History is everywhere around these parts. Fall under the seductive spell of the Willamette Valley’s rich legacy of dreaming and doing, where every step tells a story.
Oregon’s Korean War Memorial
In the heart of Wilsonville’s Town Center Park is the Korean War Memorial. A 109-foot long wall of remembrance honors the names of 287 Oregon servicemen who served and gave their lives in the Korean War. The elegant, understated memorial is lined with cherry trees and walking paths for a contemplative visit. Make a plan to join us in Wilsonville for the annual Korean War Memorial Remembrance Ceremony.
McMenamins Old Church & Pub
Explore the intersection of yesteryear and new beginnings at McMenamins Old Church and Pub in Wilsonville. Crafted from the old pieces of a 100-year-old hop barn and historic church, the restaurant and pub have been brought to life with artwork that captures the spirit of our pioneer past. Grab a pint of beer and wander the collective history of this unique building. Bring your McMenamins passport to get stamped (no purchase is necessary) and attend one of their upcoming parties and events that qualify for a special event stamp.
Pioneer History & Cemeteries
Our forbearers once navigated their way across the Willamette River on handmade rafts. These days, you (and your car) can cross the mighty waterway on the iconic Canby Ferry. Located eight short miles east of Wilsonville, the charming ferry has shuttled people across the Willamette River since 1914. For a few dollars you get scenery, tranquility and a little slice of Oregon history.
The long-gone pioneer town of Champoeg was the site where Oregon’s first provisional government was formed in 1843. Champoeg State Heritage Area is now an homage to frontier living. Tour the park’s visitor center, historic Newell House and Pioneer Mothers Memorial Cabin to learn about life at Chapoeg. The park also includes the Historic Butteville Store. Founded in 1863, it is possibly the oldest operating store in Oregon.
Pioneer history runs deep across the Willamette Valley, as manifested by the abundance of pioneer cemeteries dotting the landscape. Lone Fir Cemetery in Portland is one of the oldest cemeteries in Portland and is the final resting place of gutsy pioneers, politicians, early Chinese workers and city founders. Pleasant View Cemetery in Sherwood was established in the 1850s and is full of unmarked graves that tell untold stories of ambition, tragedy, fresh starts and final moments. Founded in the late 1800s, Stafford Baptist Cemetery (located off of Gage Road in Wilsonville) is a 10-acre country cemetery located just north of another pioneer landmark, Robert Bird Cemetery. One of the oldest pioneer cemeteries in the area is the Butteville Cemetery, established in 1836. It is located in the French Prairie, near the historic Champoeg State Heritage Area.
Take a Leap Back in Time
For a giant leap back into the depths of our area’s history, take a self-guided walking tour of the Tualatin Ice Age Discovery Trail. Follow an interpretive trail that explores an 18,0000-year legacy of ice, rock and bones and tells the story of a landscape re-shaped by massive floods beyond anything in recorded history.
Head to the End of the Oregon Trail
Immerse yourself in Oregon Trail history at The End of the Oregon Trail interpretive center in Oregon City. The museum and visitor center provide genealogy assistance, interactive exhibits, interpretive trails, pioneer lawn games and a heritage garden for wandering and wondering.
Finish your day of hunting history with a visit to the Museum of the Oregon Territory, perched above the Willamette Falls in Oregon City. Take a self-guided tour that spans 10,000 years of artifacts and displays, from prehistoric times through the 20th century. Explore the family history research library and find out if your family has roots on the Oregon Trail. And capture a view of the majestic Willamette Falls from almost every room in the building.
Have questions about the best places to explore history in Wilsonville? Contact us and we’ll point you in the right direction.