Milestone! 10 Million Pages on Chronicling America!

The Oregon Digital Newspaper Program (ODNP) joins the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in celebrating a major milestone for Chronicling America. As of Tuesday, October 7, 2015, Chronicling America has more than 10 million pages of historic U.S. newspapers available online, transforming access and impacting research of all kinds!


Launched in 2007 by the Library of Congress and the NEH, Chronicling America is a free, searchable database of historic U.S. newspapers. It provides enhanced and permanent access to historically significant newspapers published in the United States between 1836 and 1922. Chronicling America is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a joint effort between the Library of Congress, the NEH, and partners in 40 states and territories.

Oregon joined the partnership in 2009, when the University of Oregon announced via press release that it had been awarded a $364,042 grant from the NEH and the Library of Congress to digitize historic Oregon newspapers dating from 1860 to 1922. This grant money was augmented by matching funds from the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office and Oregon Heritage Commission through the Oregon Cultural Trust. Since 2009, ODNP, a program of the University of Oregon Libraries, has contributed nearly 300,000 pages of historic Oregon newspaper content to the Chronicling America site.

“Chronicling America is one of the great online treasures, a remarkable window into our history and a testament to the power of collaborative efforts among cultural institutions nationwide,” said Mark Sweeney, the Library of Congress’s Associate Librarian for Library Services. “The Library of Congress is proud to work alongside NEH and all our partner institutions to make this vision a growing reality. In the coming years, we look forward to adding newspapers from the remaining states and territories, as new partners join the program.”

Map of All NDNP Awardees, Current as of 2015.

Map of All NDNP Awardees, Current as of 2015.

“We at the National Endowment for the Humanities are proud to support the Chronicling America historic newspaper project,” said William Adams, NEH Chairman. “This invaluable resource preserves and makes available to all the first draft of America’s history so that we can see the ideas and events that shaped our republic unfold in the headlines of their times.”

Traditionally, historic newspapers have been available for general use through microfilm and shared among users through interlibrary loan (ILL) or by purchasing copies. Chronicling America has revolutionized access to historic newspaper content by digitizing pages and providing full-text keyword access to the content. This has been transformative for research of all kinds. In addition to saving researchers hours of scrolling through reels of microfilm, full-text access allows them to discover connections between research topics and uncover little-known stories in U.S. history.

“Historic newspapers supply vital evidence of our history and culture and are used by students, scholars, historians, arts groups, businesses, urban planners, genealogists, and others,” said Karen Estlund, former Head of  the Digital Scholarship Center for the University of Oregon Libraries. From 2009 to 2015, Estlund was also Project Director for ODNP. Speaking specifically on access to historic Oregon newspapers, Estlund said, “These primary source materials provide a window into the life of local Oregon communities a century or more ago, covering early environmental preservation, industry, agriculture, urban development, Native American and race relations, the establishment of the state, and more.”

East Oregonian. (Pendleton, Umatilla Co., Or.) September 20, 1919, Image 1

Through a few clicks, users of Chronicling America can narrow their focus to newspapers published all on the same day, in the same region, or the entire country. In addition, the content in Chronicling America is available for bulk download and API use. Here are additional facts about Chronicling America:

  • Between January and December 2014, the site logged 3.8 million visits and 41.7 million page views;
  • The resource includes more than 285,000 pages in almost 100 non-English newspapers (French, German, Italian, and Spanish);
  • More than 250 Recommended Topics pages have been created, offering a gateway to exploration for users at any level. Topics include presidential assassinations, historic events such as the sinking of the Titanic, inventions and famous individuals such as the Wright Brothers, and cultural or offbeat subjects such as fashion trends, ping-pong, and world’s fairs;
  • NEH has awarded a total of more than $30 million in grants to 40 partner institutions to contribute to Chronicling America, listed at

In celebration of the Chronicling America milestone, the Library of Congress will post a new blog every Thursday for 10 weeks, beginning October 7, 2015. Each blog post will highlight a different offbeat topic with headlines in Chronicling America, such as “Medical Advances Gone Wrong,” “Coffee ‘Facts’,” and “End of the World.” Subscribe to the blog or check out each Thursday for the week’s installment.

In addition, the National Endowment for the Humanities will launch a special website on September 29, 2015, commemorating the 50th anniversary of NEH’s founding. The website will highlight Chronicling America in an online feature at Share online with the hashtag #NEHturns50.

Also, check out the NDNP Impact report, which features information from interviews with NDNP project directors.

