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Union County Oregon


Page Contents for Elgin, Oregon

Statistics & Facts

History & History-related items

City Attractions


Community events.



Statistics & Facts

The Oregon state capital is Salem.
The population of Elgin is approximately 1711 (2010).
The approximate number of families is 652 (1990), 714 (2010).
The amount of land area in Elgin is 2.646 sq. kilometers.
The amount of surface water is 0 sq kilometers.
The distance from Elgin to Washington DC is 2210 miles.
The distance to the Oregon state capital is 264 miles. (as the crow flies)
Elgin is positioned 45.56 degrees north of the equator and 117.92 degrees west of the prime meridian.
Elgin elevation is 2660 feet above sea level.

History & History Related Items

The Elgin post office was established on September 28, 1885 with William Hamilton as postmaster. At the time that the application for the post office was made, as the story goes, Mr. Hamilton heard his neice and nephew singing a very popular song at that time called "Lost on the Lady Elgin." Being very impressed with the song, he suggested the name for Elgin.The song was written in memory of a steamer that sank in the Great Lakes at the turn of the century

Indian Valley is nestled against a backdrop of mountains, the Wallowas to the East and the Blues to the West. This location gives Elgin the best of two worlds; a thriving community, and nature at its finest.

The Indians called this area Hunaha. It extends from the mouth of Indian Valley, where the Grande Ronde narrows as it flowsthrough a small canyon, down the to the confluence of the Grande Ronde and Wallowa Rivers. Lochow Lochow, "lovely little forest", was the central Indian camp for the Nez Perce. Here the Indians harvested wild vegetables, fruit, fish and game through the summer months. They smoked and dried the excess for winter use.

The building of a bridge across the Grande Ronde River in 1878 brought through a great deal of traffic and soon a commercial settlement was established. Indian Valley had been a gathering place for settlers during the Indian Wars of 1878 due to a blockhouse known as Fort Baker. Named for its commander, it was built where the present-day Elgin City Hall now stands.

Dunham Guild built the first hotel, another hotel followed built by J.R. Johnson. Dr. J. W. Snyder established a drug store operated by Snyer and W.H. Galloway.

By 1870, the Indian Creek region had a school opened, followed by the first organized school in Elgin around 1877. The school building was located on the Galloway farm, north of the present-day city of Elgin. The blackboard was made from a box side painted black. The chalk was obtained from a natural chalk bank located on Indian Creek. In the 1870's and 1880's, all the schools in the Grande Ronde Valley obtained their chalk from this source. A new school was built in 1880, west of the present-day city of Elgin.

When the railroad came on October 25, 1890, the town put on a big banquet and program. Elgin now was the shipping point for the north end of the county and all of Wallowa County. The town boomed. By 1901, the city of Elgin had a pressure water system, electricity, 56 businesses and 18 sawmills. The trade to Wallowa flourished.

Disheartenly, the extension of train service to Wallowa County stopped the freight and stage traffic. Elgin slumped even though agriculture was still a big business. When Bill Moore built the Pondosa Pine Lumber Company to manufacture wood specialty products, his business caused both him and Elgin to prosper. On his death, the plant changed hands, and in time the plant closed down.

Northeastern Oregon defines all four seasons perfectly. The white winters, are a dream come true for skiers and snowmobilers. The warm days of summer, when hardly a cloud enters the sky, are great for camping, hiking and water recreation. Autumn is a subtle blend of warm colors, bright days and crisp nights. Spring refreshes and delights all with its rains, and many wild flowers, which bloom in every field and meadow. The beauty and wonder of this area have to be experienced to be truly comprehended. It is but a few who do not return to thispart of the country once they have experienced it; such is the strength of the provocative lure of Northeastern Oregon.

The Indians knew it to be a beautiful setting for a gathering place, long before the white man ever saw it. It has retained itsbeauty for the pleasure of today's visitors. Some of the tall trees that shade us also shaded our native brothers and sisters manyyears ago.
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The settling of Elgin

25 September 1885


Historic Elgin Opera House: The Elgin Opera House is a two story Colonial style brick building with a dressed stone foundation. Completed in 1912, it is somewhat unique in being designed to serve the dual functions of housing city government offices and a theater.

At its dedication during the July 4, 1912 celebration, the Opera House was lauded as one of the finest because of its sharp acoustics and slanted seating arrangement. It was complete with plush draperies, box seats, an orchestra pit, elaborate backdrops and a rococo decor. The Opera House has been newly renovated and features its original motif. The architectural beauty and historic background of the building made it a natural addition to the National Register of Historic Buildings.Many Arts Council and community events are scheduled at the Opera House. The Opera House Theater shows first run movies daily;
Early 1900 Architecture Homes, Community Center-(Library, Meetings Swimming Pool, 3 City parks, Little League Ballfields, Stampede Rodeo Grounds and Hall; Elgin School District Facilities: Ball fields, Basketball Courts, Playgrounds, Tennis Courts; Rockwall Escarpment and Ice Caves, Grande Ronde River, Lookout Mountain, Jubilee Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness Area, Minam Canyon and Scenic River, Hells Canyon, Wallowa River and Wallowa Lake, Wildlife: Elk, Deer, Cougar, Bear, Trout, Steelhead, Forests: Wildflowers, Mushrooms and Berries, Grande Ronde Valley

Historical Indian Fish Trap Site, Fremont Trail, Oregon Trail, Spout Springs Ski Resort, Looking Glass Fish Hatchery, Big Canyon Fish Hatchery

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Elgin City Government

Elgin City Office
100 N 8th Ave.
Elgin, OR 97827
Phone: 541-437-2253

Elgin Community Events

February: Stampede Crab Feed
March: Chamber of Commerce Banquet
April: Community Center Auction
May: Fishing Season Opens
June: Elgin Riverfest: The Elgin Riverfest is an annual festival focusing on the City's most prominent natural resource, the Grande Ronde River. TheRiverfest events include a model boat race, rafting tours on the river and the Ride-Run-Raft triathlon.

Other activities include cowboy poetry, arts and craft displays and a variety of food and other vendors. The two day event is held in mid June.
July: Elgin Stampede: The area's cowboy history is kept alive with an annual P.R.C.A. rodeo and other cowboy/cowgirl fun during the second weekend of July.

Family night events include the kids sheep and calves ride and the adults wildhorse ride and range cow milking. A kiddies parade featuring the young cowboy and cowgirl stars of the future is held Saturday morning. The first round of P.R.C.A. competition is Saturday evening.

A parade of floats, horses and riders and other interesting and creative entries is held Sunday morning. The second round ofthe rodeo is held Sunday afternoon.

Along with the rodeo, the weekend features a western dance in the Stampede Hall and a concert performance by a nationallyknown artist.
August/September: Bow Hunting
October: Big Game Hunting
November: Night Light Parade

Elgin Libraries

Elgin Public Library
260 N 10th Ave.
Elgin, OR 97827
Phone: 541-437-5931

Elgin Schools

Elementary: 400 pupils; High School: 200 pupils; two private pre-schools; Head Start; Eastern Oregon State College (20 miles away)

Elgin School District 23
111 S 15th St.
Elgin, OR 97827
Phone: 541-437-1211

Elgin High School
1400 Birch St.
Elgin, OR 97827
Phone: 541-437-2021

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