Oregon was the only state in the United States to have a government run by the Ku Klux Klan. In the 1920s, the KKK gained significant political power in Oregon, electing a governor, a mayor, and several legislators. This era of Oregon's history is known as the "Klanbake."
Polk County, located in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, has a rich and complex history that dates back thousands of years. The area originally belonged to various Native American tribes, including the Kalapuya people. In the 1800s, European settlers began to arrive, and in 1845, the region was officially established as Polk County, named after James K. Polk, the 11th President of the United States.

The early settlers faced many challenges, including conflicts with the native tribes and the daunting task of clearing the land for farming. However, the fertile soil and mild climate of Polk County proved to be ideal for agriculture, particularly for growing crops like wheat, hops, and fruit. The population grew rapidly as more settlers arrived, and several towns and communities were established, including Dallas, Monmouth, and Independence.

The mid-1800s were marked by significant events in Polk County's history, such as the formation of the Oregon Trail, which became a major route for pioneers heading west. The county also played a role in Oregon's statehood process, with several meetings and conventions held in the area to discuss political matters. It was during this time that Polk County saw the construction of numerous infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, and schools.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Polk County continued to thrive as agriculture remained the backbone of the local economy. The introduction of the railroad in the area further boosted trade and transportation, making it easier for farmers to export their products to other parts of the state and beyond. Over the years, Polk County has experienced both growth and changes, but its agricultural heritage remains an integral part of its identity, alongside its scenic landscapes, charming small towns, and rich history.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Polk County, Oregon.

  • 1845: Polk County is created and named after President James K. Polk.
  • 1846: The first county seat is established in Oregon City.
  • 1849: The county seat is moved to Rickreall.
  • 1851: C.P. Huntington settles in Monmouth and names it after his hometown in Illinois.
  • 1852: Monmouth becomes the new county seat.
  • 1854: The first courthouse is built in Monmouth.
  • 1860: The Oregon and California Railroad bypasses Monmouth, leading to the decline of the town.
  • 1862: Dallas becomes the new county seat due to its more central location.
  • 1870: Monmouth College (now Western Oregon University) is founded in Monmouth.
  • 1880: The first railroad line reaches Dallas, boosting its economic growth.
  • 1893: The Polk County Courthouse in Dallas is completed.
  • 1930: The population of Polk County reaches its peak at around 26,000 residents.
  • 1947: The Polk County Museum is established in Rickreall.
  • 1950: The county's economy shifts from agriculture to manufacturing and services.
  • 1965: The first public library is established in Dallas.
  • 2010: The population of Polk County exceeds 75,000 residents.