Joel Perkins was 23 years old when he and several relatives traveled the Oregon Trail from Indiana in 1844. He quickly settled a land claim and, in December 1846, established the town of Lafayette, which the Oregon Provisional Government recognized as Yamhill County’s first county seat. Perkins made himself the town’s clerk, and when he officially platted it in 1849, he donated a full block to be used as the …
Formed in 1943, the all-Black 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion was the first opportunity for African American officers and enlisted men to become paratroopers in the segregated US Army during World War II.
Balloon Bomb Blazes
In 1944-45, Japan launched balloon bombs eastward across the Pacific to set US west coast forests ablaze and cause civilian panic. In May 1945, the military ordered the “Triple Nickles” on a classified mission, code named “Operation …
On August 28 2017, the Oregon Heritage Tree Program celebrated the induction of Oregon’s Grove of the States, a historic arboretum containing trees for each US state and the District of Columbia.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, ODOT director Matt Garrett and members of the Oregon Travel Information Council joined the Oregon Heritage Tree Committee to commemorate the day and induct the Grove as Heritage Trees. The local Boy Scout Troop …
The Oregon Heritage Tree Program awarded 2017 Maynard C. Drawson Memorial Award to educator and arborist Paul Ries. Ries will receive a plaque recognizing his contributions to preserving Oregon’s notable trees.
Ries was a founding member of the Oregon Heritage Tree Program and personal friend to Maynard Drawson. Drawson is considered to be the founding father of the program; the award was created in 2015 as a way to honor his …
In 1967 Oregon Attorney General Robert Y. Thornton hosted the 61st annual conference of the National Association of Attorneys General in Portland. As part of a conference event, Thornton planned for the Grove of the States as an homage to First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, and her work fostering the 1965 Highway Beautification Act. The First Lady pushed hard for freeway right-of-ways filled with green landscaping and wildflowers instead of …
Shaggy bark from Western Juniper
J.W. P. Huntington
The Target Tree, one of the Junipers in the Grove.
Following the line of a very old Native American Trail, the Huntington Wagon Road was marked by J.W. Petit Huntington in 1864 as a route between The Dalles and Fort Klamath. When the road was firmly established, it was used by prospectors, homesteaders, soldiers, and tradesman. Warm Springs Indian scouts frequently used the road in …
A.M. Drake original homestead lodge and several of the Ponderosa Pines
Plaque marking the area of the A.M. Drake Homestead
Pinecone from the Ponderosa Pine
A.M. and Florence Drake arrived in Central Oregon in June 1900. As they made their way through the homeland of the Northern Paiute tribes and alongside the Deschutes River in a covered wagon, the Drakes stopped to assess their surroundings and make camp. It is reported the couple butted …
Last year, a motivated group of volunteers showed up to push wheelbarrows, swing shovels, and plant 20 replacement trees at the Grove of the States (located at French Prairie Rest Area southbound). Among the many volunteers were two members of the Oregon Travel Information Council (Chair Gwenn Baldwin and Mike Marsh) and OTE Executive Director Nancy DeSouza.
[Make sure to visit the image gallery at the bottom of this page, it …
What is this project about?
Oregon’s Grove of the States is located at the French Prairie Rest Area (southbound I-5 at Milepost 281), near Wilsonville. The Grove is believed to be the oldest arboretum of state trees in the US and was originally a collection of trees from 53 US states and territories. The concept for the Grove was conceived and implemented by former Oregon Attorney General Robert Thornton in the mid-1960s as a way …