In 1887, a gang of horse thieves gunned down as many as 34 Chinese gold miners on the Oregon side of the Snake River near Hells Canyon. Some have called it the country’s worst massacre of Chinese by whites. Though the killers were known, and at least one confessed, no one was ever convicted.
From Razor clam souffle’ to her famous currant teacakes — Mary Beard loved to cook, and always with the freshest seasonal ingredients. Her son James embraced his mother’s passion for food. And even as the proclaimed “dean of American cookery” later moved away and traveled the world, James Beard would forever champion Oregon as a food-lover’s paradise.
Oysters are unusual little creatures, and they’ve played a distinctive role in Pacific Northwest history. As Euro-Americans settled this region, the native oyster became one of the first natural resources to be exploited on a large scale - and one of the first to be depleted. The oyster business spawned the creation of several coastal communities and precipitated the demise of a vast Indian reservation. Yet the oysters themselves and the colorful oystermen who farm them have contributed many unacknowledged environmental benefits, as well.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II caught all of America off guard, and the rapid transition to a country at war transformed just about every aspect of the American economy. In Oregon, World War II created a skyrocketing demand for agricultural products at the same time that farmers faced a dire agricultural labor shortage. The eventual answer was an international agreement between the United States and Mexico, an arrangement for American farms and railroads to contract with temporary Mexican workers. Officially named the Emergency Farm Labor Supply Program, it ultimately came to be known as the Bracero program.
Sam Hill had great dreams for the Pacific Northwest, and himself. Out of the hardscrabble, do-it-yourself communities of loggers, farmers and ranchers that typified 19th-century Oregon, Hill envisioned a new society built on progress and human ingenuity. He championed grand roadways, built monumental symbols for peace and dared to imagine a farming utopia on the Columbia River. His life was etched with hard fought triumphs and colossal failures, but his enduring devotion to progress made him one of the most important and legendary figures in Oregon’s history.
Could Oregon caves hold the secrets to how and when people first arrived in the Americas? More than 70 years ago, University of Oregon archaeologist Dr. Luther Cressman believed that was the case. In 1938, Cressman and his students made a groundbreaking discovery that changed archaeology and continues to have profound effects on science today. They uncovered a cache of 10,000-year-old sagebrush sandals. They are the oldest footwear ever discovered. Over the next 30 years, Dr. Luther Cressman would challenge the prevailing ideas about when and how humans first arrived in the Americas.
Tom McCall, Oregon’s chief executive from 1967 to 1975, may go down in history as the state’s most productive governor. He was certainly the most interesting. Nearly forty years after he left office and thirty years after his death, Oregon Governor Tom McCall remains one of the state’s most renowned political figures. He envisioned a quality of environment and life unique to Oregon, and he worked relentlessly to protect those values.
Hundreds of books exist about the Lewis and Clark expedition and the decades of pioneers who followed them West. But even today, most Oregonians don't know much about the people who had settled here centuries before "the settlers" came. "Broken Treaties" introduces viewers to the tribes of our state and explores a thread of the Oregon story that hasn't been told very well over the years.
In 1920, Oregon’s Opal Whiteley was the center of international controversy. Her childhood diary was called a work of genius, until readers discovered hidden clues to a mystery that has not been solved to this day.
The Portland Youth Philharmonic is America's first youth orchestra. But the story of the PYP begins in Burns where a violinist named Mary Dodge shared her love of music with the local children. As their talent emerged, Dodge formed a children's orchestra called the Sagebrush Symphony that captivated audiences statewide.