Oregon is full of fascinating historic places, from ghost towns to ancient fossil beds. Next time you feel like heading out on a historic adventure, check out one of these 11 incredible places; they will make you feel as though you’ve been transported to the past.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
11. Pittock Mansion
Located in southwest Portland, this stunning, historic mansion overlooks the entire city. Stroll in the garden outside, take in the views, and explore the inside of this amazing, well-preserved mansion that dates back more than 100 years.
Shaniko is an incredible ghost town located in Wasco County. Shaniko was platted during Oregon's gold rush and is one of the most amazing ghost towns in all of Oregon; visiting it will make you feel like you've transported back in time.
9. Peter Iredale
This incredible shipwreck is located on a beach near Hammond in northwestern Oregon. The Peter Iredale was wrecked over 100 years ago, and you can still go visit the ruins to this day.
8. Kam Wah Chung Heritage Site
Located in John Day, the Kam Wah Chung Heritage Site is an wonderful, unique museum. Once a Chinese apothecary, general store, and community center, this building was built in the 1870s and has hardly been touched since it closed in the 1950s. Nowadays, you can take a tour of the building to experience a slice of Oregon history.
7. Fort Clatsop
Fort Clatsop - home of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park - is a fascinating place to visit. Long ago, Lewis and Clark spent a significant amount of time at this camp at the mouth of the Columbia River. Here, you'll find a replica of the fort where you can learn about the fort's history, Lewis and Clark's journey, and more.
6. Dee Wright Observatory
Located in the Willamette National Forest at the top of the historic McKenzie Pass, Dee Wright Observatory is an incredible structure made of lava stone that offers stunning views of the surrounding Cascades. Built in 1935, this rustic observatory will blow you away.
Located in Jackson County, this charming small town began as a gold rush community. Jacksonville is home to over 100 historic, well-preserved buildings, and in 1966 the entire downtown area was named a National Historic Landmark.
4. John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
This stunning national monument in Wheeler and Grant County will blow you away with its fascinating natural history as well as its otherworldly beauty. The rugged landscape is home to the famous Painted Hills, a unique landform made of layers of ancient, colorful soils and minerals that show how the terrain has changed over thousands of years. This site is also home to an enormous number of fossils, many of which can be seen at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center.
3. Tamastslikt Cultural Institute
Located on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in eastern Oregon, the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute is an incredible museum and learning center that entwines past, present, and future in interactive multimedia exhibitions that offer a look into the history, traditions, and present culture of the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla tribes. Here you'll find amazing artifacts, artworks, folklore, and more. There are also numerous temporary exhibits and events; check out the museum's website to find out more.
2. Fort Astoria
Fort Astoria, also known as Fort George, is located near Astoria on the Columbia River. Built in 1811, the fort was originally a large trading post for the Pacific Fur Company. It's thought to be the first settlement on the west coast that was owned by European-Americans. This place will blow you away with its fascinating history.
1. Oregon Trail Interpretive Center
Located just outside of Baker City, the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is a wonderful museum and learning center as well as the site of amazingly preserved wagon ruts left behind from the original Oregon Trail.