Nicknamed "The Cherry City", Salem is the capital of Oregon and its second largest city behind Portland. The nickname relates to the cherry industry in the area. In 1847, pioneer nurseryman Henderson Lewelling arrived from Iowa. Lewelling brought with him 700 tiny fruit trees in earth filled boxes. He established a thriving nursery.
Salem's first Cherry Fair was held in 1903. At the 1907 Fair, the men of the Pacific Coast Association of Nurserymen passed a resolution declaring for all the excellence of the local cherries. They voted to designate Salem the Cherry City.
Salem lies in the center of the Willamette River valley. Throughout the last half of 1853 many petitions were made in proposal of a name for this area. "Salem" - derived from the Hebrew word "Shalom" (peace) - was eventually selected in January 1854.
At the time of the 2000 census, the city of Salem had a population of 136,924 living in 50,676 households. The median age was 33.6 yrs.
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