The Oregon State Capitol has a unique feature - a working beehive on its roof. The hive, which was installed in 2010, is home to over 50,000 honeybees and is part of the Capitol's sustainability efforts.
Malheur County, located in the southeastern part of Oregon, has a rich and diverse history. The region was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Northern Paiute and Bannock tribes, who relied on the land for hunting, gathering, and fishing. In the early 19th century, European-American explorers and fur trappers began to venture into the area, trading with the Native Americans and establishing small settlements.

During the 1860s, the discovery of gold in the area brought a surge of population and economic activity to Malheur County. Mining camps sprang up, and the county's largest city, Ontario, was founded in 1862. However, as the gold rush faded, the economy shifted from mining to agricultural pursuits, including cattle ranching, wheat farming, and fruit orchards.

Throughout its history, Malheur County played a crucial role in the development of transportation infrastructure in Oregon. The Oregon Short Line Railroad, completed in the late 19th century, connected Ontario to major cities and markets, facilitating trade and population growth. The county became an important transportation hub for agricultural products and other goods.

In the 20th century, Malheur County faced challenges and changes. The construction of the Owyhee Dam in the 1920s brought irrigation to the region, allowing for expanded agricultural production. However, the Great Depression and other economic downturns impacted the county's prosperity. Over the years, Malheur County has continued to evolve, adapting to changes in industries and demographics. Today, it remains a vital agricultural region and a gateway to outdoor recreational activities, such as birdwatching and exploring the diverse landscapes of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

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

  • 1804: The area that is now Malheur County is explored by Lewis and Clark during their expedition.
  • 1826: Fur trappers from the Hudson's Bay Company establish a trading post near present-day Ontario.
  • 1862: Gold is discovered in the region, leading to a gold rush and the establishment of several mining towns.
  • 1872: Malheur County is officially established by the Oregon State Legislature.
  • 1884: The Oregon Short Line Railroad reaches the county, boosting the region's economic development.
  • 1890: Ontario is incorporated as the county seat of Malheur County.
  • 1908: The construction of the Owyhee Irrigation Project begins, bringing water to the arid region and supporting agricultural growth.
  • 1964: The completion of the Owyhee Dam further improves irrigation capabilities in the county.
  • 1989: The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is established, providing a protected habitat for various wildlife species.
  • 2016: The occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by armed protesters gains national attention.