When prominent Salem citizen Asahel Bush built his landmark home in 1877, the surrounding property was not intended to simply frame an impressive residence. It was also expected to function as a living, working farm. More than 90 acres of this original land has been open to the public since 1953 as Bush Pasture Park, owned by the City of Salem.
A celebration of the agricultural aspect of Bush’s Pasture Park heritage will be held Saturday, September 8 from 1-5 p.m. The event, Bush House Museum’s Family Farm Day, will be free and will include children’s activities, pioneer games and live fiddle music. It will emphasize agriculture-related fun with seed germination, food preservation and tips from Master Gardeners. The first floor of the Bush House itself and the Bush Barn Art Center galleries will also be open at no charge.
Ross Sutherland, Bush House Museum Director, says that both the Museum and the Salem Art Association (who jointly operate the Park) are always looking for new opportunities to include and welcome visitors who might not normally be drawn to visit a big historic home such as the beautiful Bush House.
“The Bush Family Farm produced vegetables, milk and eggs for the family’s use,” Sutherland says. “I know… there were great asparagus beds and presume that the vegetable garden contained a variety of vegetables such as corn, beans, peas as well as others.”
“Mr. Bush… selected cows for the farm and had the Conservatory constructed in 1882 for daughters Eugenia and Sally. The Conservatory, which was recently restored through the efforts of the Friends of Bush Gardens, is the second oldest on the west coast.“
Family Farm Day is a way to reach out to all and share the history and art in Bush’s Pasture Park with Salem families and visitors. Everyone is welcome to picnic and explore the Park, and participate in a bit of local history. The event is sponsored by Salem Electric. For more information, visit the Salem Art Association website at www.SalemArt.org.