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John McLoughlin was the Chief Factor at Fort Vancouver from 1825-1845. To see my post on Fort Vancouver, click here.
Though his mission was to make money for the Hudson Bay Trading Company, McLoughlin had a soft spot for the starving immigrants arriving in the territory via the Oregon Trail and often assisted them with goods from the Fort Vancouver Mercantile to help get them started with their new lives.
He purchased a plot of land by the Willamette River in 1844 and named it Oregon City. The charter was granted in December of that year. Oregon City is the oldest incorporated city West of the Missouri.
He was forced into retirement and settled with his family by the Willamette Falls in 1846. A trained physician, he was known in Oregon City as The Doctor.
He became an American citizen in 1851 and worked towards developing the prosperity of the Oregon Territory. Known for his generosity in support of the community, he served as the mayor of Oregon City.
In 1909, the McLoughin home was saved from destruction and moved from its spot by the falls by the McLoughlin Memorial Association. The park ranger showed us photos of the house being pulled on rollers by horses uphill to its present location next to the Barclay house.
The McLoughlin House, along with the Barclay House which houses the Visitors Center, was consolidated into the Fort Vancouver NPS unit in 2003. It is only open a few days a week, so we timed our visit to take the ranger-led tour of the house.
The site is also listed as a stop on the Oregon National Historic Trail. The Oregon Trail brought over 200 thousand settlers to the area in covered wagons. For those who made it as far as the Oregon Territory, John McLoughlin played a pivotal role in their success and has come to be known as ‘The Father of Oregon.’
Designation: National Historic Site
Date designation declared: 1941
Date of my visit: 8/26/2016