonged to Asahel and his four children can still be found in their home, as it did in the family's day. Bush House plays a significant part in the Salem Community - - the pleasant ambiance instilled by the Bushes continues to delight all who visit this wonderful residence.

    Bush House Photo Tour

  • Entry Staircase
  • Staircase Detail
  • Formal Sitting Room
  • Family Living Room
  • Beautiful Piano
  • 19th Century Attire
  • Elegant Dining Room
  • Wood Cookstove
  • Bedroom Furnishings
  • Marble Fireplace
  • Fireplace Detail
  • South Exterior View
  • Conservatory (greenhouse)
  • Conservatory Interior
  • Pioneer Grave Site

    You are Invited to
    Visit The Bush House
    & 19th Century Salem!

  • Visitor Information Salem Art Association

  • Asahel Bush II is recognized as one of the prominent figures in Oregon history. He founded the Oregon Statesman newspaper and later the Ladd and Bush Bank, both of which still operate in Salem. During his lifetime he amassed a fortune and when he died in 1913, his estate was the largest to have come under provision of the state inheritance tax law up to that time. Bush House was a suitable dwelling for such a man and it is fitting that the home over which he lavished so much attention and thought should now serve as a memorial to him.

    The home, built in the simplified version of the Victorian Italianate style, sat in the midst of a sizable estate. It was the focal point of a farm complex which included a large barn, a much-loved greenhouse, and open ground for pasturing cattle. Asahel Bush II was a self-sufficient man and his residence and the surrounding area reflect his independence and desire for functionalism.

    Thanks to the City of Salem and a supportive Art Association the house remains intact. The barn, rebuilt after a fire in 1963, serves as a community art center and the greenhouse has undergone extensive restoration. The open pastures are now a lovely municipal park that provides an inviting setting for the house, which is a part of Salem's cultural center.

    The interior of the home combines the beauty and utility that Asahel Bush II felt were so important. All of the twelve rooms open to the public are filled with choice furnishings, as well as being equipped with modern conveniences. For instance, each of the ten fireplaces located throughout the house is cut in a distinctive style from imported Italian marble. Yet in addition to the one-of-a-kind fireplaces, a central heating system was installed in the house at the time it was built. Each upstairs bedroom has its own marble-topped sink for hot and cold running water.

    Many of the wallpapers in the home are original and were imported from France through a New York decorator's firm, shipped around Cape Horn from the east coast. Tirrill's Gas Machine was an innovation employed by Bush to provide his residence with lighting. The gaslight fixtures have been preserved, though several have been converted to electricity. The 1877 wood-burning kitchen stove is still used in the winter, which is quite a tribute to the inmates of the State Penitentiary who built this French Stove, so called because of its placement on a brick foundation. The elegance and craftsmanship of the walnut and mahogany staircase speak for themselves. The architect of the house was Wilbur F. Boothby, who was also superintendent of construction.

    Asahel Bush II came to Oregon in 1850 from Westfield, Massachusetts, where he had been born in 1824. Although he held a law degree, he readily accepted the opportunity to establish a newspaper to serve as the voice of the Democratic party in the Oregon territory. After founding the Oregon Statesman in Oregon City, he moved the paper and himself to Salem in 1853. His long and active involvement with Oregon politics began immediately and in 1859 he was named State Printer.

    Mr. Bush's career in journalism continued until 1861, at which time he sold his paper. Asahel Bush engaged in the banking business in 1867 when, with his partner W. S. Ladd, he founded the Ladd and Bush Bank in Salem. In 1877 construction began on Bush House. Bush bought Ladd's interest in the bank and became its sole controller. Under his direction the Ladd and Bush Bank became one of the strongest banking houses in the Pacific Northwest.

    The mistress of Bush House from the beginning was Miss Sally Bush, second daughter of Asahel Bush II and his wife Eugenia Zieber, whom he had married in 1854. The young and beautiful Mrs. Bush died of consumption in 1863 leaving her husband with four children: Estelle (1856-1942), Asahel III (1858-1953), Sally (1860-1946) and Eugenia (1862-1932).

    It was Miss Sally, who as a young college girl traveled to Springfield, Massachusetts to select furniture for the house, and it was also she who for thirty years played hostess to the townspeople and her father's expanding circle of political and business acquaintances. Upon the death of her father in 1913, "Aunt Sally", as she would lovingly come to be called by many of Salem's citizens, continued to live in the home, expanding its gardens and maintaining the character instilled in Bush House by Asahel Bush II.

    Miss Sally died in 1946 and soon thereafter her brother, Asahel III, or A.N. Bush as he was known, took up residence in the old family home. A.N., who had succeeded his father as head of the Ladd and Bush Bank, was responsible for having the elevator installed in the house and for arranging that at his death, the house and grounds should be taken over by the City. Since 1953 Bush House has been administered by the Salem Art Association and as an historic house museum, it remains part of the fabric of Salem life and a source of pride to the community.

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    Bush House is Open to the Public

    600 Mission Street SE
    (Entrance on High Street just south of Mission)
    Salem, Oregon 97302

    Phone: (503) 363-4714

  • Map to Bush House Museum & Bush Pasture Park

    Salem Art Association in partnership with the City of Salem

    Guided Tours & Program Information

    503-363-4714 or 503-581-2228

    Please call ahead for group, school or private tours.

    Tickets - Bush Barn Art Center, Bush's Pasture Park

    Parking - Bush & High Streets or Mission Street Lot

  • Salem Art Association