Committee Working to Locate and Preserve Historic Chinese Shrine

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On November 29, 2017, the Salem Pioneer Chinese Shrine Advisory Committee met to discuss efforts to preserve the historic shrine located in Salem Pioneer Cemetery. The advisory committee made the following decisions:

  • Additional excavation will be done at the Pioneer Cemetery site to try to determine if there is something under the concrete pad such as an earlier shrine.

  • The project team will collaborate with the Chinese Benevolent Association and a local Buddist organization to identify what religion is associated with the Shrine. This will help the project team coordinate a blessing of this sacred place in the spring of 2018.

  • The project team will work with Willamette University to contact an expert in Feng Shui to understand why the shrine is oriented to the southwest.

  • The committee will work with experts associated with the Chinese Benevolent Association to translate the characters on the marble tablet. Early work on the translation indicates that the characters are of Toisan dialect and the shrine was to honor a group of burials, not a specific individual.

The committee will meet next at 4 p.m., January 31, 2018, at the Willamette Heritage Center, second floor of the Mill Building, 1313 Mill Street SE.

A historic preservation project to locate, recover, and develop interpretation at the site of the Chinese Shrine was introduced at the November 7, 2017, meeting of the Mayor’s International Council. The following day, a public open house was held at the site of the shrine. You can learn more and follow the project’s progress on the City of Salem website.

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Kimberli FitzgeraldHistoric Preservation Officer
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