Oregon Topics: History

Oregon's history is one of contrasts. The state developed under the premise of maximizing the extraction of natural resources such as timber and mining products from the land, often with little regard for the consequences—either to the land or the communities. Yet at the same time it developed a strong environmental movement and communities that fought through the boom and bust cycles. Oregon's contrasts can be seen in the tensions that continue to exist between urban and rural lifestyles and philosophies. The debate continues over the question of growth versus preserving the values that make Oregon unique. 

These contrasts and others are discussed further in the Oregon History section as well as the following links.

Oregon Blue Book

(includes contact information, agency history, records retention schedules, budgets, and records held by the Oregon State Archives)

Web exhibits (Oregon history)

Oregon State Archives

Oregon Historical County Records Guide (maps, county and office histories, scenic images, and comprehensive descriptive inventories of selected records for all Oregon counties)

Provisional and Territorial Government Records Guide (government histories and records descriptions covering 1843 to 1859)

Order Copies (includes history research services)

Oregon Heritage Com​mission​ (Oregon Parks and Recreation Department- coordination of heritage projects)
Oregon Experience (history television documentaries from from Oregon Public Broadcasting)
State Heritage Programs (Oregon Parks and Recreation Department- related to historic buildings and districts)


National Archives
American Experience (history television documentaries from PBS)
Mapping History (Darkwing Atlas Project-University of Oregon)
Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web (by the Smithsonian Institution)

covered wagon
A covered wagon along a remnant of the Oregon Trail at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center on Flagstaff Hill east of Baker City. (Oregon State Archives Photo)