Oregon City is the first incorporated city west of the Mississippi. Established in 1829
by Dr. John McLoughlin as a lumber mill near Willamette Falls, it was later designated as
Oregon's territorial capital. Visiting its many museums and historical buildings allows
you a glimpse of pioneer life in Oregon territory.
The Clackamas County Historical Society Museum, which overlooks Willamette Falls and
the Willamette River, has extensive exhibits of Clackamas county history documented in
photographs and artifacts. Displays follow a time line from Indian times through fur
traders, pioneers and merchants. Additional exhibits include one on America's first long
distance electric transmission, which was from Willamette Falls, and an immigrant wagon
fully loaded for the Oregon Trail.
The Ermatinger House Tea and Textile Museum, built in 1845, is the oldest house in
Clackamas County. The famous coin flip between Asa Lawrence Lovejoy and Francis W.
Pettygrove that determined Portland's name as a city was held here. Lovejoy preferred his
hometown's name, Boston, and Pettygrove favored his hometown's name of Portland, Maine.
Pettygrove won the toss. Living history teas set in the 1860s are held here, featuring
people from Oregon's past. Located at 619 6th Street, Ermantinger House is open limited
hours. Tours and events are held by appointment only, and admission is charged. To contact
them, call 503-650-1851.
The Phillip Foster Farm was a waystation for emigrants coming off of the Barlow Road,
the last part of the Oregon Trail. It is believed that over 10,000 emigrants stopped at
the farm. Today, it is a living history museum, with a farmhouse, blacksmith shop, barn
and store to explore, and activities from daily pioneer life to try. The farm is located
near Oregon City at 29912 SE Highway 211 in Eagle Creek. Call 503-637-6324 for hours,
admission is charged.