18 Historical Photos of Oregon That Will Transport You Back in Time

A man overlooks Mt. Hood, 1932 / via OSU Special Collections & Archives : Commons

I love historic film images, both for their quality and for a glimpse of life forgotten. There are some amazing archival photos of Oregon out there, and these are some of my favorites.

1. Stumptown

So many trees were cut down in Portland’s early days that it came to be referred to as “Stumptown”. Residents said that there were so many tree stumps, a person could jump across town on them without ever having to touch the ground. Early 1850s.

Early Portland “Stumptown” / via Courtesy Oreg. Hist. Soc. Research Library, ba019143

2. Crib Trestle and Train

The Columbia and Nehalem Valley Railroad was a logging railroad for the Peninsular Lumber Company of Portland in the area around Columbia City, Oregon.

Crib Trestle in Columbia County / via OSU Special Collections & Archives

3. Onlookers Watch the Eruption of Mt. St. Helens from Pittock Mansion

May 18, 1980.

People Watch Mt. St. Helens Erupt from Pittock Mansion / via The Oregonian

4. The McMinnville UFO

The McMinnville UFO photographs were taken on a farm near Sheridan, Oregon, United States, in 1950. The photos were reprinted in Life magazine and in newspapers across the nation, and are often considered to be among the most famous ever taken of an unidentified flying object. Skeptics believe that the photos are a hoax, but many ufologists continue to argue that the photos are genuine, and show an unidentified object in the sky. For more information, see Wikipedia.

McMinnville UFO photo taken in Sheridan, OR / via WikiCommons

5. Teddy Roosevelt Campaigning in Eugene

April 11, 1911.

President Teddy Roosevelt in Eugene, OR. April 11, 1911

6. An Oregon Lumber Worker and his Wife by Dorothea Lange

An unemployed lumber worker with his wife during the 1939 Multnomah County bean harvest. Note the social security number tattooed on his arm.

An Oregon couple during the Great Depression / Photo by Dorothea Lange — Yale/Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection

7. The Great Light Way

The Great Light Way of illuminated arches along Portland’s Southwest Third Street in 1914. I feel like they should bring these back.

The Great Light Way, Portland, OR / via the Dan Haneckow collection

8. Star Wars Opens, 1977

Movie-goers line up in Portland, OR to see Star Wars, 1977 / via AP Photo/Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun

9. A Dynamite Explosion Destroys Downtown Roseburg

Before first light on Aug. 7, 1959, a truck carrying 6 1/2 tons of dynamite and blasting agent exploded, leveling downtown Roseburg and killing 14 people.

A dynamite explosion destroys part of Roseburg / via City of Roseburg

10. Overlooking Mt. Hood in 1932

A man overlooks Mt. Hood, 1932 / via OSU Special Collections & Archives: Commons

11. A Wild Wagon Ride on the Oregon Coast

Date unknown.

Driving a horse team by wagon through the surf on the Oregon Coast / via OSU Special Collections & Archives: Commons

12. Hospital in Timber, Oregon

Timber is a small community in rural Washington County, near Vernonia.

Hospital in Timber, Oregon / via OSU Special Collections & Archives: Commons

13. Feeding a Bear in Downtown Redmond, OR

Taken sometime around the turn of the 20th Century.

Feeding a bear in downtown Redmond, Oregon / via the E.R. Jackman Collection P89: 636

14. Chief Tommy Thompson at Celilo Falls

Chief Tommy Thompson at Celilo Falls near The Dalles, Oregon / via OSU Special Collections & Archives: Commons

15. The Columbus Day Storm Destroys Landmarks

The steeple atop historic Campbell Hall, on the Oregon College of Education Campus, Monmouth, toppled by the Columbus Day Storm, Oct. 12, 1962.

The Columbus Day Storm destroys a steeple in Monmouth / via Oregonlive The Oregonian

16. First Traffic Signal in Portland

A Portland Police officer and businessmen flank the first traffic signal to be erected in Portland at SW 3rd and Morrison, 1915. You can see the Great Light Way, unlit in the background.

First traffic signal in Portland, Oregon / via City of Portland Archives

17. The Bridge to Oregon City from West Linn

Circa 1897.

West Linn/Oregon City Bridge in 1897 / via Oregonlive

18. A Log Bridge Over Multnomah Falls

Built by a homesteader long before the falls was designated a State Park.

A log bridge over Multnomah Falls / via Oregonlive
Facebook Comments
Sunset Lodgingl