Columbia Time Line

A retired teacher from St. Helens came across an old file from a Social Studies class that she had taught.

It was composed and researched by students over a three year period. Over 90 students contributed to it. I (the teacher) have never checked it for accuracy though. The class was called Columbia River Studies and examined the relationship of Columbia County to the river. It covered geography, sociology, art and culture, history, civics, biology (river), and forestry.
Key: SH = St. Helens, OR = Oregon, US = United States

Year SH, OR, US Event
1792 OR Expedition up the Columbia led by Lt. Broughton
1792 OR Expedition up the Columbia led by Lt. Broughton
1802 US Louisiana Purchase
1804 OR Native Americans live in Scappoose waters- found by Lewis and Clark
1805 SH Lewis and Clark expedition discover SH area
1805 SH L&C discover Warrior Rock
1812 US War of 1812
1819 US Missouri Compromise
1825 SH SH was two cities: Houlton and Milton
1828 SH Hudson Bay company establishes camp at Scappoose Plains
1829 SH Dsease kills most Native Americans in the Scappoose Bay
1829 SH First load of Salmon from the Columbia is shipped
1830 US The Alamo
1843 US Westward migration begins
1845 SH City of SH is founded
1846 SH Splash dams are used in peak flows
1849 US California gold rush
1849 SH First govt. land claim filed
1849 OR First immigration of Chinese Settlers
1850 SH John McNulty takes out 622 acre land claim
1850 US Bessemer process discovered
1852 SH First docks/warehouses built in SH
1852 SH Large water wheel built at the junction of North and South Scappoose Creek
1853 SH First church service is held
1853 SH First school is started
1854 OR Columbia County is formed
1854 US No African Americans allowed out after dark
1854 SH Formation of first school district
1854 OR County's first full-time minister
1856 OR Oregon Trail
1856 SH Warrior Rock Fog bell comes into service
1856 SH First dam is built upstream from the water wheel
1860 US Civil War
1860 OR Oregon becomes a state (1859)
1860 SH First plaining mill came around the "horn"
1861 SH Floods destroy Milton
1863 OR Land issued through he homestead act
1865 US Transcontinental RR is built
1870 SH Houlton named by postmaster
1872 US African Americans given the vote
1874 SH Docks burned down
1876 OR Vernonia named for an Ohio girl named Vernonna
1876 US Battle of Little Bighorn
1880 SH SH is biggest city in OR
1880 SH Storm/tornado came through SH and Vernonia
1880 SH RR's come to Columbia County
1880 SH Ship named The Columbia comes through with electricity
1882 OR Northern Pacific RR is built
1884 SH Ferries went back and forth between Washington and OR
1884 SH First real school is built on the site of the present John Gumm (Old School)
1888 OR RR is extended from Columbia City to Goble
1894 SH Record setting flood
1895 SH Roy A. Perry is born in SH
1897 SH Bachelor Flat School is started
1897 SH Cost 25 cents to take a steam boat from Portland to St. Helens- took 3.5 hrs
1898 OR RR is extended from Goble to Astoria
1898 SH 2 ships collided in front of SH's docks
1902 SH Only legal hanging to occur in SH- August Schieve
1902 OR Flood in Vernonia
1903 OR First family moved to Deer Island
1904 SH Muckle Bro.'s mill burned down
1904 SH Boise Cascade is built
1905 US Panama Canal is built
1906 OR Large scale logging begins
1908 SH First county fair is held in Yankton
1909 SH Charles McCormick comp. Bought Muckle Bro.'s mill sight
1910 SH Rock quarries started
1912 SH Multonomah is launched which started the 15 yr reign of the SH Ship Building Comp. As the top firm on the coast
1912 US Prohibition started
1913 SH SH and Houlton merged
1914 US WWI
1915 OR Red town's name was changed officially to Beaver Homes
1915 OR Beaver Homes' school house is built
1916 SH RR transport replaces slash dam and log driving on Milton Creek
1919 OR Sundown Law begins
1920 SH City of SH constructs a dam on Salmonberry Creek for water supply
1920 US Women gain the vote
1922 SH Drainage district is formed in SH
1923 OR Columbia County fairgrounds are formed
1924 US Telephone is invented
1924 SH First minorities came to SH
1925 SH Dike is built along Multnomah channel to control flooding
1926 SH SH Pulp and Paper Comp. Opens
1926 SH Courthouse is built
1929 US Great Depression Begins
1930 SH Big Eddy park opens
1936 SH Lumber is the biggest product shipped
1938 SH Mrs. Leadford convicted of poisoning 2 stepdaughters- given life sentence but let out on parole later
1939 SH New county jail is built
1939 SH ABC state tournament is held
1939 US WWII begins
1940 OR Salmon runs start declining
1940 SH Camp Wilkerson founded
1940 SH SH docks burned down… again
1941 US Pearl Harbor is bombed
1944 SH Truck logging replaces RR logging on N. Scappoose Creek
1946 SH Carl Brandenfeld invents hair re-growth method
1950 OR Civil War in Clatskanie
1950 SH McBride school is completed
1951 SH Bonnie Falls fish ladder is constructed
1955 OR City of Scappoose builds dam and water intake on S. Scappoose Creek
1956 SH St. Helens begins using wells for water
1956 OR Fish deaths are documented in Scappoose Bay due to pollution
1956 SH St. Helens High Schoo lState basketball champs
1956 US Berlin Wall goes up
1957 SH Last load from Camp McGreggor
1958 US Sputnik Program launched
1960 SH Bowling alley opens
1960 SH St. Helens High School opens new building at Gable Rd.
1960 SH Crown Zellerbach opens in Columbia City
1962 SH Golf course opens
1962 SH Columbus Day windstorm
1964 SH SHJH opens
1965 US Cuban Missile Crisis
1967 US Vietnam War
1969 US Woodstock
1969 US Landed on the moon
1969 SH Bullfrog festival
1970 OR Camp Wilkerson burned down
1971 OR Camp Wilkerson rebuilt
1972 SC New Scappoose High School Opens
1972 US Watergate
1975 US Bicentennial celebrations
1982 SH Buildings B-C-D opened at St. Helens High School
1984 SH Safeway and Payless were built
1990 US Iran Hostage Crisis
1992 SH St Helens High School Football state champs
1997 OR Scappoose Bay Watershed Council formed
1998 OR Water quality monitoring begins
1999 SH Adult salmon and smolt traps placed on N. Scappoose Creek and watershed assessment begins
2000 SH Fish in the Willamette River & Columbia (Multnomah) Channel declared possibly unsafe for human copnsumption
2000 SH First Columbia River Studies class offered at SHHS
2000 SH Lewis & Clark School opens for the 2000-2001 School Year
2000 SH Walmart opens
2001 US George W Bush becomes President
2001 SH New county jail is built (see 1939)
2001,02,03 SC Scappoose High School 3x State Football Champs
1930-50 SH Remaining old growth is logged
1950-70's US Cold War
1950's US Civil Rights movement
1950's OR Korean War
1985-91 SH Local salmon/trout enhancement program begins and volunteers operate hatchboxes and do stream restoration on N. and S. Scappoose Creek


Many thanks to Judy White, prior coordinator and volunteers for keeping this site going. If you have materials you would like to share here, please contact me


© 2009 - Current by the past, present & future coordinators of this county. Information found on this site may be used for personal use as long as the credits for the work remain intact. None of the information here may be sold.