From Lewis and Clark to the Oregon Gold Rush, every town in Oregon has a unique story behind it. Here are 12 lovely Oregon towns with fascinating histories:
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Jacksonville is a beautiful little city that became famous in the 1800s when gold deposits were found in Jackson Creek. This historic town is the best preserved town in Oregon, and the entire downtown is a National Historic District.
The gorgeous city of Astoria is located on the northwesternmost tip of Oregon where the Columbia River meets the sea. The city was originally founded as a fur trading post called Fort Astoria; it was the very first permanent European-American settlement on the coast. Prior to that, Lewis and Clark spent a famous winter nearby at Fort Clatsop. Astoria is a gorgeous city full of fascinating history.
This quirky, wonderful city began as a single cabin that doubled as a trading post. In 1853 it became Eugene City, and not long after, Columbia College was erected. After burning down twice, the college closed for good, and University of Oregon took its place.
9. Oregon City
Oregon City is known as the last stop on the original Oregon Trail. The lovely town was established in 1829 as Oregon's very first capital.
As with most cities in Oregon, the Portland area's history dates back many, many years of being Native American territory. In the 19th century, European-American trappers and traders took over the area, naming it simply "The Clearing". In 1845, two men governing the area flipped a coin to decide on a name for the blossoming city; if the coin had landed on the other side, it would’ve been called Boston.
Shaniko is an incredible ghost town in Wasco County. It was originally founded as a gold mining town in 1862, and then the town later went on to be called the “Wool Capital Of The World”. As the industry fell, Shaniko was slowly abandoned in the mid-twentieth century. However, it has been amazingly preserved and to this day you can get a taste of Oregon history by visiting this amazing town that is truly a blast from the past.
Located in Deschutes County, Sisters is a charming small town that got its start in 1965 as a military post.
This lovely little town in Columbia County began as an even tinier farming community in 1874. In 1924, Oregon-American Lumber Company opened a lumber mill and since then it has been an important logging area.
Fossil is a beautiful little town in Wheeler County. It was given its name when Thomas Hoover (who went on to be the first mayor) found fossils on his ranch. Later, a store and post office opened, drawing more residents to the area and becoming the county seat of Wheeler County. To this day, the town is one of the best places in Oregon to go fossil hunting.
This gold mining town in Josephine County was established in the 1840s when gold was discovered in the area. As happened with many of these small mining towns, after the gold rush was over the area was abandoned, leaving a fascinating ghost town behind.
This wonderful town had many different names, and in 1855 it finally became Silverton. Native peoples lived in this area for thousands of years before it was established as a city by European-American farmers.
Our beautiful state capitol, Salem, is a gorgeous city with a fascinating history. Salem was technically established in 1842, but the earliest European Americans to live here were fur trappers that arrived as early as 1812. Not long after it was established as a city, Salem took Oregon City's place as state capitol and opened the Oregon Institute, which eventually led to the creation of Willamette University.