“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Canyon City in Grant County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)

Welcome To Canyon City

Gold Discovered Here In 1862

Welcome To Canyon City Marker image. Click for full size.
August 11, 2016
1. Welcome To Canyon City Marker
Inscription.  In June 1862, a company of miners from northern California were heading east over the Strawberry Mountain Range, when one of the men discovered gold on Whiskey Flat, half a mile south of here. Miners from all over the area flocked into the area, and the new settlement quickly became called Canyon City. According to historical records, more than $26 million in gold was taken from Canyon Creek and the nearby mountains during the Gold Rush, 1862-1880.

Tradition says that between 1862-1864 Canyon City had the greatest population of any town in Oregon, with at least 2,500. The town boasted numerous, mercantiles, blacksmiths, liveries, a red light district and a Chinese district, and it became the seat of Grant County in 1864. In the 1870's and 1880's Canyon City was well-known as a main stop along the route from points east to the Dalles. Mules, oxen, and horses pulled heavy freight wagons laden with goods, passengers, emigrants, and gold. Canyon City was also a major stagestop for the stagecoach service which ran from Austin Junction to Burns in the 1870's.

In 1870, a fire destroyed much of the early town including the first
Welcome To Canyon City Marker and Old City Hall image. Click for full size.
August 11, 2016
2. Welcome To Canyon City Marker and Old City Hall
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courthouse. In the late 1870's Indian wars raged throughout Grant County and in 1885 Canyon City's Chinatown burned to the ground. In 1896 a severe flash flood destroyed much of the town. In 1898 and 1937 the community was once again ravished by fire. One of the earliest churches, St. Thomas Episcopal (built in 1876) still stands near the center of town, as does the old Sel's Brewery, a former saloon and brewery which operated in the late 1800s. The yellow former schoolhouse on Rebel Hill marks where early settlers, loyal to the Union, tore down a Confederate flag erected by sympathizers to the South during the Civil War. The Old '62 Hall on the South edge of town hosted decades of rowdy dances and community celebrations.

At the site of this park, stood the Elkhorn Hotel, a jewel in its own day. Here in the heart of Grant County, Canyon City's colorful past happened just yesterday, and if one listens quietly one may hear the steady plink-plunking of miners' picks on the hillsides.

The sign was made possible by a grant from the Oregon Economic Development Department, 1995.
Erected 1995 by Oregon Economic Development Department.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceSettlements & SettlersWar, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1862.
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44° 23.326′ N, 118° 56.94′ W. Marker is in Canyon City, Oregon, in Grant County. Marker is at the intersection of South Washington Street and Park Street, on the left when traveling south on South Washington Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 123 Washington Street, Canyon City OR 97820, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Canyon City Mural (within shouting distance of this marker); St Thomas Episcopal Church (within shouting distance of this marker); As told by an old timer (approx. 0.7 miles away); John Day/Canyon City (approx. 1.9 miles away); The Advent Christian Church (approx. 1.9 miles away); The Adventist Christian Church (approx. 1.9 miles away); Civilian Conservation Corps (approx. 2.1 miles away); Kam Wah Chung Company Building (approx. 2.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Canyon City.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 12, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 11, 2016. This page has been viewed 211 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 11, 2016. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 27, 2022