Sunday, July 17, 2011

Silverton, OR

Silverton is one of those small towns we drive into and I immediately think...I could live here!  It is just so charming and attractive, with interesting shops, a good assortment of restaurants, old oaks and flowers, much to see and do.  For starters we stopped by the Visitor's Center to get maps for a list of sights-to-see in Oregon's Garden City.

I also needed to find out how the town got it's name.  It soon became obvious that the local environment was planned by a female Founding Mother, Polly Coon Price, in 1854.  Instead of the rigid North-South grid of the township and range system she decided to plan the town around a large old Oregon White Oak tree, locating the town square around it, with Silver Creek flowing several hundred yards to the west.

Davenport's Arabian Quest

Silverton wears its history on its walls. Walking through town we admire many of the 19 murals that adorn the sides of many buildings. This mural features world-renown political cartoonist Homer Davenport who helped elect presidents and expose business corruption.  He was born in Silverton in 1864 and worked for the Oregonian in Portland and later newspapers in San Francisco.  He is also famous for traveling to Arabia and returning with 27 pure desert-bred Arabian horses.

We spent one afternoon walking the many paths of the Oregon Gardens.  There are more than 20 themed gardens the likes of which include the Market Garden, Rose Garden, Pet Friendly Garden...even the Lewis & Clark Garden.  The variety, blooms and colors were sensational!

Art and architecture go hand in hand at the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in the Pacific Northwest which was relocated at the Oregon Gardens.  The Gordon House was built for Conrad and Evelyn Gordon for their farm on the south side of the Willamette River in Wilsonville in 1964 where they lived for 30 years.  The house was designed to follow Wright's "Usonian" model, a concept that included an open-floor plan, gravity floor heat, carports and cantilevered roofs with broad overhangs and floor-to-ceiling windows.

The Gordon House
We got a good workout for both the legs and camera at the Silver Falls State Park about 14 miles out of Silverton.  The popular trail takes us down a steep incline, behind the cascading 177 foot South Falls, in a mossy lichen-covered grotto, across the creek, with a steep climb back to the top.

Just 4 miles away  Mount Angel is a German community in true Bavarian style with a world-class, working Glockenspiel, fine German cuisine (though we did not partake), a Benedictine Abbey and, of course, their own Oktoberfest.
The Glockenspiel
We stayed in town at the Silver Spur RV Park, a half-price, full hookup, Passport America Park.  We did loads and loads of laundry, interspersed with side trips to sight-see.  Yes, I could live in Silverton for at least 5 days!
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