July in Oregon History

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July 1


Physician, researcher, and writer Alan Hart, one of the first female-to-male transsexuals to undergo a hysterectomy in the United States and live the reminder of his life as a man, dies in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1962. Hart spent some is his childhood in Albany, Oregon, and attended Albant College. 

July 2

The first major gay rights victory in Oregon was the legislative repeal of the sodomy law on July 2, 1971, which took effect on January 1, 1972.

July 3

George Flavel—sea captain, businessman, and one of the richest men in Oregon—died at his Astoria home on July 3, 1893, after a long illness. His funeral procession was one of the largest ever reported in Astoria.

July 4 

elgin opera house  





The Elgin Opera House, pride of the town of Elgin, Oregon, in the Blue Mountains of Union County, was dedicated on July 4, 1912.


July 5

Jesse Applegate, an influential early Oregon settler who is most remembered for his leadership role in establishing the Applegate Trail, is born in Kentucky on July 5, 1811

Oregon's white population votes on July 5, 1843, to prohibit slavery by incorporating into Oregon's 1843 Organic laws a provision of the 1787 Northwest Ordinance.

July 6

Sylvester Pennoyer, a Democratic governor (1887-1895) and mayor of Portland (1896-1898) in a time when Oregon was an overwhelmingly Republican state, was born in Groton, New York, on July 6, 1831.

July 7

Trumpeter Carl H. "Doc" Severinsen, longtime music director for Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show and the designer and manufacturer of instruments, is born on July 7, 1927, in Arlington on the Columbia River. 

July 8




Ada Hastings Hedges, “one of the most finished poets in America,” according to the Oregon Journal poetry editor, died in Portland on July 8, 1980.



July 9

Portland businessman, mayor, and philanthropist Josiah Failing was born in Montgomery County, New York, on July 9, 1806.

July 10

In 1925, a mob forced a Japanese labor crew to leave Toledo, a community of about 2,500 people on the central Oregon coast. The incident led to a wrongful act lawsuit that for the first time found leaders of a mob guilty of civil rights violations. When the new workers arrived by train on July 10, 1925, mill supervisors assured them that they were welcome in Toledo. Two days later, a local mob of about fifty men, urged on by two hundred vocal women and children, forced twenty-seven Japanese (two with families), four Filipinos, and one Korean onto trucks and cars and drove them fifty miles to the train depot in Corvallis. The event became known as the Toledo Incident.

July 11

The Marion County Historical Society was founded in Salem on July 11, 1950, in an unsuccessful effort to save the building that housed Oregon’s first state legislature. 

July 12

On July 12, 1834, David Douglas met his end in Hawaii, trampled by a bullock in a deep pit designed to capture cattle.

July 13

On July 13, 2002, a series of electrical storms passed over southwestern Oregon's Siskiyou Mountains. That afternoon's barrage of lightning strikes ignited five separate fires inside the vast Kalmiopsis Wilderness. Burning for well over four months in remote and rugged terrain, by early August the fires had grown together into a single conflagration. The U.S. Forest Service dubbed it the Biscuit Fire.

July 14

  julius meier       Julius Meier, Oregon’s governor during the darkest years of the Great Depression, died of a heart attack on July 14, 1937.


July 15


Albert Raddin Sweetser, an Oregon State Biologist and an early conservationist who established the University of Oregon Herbarium, is born in Mendon, Massachusetts, on July 15, 1861.  

July 16

Larry Jansen, a two-time All Star and one of the top pitchers in Major League Baseball during the late 1940s and early 1950s, is born on July 16, 1920, in Verboot, near Forest Grove.

July 17


On July 17, 1926, Claude C. Jensen and John G. von Herberg, owners of over thirty silent movie theaters from Los Angeles to Seattle, opened the 1,500-seat Hollywood Theatre with great fanfare. Rose City Park residents in northeast Portland were so impressed with the building's beauty that they renamed their neighborhood the Hollywood District.

