Downtown McMinnville

Oregon's Favorite Main Street

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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

Apr

02

It's Never Too Late to Learn

May

07

Women Aviation and Military Heroes Day

Evergreen Aviation Museum

Join us May 7 for our Women in Aviation & Military Heroes Day, where we celebrate women who have made their mark in Aviation, Space, Engineering and other outstanding fields. Come hear their stories and find inspiration.

Evergreen Aviation Museum
Evergreen Aviation Museum 97128 500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way, McMinnville OR 97128

May

10

A forum for the presentation and consideration of a range of perspectives on important issues.

May

12

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

May

13

Each year in May, downtown McMinnville is "visited" in a cosmic sense. Beings from other galaxies walk the street during the second largest UFO celebration in the country.  Partake in a parade, enjoy live entertainment, watch the pet costume contest and peruse vendor booths over this two day festival. A huge round of gratitude to our festival sponsors: Matt and Marilyn ...

May

14

Join the crazy fun that is the UFO Festival!

May

14

Each year in May, downtown McMinnville is "visited" in a cosmic sense. Beings from other galaxies walk the street during the second largest UFO celebration in the country.  Partake in a parade, enjoy live entertainment, watch the pet costume contest and peruse vendor booths over this two day festival.

May

17

A–Z Alphabet Show

May

17

Waterpark SeaPerch Competition

Evergreen Aviation

Watch the SeaPerch Competition!

Evergreen Aviation
Evergreen Aviation 97128 500 Northeast Captain Michael King Smith Way, McMinnville, OR 97128

May

21

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

May

24

Chop Suey for All: Chinese Cooks in Oregon by Richard Engeman

May

29

Linfield College celebrates its graduates of 2016

Jun

08

The Oregon Economic Development Association (OEDA) is pleased to announce that registration is now open for its professional development training on June 8 and summer conference on June 9 to be held in McMinnville.

Jun

14

A forum for the presentation and consideration of a range of perspectives on important issues.

Jun

16

* 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

Jun

18

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

Jun

23

* 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

Jun

26

You know it's Summer when the Garden Club arrives!

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

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
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