Aviva Blog Directory » Local & Global » North America » United States » Oregon » Independence

The City of Independence, Oregon, is in Polk County and is located on the west bank of the Willamette River twelve miles southwest of Salem. In June of 1845, the first group of wagon trains arrived from Independence, Missouri after an 11-month trek on the Oregon Trail. One of the men in the party, Elvin Thorp, staked a claim near Ash Creek and platted a town site which today is still referred to as Thorp’s Town. In 1847, Henry Hill arrived with a Donation Land Claim on the other side of the Willamette. He claimed a square mile and opened a store. The wife of one of the settlers, Mrs. Burbank, wanted to name the town in honor of the Missouri town, and Elvin agreed as long as the Burbanks moved to his town and build a store there. They did so, and the town grew quickly. The Willamette River was a crucial transportation resource. But the good fortune of the town came to a screeching halt after the Flood of 1861, which left the town destroyed. In 1861, Hill platted 40 acres for a town site on higher ground. That town became known as Henry Hill’s Town of Independence. In 1885, the combined sites were incorporated, and this town also grew and prospered.

Regular Blogs