Baker County, Oregon Timeline

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United States > Oregon > Baker County > Baker County Timeline

The following important events in the history of Baker County affected political jurisdictions, family movements, and record keeping.



  • 1862: Gold discoveries at Auburn and Clarks Creek.
  • 22 September 1862: Baker County was created from the division of Wasco County as the result of the gold rush to Blue Canyon area. The original county seat was at Auburn.
  • 1863: Gold discovery at Sparta
  • 14 October 1864: Union County was set off from Baker County, including what was known as the Panhandle.
  • 1869: Baker City was founded.
  • 1869: The first courthouse was built. It was a small two-story wooden building.
  • 1874: Baker City was incorporated.
  • 7 December 1874: First Wingville Grange, no. 150, was organized. It was disbanded in 1888. Records were losted when the schoolhouse where the Grange was located burned down in 1904.
  • 8 April 1878: Wingville cemetery was started as the result of an epidemic of diphtheria.
  • 1884: The railroads linking the Northwest with the East was at Huntington when Oregon Short Line, a Union Pacific subsidiary, was joined with Oregon Railway and Navigation Companies in a spike driving ceremony.
  • 1885: The second courthouse was built on the same site as the wooden building. It was a brick building.
  • 1889: Washauer Hotel was built in Baker City. It was a vast expense for its time, the cost was $65,000. The Geiser family bought the hotel and renamed it as Geiser Grand Hotel, to this day. The hotel was closed in 1978 in decay. See 1998.
  • 17 February 1887: Malheur County was set off from Baker County.


  • 1 February 1901: The Panhandle region of Union County was taken away and returned to Baker County in response to a miscarriage of justice in Union, Oregon. The cities and towns in the region being transferred were Halfway, New Bridge, Richland and Sparta.
  • 1908: Halfway was incoporated.
  • 1909: The current county courthouse was built and opened on the same site as previous smaller courthouses. The building was constructed of gray volanic stone quarried few miles south of the city.
  • 1911: The name of the city of Baker City was changed to Baker.
  • 27 March 1917: Richland was incorporated
  • 13 August 1917: A devasting fire wiped out much of the heart of Sumpter.
  • 27 October 1924: Wingville Grange was organized.
  • 1933: Wingville Home Economic Club was organized with Pearl Seig as first president.
  • 1989: The voters of Baker City voted to restore the name of Baker City.
  • 1991: Oregon Trail Interpretative Center was opened atop the Flagstaff Hill, overlooking the remains of the Oregon Trail tracks.
  • 1998: Geiser Grand Hotel was reopened after much of restoration and renovation, including restoration of the cupola and tower.