Oregon State Facts - Oregon History Firsts

Catch up on your state trivia with these Oregon history firsts and interesting fun facts about the state.

Official Name Oregon
Capital Salem
44.92450 N, 123.02205 W
Pacific Northwest
Constitution Ratified 1859
Statehood February 14, 1859
33rd State
Number of Counties 36 Counties in Oregon
Largest Counties
(by population)
435 sq. mi.

Oregon History Firsts & State Facts

  • 1792 - The Willamette River was discovered.
  • 1805 and 1806 - Fort Clapsop National Memorial contains a replica of Lewis and Clark's 1805-1806 winter outpost.
  • 1819 - A treaty between the United States and Spain established the current southern border between Oregon and California. The treaty was signed in 1819.
  • 1820 - During the 1820s Englishman John McLoughlin presided over a vast beaver trapping network centered at Fort Vancouver near the Columbia River.
  • 1858 - Richest gold find in the Cascade Mountains was discovered in the Bohemia Mining District at Sharp's Creek near Cottage Grove.
  • 1859 - Find out more the Oregon State Great seal
  • 1874 - Discovered in 1874 the caves located in Oregon Caves National Monument are carved within solid marble.
  • 1876 - University of Oregon opened in Eugene. Deady Hall was the first building on campus and still exists.
  • 1880 - A sea cave was discovered near what is now known as Florence. Sea Lion Caves is known to be the largest sea cave in the world.
  • 1880 - Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, built in 1880, is currently used as the site of the final resting place of up to 467,000 cremated individuals.
  • 1899 - The Oregon Legislature designated the Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium) as the Oregon state flower by resolution in 1899.
  • 1900 - Ries-Thompson House is the oldest remaining residence in Parkdale. Built circa 1900 the home and area offer a commanding view of Mount Hood.
  • 1905 - Largest log cabin in the world was built in honor of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
  • 1917 - High above the city of Portland the International Rose Test Garden features more than 500 varieties of roses cultivated continuously since 1917.
  • 1925 - Find out more about the Oregon State Flag
  • 1927 -
  • 1939 - The Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is designated as the Oregon State Tree
  • 1948 - Mill Ends Park in Portland, the world's smallest official park, measures two feet across. It was created in 1948 for the leprechauns, and a place to hold snail races on St. Patrick's Day.
  • 1957 - Dr. John McLoughlin is the selected as the Father of Oregon
  • 1959 - The colors: Navy blue and gold are designated as Oregon State Colors
  • 1961 - The Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) was selected as Oregon State Fish
  • 1965 - The Thunderegg (Geode) was selected as Oregon State Rock
  • 1969 -
  • 1971 - Oregon became the first state to ban the use of non-returnable bottles and cans.
  • 1977 - Square dance becomes Oregon State Dance
  • 1979 - The Oregon Swallowtail (Papilio oregonius) is designated as the Oregon State Insect
  • 1987 -
  • 1989 -
  • 1991 - The Portland Trail Blazers is Oregon State Team
  • 1997 - Milk is designated as Oregon State Beverage
  • 1999 - Pacific golden chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus)  was designated as Oregon State Mushroom
  • 2005 -
  • 2009 - The Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) was designated as the Oregon State Crustacean
  • 2011 -
    • Happy Canyon Indian Pageant and Wild West Show designated as the Oregon State Outdoor pageant and wild west show
    • Reedsport named as Oregon State Chainsaw carving capital
    • Jory soil  was designated as the Oregon State Soil
  • 2013 - Saccharomyces cerevisiae was selected as the Oregon State Microbe

