are a few covered bridges in Benton County.
information about Benton County
Area: 676 sq. miles
County Seat: Corvallis
Since 1951, the Benton County Historical Society
has been collecting artifacts, photographs, and manuscripts. After Philomath citizens prevented the demolition of the 1867 PhiGeneral lomath College building and placed it on
the National Register of Historic Places, The Society opened the building to the public in
1980 as a history museum, research library and art gallery
The William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge in
southern Benton County honors the work of the pioneering Oregon naturalist who lived from
1876 to 1953. Finley worked from the late 1800's to protect the wildlife of Oregon,
the nation, and the world. He used photographs and movie film to display the beauty of
wildlife and to campaign for conservation efforts. Over the years Finley produced over
50,000 photographs and 200,000 feet of film to support his efforts.
President Theodore Roosevelt created the first
bird refuge on the west coast in 1907 after seeing photographs by Finley and his partner.
During this period Finley was also elected president of the Audubon Society and saw many
of his articles published nationally. Finley's long career in public service included
serving as state game warden.
Benton County was established by the Provisional Legislature in 1847. It was named in
honor of Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, who was instrumental in promoting the
development of Oregon Country.
Carved from Polk County, Benton County stretched from
Polk County boundary south to the California border and from the Pacific Ocean east to the
Umpqua, Lane, Douglas, Jackson, Lincoln, Josephine, Curry, and Coos
Counties were created from portions of the original Benton County. Today Benton County
occupies 679 square miles of the central Willamette Valley and is bordered on the east by
the Willamette River and Linn County, on the west by the summit of the Coast Range and
Lincoln County, on the north by Polk County, and on the south by Lane County.
The city of Marysville, later renamed Corvallis, was the county seat in 1851. The first county courthouse was erected in 1854. The
second courthouse, built in 1889, is the oldest in Oregon that is still used for it s
original purpose. It was extensively renovated in 1976 to restore and preserve the
historic character of the building. Nearby buildings house those offices not located in
At that time Benton County government
consisted of two or more justices of the peace acting as county commissioners; a judicial
system including circuit, probate, and justice courts; clerks for each court; law
enforcement offices of sheriff and coroner; and the tax and finance offices of the
assessor, tax collector, and treasurer.
In 1972 a home rule charter was passed in Benton
County and the governing body of the county became a three-member board of commissioners.
In 1862 Corvallis became the site of the Oregon State Agricultural
College, known today as Oregon State University. Along with the university, agriculture,
lumber, and wood products form the economic base of the county. The 2000 population of
78,153 marked a 10.37% increase over the 1990 population.
|Benton County was created out of land originally inhabited by the
Klickitat Indians. All Indian claims to land were lost in the Treaty of Dayton in
1855. Located now in Washington State, the Klickitat were closely related
to the Yakima, with whom they shared culture and economic basis.
They with other bands traded with salmon, berries, root bread, and
In 1805 when the Lewis and Clark expedition met them, the Klickitat were living at the
headwaters of the Yakima and the Klickitat Rivers.
In 1855 they were moved to Yakima Reservation. Today the
Klickitat no longer exists as a tribal entity