People and Places: Early “Oregon”

100-year-old Indian Woman astoria.jpg

We’re going back in time … The latest set in the “Take a Trip: Traveling and touring with the Visual Instruction Lantern Slides Collection” is dedicated to early Oregon images.

Our history is full of fascinating people and places: beautiful rivers, complicated relationships, and some great houses! This set is from the “Early Settlement of Oregon” lantern slide collection, though the land was certainly inhabited long before Oregon was named “Oregon,” boundary lines were drawn, and territorial governments were formed. The following quote (yes, the long one below…) comes from the lecture booklet that accompanied the slides, and although no exact date is given on the booklet, we can assume it was written in the 1920s or 1930s – it is an interesting look at the cultural and social assumptions and conceptions of the times.

“The earliest use of the word Oregon of which we have record was by Jonathan Carver who had, previous to the Revolutionary War, explored much territory westward from the Great Lakes. In 1778 he applied the name -Oregon- to the ‘River of the West’ and said that he had heard Indians living near the east slope of the Stony Mountains (Rockies) call the river by that name in 1766. In 1812, the poet Bryant, wrote: ‘The continuous woods Where rolls the Oregon and hears no sound Save his own lashings.’ The name was readily taken up and soon came to be applied to the vast region drained by the ‘River of the West,’ later the Columbia. When Oregon began to assume boundary lines, in the minds of Americans, it extended from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific and from about 42° North latitude, the northern boundary of Spanish America to 60°, the southern boundary of Russian America. These pictures emphasize a number of important people, places, and events in the settlement of Oregon.”

For a more 21st century history of Oregon, please visit these links:

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