Robert Stuart Wallace (1851-1891)


Just north of the hub of West Salem is a development of homes known as “Salem Towne.” This area was not always known as home to hundreds of people, for it was these 330 acres which Robert Stuart Wallace once developed into a thriving pear farm with its own packaging plant.

In the short time that Wallace lived in Salem, in fact in his short life of merely 41 years, Wallace was successful in many things both in Salem and before his arrival in Salem.

While living in Chicago, Wallace did quite well for himself as a seed merchant, then he became an accomplished grain merchant, shipping flax as far as France and Germany. When told by his doctor that his ailing health would improve if he would leave his stressful work, Wallace moved to Salem Oregon.

Mr. Wallace spent the last six years of his life in Salem Oregon, though it does not seem that he slowed down much. As the 847 word obituary published in the Oct. 31 1891 Oregon Statesman Newspaper can attest, Mr. Wallace had quite a busy life in Salem.

Besides planting and maintaining fruit orchards, Mr. Wallace was also a key figure in getting the Willamette Bridge built in Salem, he helped start a local cannery as well as a fruit evaporator (drier).

Along with the growing of fruit and processing it in Salem’s first cannery, Mr. Wallace was also the founder and president of the Capital National Bank in Salem, instrumental in the development of Salem’s water supply and was also involved in the generation of electricity for Salem residents via a water wheel generating system near Jefferon, Oregon (Sydney Power Company) which operated a flour mill while running a river powered electric generator.


Capital National Bank (Pioneer Trust)

“What we seek, at the deepest level, is inwardly to resemble, rather than physically to possess, the objects and places that touch us through their beauty.”

—- Alain de Botton, “The Architecture of Happiness.


Modern-day barn just north of Salem Towne.