• With One Shot

    The Oregon Area Historical Society presents
    Dorothy Marcic, author of “With One Shot—Family Murder and a Search for Justice,” who will speak about her book and answer questions.
    Sunday, April 15
    Firefly Coffeehouse & Artisan Cheese Shop
    114 North Main Street
    Oregon, Wisconsin
    Click 'Read More' for More Information.
    read more
    slider image
  • Available Now!

    The Oregon book is now available!
    The book is part of Arcadia Publishing Company’s “Image of America” series. OAHS volunteers, Joann Swenson, Melanie Woodworth, Jerry Neath, Dixie Brown, and An Morris authored the book. Books are available at the OAHS museum and at the Oregon Area Senior Center.
    Click 'Read More' to Order Your Book today!
    read more
    slider image
  • Wanted: Wedding Dresses

    June is a very popular month for weddings.
    The OAHS plans to set up a display of wedding dresses over time (1920’s, 30’s, 40’s 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s).
    We need your help! Click 'Read More'.
    read more
    slider image

Areas of Interest:

home title

Biographies of Early SettlersPowers Grocery wagon

Read about the lives and careers of some of Oregon’s early settlers.

Cemetery Records

The OAHS now has an extensive collection of cemetery records for area cemeteries.

Family Genealogy – Contribute to Oregon’s Historical Archives!

Help us collect & preserve the history of the Oregon area.  Share your history with us.  Please call us at 608.835.8961 or email us at info@oregonareahistoricalsociety.org.

Family Files Project

Family Files serve as the core for our genealogical resources. A file may include genealogical charts, family histories and memories, obituaries, newspaper clippings, census records, photographs and other documents pertaining to the life of your family and ancestors.

Historic Homes

View photos and information on historic homes in Oregon.

Lincoln Street Historic District

View photos and information about the homes and families who lived on Historic Lincoln Street.

Historic Photographs

View Historic Photos from our collection.


home title
Rural school displayEmigrants from New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Ireland started to settle in this area in the 1840’s. After clearing the land and building shelters for their family and livestock, they then established the schools. It was the custom of farmers to deed an acre of land to the school district. Schools were often named for the donor or the topography of the land.

The OAHS has placed markers where all the rural schools were located.

Read about the Rural School House project


home title

Early Settlers displayLEAD TRAIL

Early trails, often based on Indian trails, became stagecoach and mail routes. As the lead industry in southwestern Wisconsin expanded in the 1830’s following the Blackhawk War, trails were developed over the highland ridges eastward across to Milwaukee and Racine. Two of these Lead Trails, which passed through our area, influenced the development of our early settlements. The lead ore was transported by canvas covered wagons pulled by teams of 4 to 8 oxen.


The first settlement in the area can be attributed to Bartley Runey who built a log cabin in 1841 just south of the present day Village of Oregon at the junction of Union Road and Old Stage Road, located along the “Old Lead Trail.” The tavern that he established there became a favorite stopping place for teamsters hauling lead from Mineral Point to Milwaukee. It was also located along the mail route from Janesville to Madison.

Robert Thomson, the first settler in what was to become the Village of Oregon, built a log cabin in 1842 along the banks of what is now Thompson’s Creek, near Janesville and S. Perry Parkway. A large Victorian farmhouse, built on the property in 1889 by Robert’s nephew, George Thomson, has since been moved to a site outside the village.

C.P. Mosely was one of the first settlers in the Village of Oregon. He built a part log, part frame house and tavern in 1843 near the site of the present day water tower on Janesville Street. It served as a place for religious and business meetings for the early settlers and became the nucleus of the central village area. It was later purchased by I.M. Bennett and operated as a country general store and tavern. The initial meetings organizing the Presbyterian Church were held there.