In 1829, Dr. John McLoughlin, chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company Columbia Department, had two small cabins constructed on an island in Willamette Falls. The Kalapuya Indians promptly burned them, but a claim had been made and the roots planted for the oldest city in the Oregon Territory. Incorporated for over 160 years as Oregon City, McLoughlin's city at Willamette Falls has served as the political capital of an independent Oregon Country and the first capital of the Oregon Territory. Considered the oldest industrial site in the West, with saw, flour, paper, and woolen mills, Oregon City was also a transportation center for covered wagons, steamboats, and railroads. As a regional entertainment hub over the years, the community has provided both residents and visitors with such pleasures as Chautauquas, Oregon's first sporting events, the first state fair, a variety of annual festivals, and an array of opera, vaudeville, and movie houses.
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Business and Industry at the Falls
Willamette River Navigation
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19th century American Indians arrived automobiles Bank of Oregon Barlow Road became bluff boats bridge building California Canemah Park cars Caufield Chautauqua Chinook church City of Oregon City's Clackamas County Clackamas River claim Columbia Congregational constructed courthouse covered wagons District Eastham ferry fish flood flour mills Forbes Barclay Fourth of July George Abernethy Gladstone Hawley horse-drawn Hotel Hudson's Bay Company interurban John McLoughlin Kalapuya located locks Lot Whitcomb Main Street Methodist millrace Milwaukie moved Multnomah oldest Oregon City Oregon City Woolen Oregon Country Oregon Trail Paper Mill parade passenger People's Transportation photograph pioneer portage Portland railroad rails replaced residents river level sailing ships Salem sawmill Seventh Street Singer Creek Southern Pacific started station steam engine steamboat stern-wheeler Territorial Days Thomas Charman Today town tracks train U.S. Army Vancouver vehicles West Linn wheels Willamette Falls Electric Willamette River Willamette Valley woolen mills