The Oregon State Capitol: What Could Have Been

Some of the drawings of Hutchinson and Spooner did not become reality. After the Capitol burned to the ground in 1935, officials quickly began to plan for a replacement. They discussed many locations and architectural designs in the months after the fire. Three alternatives to the present Capitol are represented here.

1.) One plan called for the purchase of the entire eighteen acre Willamette University campus which, with the addition of adjacent land, would have provided twenty-eight acres for the Capitol grounds. Busy State Street would have closed. Willamette University would have moved to the site of present-day Bush's Pasture Park.

Drawing of proposed capitol at Willamette University


2.) Governor Charles Martin promoted an expansive ninety-four acre tract on the top of Candalaria Heights, two miles south of the center of Salem, as an alternative Capitol site. It would have afforded dramatic views of the Cascade Mountains, the Coast Range Mountains, and the Willamette Valley. The site could have been purchased for approximately $100,000.

Drawing of proposed capitol at Candalaria


3.) The final alternative attempted to plan for the office space needs of a growing state government within the existing grounds of less than five acres. This was obviously portrayed as the least desirable alternative.

Drawing of high rise capitol

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