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7 Pieces Of History Near Elmira, OR

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Elmira, Oregon may not be a household name, but this small town has been the site of some important historical events. From military battles to cultural landmarks, here are seven historical events that have taken place near Elmira.

1. Cholera Outbreak of 1852

In 1852, a cholera outbreak swept through Oregon, killing an estimated 10% of the population. Elmira, then a small settlement known as Fern Ridge, was one of the hardest hit areas. The disease, which causes severe dehydration and diarrhea, was spread by contaminated water and poor sanitation. Many of those who died were travelers on the Oregon Trail, making the outbreak one of the deadliest in the history of the westward migration.

2. Battle of Kelly Butte

During the Rogue River Wars of the 1850s, settlers in Oregon were frequently in conflict with the local Native American tribes. One of the most significant battles of this time took place near Elmira in 1855 at Kelly Butte. A force of 300 settlers and soldiers engaged a group of 400-500 Native Americans led by Chiefs Limpy and Jo. The settlers were able to drive back the Native Americans, but not without sustaining significant losses.

3. The Oregon Electric Railway

The Oregon Electric Railway system, which operated from 1907 to 1933, was a major transportation system in the Pacific Northwest. It was built by former senator Ben Holladay, who hoped it would connect Portland to California. The railway passed through Elmira, which was a hub for the Fern Ridge region. Many people relied on the railway for transportation to work and leisure activities, and it played a key role in the growth of the region.

4. The Adams House

The Adams House, located near Elmira, was built in 1850 and is one of the oldest homes in Lane County. It was originally owned by John Adams, who was a prominent figure in the community and one of the founders of the nearby town of Junction City. The house was also used as a stop on the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used to help slaves escape to freedom.

5. The John W. DeMoss House

The John W. DeMoss House, located in Elmira, was built in 1888 and is a prime example of Victorian architecture. The house was owned by John W. DeMoss, a prominent businessman in the area. The DeMoss family was also known for their philanthropy, and the house was used for various community events throughout the years.

6. The Eugene Saturday Market

The Eugene Saturday Market, which started in 1970, is one of the oldest and most well-known outdoor markets in the country. The market operates every Saturday from April through November and features handmade crafts, local produce, and live music. Many vendors and visitors traveled through Elmira to get to the market, making it an important part of the local economy.

7. The Oregon Country Fair

The Oregon Country Fair, which began in 1969, is an annual three-day festival held near Elmira. It celebrates the arts, crafts, and cultures of the Pacific Northwest and draws thousands of visitors each year. The fair is known for its countercultural roots and emphasis on sustainability, making it a unique and important event in the region's history.

In conclusion, Elmira, Oregon may be a small town, but it has played a significant role in the history of the Pacific Northwest. From battles to cultural landmarks, there is much to discover in this historic area.
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