THE 1870s

Corvallis Opera House, exterior

Corvallis Opera House, interior


• The Corvallis Opera House is built by means of public subscription. It is the first public meeting place in town and considered one of the finest in the West. It draws many famous actors and actresses.

• Corvallis' population reaches 1,200.

• In February 1870, the farmers of Benton county hold a mass meeting and unanimously agree to organize a Farmers' Club.

• The Corvallis Brewery burns. Although firemen fight to save it, the building is a total loss. Fortunately, the building, located on the riverbank was not close to other buildings, so no other structures were involved. It is reported that while the building and distillery apparatus were insured, it was not sufficient to cover the damage.


•  Alsea Post Office is established.

• The Corvallis City Council passes an ordinance declaring all gambling illegal on Sunday. Additional ordinances prohibit the use of houses or other places for opium use, and ban nude bathing in any river, lake, slough, or creek within the corporate limits of Corvallis.


• The Henkle Sawmill four miles west of Philomath on the South Fork of the Marys River is destroyed by fire. It is rebuilt and has a capacity to produce about 10,000 feet of lumber per day, chiefly fir timber. It finds a ready market in the local area.

• June 18
George Wrenn organizes the first fire company - Young American Engine Company.


• March 29
At 1:30 a.m. the City Hotel in Corvallis is reduced to ashes. The fire spread so rapidly that occupants only manage to escape in their night clothes. John Murray, age 60, in Corvallis to visit his son-in-law, dies in the fire.


• Teachers are required to pass standardized tests, but no college training is required. Teachers who want to upgrade their teaching certificates must attend normal school. A life certificate, the highest available, requires two years of normal school and a passing grade on a state examination.

Feb. 2
Starrs Point Post Office is moved to Monroe.



• The Corvallis City Hall burns and most records are destroyed, including the school records.

• The Corvallis Flour Mill is located about a quarter mile south of Corvallis, Oregon. The building is 40 by 50 feet, is three stories high, and has a manufacturing capacity of 100 barrels of flour in 24 hours. In 1877, it was purchased by H. H. Fischer.

• Pitman's Sash and Door Factory is built on the banks of the Willamette River at the corner of First and Jefferson Streets in Corvallis, Oregon. It manufactures doors, sash, blinds, brackets, etc.

• A flood reroutes the main channel of the Willamette River and Booneville land is left high and dry.

• March 5
The Alsea portion of the Indian Reservation is closed, and the Indians are sent to Siletz. Their former residence is thrown open for Euro-American settlement.


• June 16
Joseph Avery, one of the founders of Corvallis, dies at the age of 59. He is buried in Crystal Lake Cemetery


• May 17
Construction of what was to become the Oregon Pacific Railroad begins. The line went from Corvallis to Yaquina City, just east of Newport.


• Rickard Post Office (discontinued 1880) is established 2 miles east of Bruce, Oregon. Today this is part of William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge.