History of Eagle Point
The Gateway to the Lakes
Today Eagle Point is known as the Gateway to the Lakes as it sets the scene for tourists and other visitors traveling east to view Crater Lake and the majestic natural wonders of the southern Cascade Range.
During the gold rush days of the 1850s – before it was even considered a town – Eagle Point was known for its rich agricultural production and became the food basket to the Rogue Valley. That regional importance was solidified in 1872, when the Snowy Butte Mill was built along the banks of the nearby Little Butte Creek. The grist mill quickly became an economic hub for the area. It is said that wagons lined the road to the mill for miles waiting to have their grain ground into flour. In addition to local farmers, the mill was important to Native Americans, who traveled more than 90 miles over the old military trail from Fort Klamath to trade leather and berries for flour.
It wasn’t until the Pacific and Eastern Railroad arrived in the early 1900s, that a commercial district was established in Eagle Point, and as a result, the city became incorporated in 1911. As Eagle Point blossomed it became the home to three hotels, a livery stable, blacksmith shop, a few saloons, and some dance halls known for their rowdy behavior and bootleggers. Three of the original brick buildings which housed the bank, confectionery store, and general store still stand and are now home to modern businesses.
Eagle Point residents have gone to great lengths to preserve their history. In 1987, the citizens of Eagle Point relocated a queenpost truss covered bridge, built in 1922, from Antelope Creek and placed it across Little Butte Creek for children to cross as they make their way to and from school. In addition to the covered bridge, the Butte Creek Mill also serves as a link to the past and is still in operation today. This historic, water-powered grist mill with its original, 130-year-old, French-quarried buhr stones is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a popular tourist attraction.
Small Town Charm
Despite nearly doubling in size over the last decade, modern day Eagle Point continues to be a great place to live and raise children because of its small town charm, excellent schools, and beautiful surroundings. Along with its rich history and rural setting, Eagle Point boasts a world-class Robert Trent Jones II–designed 18-hole golf course, which has attracted golfers and new residents alike.
Many notable celebrities have called Eagle Point home including Ginger Rogers, Patrick Duffy, and Kim Novak.
The above is an excerpt from the February 11, 2011, testimony before the United States House of Representatives by Oregon Congressman – Hon. Greg Walden
For more information please visit the Eagle Point Historical Museum at 202 N. Royal Avenue, just south of the historic Butte Creek Mill and Antiques Shop in Eagle Point.