About the Library of Congress: Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s first-established federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications, and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at

About the National Endowment for the Humanities: Celebrating its 50th anniversary as an independent federal agency in 2015, National Endowment for the Humanities brings the best in humanities research, public programs, education, and preservation projects to the American people. To date, NEH has awarded $5 billion in grants to build the nation’s cultural capital – at museums, libraries, colleges and universities, archives, and historical societies – and advance our understanding and appreciation of history, literature, philosophy, and language. Learn more at

Posted in Announcements, Chronicling America, Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities

In September, It’s Back to School

September days see the re-opening of school doors in the state of Oregon and across the country. Historic Oregon newspapers have dutifully remarked upon the start of the back-to-school season and the academic pursuits of Oregon students throughout the decades.

Often, historic Oregon newspapers marked the occasion of the new school year with pictorials that typically were comprised of photographs of fresh-faced students sitting in rapt attention in classrooms, vigorously engaged in academic or athletic pursuits, standing alongside peers in carefully posed photographs of school teams or activity groups, or walking cheerfully en route to school on their first day back. The Morning Oregonian, in its September 7, 1915, issue, noted that “nearly 30,000 pupils” were on their way to school that morning in Portland. The newspaper features a photograph of two young children, nattily dressed, on their first day back.

The Morning Oregonian also caught America’s future farmers in action in classrooms and laboratories at Oregon Agricultural College, which is now Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, Oregon. In photographs, the historic Oregon newspaper captured young male students at the college “making cement fence posts,” getting hands-on experience with dairy farm machinery, and “corn judging,” which can be seen in the photograph posted below. The Oregon students of yesteryear were engaged in a wide range of academic and practical learning activities that were intended to benefit them and boost the local and state economy.

In addition to showing Oregon students as active participants inside the classroom, historic Oregon newspapers reported on the avid athletic pursuits of the state’s high school and college students, both male and female. Members of school sports teams, typically in uniform and posing alongside teammates and coaches, were the photographic subjects of many historic Oregon newspapers. The Sunday Oregonian, in an article titled “Portland ‘School Days’ Not All Given to Book Study,” focused on the extracurricular activities of students at Washington High School, Girls’ Trade School, Jefferson High School, and Franklin High School. The article includes a photograph of the “Girls Basketball Team” at Franklin High School, seen below.

“Back to school” in Oregon meant heading to class in first-day finery, working individually or with peers in classrooms and laboratories to get a handle on newfangled farm equipment, coming together with one’s basketball teammates in fierce determination to win one for the school, and much, much more. Over the span of many decades, in the 19th century and beyond, historic Oregon newspapers chronicled these moments in academia and preserved them for the ages.

Posted in Uncategorized

Historic Oregon Newspapers – Lots of New Content Added!

In recent weeks, a slew of great new content has been added to the Historic Oregon Newspapers website, from a Finnish-language newspaper whose target readership was American female communists (Toveritar) to a newspaper that proudly proclaimed in its masthead: “Independent in all things; Neutral in nothing” (Douglas Independent).

As fans of Historic Oregon Newspapers, you surely don’t want to miss these new additions:

Salem, OR. Capitol Journal (Oct. 17, 1922-Dec. 30 1922)

Roseburg, OR. Douglas Independent (June 15, 1878-Dec. 25, 1885)

St. Helens, Columbia County, OR. Oregon Mist (Aug. 7, 1891-July 8, 1910)

Albany, OR. State Rights Democrat (Jan. 21, 1881-April 20, 1900)

Monmouth, Polk County, OR. Polk County Observer (April 10, 1903-Feb. 25, 1908)

Corvallis, Benton County, OR. Corvallis Gazette (Jan. 1, 1901-Dec. 29, 1905)

Corvallis, OR. Corvallis Times (Jan. 6, 1904-Aug. 16, 1907),-19,1792,-19,1792

Corvallis, OR. Corvallis Daily Gazette (May 3, 1909-June 30, 1909)

Corvallis, Benton County, OR. Gazette-Times (July 2, 1909)

Corvallis, Benton County, OR. Daily Gazette-Times (Aug. 2, 1909-Dec. 31, 1909)

Astoria, OR. Toveritar (Nov. 9, 1915-Dec. 16, 1922)

Posted in Uncategorized

Oregon: “Summer Playground of the Northwest”

Oregon has long been a popular destination for those seeking warm-weather recreation. With seemingly endless options set amid a landscape abundant in natural beauty, Oregon is a big draw for visitors from out of state in search of vacation fun and for Oregonians seeking a weekend (or week-long) escape from the day-to-day. As is evident from this article from the June 28, 1914, Sunday Oregonian, there is no shortage of “Vacation Haunts in Oregon.”