More Oregon History Firsts & State Facts

  • Deepest Lake in the US: Crater Lake, located in Klamath County. Depth of 1,932 feet.
  • The Klamath Mountains in southwestern Oregon are composed of volcanic rocks, which originally erupted under the ocean.
  • Highest Waterfall is Multnomah Falls at 620 feet. It is located in Multnomah County.
  • Oregon's state flag pictures a beaver on its reverse side. It is the only state flag to carry two separate designs.
  • Eugene was the first city to have one-way streets, and is quoted by "Bicycling Magazine" as one of the top ten cycling communities in the United States.
  • The Carousel Museum contains the world's largest collection of carousel horses.
  • At 8,000 feet deep, Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America.
  • Oregon residents own one-fourth of the country's total llama population.
  • Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state.
  • Formed more than 6,500 years ago, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. It is the only lake to be formed in the remains of a volcano and its crystal-blue waters are known around the world.
  • The Tillamook Cheese Factory is the largest cheese factory in the world.;
  • Oregon's state flag is the only state flag to carry two separate designs, with a beaver on its reverse side.
  • The Columbia River gorge is considered by many to be the best place in the world for windsurfing.
  • Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and is formed in the remains of an ancient volcano.
  • Oregon and New Jersey are the only states without self-serve gas stations.
  • Eugene was the first city to have one-way streets.
  • Pilot Butte, a cinder cone volcano, exists within the city limits of Bend.
  • At 329 feet the Coast Douglas-Fir in Oregon is considered the tallest tree in the state.
  • Hells CanyonAt 8,000 feet deep Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America, encompasses a vast and remote region with dramatic changes in elevation, terrain, climate and vegetation. Carved by the great Snake River, Hells Canyon plunges more than a mile below Oregon's west rim, and 8,000 feet below snowcapped He Devil Peak of Idaho's Seven Devils Mountains. There are no roads across Hells Canyon's 10-mile wide expanse, and only three roads that lead to the Snake River between Hells Canyon Dam and the Oregon-Washington boundary.
  • The hazelnut is Oregon's official state nut. Oregon is the only state that has an official state nut. The hazelnut is also known as the filbert.
  • Oregon's state birthday is on February 14, Valentine's Day.
  • The "Oregon Pioneer" statue that tops the capitol building is a work by Ulric Ellerhusen. This heroic figure represents the spirit of Oregon's early settlers.
  • The state park system has 159 yurts located in 19 parks. Yurts are a circular domed tent suitable for camping.
  • Navy blue and gold are Oregon's official state colors.
  • The Chinook salmon is Oregon's official state fish.
  • Dorris Ranch in Springfield became the first commercial filbert orchard in the state.
  • The nation's most photographed lighthouse is the Heceta Head Lighthouse located in Lane County.
  • Darlingtonia Wayside is Oregon's only rare plant sanctuary.
  • Oregon's second highest waterfall is Salt Creek Falls in the Cascade Mountain range. It drops 286 feet.
  • The H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest is one of the largest long-term ecological research sites in the United States.
  • Eugene is rated by "Bicycling Magazine" as one of the top ten cycling communities in the United States.
  • There are nine lighthouses standing along the coastline. Five are still being used; the others are designated historic monuments.
  • Portland is considered an example of outstanding urban planning. The city is known as The City of Roses.
  • At 11,239 feet Mount Hood stands as the tallest peak in Oregon. Mount Hood is a dormant volcano.
  • Silver Falls State Park is the Oregon's largest state park. It features 10 waterfalls and contains a wide variety of forested hiking trails.
  • Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. It was formed more than 6,500 years ago. Its crystal-blue waters are world renowned.
  • The world's largest rosary collection is exhibited at The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center. A local resident collected the exhibit.
  • The Carousel Museum contains the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of carousel horses.
  • The small village of Bickelton is filled with bluebird houses seen on the posts of every house.
  • The Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area is a spectacular river canyon cutting the only sea-level route through the Cascade Mountain Range.
  • Tillamook is home to Oregon's largest cheese factory.
  • Florence is known as Oregon's rhododendron capital.
  • Oregon's capitol building is located in Salem. Earlier capitals include the cities of Oregon City and Corvallis.
  • The Columbia River forms most of the northern border between Oregon and Washington. The Snake River forms over half of the eastern boundary with Idaho.
  • The Oregon Trail is the longest of the overland routes used in the westward expansion of the United States.
  • The Tillamook Naval Air Museum is housed in the world's largest wooden clear-span building.
  • Haystack Rock off Cannon Beach is 235 feet high and is the third largest coastal monolith in the world.
  • The Seaside Aquarium was the first facility in the world to successfully breed harbor seals in captivity.
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