FOREST GROVE, Ore. — This week I had the opportunity to hit the road, albeit while remaining socially distant, and show off one of Oregon's most historic towns.
My time in Forest Grove was a slice of classic hometown comfort. I was interested to learn that Forest Grove was the very first city incorporated in Washington County all the way back in 1872. Much of the downtown area still features buildings and architecture from the late 1800s.
I enjoyed walking through the area's three historic districts with Mary Jo Morelli who works with Friends of Historic Forest Grove. Like many of Oregon's historic towns, the modern history began with settlers who arrived via the Oregon Trail. I took a look around the historic Alvin T. Smith house. It was built in 1856 as a refuge for weary travelers. It still stands to this day.
The name Forest Grove comes from a historic grove of large oak trees standing on the Pacific University campus. Another historic element of the town, the university was founded back in 1849. That makes it older than both University of Oregon and Oregon State University.
Many locals refer to Pacific as the center piece of Forest Grove and I can see why. The campus is directly adjacent to all the shops and restaurants that line Pacific Avenue and Main Street.
The folks I talked to said the Forest Grove food scene is on the rise! Already known for beautiful wineries, I was surprised to hear Saké is also a local specialty. I enjoyed hearing how many people took pride in spending their time and money at home in Washington County’s oldest city.
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