The Sunday Oregonian is the Sunday edition of the long-running Oregonian newspaper, which is the oldest continuously running newspaper on the West Coast and has been a major newspaper in Portland, Oregon, since 1850. First published on December 4, 1881, the Sunday Oregonian has striven to print news of interest to those in Multnomah County, Oregon, and far beyond. Such news of interest includes what to do, and where to sojourn, in Oregon in the summertime. The aforementioned “Vacation Haunts in Oregon” article published in the Sunday Oregonian suggests a plethora of options for summer vacation in the state, from “an outing on the beach,” to “boating or canoeing,” to “trout fishing,” to “running about through mountains and forest,” to “camp[ing] or liv[ing] in rented tent houses or small seaside cottages.”

Speaking of seaside cottages…

Another article, published in the July 4, 1920, edition of the Sunday Oregonian, points the way to summertime destinations (and doings) in Seaside, Oregon, a historic summer resort area and longtime beach vacation destination. The article, titled “News of the Resorts,” extensively reports on the Oregon families who were summering in beach cottages along the shore. Reporting on the Yost family, the article says:

“Idlewild” Cottage is being occupied this year by Mr. and Mrs. B. L. Yost, their parents and three children. The family were formerly from Portland, but have recently made their home in Vancouver. They have been at the coast two weeks.”

Also according to “News of the Resorts”:

The garden at Necanicum this year is just as beautiful as ever and can be enjoyed to the fullest extent from the sun parlor built last year. The hotel, which is in its twentieth year under Mrs. Damon’s management, is opening this season with Mrs. M. W. Cruise of Oregon Agricultural college in charge of the dining room. She has with her several co-eds from the domestic science department assisting.

“News of the Resorts” goes on to chronicle the opening of summer homes in Gearhart, Oregon; who’s who among the visitors inhabiting the cottages in Cannon Beach, Oregon; seasonal travelers to the seaside resort destination of Newport Beach, Oregon; as well as Fourth of July festivities, parties, and the opening of a new public restroom in Long Beach, Washington, thanks to the efforts of the Ladies’ Aid Society of Long Beach.

In addition, the “News of the Resorts” article features a photograph of Crescent Lake, a natural lake and recreational spot that has long been popular with those who enjoy fishing, swimming and sailing:

With such natural, picturesque attractions like Crescent Lake that invite all manner of outdoor warm-weather fun, summer in Oregon has a strong, undeniable lure that can be felt near and far. As the “Vacation Haunts in Oregon” article states:

All nature in Oregon invites the vacationist. That’s why Oregon is called “The Summer playground of the Northwest” and that also is the reason this state is drawing annually bigger crowds of tourists and vacationists from the East. The outing places are all here and they’re free. They lack artificiality and formality, holding still their original natural beauty and attractiveness.

So, in the words of the “Vacation Haunts in Oregon” piece, “now for your summer vacation. Dig out your fishing tackle, your big shoes, the old duck suit, your bathing trunks and the slouch hat and hit the trail. Nature, you will find, has had your comfort and pleasure in mind since last Summer and will be on hand as usual to greet you with big broad smiles whichever way you turn.” Happy summer (and enjoy the sun)!

Posted in Uncategorized

More Historic Crook County Content Now Online!

In partnership with the Crook County Historical Society Bowman Museum in Prineville, Oregon, the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program (ODNP) is proud to announce two additional Prineville titles that are now part of Historic Oregon Newspapers online:

Both papers provide a late 19th century perspective on Crook County and serve as precursors to the Prineville Crook County Journalwhich can also be found online from January 1901-July 1921.

Here are just a few fun clippings that can be found in these new additions:

Advertisement: Prineville Wagon and Blacksmith Shop at Swaileys old stand, C.L. Salomon Prop. All kinds of wagon work and blacksmithing done by experienced workmen. Horseshoeing a specialty. Old wagons and hacks and all kinds of old iron taken in exchange for work. All iron work done by as good a smith as there is in the country at related prices.

Ochoco review. (Prineville, Crook County, Or.) April 07, 1888, Image 6.


Prineville Review. Thursday January 29, 1903. Localettes. P.G. Milliron, of Crook, was in the city last Saturday. Archie McKinnon, of Price, made this office a pleasant call Saturday. Sheriff Smith left last Monday for Salem to hob-nob with our lawmakers for a time. Stock of all kinds continues to look fine and will come out in the spring in fine condition. Left on hand - fine overcoat also pantaloons, will sell cheap. Gormley, The Tailor.

Prineville review. (Prineville, Crook County, Or.) January 29, 1903, Image 3.


Drawing of horse race, with caption: "Five days of races. $1100 in purses. Under the management of the Prineville Jockey Club. Prineville Oregon. October 27,28,29,30,31."

