“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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Oregon Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on February 16, 2020

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Oregon ranks 33rd among states and provinces with markers in this database. Oregon is a state in the United States of America located in the American West. It is also in the Northwest region. Oregon is some 98 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 4.2 million people. The state is divided into 36 counties and all of them have entries in this database. In Oregon we have discovered historical markers in 173 cities and towns lying in 171 different ZIP Codes.

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How many historical markers are there in Oregon? There are least 932 of them, by our count. We have cataloged 926 historical markers and 38 war memorials—each individually presented on 966 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another six historical markers in Oregon that we don’t yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

The first Oregon marker in the database, Dekum Building, was added June 13, 2007. It was photographed in Portland in Multnomah County. The last one added was submitted on August 30, 2019, and titled The Owyhee River. It is near Jordan Valley in Malheur County. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in Oregon was erected in 1911. It was this one: Medford Public Library, and one of our correspondents found it in Medford in Jackson County on January 12, 2018.

Oregon Historical Categories
274 • Settlements and Settlers
236 • Industry and Commerce
144 • Roads and Vehicles
120 • Native Americans
119 • Notable Buildings
111 • Waterways and Vessels
95 • Exploration
47 • Horticulture and Forestry
47 • Railroads and Streetcars
41 • Man-Made Features
    ... and more ...

Oregonians don’t want to forget their Settlements and Settlers history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Oregon about Settlements and Settlers—274 of them—than about any other historical category. It is followed by Industry and Commerce with 236 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Settlements and Settlers category was also Dekum Building, added June 13, 2007. It had been erected in Portland in Multnomah County. The last one submitted was submitted on May 20, 2019, and titled City of Glendale. It had been erected in 2018 in Glendale in Douglas County. The earliest marker erected with the Settlements and Settlers category that we have listed was erected in 1916. It was The Oregon Trail, found in Rhododendron in Clackamas County on January 6, 2018.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Oregon county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Jackson County, with 93 of them. It is followed closely by Clackamas County with 86 markers. The Jacksonville area of Jackson County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 22. In Clackamas County the area with the most markers, 44, is Oregon City.

Historical Markers in These
Oregon Counties
93 • Jackson County
86 • Clackamas County
76 • Klamath County
64 • Umatilla County
63 • Baker County
59 • Lane County
58 • Clatsop County
50 • Wasco County
40 • Benton County
34 • Josephine County
    ... and more ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Oregon with the most markers we have a tie for first: Oregon City and Pendleton in Umatilla County, each with 44 markers in or near them. It is followed by Astoria in Clatsop County with 41 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s a tie for first: 97045 (assigned to Oregon City OR including the Redland delivery area), each with 44 markers in their delivery areas. It is followed closely by ZIP Code 97801 with 44 markers. (97801 is assigned to Pendleton OR including the Cayuse delivery area.)

Historical Markers Near These
Oregon Cities and Towns
44 • Oregon City
44 • Pendleton
41 • Astoria
41 • The Dalles
40 • Baker City
33 • Corvallis
28 • Klamath Falls
23 • Hood River
22 • Jacksonville
21 • Coos Bay
    ... and more ...

Getting back to Jackson County, the first marker added to the database from there, Rich Gulch, was added October 18, 2008. in Jacksonville. The last one submitted was uploaded on May 28, 2019, and is titled Siskiyou Mountain Wagon Road and was erected in 1979, in Ashland. The earliest marker erected in Jackson County that we have listed was erected in 1911. It was Medford Public Library, found in Medford on January 12, 2018.

Latest entry from Oregon. Click to go there
By Barry Swackhamer, August 26, 2019
Latest Entry from Oregon
“The Owyhee River”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Oregon City. The first: Joseph L. Meek, was added June 30, 2008. It had been erected in 1995. The last: Baker Cabin Historical Society added on February 20, 2018. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1917: Old Oregon Trail, added on February 18, 2018.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

The Oregon Travel Information Council is currently in charge of the familiar cedar “beaver board” official historical markers found all over the state and the Oregon Department of Transportation typically installs and maintains those that are roadside. You will also find official markers erected by the Oregon Highway Commission, a predecessor. They erected their first marker in 1948, and we have 99 of their markers in the database.

In addition, E Clampus Vitus—not government affiliated—also erected numerous historical markers in Oregon, and we have 111 of their Oregon markers in the database. Also, a number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from Oregon. Click to go there
By Barry Swackhamer, June 28, 2017
A Travel Information Council Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of Oregon have been marked with history. Check out Washington County, Harney County and Gilliam County. We've only found, respectively, 2, 2, and 2 historical markers there. Visiting one or more of these parts of Oregon might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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