The Columbia River Gorge, located on the border between Oregon and Washington, is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The gorge is over 80 miles long and is known for its scenic beauty and waterfalls.
Jefferson County, located in central Oregon, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by indigenous tribes such as the Northern Paiute, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and Sahaptin-speaking people. These native communities relied on hunting, gathering, and fishing for sustenance.

In the early 19th century, European explorers and fur trappers began to venture into the region, attracted by its natural resources. The establishment of trading posts and fur trading routes helped pave the way for more settlers to arrive. In 1854, the Jefferson Territorial Legislature created Jefferson County, named after President Thomas Jefferson. However, it was not until 1914 that the county was officially formed and incorporated.

A major turning point in Jefferson County's history occurred in the late 19th century with the discovery of significant mineral deposits. Gold, silver, and other valuable minerals were found in the area, leading to a boom in mining activities. Towns like Ashwood, Antelope, and Metolius Springs sprouted up, attracting miners and fortune seekers from all over.

Agriculture also played a crucial role in Jefferson County's development. The county's fertile soil and favorable climate made it an ideal location for farming and ranching. Wheat, alfalfa, potatoes, and livestock became mainstays of the local economy. Over time, the communities of Madras, Culver, and Metolius emerged as agricultural centers, providing employment and sustenance for the region.

Today, Jefferson County continues to be shaped by its rich history. It is a blend of thriving agricultural communities, outdoor recreational opportunities, and respect for the indigenous peoples who first called this land home. The county's past serves as a reminder of the pioneering spirit and resilience of its residents in the face of constant change.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Jefferson County, Oregon.

  • 1827: The first American settlers arrived in what is now Jefferson County, Oregon.
  • 1854: Thomas Jefferson Steele, a prominent resident, proposed the idea of naming the county after President Thomas Jefferson.
  • 1914: Jefferson County was officially established by the Oregon State Legislature.
  • 1920s: The county experienced a boom in agriculture, particularly in wheat farming.
  • 1939: The town of Madras was incorporated as the county seat.
  • 1942-1944: During World War II, the U.S. Army established the Madras Army Air Base in Jefferson County.
  • 1951: The Warm Springs Dam and Reservoir were completed, providing water storage for irrigation and flood control.
  • 1953: Metolius, another town in Jefferson County, was incorporated.
  • 1983: The Warm Springs Indian Reservation became the first reservation in the United States to establish its own tribal court system.
  • 1997: Jefferson County celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary.
  • 2010: The county's population reached over 21,700 residents.
  • 2019: The County Court of Jefferson County adopted a strategic plan for future development and growth.