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History

History

Rich in culture and history, Ontario will equally please the history buff and the casual observer of landmarks. Ontario’s history begins with the Oregon Trail and continues to blaze in today’s hectic climate.

Beginning in the mid-19th century, travelers passed through Ontario as they made the treacherous journey from the east looking for a better life. Many sought the mild climate of the region along with the desire to own land. In the 1840s, married settlers were able to obtain free land for their families. Additionally, Oregon was spared many of the diseases common in the east during this time. As such, Oregon was a dream come true for many travelers. Those who made the journey successfully were part of the future success of Ontario, as well.

Malheur County, Ontario

In 1883, the Oregon Short Line Railroad completed tracks through the Ontario area. A depot and inn were developed, which led to increased settlement in the area. Ontario began as a cattle town and the railroad was a central component of this industry. This is true even today, as the area is home to a variety of agricultural-based businesses.

Situated at the northeastern tip of Malheur County, Ontario is the largest city within the county and shows no signs of slowing its growth. Throughout the various 20th century improvements, such as manmade reservoirs, have positively affected the growth of business and industry in the area. Additionally, Ontario is home to people with a rich variety of ethnic backgrounds. True to the spirit of the first Oregon Trail pioneers, residents who call Ontario home are a part of both past and future.

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