Salem’s Bush House Museum, in Bush’s Pasture Park, was the home of pioneer entrepreneur and political influencer Asahel Bush (1824-1913), and his family, from 1878 to 1953. The 100 acre farmstead, which Bush acquired with his wife in 1860, is a portion of the donation land claim Reverend David Leslie established on the ancestral lands of the Kalapuya tribe, in the early 1840s. The museum complex, which includes the Bush Conservatory (1882), a root house and the original Leslie barn, now the Salem Art Association’s Bush Barn Art Center, is rare surviving example of a 19th century farmstead. The Bush House Museum and Bush’s Pasture Park are owned by the City of Salem who collaborate with the Mission Street Parks Conservancy to maintain the grounds and nearby Civic Rose Garden.
Asahel Bush was founding editor of the Oregon Statesman newspaper, 1851-1863, and co-founder of Salem’s Ladd & Bush Bank in 1868. Bush had the Leslie house moved off the property in 1877, and the two-story Italianate home was completed the next year. Along with the extant farm buildings, the Bush House Museum retains a significant amount of original furnishings, wallpaper and fixtures. There is also an archive of original photographs, documents and ephemera documenting the Bush Family. Since 1953, the Bush House Museum’s guided tours and programming have been a significant cultural-heritage asset for Salem residents and visitors.
The Bush House Museum enhances community engagement with our shared history by exploring and interpreting Salem’s Bush Family, Bush’s Pasture Park, the cultural diversity of Salem history and the development of early Oregon.