When the first car in Salem trundled down State Street leading the 1898 Barnum and Bailey Circus parade, few people could imagine the imminent danger to pedestrians, bicyclists, skaters and equestrians that the horseless carriage would bring. Autoists Attack! explores life in a walkable downtown that was destroyed by the fatal attraction to the automobile in this special Salem Sunday Streets Free Downtown Heritage Tour, 2:00 p.m. September 8, starting at Riverfront Carousel.
The 2-hour walking tour will visit sites important to pre-auto travel, explaining the transformation of mobility in downtown Salem and the influence of cars on life, commerce and culture as the skyline was changed forever. Stories about travel will include Native American potlatch ceremonies, demise of the steamboat, expansion of rail and streetcars and the replacement of three landmarks to accommodate the automobile; the first Legislative Assembly Hall, Fashion Stables and the 1895 City Hall.