The late Dale Shaffer was the preeminent historian of our city. Now he is becoming part of that very same history.
Shaffer died at the age of 80 in November 2009. His self-assumed role of caretaker of the memories, personalities and events of Salem's rich past included 28 books. He was regularly published in the Salem News and our "Yesteryears" which ran weekly. He was a frequent contributor to our sister county newspaper, the Morning Journal in Lisbon.
Much of what we know of our city's past came through the painstaking and patient process of Shaffer chronicling our history. Sure there have been many other preservationists along the way. We should all be thankful for that. But he was the leader for so many years. This newspaper certainly gleaned much through the works of Shaffer.
On Tuesday, there will be a Salem Historical Society Garden Party from 5-9 p.m. It will be held to dedicate the new Dale Shaffer Research Library, the Salem Historical Society's 65th anniversary and the Salem Historical Museum's 40th anniversary. Detect a theme here? Yes, it will be all about celebrating our city's history and heritage. And the timing is good too with the Salem iFest being held this Friday and Saturday. The Dale Shaffer Research Library is located off of South Lundy Avenue and Dale Shaffer Way near the Salem Historical Museum off of Pershing Street. You are invited to attend.
The library will preserve Shaffer's research materials and other historical documents and items. It is a veritable time capsule and was built with $1.2 million from his estate.
Tuesday's event will begin with a welcome by SHS President David Shivers and Museum Director David Stratton, a proclamation by Mayor John Berlin, a commendation by state Rep. Craig Newbold, a tribute to Shaffer by Salem Historical Society Vice President and Garden Party Chairman Judi Allio and a prayer of dedication by Pastor Lou Raymond.
The ribbon cutting will include Stratton, Shivers, Allio, Berlin, Building Chairman William Ward, Museum Curator Janice Lesher, Building Committee member and city Council President Mickey Cope Weaver, architect David Sommers and Scott and Shelby Mingus of J. Herbert Construction, project general contractor. All deserve public praise for the enthusiasm and effort they put into realizing this dream.
A Shaffer quote appeared with a dedication preview story we ran Sunday. It read: "You have to leave something of yourself, a lasting legacy, or you were never really here."
Dale Shaffer left reams and reams of his legacy with us and for future generations. He certainly was "really here."
"How blessed are we," said Allio. How right she is.