The Oregon Trail was not the only route for pioneers to travel to Oregon. There were several other trails, including the California Trail, the Applegate Trail, and the Meek Cutoff. Many of these trails were more difficult and dangerous than the Oregon Trail.
Gilliam County, located in eastern Oregon, has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. Originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, the area saw its first major influx of settlers during the mid-1800s with the Oregon Trail migration. The county was established on February 25, 1885, and named after Cornelius Gilliam, an early pioneer and politician in the region.

In its early years, Gilliam County thrived as a hub for agriculture and mining. The discovery of gold in the nearby Blue Mountains and the establishment of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company's line in the 1880s brought economic opportunities to the area. Farmers began cultivating the fertile lands, growing wheat and barley, while ranchers took advantage of the vast grazing areas.

The early 20th century brought both prosperity and challenges to Gilliam County. Agriculture continued to flourish, with the introduction of improved farming techniques and modern machinery. The construction of the Condon-Wheeler Highway, connecting Gilliam County to neighboring areas, further enhanced transportation and facilitated trade. However, the Great Depression in the 1930s posed significant challenges to the local economy, with many farmers struggling to survive.

In recent decades, Gilliam County has continued to evolve. While agriculture remains an important industry, the county has diversified its economy with the development of wind energy projects. The county's abundant wind resources have attracted renewable energy companies, leading to the installation of wind turbines and the growth of clean energy jobs. Today, Gilliam County embraces its history while looking towards the future, striving to balance economic development with the preservation of its natural beauty and rural character.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Gilliam County, Oregon.

  • 1864: Gilliam County is established as a county in the Oregon Territory.
  • 1885: The city of Condon is incorporated.
  • 1891: Gilliam County Courthouse is built in Condon.
  • 1916: The Condon Round-Up, a local rodeo event, is first held.
  • 1930s: The Great Depression hits Gilliam County, causing significant economic challenges.
  • 1955: Highway 19, connecting Condon to the Columbia River Gorge, is completed.
  • 1984: Morgan Lake, a popular recreational site, is created.
  • 1994: Gilliam County Historical Society is formed to preserve the county's history.
  • 2001: The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center opens in Condon, showcasing the area's pioneer heritage.
  • 2019: Gilliam County celebrates its 155th anniversary.