Salem has a rich pioneer history, but before that it was the home of the Calapooia Indians, who called it Chemeketa, which means "place of rest." Salem is said to have been renamed by missionaries. Although trappers and farmers preceded them in the Willamette Valley, the Methodist missionaries had come in 1834 to minister to Native Americans, and they are credited with the founding of Salem. In 1842 they established the first academic institution west of the Rockies, which is now known as Willamette University. Salem became the capital when Oregon achieved statehood in 1859 (Oregon City was the capital of the Oregon Territory). Salem serves as the seat to Marion County as well as the home of the state fairgrounds. Government ranks as a major industry here, while the city's setting in the heart of the fertile Willamette Valley stimulates rich agricultural and food-processing industries. More than a dozen wineries are in or near Salem. The main attractions in Salem are west of I–5 in and around the Capitol Mall.
- AARP.ORG HOME
- TRAVEL HOME
- MEMBER BENEFITS
- WORK & JOBS
- HOME & FAMILY
- POLITICS & Society
AARP Travel Center
Book online or call: 1.800.675.4318
Members save on select hotels, car rentals, cruises and vacation packages, plus pay no booking fees at the AARP® Travel Center Powered by Expedia®.Budget Rent-A-Car
Members save up to 25% off base rates, plus get a free upgrade on compact through full-size car class bookings (based on availability).Wyndham
Members save 10% off the best available rate at participating Wyndham hotels including Days Inn, Ramada Worldwide, Super 8, and more.
AARP Travel Center Book online or call: 1.800.675.4318
Leaving AARP.org Website
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.