courtesy of Wendy Stassens,
Realtor® specializing in
green building and new construction.
TThis charming turn-of-the-century city owes its beginnings to William T. Newby of McMinnville, Tennessee, who came west during the Great Migration of 1843. He arrived in Oregon on the first wagon train. In 1853, Newby erected a gristmill at the west end of Third Street, below the present city library. Construction of this mill was the primary reason for the early growth of the city.
Downtown 3rd street during the late 1800’s
McMinnville was a thriving agricultural center in the early days. By 1866, it was described as the “most flourishing village in the county.” It had 300 inhabitants and, according to the Register, “five stores, three blacksmith shops, two wagon shops, one photographic artist, one silversmith, one shoe shop, two doctors, two churches, one flour mill… and no licensed beer or grog saloons.” In 1876, residents incorporated McMinnville as a town. Then in 1882, the citizens again incorporated McMinnville – this time as a city. After a heavy campaign by the McMinnville citizenry, county residents voted in 1886 to change the county seat to McMinnville from Lafayette, where it has remained ever since.
Between the years 1885 and 1912, most of the historic Third Street business structures were built. Many of the buildings from that era are still intact. Today, McMinnville continues to expand its amenities, while remaining sensitive to its history and the buildings associated with its past.
Downtown 3rd street during the late 1950’s
For more information about the history of McMinnville visit the Yamhill County Historical Society.