George F. Berger

15 07 2012

In 1905, 48 people were admitted to the Oregon State Insane Asylum with a diagnosis of “alcoholism” and 16 for syphilitic symptoms.[1]  George F. Berger was one of those people.

Berger was born in Wisconsin in April of 1869 to Frank and Margaret Berger, Germans who had immigrated to the United States from what is now Baden-Württemberg.[2]  His family, including an older sister Mary, farmed in Randolph, Courtland, Columbia County, Wisconsin.[3]

Sometime between 1870 and 1880, the family moved to Oregon.  By the 1880 Federal Census, George was 12 years old and living on Olive Street in Eugene.  Father Frank is no longer in the picture and mother Margaret is going by the last name of Haney, suggesting she may have remarried.  With a two year old brother named Jacob Berger, it would further suggest that George’s father died or left sometime between 1878 and 1880, leaving George as the man of the house at a very young age.

Due to an unfortunate fire which destroyed the 1890 Federal Census, we are forced to pick up George’s trail again in Oregon City in 1896 when we find him working as a bartender for Thomas Trembrath.[4]  Four years later, he had moved back to his mother’s 5th Street home in Eugene, where he and his now 21-year-old brother both worked as bartenders.[5] Berger did not keep a low profile after his move back to Eugene.  He was arrested and fined for gambling at least twice.  As a 1903 Oregonian article reported: Read the rest of this entry »

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Asylum Sidewalk, 1885

30 11 2011

It is hard to imagine, but when the Oregon State Hospital was built, it stood in farmland about half a mile outside the city limits of Salem.  The route between town and the hospital would, as this article suggests, get pretty mucky when the rainy season came.  Four years before Salem’s official street car debut, a raised wooden walkway definitely sounded like a good idea to the 27 year old Edward J. Frazier (1857-1935)[1], a New York native who grew up on his father Alexander Frazier’s farm in North Salem.[2]  Frazier (or Frasier as the spelling would mutate during his life) would go on to be a prosperous real estate agent in Eugene.[3]  Perhaps this was the beginning of his career? 

THE ASYLUM SIDEWALK

Ed. J. Frazier, who is trying to raise money for a sidewalk from the city on Asylum avenue to the asylum, has nearly a sufficient amount subscribed to buy the material for the walk.  Most of the property owners along the avenue have agreed to bear the expense of putting down the walk.  The lumber can be laid down $2 per thousand cheaper than after the rains set in.  Mr. Frazier will call on you again for subscriptions.  The walk should be laid down now, and it is hoped enough can be raised to buy the materials. Read the rest of this entry »