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Forest Grove City Directory History 1974
by Johnson Publishing Company INC
"The avowed destination of the wagon train immigrants in the early 1800s was fertile land in the west, upon which they could establish a home. The first Oregon pioneers sent back the news that the Willamette River Valley was the place where nature had bounteously supplied fertile land, ample rainfall and a mild climate for new settlers. Adjacent forests provided straight logs for the new homes.
Prior to 1842 a small group of families from the Red River country had come west and settled on the "Tualatin Plains." As the Oregon country grew in population more settlers came into this Tualatin Valley. In these early years only muddy trails connected the Tualatin Plains with Oregon City, the principal terminus for the wagon trains. In that portion of the Tualatin Valley known as the "West Tualatin Plains" Harvey Clark decided to settle. Harvey Clark came to Oregon in 1840 as an independent missionary . He was a native of Vermont and his wife was a graduate of Oberlin College. He moved to a place near Orenco in the West Tualatin Plains.
In 1845, Reverend Clark moved to what is now the site of Forest Grove, to become pastor on the Congregational Church here. He bought the land claim originally located by Solomon Emerrick. The Clarks began a school in their log home for the children of this "Oak Grove" settlement. More settlers were coming into the Tualatin Valley.
Tabitha Brown. This plucky lady must have had more influence on the founding of the Tualatin Academy and the origin of Forest Grove than she is given credit for. She came west by wagon train in 1846 and was one of the few survivors of her party. She was a widow of 66 years of age when she came west to be near her two sons, who had urged her to make the bold move. She weighed less than 100 pounds and was crippled. Her husband back in Brimfield, Massachusetts, had been a Congregational minister, so both because of common religious interests and Tabitha's interest in the care and education of children. Until she met Reverend Clark she had earned a good living by her sewing.
Mrs. Brown expressed her desire to care for and teach children, particularly orphans, and the Clarks invited her into their home to help with their school. Soon she had her own school in a separate building that had originally been built as a church. The growth of her school and her interest in advancing learning must have been a principal reason for the efforts of several churchmen in the founding of the Tualatin Academy.
The Tualatin Academy. Oregon country leaders met at Champoeg May 2, 1843 and decided upon a provisional government. A second meeting on July 5, 1843 elected a committee to act as a governing body for provisional government of the territory. By August, 1848, the Oregon country became a part of the United States and was officially made a territory. While the form of Oregon government was taking definite shape the desire for an academy here in the "West Plains" had led to the formation of an academy board. On November 30, 1848, this board resolved to locate the academy near the orphan school at "Tualatin Plains."
This academy board on nine members elected the Reverend Harvey Clark as president. The academy was incorporated by an act of the Territorial Legislature September 26, 1849. Clark gave 200 acres of land to furnish a site for the academy and also for a town-site adjacent to the academy. Additional gifts of land were given by Reverend E. Walker and Deacon T. Naylor.
Origin of Forest Grove. The first building of the academy started in 1851 and was several years in the building. Once the academy began to function as a place of learning, families desired to move to homesites near the new school. Plans for the townsite were drawn in 1851. Money from the sale of lots was used to help build and maintain the academy. Tualatin Academy was at first a general school, teaching all grades, nine months out of the year.
The new townsite adjacent to the academy was Forest Grove. The origin of the name Forest Grove is uncertain, but many believe it was named after the estate of J.Q. Thornton, an early resident, who was on the town planning committee. Others felt the name came from the forest of pines which met a grove of oaks.
Pacific University. Rapid growth of the population in the Tualatin River Valley brought the demand for an institution of higher learning. A new bill providing for the incorporation of Tualatin Academy as "The Tualatin Academy and Pacific University" resulted from the local townspeople's efforts. The institution grew under this name until the Academy was discontinued in 1914 and became Pacific University. Enrollment at the present time is 1,200 students.
City Growth. The City of Forest Grove was incorporated in 1872. The population of the city in 1900 was 668. City growth since that time has been steady and the present population is 8, 279. The city manager form of government was adopted in 1938 with mayor and city council.
The economy of the area is based traditionally on agriculture - lumber combination. Forest Grove has recorded a growing roster of industry in the wood remanufacturing and food processing fields. A well established retail center of some 140 firms offers full "department store" selection of goods and services.
The annual All Northwest Original Barbershop Ballad Contest and Gay 90s Festival held the last weekend of February each year is the city's big celebration and has earned the community the name Ballad Town, U.S.A.
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