Significant Events in the Historic Preservation Movement in Oregon

By Potter, Elisabeth Walton | Oregon Historical Quarterly, Fall 2016 | Go to article overview

Significant Events in the Historic Preservation Movement in Oregon


Potter, Elisabeth Walton, Oregon Historical Quarterly


1898: The Oregon Historical Society is organized in Portland.

1906: The Antiquities Act becomes the original act for historic preservation in the United States. It establishes as U.S. government policy the protection of historic, prehistoric [or pre-contact], and scientific features on lands under federal ownership or administration.

1909: The 1846 residence of John McLoughlin, retired Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company Columbia District, is rescued from displacement by industrial development in Oregon City. Its relocation to a permanent site on the town's upper level is a notable achievement among the very early community preservation projects in the region.

1911: The Oregon chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is organized in Portland.

1916: The National Park System Organic Act creates the National Park Service within the Department of the Interior.

1930: The Oregon chapter, AIA, Committee on Old Oregon Buildings, launches a campaign to make a photographic portfolio of fifty exemplary Oregon buildings for the Pictorial Archives of Early American Architecture.

1933: The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) is established in the National Park Service Branch of Plans and Design as a Depression-era research and emergency work-relief program to be administered in partnership with the AIA and the Library of Congress.

1935: The Historic Sites Act declares a national policy to preserve historic and archaeological sites, buildings, and objects of national significance, and assigns responsibility for acquiring and managing such properties to the Secretary of the Interior.

1935: New legislation is signed into law as Oregon's basic antiquities code. The statutes cover permits for archaeological investigation, conditions for removal of archeological or historical material from state lands, and consequences for removal without a permit. The State of Oregon Museum of Anthropology at the University of Oregon is designated as the permanent repository of archaeological materials recovered in Oregon.

1938: Archaeological investigations at Fort Rock Cave on the edge of the northern Great Basin in Lake County yield carbon-dated evidence from twisted sage-bark sandals that the region has been inhabited by humans beginning at least 9,000 years ago.

1941: The John McLoughlin House in Oregon City, likely the state's first historic building restoration project to have been completed (1933--1939), in part, with federal funds, is declared a National Historic Site by the Secretary of the Interior.

1947: A State Parks Division is established within the Oregon State Highway Department under statutory authority.

1949: The National Trust for Historic Preservation receives its Congressional charter. The private, non-profit member organization amplifies established policy set forth in the Historic Sites Act of 1935 with regard to preserving historic sites, buildings, and objects of national significance.

1951: The Oregon Archaeological Society (OAS) is organized by avocational archaeologists. Subsequently, in 1974, the society adopts a code of ethics and pursues technical training and collaboration with professional archeologists.

1953: Jacksonville, Oregon, is brought to the attention of a wide professional audience by Marion Dean Ross's illustrated paper, "Jacksonville, An Oregon Gold-Rush Town." The one-time Jackson County seat, notably intact from the period 1850 to 1890, was declared a National Historic Landmark under National Park Service auspices within a month of passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

1954: The Pacific Section of the Society of Architectural Historians is organized at San Francisco. In 1995, the Marion Dean Ross Pacific Northwest chapter is incorporated by members in Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and British Columbia.

1957: The Oregon Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), launches a series of essays on 119 historical properties under the title Oregon Historical Landmarks. …

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