Here is some local information on the history of Gaston. Gaston now includes the former town of Scoggins in Scoggins Valley and Hagg Lake. Stimson Lumber Mill has been logging the area since the 1930s.

1 Books & Articles
2 Essay
3 Links
4 Research

Books & Articles

  • Bilderback, Ken. Creek with No Name: How the West was won (and lost) in Gaston, Oregon (2011)
  • Holmes, Charlotte Vanebo. The John George & Anna Vanebo Family (2003)
  • McCornack, Ellen Condon. Thomas Condon: Pioneer Geologist of Oregon (1928)
  • Ross, John R. The Builder's Spirit: The History of Stimson Lumber Company (1983).
  • Yamhill County Historical Society. Old Yamhill: The Early History of its Town and Cities (1976)


"Something of the History of Gaston and Surrounding Area" from Centennial History of Washington County, Oregon, complied by Mrs. T.R. Roe, sent in by Alice Kopplin

"Town of Gaston located North end of Wapato Lake, called Wapato Pass. Tualativ Valley on North - Chehalem Valley on South - lies between coast range and Chehalem Mountain - floor of pass or Lake Wapato has elevation of 172 feet above sea level.

Lake is termed intermittent lake, covering some 800 areas of fertile beaverdam soil. Lake derives its name from the Indian words "Arrowhead root" or "Sagittaria" commonly known as the wild potato, which grows in swamp areas, is a starch food and was used as food supplement to the Indian diet of game and fish.

This lake bed was first drained or attempted to be drained in 1892 by two men and two horses.

Some 700 acres were successfully diked in 1936 by Hayes and Blaine Brown. This land now produces a small portion of the national consumption of the nation's dry onions. The onions are of superb quality and hundreds of rail cars are shipped each year.

Highest peak in Chehalem Mountains in 1447 feet. At a point on the West side of Wapato is Bald Peak State Park, elevation 1633 feet.

This area was home of about 20 bands of Indians named Atfala'ti, a division of the Kalapuya family. Many, many relics (arrowheads, grinding equipment, stones and trinkets) and graves have been found around this area. Homes or grass circles in rows have showed where whole villages were along the East edge of this former lake. The abundance of wild fowl that use this as a fly-way each year prove it has long been a hunting spot. As many as 250 White Swan were here this past winter.

Gaston area has two pioneer cemetery locations. The Hill Cemetery located east of the town and lake were donated before 1847 by Almorau Hill from his donation land claim, (also the Hill School is on donated ground from this claim). The name on stones in this cemetery date to 1847 and bear mute testimony to the ravages of disease and death that put large and small graves in row upon row bearing the same family name and close dates of burial. This cemetery is still used by descendants of these pioneer people as they are buried close to great-grandparents and parents.

Another pioneer cemetery in Cherry Grove - west of Gaston - has graves dating to 1894. But these early graves have been moved in from private burial plots of the early people who buried on their own soil.

Some of the outstanding names are people that helped make the history of our state. The grave of Wm. Doughty (Hill Cemetery), 1872, was marked by the D.A.R. in 1923. Others before that - Samuel Laughlin and Family, 1849.

Wm. Doughty and his native wife held the first church services in an old log barn in 1840 with Reverend Griffen preaching. Griffen's grand-daughter still lives there.

Wm. Doughty was one of the so-called "Rocky Mountain Men" who came through Chehalem Mountain Pass to settle in the valley. Others were: Ewing Young, 1837; George Gay, 1837; Rev. Griffen, 1839; Sidney Smith, 1839; J. Meek; Dr. Newell; and P. Thompson and many more who settled other places through out the valley.

The town of Gaston was named after, plotted out, and started by Joseph Gaston. History has it that about May 10, 1871, his wife held the first Sunday School in an old warehouse (full of baseball players).

George Brock was the first Gaston Postmaster in 1873. There was a Wapato Station run by Wm. Malthop on the stagecoach line about 1853. This line for Express and Passenger service was run by Mr. Scott and Abbott and went up the west side of the present lake with a strange stop at the Almoran Hill (Donation land claim) home across from the present Hill School. The original house is still there that was built for this stage stop. It is not changed too much in style or added to.

The Gaston area had two of the people who were listed as the first graduates of the Eighth grade in Oregon. They are Mrs. Mary Callahan Herring and her brother, Tom Callahan. Mrs. Herring still lives on Gaston, Route 1.

Gaston's first school was located on the present Peterson farm approximately two miles from town. It was the first school in this part of the territory. It (building and all) was later moved into town.

Around 1904 the Seventh Day Adventist Church... (see Laurelwood, Oregon)

...Gaston has a feed mill dating back to 1895. It still stands in the same place along the railroad.

The Railroad survey was through here in 1865 by Col. A.C. Barry to locate a railroad through the Wapato Pass."



  • There was a hotel in Gaston c. 1904, called Parker Hotel:"A pioneer, a substantial citizen, and hotel 'host' that would be hard to excel in Oregon is Mr. E. Parker, proprietor of the Parker Hotel of the flourishing town of Gaston. Mr. Parker has lived in this community 29 years (since 1875). He was born in Maine, lived in Missouri, and made his money in Oregon. He is an old G.A.R. Veteran and served in the 1st. Missouri Calvary, from '61 to '65. He served as J.P. two years and we take pleasure in awarding Judge Parker a worthy place in these columns." (EGS Box 1/ Folder 6/ Position 18)See also these books in the Stewart History Room.