GLENDALE — Thanks to a new historic marker unveiled Wednesday, a few more people will be reminded of Solomon Abraham’s role in this town’s history.
Residents dedicated their new historical marker Wednesday, with about 50 people available for the ceremony, including a sixth-grade class from the Glendale Elementary School.
At the proper moment, Pam Thurman, Jewish immigrant and great-great-granddaughter of Abraham, unveiled the marker. Abraham platted the town and originally named it Julia, after his wife. Later, after a dispute with the chief engineer of the railroad, the name was changed to Glendale.
Thurman, who came from Kennewick, Washington, for the ceremony said she was proud to see the recognition.
“Yeah, it’s a connection that I’ve never had, so it’s kind of like a place that you’re from,” Thurman said.
The marker signifies the culmination of the effort instigated by Jerry Klinger, president of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation. Klinger said his organization would pay the $2,500 to recognize Abraham, the immigrant who originally settled in Roseburg when it was just a few houses along the Umpqua River.
Klinger traveled from Boynton Beach, Florida, to be a part of the unveiling.
He said it’s great for the Glendale community, but it goes much further than that.
“This is part of the American story,” Klinger said.
What is so unique about what occurred in the Glendale area, he said, was that the settlers came with the mindset of eastern European-oppressed Jews, thinking they had to do everything as a community in a socialist environment.
“They suddenly realized that America doesn’t require that they do that, that they could do this as individuals and be free to go wherever they want,” Klinger said. “They found that the American system works and they were free to do it, and it was here that they could do it.”
Some of the streets in Glendale still carry the names of the Jewish pioneers that settled there, including Alexander Street and Montgomery Avenue.
Glendale Mayor Adam Jones said the marker helps the city celebrate its history.
“It’s really important to have the marker for the folks that come in the future to know the history, it’s fairly familiar to most of the local folks,” Jones said. “This is a very awesome thing.”