Downtown McMinnville

Oregon's Favorite Main Street

Search this site:

For more photos, travel tools, and ideas for visiting McMinnville, the heart of Oregon's wine country, follow this link to Visit McMinnville

<< Back to History of McMinnville

History of 3rd Street

On an early spring day in 1844, a solitary man astride a horse traversed a well worn Indian trail in search of an ideal spot to settle in the new Oregon country. After he had crossed a clear stream which was later to bear his name, and had traveled some distance through a dense stand of timber, 26 year old John Gordon Baker emerged into a clearing of rolling meadows where lush, waist-high grass waved gently in the Oregon breeze.

He reined to a halt, and surveyed the scene with a practiced eye. Here was everything for which he had been searching. Water, wood, and pasture were readily available. The rich soil and rolling contour of the land assured excellent crops. Little did he realize that these meadows were soon to form the foundation for the thriving community of McMinnville.

Closely following Baker’s footsteps was William T. Newby. Newby had been a traveling companion of Baker in the Great Migration of 1843, and he took up a claim immediately to the south of Baker’s. It was on this claim that the city proceeded to grow.

Samuel Cozine, another of the immigrants in the 1843 wagon train, settled to the south of Newby. After his marriage to Mahala Arthur, whom he had courted on the trip across the plains, Cozine opened a blacksmith shop near the original site of Linfield College. Soon other members of the 1843 Great Migration and subsequent wagon trains came rolling to a stop around their friends and acquaintances. (Dorothy Gunness, 1976)

In 1853, Newby erected a gristmill at the west end of the path that was to become Third Street and beyond the site of the present city library. Construction of the mill, which became the hub of activity for the area, was the biggest factor in the establishment of a town at this location. In 1856, with the assistance of Sebastian Adams, a surveyor and teacher, the original town site was platted on a portion of Newby’s land. McMinnville was incorporated as a town in 1876 and enjoyed steady growth. By 1892 the city boasted two public schools, two banks, two flour mills, two newspapers, five churches, a county courthouse, and a college. By 1900, the town had extended its boundaries to encompass more than thirty times its original platted site, and the population had grown to over 1,400.

Between the years 1885 and 1912, most of the historic Third Street business structures were built. They were constructed primarily of brick and were the successors of the town’s earlier wooden business structures. Building activity peaked in 1928, with McMinnville’s commercial center extending from City Park on the west to the railroad tracks on the east.

Throughout the years, McMinnville has continued to expand while remaining sensitive to its history and the buildings associated with its past. Many of the buildings from that era are still intact today for you to enjoy as you stroll through historic downtown McMinnville.

The McMinnville Downtown Association works to promote and enhance our historic downtown as the economic, social and cultural heart of the community.

Upcoming Events

May

12

Opening May 12 through October 13 • Join us every Thursday from 1–6PM!

Jun

14

"BE BOLD" with Kathleen Buck

 

Jun

30

100 seasonal recipes that celebrate local food and people

 

Jun

30

* You won't want to miss this year's Concerts on the Plaza Series in Historic Downtown McMinnville *

US Bank Plaza
US Bank Plaza 97128 335 NE Third, McMinnville, OR 97128

Jul

04

Food, Music & Family Fun Booths!

 

Jul

08

Celebrating its 56th year, Turkey Rama is one of McMinnville’s oldest and most loved traditions! The community festival observes the historical importance of the once-thriving turkey business in the surrounding county. The turkey farms are gone, but Turkey Rama lives on!  As the face of our community has changed, so has the festival itself. Turkey Rama now includes the “World’s ...
Downtown McMinnville
Downtown McMinnville

Jul

09

!! Enjoy music at Turkey Rama !!

Saturday July 9th on the Main Stage at 3rd & Davis

 

Jul

09

!! Best Beard & Mustache • Fastest Jaws • Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest !!

Saturday July 9th on the Main Stage at 3rd & Davis

Register to compete
Email sean@downtownmcminnville.com or call 503-472-3605

 

Jul

12

Currents Gallery in McMinnville is pleased, once again, to feature the work of Ann Durley, one of the gallery's owners and one of the most popular and well-beloved artists in our community.

 

Jul

14

* You won't want to miss this year's Concerts on the Plaza Series in Historic Downtown McMinnville *

US Bank Plaza
US Bank Plaza 97128 335 NE Third, McMinnville, OR 97128

Jul

16

Enjoy viewing local art works, shopping and sipping our fabulous wines!

Jul

17

Remy Wines 10 Year Anniversary Party!

 

Jul

21

* You won't want to miss this year's Concerts on the Plaza Series in Historic Downtown McMinnville *

US Bank Plaza
US Bank Plaza 97128 335 NE Third, McMinnville, OR 97128

Jul

22

The Mid-Valley Open, a celebrity scramble, started in 1999 as a fun way to raise scholarship funds for people with disabilities.

Jul

28

* You won't want to miss this year's Concerts on the Plaza Series in Historic Downtown McMinnville *

US Bank Plaza
US Bank Plaza 97128 335 NE Third, McMinnville, OR 97128

Jul

29

The IPNC is a three-day event, famous around the globe, as a mecca for lovers of Pinot Noir and Northwest cuisine.

Aug

04

* You won't want to miss this year's Concerts on the Plaza Series in Historic Downtown McMinnville *

US Bank Plaza
US Bank Plaza 97128 335 NE Third, McMinnville, OR 97128

Aug

11

* You won't want to miss this year's Concerts on the Plaza Series in Historic Downtown McMinnville *

US Bank Plaza
US Bank Plaza 97128 335 NE Third, McMinnville, OR 97128

Aug

13

Enjoy old-time harvesting of the oat field using antique farm equipment and draft animals.

Aug

13

The Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon returns to the Yamhill Valley on August 13th. The race begins at 7 a.m. Sunday at Stoller Vineyards.
Web Design & Web Development by LVSYS