July 18

A century after being hunted to extinction on the Oregon Coast, the first release of twenty-nine sea otters arrived at Cape Blanco Coast Guard airstrip on July 18, 1970. They were transferred to a temporary floating sea cage at Port Orford for observation and towed to Orford Reef kelp beds for release.

July 19










On March 19, 1894, the Mazamas, a mountain climbing club named after the Spanish name for a mountain goat, made its charter climb of Mt. Hood. The first group reached the summit by nine o’clock. Most of the climbers began the descent in cold wind and threatening clouds, and others straggled up the mountain for hours. Dozens quit, as descending groups advised them to go back. The temperature was about 34° F, and a raw wind chilled climbers to the bone. The officers staged their organizational meeting on the summit at three that afternoon. Will Steel was elected president. A summit "banquet" was canceled, and the Mazamas played the old mountain game of "run-for-your-life."



July 20

In 1850, Anson Dart (1797-1879), of Wisconsin, was appointed as the first superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Oregon Territory. He received his orders on July 20, 1850, and arrived in Oregon in October with his secretary, P. C. Dart. His mission was to negotiate treaties between the federal government and tribal nations.

July 21

On July 21, 1905, Daniel Norman Williams was the sixty-sixth and last man publicly hanged in Oregon. In May 1904, in State of Oregon v. Norman Williams, an Oregon jury made legal history by convicting a man of murder without having a body as evidence. In a legal system based on precedent, the case continues to be cited in murder cases today. 

July 22

Wayne Morse, U.S. senator from Oregon from 1945 to1969, cast one of the two votes against the 1964 Tonkin Gulf resolution, which gave congressional approval to America's enlarged military involvement in Vietnam. He died suddenly on July 22, 1974, in the midst of a vigorous campaign to reclaim his seat from Senator Robert Packwood.

July 23

Mae Harrington, the first woman to hold a position on a hospital staff in Oregon, was born in Cherry Hill, Pennsylvania, on July 23, 1853.

July 24

National Lampoon's Animal House, filmed in Eugene, premiered in New York City on July 24, 1978. In August, the movie had its Oregon premiere in Portland, with many of the extras from Eugene and Cottage Grove in attendance.

Gus Van Sant, Oregon’s most celebrated filmmaker, is born in Louisville, Kentucky, on July 24, 1952.

July 25

old st peters    

Old St. Peter’s Landmark, a former Roman Catholic church located at the corner of Third and Lincoln Streets, has been a distinctive feature in The Dalles since its completion in 1898. In its early years, steamboat captains on the Columbia Riverand surveyors used the church’s steeple as a navigational tool or benchmark. The cornerstone was laid and blessed by Archbishop William Hickley Gross on July 25, 1897, and the church was dedicated on March 17, 1898. 



July 26

Richard Wiley, one of Oregon’s most successful commercial artists who is best known for his illustrations of the Dick and Jane reading series, is born July 26, 1919, in Lynchburg, Virginia.

July 27

By the late 1880s, Albina, located across the Willamette River from Portland, was the fastest growing city in Oregon. In July 1891, the city was annexed by the City of Portland, which at the time existed only on the west side of the river.

July 28

On July 28, 2000, snowboarder Chris Klug received a transplanted liver and four months later was back on the World Cup circuit. Within six months, he had won the FIS World Cup in Parallel Giant Slalom. The next year, he competed in the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, where he fulfilled a life-long dream and won the bronze medal. He was the first organ transplant recipient in history to win an Olympic medal.

July 29

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation honors Theodore “Ted” Stern, a leading authority on the linguistics and anthropology of the Klamath and Nez Perce people of the eastern Oregon plateau, as “Dr. Theodore Stern Day.”

July 30

trojan       Construction of the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant in Columbia County, Oregon’s only nuclear-generating plant, about twelve miles north of St. Helens, begins on July 30, 1968. 

July 31 

Melville Jacobs, who did more to document the languages, cultures, oral traditions, and music of Oregon's Native peoples than any other scholar, dies on July 31, 1971.