Some of you reading this may not have spent most of your elementary and middle school computer classes playing Oregon Trail on floppy disks on the school computers, but those of you who did will know already that Oregon is full of history that dates back to a time when the first settlers were just spreading out across America. Here is a look at five historical places to visit in Oregon if you want to get a deeper understanding of how important this state is.
Bonneville Lock and Dam
The Bonneville Lock and Dam was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1938 to both improve travel on the Columbia and Snake Rivers and to provide hydropower to America's Pacific Northwest. Not only is this dam a sight to see with its sheer size and intriguing design, but it also helps the community (and the country) by managing potential flooding, generating power, improving the habitats of fish and other wildlife, and monitoring water quality.
Crater Lake Superintendent's Residence
The Crater Lake Superintendent's Residence was built as a home for the superintendent of Crater Lake National Park in the 1930s. It is a beautiful, rustic house with walls crafted from stone, making it fit right in in the middle of that woodsy, natural space. Today, the superintendent no longer lives here, but visitors can go inside and visit the National Park's Science and Learning Center, complete with meeting spaces and a library.
While many cities have some historical sites here and there, the entire city of Jacksonville, Oregon, is basically one big historical site. More than 80 of its buildings and structures have been listed on the National Register of Historic places. In the 19th century, Jacksonville was a bustling gold-mining town, and has been incredibly well-preserved as time has gone by. It looks much the same today as it did back when prospectors were mining for ore and hoping to strike it rich, and many of the buildings from that time are still standing, including two inns that were built in 1861 and still run today.
Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
Intrepid explorers Lewis and Clark are so beloved by the nation that you would be hard-pressed to find one state in America that doesn't have a park or a street named after them. Oregon, though, has something really special. The Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is full of historical sites that Lewis and Clark actually visited, including many spots along the Pacific Coast and the Columbia River. You can follow in their footsteps with a guided tour, or you can explore on your own just like Lewis and Clark did as you reconnect with nature and experience a part of American history.
Oregon Trail Wagon Ruts
After that introduction, you didn't think we would make it through an entire article about Oregon without mentioning the Oregon Trail, did you? The top spot on our list goes to the famous Oregon Trail Wagon Ruts in Bakersville. This spot is one of nine places where you can still see the grooves the wagon wheels made in the land between 1840 and 1880 as pioneers rode a trail that stretched for 2,170 miles in search of a new place to live. These wagon ruts served as a path for the people who came after them to follow, and can still be followed by people like us today as we trace the journey of our predecessors.