BEND, OR -- Oregon is 160 years old this Valentine's Day. Deschutes Historical Museum Executive Director Kelly Cannon-Miller says Oregon joined the union as a free state just before the Civil War, and the state's history is marked by adventure, innovation, and a clear sense of identity. "Oregon is actually, this incredibly diverse place in terms of its resources, and it's a part of the country - along the whole continent of North America - that's rewriting history."
From the westward expansion and the Oregon Trail, our state has a storied past that's richer than many may realize. Oregon claims the oldest American settlement west of the Mississippi and two archeological dig sites appear to prove people lived in the area even longer than originally thought, "Oregon has a tremendous amount of myth and legend around it in American history. There's this tremendous amount of romantic notion of how the west was settled," Cannon-Miller tells KBND News, "And it all happens under Oregon's name." She adds, "One of the other fantastic things about our state is how different it is from the eastern edge to the western edge. You've got a little bit of everything from the Alvord Desert on one side, to the beaches at Tillamook on the other side."
Cannon-Miller suggests learning a few fun facts about our state, on its birthday. OregonEncyclopedia.org has thousands of pieces of information, ranging from the obscure to the historical, the famous, and the infamous. For example, Bobbie the Wonder Dog hails from Silverton, one of the richest men in history - John Jacob Astor - lived on the coast, and one of the state's most popular Governors - Tom McCall - is from Central Oregon.