The city of Eugene, Oregon was named after Eugene Skinner, a settler who built a cabin in the area in the 1840s. Skinner is also credited with founding the city.
Wheeler County, located in the state of Oregon, has a rich and diverse history that stretches back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Northern Paiute and Warm Springs tribes, who relied on the land’s resources for hunting, gathering, and fishing. Explorers and fur traders from Europe and the United States arrived in the early 19th century, establishing trade relations with these tribes.

During the mid-1800s, settlers began arriving in what is now Wheeler County, attracted by the promise of fertile land and abundant natural resources. The area quickly became known for its agricultural potential, particularly for wheat and livestock farming. The town of Mitchell, established in 1883, became the county seat and a hub of economic activity.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries brought significant changes and challenges to Wheeler County. The construction of the Oregonian Railway in the 1880s provided better transportation links to major cities in the region and helped facilitate the growing agricultural industry. However, natural disasters such as droughts and wildfires often threatened the livelihoods of residents.

With the decline of agricultural dependency in the 20th century, Wheeler County began to shift towards a more tourism-oriented economy. The county’s stunning natural landscapes, including parts of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, drew visitors from around the world. Today, Wheeler County continues to balance its agricultural roots with a growing emphasis on tourism and recreation, making it a unique and vibrant part of Oregon's history and landscape.

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

  • 1862 - Wheeler County was established on February 17th as a provisional county of Oregon Territory.
  • 1871 - The county seat of Wheeler County was established in Fossil.
  • 1880 - The Oregon Railway and Navigation Company was constructed through the county, boosting transportation and development.
  • 1899 - The Oregon Legislature officially approved the formation of Wheeler County on February 17th.
  • 1905 - The Antelope Post Office was established, becoming a key hub of the county.
  • 1945 - Wheeler County celebrated its 75th anniversary on February 17th.
  • 1964 - The Painted Hills, part of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, was established as a protected area in Wheeler County.
  • 1972 - The Wheeler County Courthouse, built in 1902, was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1994 - Fossil Beds National Monument expanded to include the Clarno Unit, further preserving the county's unique geological features.
  • 2000 - The population of Wheeler County reached its peak at 1,547 residents.
  • 2017 - Wheeler County celebrated its 155th anniversary on February 17th.