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Union County, located in the northeastern part of Oregon, has a rich and interesting history that spans back to the early 1800s. Here are seven interesting facts about Union County in Oregon history that you may not know.

1. The region that is now Union County was once inhabited by several Native American tribes, including the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Nez Perce. The tribes were known for their hunting, fishing, and horseback-riding skills.

2. The Oregon Trail, which played a vital role in the westward expansion of the United States, passed through Union County in the mid-1800s. Many settlers traveled through the region on their way to the Willamette Valley in western Oregon.

3. La Grande, the largest city in Union County, was once a major hub for the Union Pacific Railroad. The city was established in the 1860s by French settlers who named it after their hometown in France.

4. The gold rush of the late 1800s brought many prospectors to Union County, who were seeking their fortunes in the mines. The town of Sumpter, located in the southern part of the county, was once a bustling mining town that is now a popular tourist destination.

5. The Grande Ronde Valley, located in the eastern part of Union County, was once a major center for cattle ranching. The valley was home to some of the largest cattle ranches in the state during the early 1900s.

6. In the early 1900s, Union County was known as the "breadbasket of the Pacific Northwest" due to its prolific wheat production. The county was also known for its fruit orchards and vegetable farms.

7. Union County is home to several historic sites, including the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, the Sumpter Valley Railroad Depot, and the Eastern Oregon Fire Museum. These sites offer a glimpse into Union County's fascinating past and are popular tourist destinations.

Overall, Union County has a diverse and intriguing history that showcases the region's natural resources, pioneering spirit, and cultural heritage. Whether you are a history buff or a casual visitor, there is always something interesting to discover in Union County.

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