"Historic Oregon City" Oregon City by glabah

Oregon City Travel Guide: 26 reviews and 103 photos

3 Distinct Areas of the City

Oregon City got its start in the very early 1800s, when Dr. John McLoughlin realized that Willamette Falls represented a good spot for obtaining water power for woolen mills and other industry that the entire region west of the Rocky Mountains. At the time, the Hudson's Bay Company and its fur trade ruled the region. As the local executive of that company in the region, McLoughlin had considerable authority in what happened in the area.

By the late 1830s, the steamboat Beaver, built in England and sailed around Cape Horn, was providing regular transportation between Fort Vancouver, Oregon City, and the mouth of the Columbia River. McLoughlin built his grand (for the time in the area) house at Oregon City.

Dr. McLoughlin could see the hand writing on the wall, however. When Americans started arriving, he did not chase them away. He provided considerable support for those coming here. It is thought by some that he preferred to see the area in American rather than British control, and that is why he supported the American immigration to the area. Others say he was just being kind to weary travelers. Still others claim that he was lonely for civilization and was willing to have anything, even Americans, around him.

The city was officially incorporated in 1844, and by some is claimed as the first American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains (noting, of course, that British and Spanish settlements as well as Native Americans were here before the Americans).

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Small town where it is still easy to get across the street. Some decent restaurants.
  • Cons:Tourist attractions such as several of the smaller museums struggle for money, and occasionally close for a few months.
  • In a nutshell:Make sure you verify they are open before coming here if you want to see one of the smaller museums, as they have recently all struggled with finances. John McGloughlin House is a National Historic Site, and does not have this problem.
  • Last visit to Oregon City: Aug 2007
  • Intro Updated Feb 24, 2011
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Reviews (21)

Comments (2)

  • Odiseya's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2016 at 10:25 PM

    Nice town! Thank you for virtual tour!

  • Arkeolog's Profile Photo
    May 7, 2010 at 11:02 PM

    Hi Glenn Oregon sounds greta place to visit in your tips. That art festival looks interesting. Great page. Bora

glabah Used To Live Here!


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