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Oregon State Legislature Oregon's History Near You

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Oregon's History Near You

You don't have to visit the capital to read the stories of citizens who made a difference. There are dozens of heritage sites near you. Some are state parks, and can be visited year round. Others are run privately, and may be found in the Oregon historical registry.

Oregon's Nine Tribes

Oregon has nine federally recognized tribes. These tribes have sovereignty. Their history with the land we call Oregon dates back to time immemorial. To learn more about these indigenous Americans, and the areas they call home, explore the Burns Paiute TribeCoquille Indian TribeConfederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian ReservationConfederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua & SiuslawKlamath TribesConfederated Tribes of Grand RondeConfederated Tribes of the Warm Springs ReservationCow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians; and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz​

Eastern Oregon

Eastern Oregon doesn't look very different from when emigrants first set eyes on its majestic mountains, expansive high desert and powerful rivers when journeying along the Oregon Trail. Discover that history at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Experience​ near Baker City. At the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage site in John Day, learn about the history of Chinese workers in the state. In Joseph, the Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center tells the unusual story of the multicultural logging community of Maxville.

Central and Southern Oregon

Central Oregon is known for its dry climate, adventure activities, and the beauty of Crater Lake north of Klamath Falls. Take the time, though, to study Central Oregon's past at the Museum at Warm Springs, which houses tribal treasures of the Wasco, Warm Springs and Paiute tribes.

Southern Oregon has a rich timber and mining history and is home to the Siskiyou Mountains, the most ancient in the state. Combine a historical tour with an overnight stay at the Wolf Creek Inn, the oldest continuous use hotel in the state. Or find out more about the region's unique settlement and gold discoveries at the Applegate Trail Interpretive Center in Sunny Valley.

Portland and the Willamette Valley

Oregon's largest city also contains its premier historical museum. The Oregon Historical Society in Portland has preserved a vast collection of artifacts, photos, films, manuscripts and oral histories. Other popular historical sites include the Pittock Mansion in Portland's west hills, the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Chinatown, the Japanese Garden in Washington Park, and the Oregon Rail Heritage Center in southeast Portland.

Just outside of Portland, The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center commemorates the arrival point of Oregon's pioneers in Oregon City.

In the Willamette Valley, explore one of the region's natural wonders at Silver Falls State Park east of Salem. Visit the site where Oregon's first provisional government was formed at Champoeg State Heritage Area near Newberg, or explore the history of farming at Thompson's Mills State Heritage Site southeast of Corvallis, in the heart of the Willamette Valley.​

The Oregon Coast

Shipping is deeply embedded in the history of the Oregon coast. In Astoria, learn about the history of the coast's most treacherous river bar at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, and be sure to visit one of Oregon's lighthouses at Cape Blanco, Heceta Head, or Yaquina Bay.  Discover more about the early explorers at Lewis & Clark National Historic Park, and Fort Clatsop, where the Lewis and Clark expedition spent the winter before their return journey.

History at Home

The searchable Oregon Encyclopedia is an expansive journey through Oregon's past. Read stories about Abigail Scott Duniway, the "Mother of Equal Suffrage," the history of Blacks in Oregon, and the legacy of Oregon's American Indian tribes and bands.

Explore More Heritage Destinations

See Oregon's Seven Wonders

Visit Travel Oregon to learn more!


Did You Know?

Thanks to the 1967 Beach Bill, Oregon's beaches belong to the public and are open to all, no matter who owns the upland property. Two-thirds of Oregon's spectacular 363-mile shoreline is publicly owned.

Oregonians plant 40- 50 million trees each year.

Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state​.

Crater Lake is the deepest in the United States.