If you went to school in Oregon, you probably have a pretty good understanding of our local history. A whole lot of strange things and fascinating things have happened right here in Oregon, many of which you won’t find in the history books. Here are 10 of the craziest things to happen in Oregon that you’ve probably never heard of:
10. The Exploding Whale
In 1970, something extremely strange happened on the Oregon Coast near Florence. A dead 8-ton whale washed ashore, and no one was quite sure what to do with the enormous carcass. They decided to use dynamite to disintegrate the body, but as you might expect, things didn't go quite as planned. It literally rained huge chunks of blubber all over the area; some pieces were so big they smashed cars. The whole thing was caught on film, if you want to see for yourself just search "oregon exploding whale" on YouTube.
9. There are trees in Oregon that have traveled to the moon.
In 1971, an Oregonian astronaut by the name of Stuart Roosa brought a capsule full of tree seeds on a trip to the moon and back to see if the trees would germinate upon returning. To the amazement of many, the trees did grow, and six of them were planted right here in Oregon. The rest of the seeds were given as gifts and are scattered across the world.
8. Portland was named by flipping a coin.
If the coin had landed on the other side, Oregon's big city would have been named Boston.
7. One of the most famous UFO sightings in history took place in McMinnville.
In 1950, someone took this photo of a flying saucer in the sky above McMinnville, Oregon. The photo was published all over the world creating a controversy so big the FBI even looked into it.
6. One Oregon Trail Pioneer lived long enough to fly in an airplane across the trail.
This one is pretty incredible. Ezra Meeker, photogaphed above, crossed the Oregon Trail with an ox-drawn wagon when he was a young man, and then when he was 96-years-old he got to cross the same distance on an airplane. That's an enormous technological advancement to see in one lifetime.
5. The Bigfoot trap.
In 1974, a Bigfood Trap was erected by the North American Wildlife Research Team in the Siskiyou National Forest. They weren't joking around - the trap was kept baited with animal carcasses for six years!
4. The Oregon Uranium Rush.
Oregon's gold rush is quite famous, but most people aren't aware that during the Cold War Oregon had a Uranium Rush as well! People came to southeast Oregon from all over hoping to find uranium and score the big bucks.
3. Oregon didn't have any restrictions on who could make or buy dynamite until 1970.
Until 1970, anyone in Oregon could buy or make dynamite. There were plenty of practical ways the dynamite was used (for farming, construction, etc.) but of course not everyone was very responsible about it; dynamite was also used quite often for jailbreaking and train robbing.
2. A ghost town called Greenhorn once had their jail stolen.
Speaking of jails, in 1963 a small jail house was surprisingly found standing conspicuously in the middle of Canyon City. As it turned out, an unidentified group of people had stolen the entire jail from the nearby ghost town of Greenhorn and brought it to Canyon City for unknown reasons.
1. The oldest shoes in the world were found in Oregon.
In 1938, 70 pairs of sandals were found in a Central Oregon cave preserved beneath a layer of volcanic ash from the same eruption that created Crater Lake. The shoes turned out to be more than 10,000 years old, making them the oldest shoes in the world.