Historic Highlights

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Coburg History (PDF Download)
1847

  • September 21, 1847 Jacob C Spores and Johnny Diamond arrive here
  • September 22, 1847 Jacob and Johnny build a temporary house September 23, 1847
  • Jacob slashes two canoes together to start 1st ferry service across the McKenzie River

1848

  • Arrival of other pioneer families: Isaac Van Duyn, Mitchell Wilkins, Enoch Coleman, Zachary Pollard, Thomas Vaughn, George Armitage etc!

1848

  • Johnny Diamond explores Oregon territory: Diamond Peak, Diamond Lake named after him: Johnny was the 1st white explorer to find them

1849

  • California Gold Rush Johnny goes to California...as do many many gold seekers...Spores ferry business is booming!

1852

  • US Post Office grants station to Willamette Forks: mail delivered to Mitchell Wilkins home 2 miles north of town

1855

  • Spores starts sash mill by McKenzie River: uses river to get logs to mill...other mills are starting up all over Oregon territory

1859

  • February 14, 1859: Oregon becomes the 33rd state in the Union.

1861

  • Jacob Spores sells his sash mill to Zachary Pollard

1862

  • Flooding of the McKenzie River wipes out Sash Mill

1863

  • Small Pox epidemic hits Lane County…a pest house is set up in Eugene where sick people are to go to get well and not to infect others…few Coburg people went to Eugene, 3 and a half hours away. At the height of the epidemic many of the girl children were sent to the Calapooya Indian tribe in Brownsville…the boy children stayed in Coburg as they were needed for farm work.

1865

  • Charles Payne credited with naming town. In the early days of Oregon, the most valuable item a person owned was his horse...the horse was used not only as transportation to get from place to place, but also to till the fields and plant crops for survival. Coburg was known as a place to get good horses...in fact, buyers from the circus came to Coburg to get good stock. There was said to be a particularly fine stallion here from Coburg Germany. One day this horse was brought to the local blacksmith, Charles Payne. He took off the old shoes, re-shod the horse and hung the old shoes on the wall of the Smithy saying, "I name this place Coburg." And the name stayed!

1865

  • First Coburg School built: one room schoolhouse 2 miles north of town.

1871

  • Pony Express stopped and toke a fresh horse from the barn behind the Depot House

1877

  • From 1847 until 1877, it would have been necessary to travel to Oregon City to get anything that a farmer couldn't raise himself or trade his neighbor for...salt, sugar, oranges, coffee, tea, etc were prized possessions. In 1877, it would have taken 2 weeks to travel to Oregon City IF you had a horse! It was of little value to travel to Eugene...approximately 3 and a half hours away by horse and/or buggy...Eugene wasn't much bigger than Coburg!

1878

  • By flip of a coin, Eugene get Standard Gauge Railroad, Coburg gets narrow gauge...The Oregon Railway Limited is layed from Brownsville to Coburg...there is a turn-around in the lot due south of the park. The train went from Coburg to Brownsville, where merchandise was unloaded and taken to the standard gauge RR to ship to Portland or San Francisco. The Railroad was important to the evolution of the town...for the first time, Coburg farmers and lumbermen could get their excess wheat, corn, rye and lumber to other markets and they could buy goods and services not locally available.

1881

  • The Oregon Railway Limited sells Coburg Line to Southern Pacific. Narrow rails are removed and standard line is built...a bridge from the Snake River is installed across the McKenzie River and the line continues into Springfield. Johnny Diamond donates his land donation claim to form the City of Coburg…Isaac Van Duyn plats the new city on a grid pattern.

1893

  • Coburg Incorporated under the Home Rule Charter (Either Feb 10 or Feb. 12th 1893 have forgotten!) in order to hire a night watchman

1894

  • New schoolhouse built; 4 rooms across from the present day firehouse

1898

  • Booth-Kelly leases a small mill in the center of town, previously owned by J.C. Goodale

1900

  • Booth-Kelly buys the mill: increases mill from one to five stacker, employs 300 men working round the clock. 4 trains come into Coburg each day...3 to take finished lumber to other markets, one passenger train...it was called the skunk because it was a steam locomotive ... black train with white plume...looked like a skunk!...Rumor has it that the entire town turned out each day at 10:00 to see who came in on the Skunk!

1903

  • Booth-Kelly employs a company Doctor, Dr. Milton Emerson Jarnagin starts up practice in Coburg

1906

  • On June 6, 1906 the city voted George A Drury as the first Mayor of Coburg...city council was formed and water bills were issued!!
  • Glass Factory starts up...skunk farming too!

1908

  • Glass Factory closes...skunk farming too!

1911

  • Springfield dams the McKenzie for hydro-electric energy, effectively eliminating river logging to Coburg.
  • New School for Coburg...3 stories...includes high school...cafeteria in basement...was built where the current fire hall is

1912

  • Fire at Springfield Booth-Kelly plant causes management to dismantle Coburg plant and reassemble it to Springfield location. Within 3 weeks, 300 people were without work...folks went to Mable, Wendling, Springfield, Marcola, Vaughn to find work...others moved their houses onto bottom land and returned to their farming pioneer roots.

1914

  • Mint planted for the 1st time...has been planted every year since!

1915

  • Fire destroys 4 blocks of downtown Coburg...

1920

  • Census places Coburg at 291

1938

  • Fire destroys IOOF Hall.

1941

  • IOOF Hall fund raisers provide enough money to complete hall rebuild

1962

  • Coburg annexes into School District 4J...new school built for grades 1-6...older students bussed to Cal Young and Sheldon

1979

  • Heritage Committee formed

1983

  • August - Comprehensive Plan accepted by State of Oregon

1986

  • January 12, 1986 Coburg receives National Historic District Status