• History Timeline

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    Each month, the Historic Timeline, written by Mary Norwell and Pete Manderfield, examine important events that happened 10, 25, 50, and 100 years ago.
    A Ford advertisement from 1922 for the following year. Read more to see how the prices have changed in 100 years.

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  • History Timeline

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    Each month, the Historic Timeline, written by Mary Norwell and Pete Manderfield, examine important events that happened 10, 25, 50, and 100 years ago.

    Oregon Summer Fest has been a summer tradition for many summers. In this photo, we see a huge crowd enjoying the parade .
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  • Summer Hours

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    Come visit us at the museum! We are operating on our Summer Hours so we are here every Saturday until the end of August!

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DONATE NOW

Thank you for considering a donation to support our mission of preserving Oregon’s history.  Your support allows us to continue collecting, preserving and sharing history with the general public, educators, schools, researchers, associations and clubs.

The Oregon Area Historical Society is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization and your donation is tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Option 1
A donation to our general operating fund can be made by debit or credit card.
*Click the link below to make your donation.

Option 2
Donations can be made to our Relocation Fund.  This fund is a dedicated fund for the purpose of a new museum site whether new construction or renovation of an existing building.

Option 3
Mail a donation by check to:
Oregon Area Historical Society
PO Box 262
Oregon, WI 53575

Or drop off your donation at the museum during normal operating hours at:
159 West Lincoln Street
Oregon, WI 53575

     OREGON AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY ONLINE DONATION



 

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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.

EARLY SETTLERS (1840’s)

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.

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1931TrainStationA look back to when Oregon had a passenger train!  Lil Eckmann Robinson and Marie Frisch boarding a train at the Oregon depot in 1931, probably doing to Madison.  This photo was taken by Don McGill.
Marie Frisch was listed as a teacher in Oregon (1930 census).  Her pal, Lil, had married in 1931.

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exchange-hotel-2The first hotel in Oregon is the EXCHANGE HOTEL, which was built in 1845 on the south side of the square. This business failed and the hotel was then purchased by Richard Chandler. It became known as the CHANDLER HOTEL.

This was a booming business! It was reported that on some days 150 pounds of meat were consumed. One day in the 1880’s, local butchers, Doolittle and Hanan, supplied the hotel with 400 pounds of meat.

In 1885, the hotel burned down, and later, in 1898, Charles W. Netherwood built the present Netherwood block.

Another early hotel, the OREGON HOTEL (Depot/Railroad Hotel) was located near the railroad depot on the north side of W. Lincoln and Market Streets. The primary customers were the salesmen. They would arrive on the train, stay for a few days and take orders from the local merchants. (This site was home to the Allen Lumber Co. and now houses the Oregon Area Historical Society Museum).

This hotel was also the victim of fire and burned down in May of 1906. The fire bell went off in the middle of graduation ceremonies at Cronk’s Opera House. The graduation ceremony was put on hold, as the fathers, grandfathers, and others dealt with the fire.

From Jerry, 7/21/16–While I was gathering info. for the 1916 August history timeline, I found this note in the Observer.

“A deal was consummated Monday whereby W.  N. Gillette becomes the owner of the old hotel near the depot, recently used as a sale barn.  C. E. Robinson, who owned this property, takes a residence in Stoughton.   Mr. Gillette will wreak the building and build two modern residences in the near future.”

grand-central-hotel2A third Hotel was the GRAND CENTRAL/PORTLAND HOTEL.  This is the present site of Madsen Park. Originally on this site was a home owned by John D. Tipple and later owned by J.P. Main. The house burned in 1873. The Grand Central Hotel was built between 1880-1883.

In the early days, this hotel was managed by the Monks. They had managed the Chandler Hotel until it burned in 1885, and then took over the Grand Central. Mr. and Mrs. John Walters ran a hotel in Stoughton for a few years and in 1894, they bought the Grand Central Hotel.

In 1898, the STATE JOURNAL reported that traveling men agreed the hotel to be one of the three best hotels in Dane County, outside of Madison—“originally like a large New England house, beds are the soft sleepy kind that cause one to dream of mother and apples dropping in the orchard while the night wind shakes the rafters.”

At some point, the name was changed to the Portland Hotel. After the hotel business declined, the front sections were owned and operated by various businesses and the back section was used as a home and for a few rental rooms.

 

Oregon Area Historical Society

Paulson, Florice. A Walk Back in History: Did you Know?

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