Prineville review. (Prineville, Crook County, Or.) August 13, 1903, Image 1.


Stay tuned for more updates!




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Posted in Announcements

K-12 Common Core Lesson Plans Now Available

One of our big projects this year has been revising and enhancing ODNP lesson plans to align with Oregon Common Core State Standards. Thanks to the excellent work of Erin Choi, recent graduate from the University of Oregon’s UOTeach Master’s Program, these new lesson plans are now available for use in K-12 classrooms! Erin began her work as a graduate student and student teacher in October 2014, focusing on topics in Oregon history and American history, incorporating primary source content from newspapers found in the ODNP’s Historic Oregon Newspapers online and the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website, and aligning lesson plans with Common Core standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and Social Sciences.

The new lesson plans are targeted at Grade 4 ELA standards and Grade 4 Social Sciences standards for Oregon History topics, and Grades 6-8 ELA standards and Grades 6-8 Social Sciences standards for American History. However, all of the lesson plans can be adapted to any grade level, allowing K-12 educators to either utilize the plans as they come, or insert relevant articles and activity ideas into their existing lessons.

Check out our new K-12 Resources page for links to applicable Oregon Common Core State Standards and ODNP lesson plans, as well as additional resources from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Library of Congress, and the University of Illinois.

List of ODNP K-12 Lesson Plans:

The lesson plans were designed for commenting by K-12 educators – please feel free to add comments to each, as well as any additional relevant resources or newspaper links that others might find useful.

Special thanks to:

  • David Parker, graduate student in the UOTeach program, for initial research on American History topics
  • Jason Stone, former ODNP Project Manager, for developing initial ODNP lesson plans in 2010
  • Gina Murrell, ODNP Project Coordinator, for editing and proof-reading
Posted in Announcements, K-12 Lesson Plans

Issues of the Crook County Journal Now Online, 1901-1921!

Thanks to a partnership with the Crook County Historical Society/Bowman Museum in Prineville, Oregon, issues of the Crook County Journal are now online at Historic Oregon Newspapers!

The Crook County Journal reliably kept residents of Prineville, Oregon, informed for more than two decades, beginning in the 1890s. Throughout its run, the newspaper was published weekly, arriving hot off the press every Thursday. In 1901, readers could get the Crook County Journal for $1.50 for a one-year subscription, 75 cents for a six-month subscription, and 50 cents for a three-month subscription. At the end of the Crook County Journal‘s run, in 1921, subscriptions to the newspaper were only offered on an annual basis, for $2 a year.

For the first decade of the 20th century, readers of the Crook County Journal were treated to four pages of content. In later decades, the newspaper averaged eight pages. Topics covered included local and state news, especially politics and natural disasters, school happenings and construction projects. Advertisements, which increasingly took up more page space with each passing year of the newspaper’s existence, touted a range of products and services, from typewriters to farming equipment to menswear to banking services.

Content from the Crook County Journal can be browsed online at the Historic Oregon Newspapers website. Each issue of the newspaper can be browsed by issue date via the website’s calendar view. In addition, specific content can be found through keyword search on the website’s search page. PDFs of newspaper pages can be downloaded. All issues of the Crook County Journal that are now online are available for browsing, searches, and downloads – all for FREE at Historic Oregon Newspapers!

Historic Oregon Newspapers now has weekly coverage of the Crook County Journal from January 2, 1901, through July 7, 1921. Take a look at this and other historic newspaper content from Oregon at Historic Oregon Newspapers!

Posted in Announcements, Chronicling America

Chronicling America, Historic Oregon Newspapers Now with New Content!

Calling all aficionados of historic Oregon newspapers! The Chronicling America and Historic Oregon Newspaper websites have been updated with lots of great new content. All issues of historic Oregon newspapers that have been added to these sites are completely free to search and are easily keyword searchable.

East Oregonian (Pendleton, Umatilla Co., Or.) Sept. 22, 1922

New content includes the following:

Chronicling America is a website that provides “access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages, and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).” Historic Oregon Newspapers is a website that lets you “search and access complete content for historic Oregon newspapers that have been digitized as part of the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program (ODNP).” ODNP is a program of the University of Oregon Libraries with the help of major grants and external funding. Special thanks to the Oregon Heritage Commission for providing matching funds to support digitization of these titles.

Posted in Announcements, Chronicling America

Willamette Meteorite

Photograph of a man standing next to the meteorite, which is almost as tall as he is. Caption reads: "Tomanowos, also known as the Willamette meteorite, on display during the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Oregon in 1905." Photo courtesy of the Macovich Collection.

Image from Smoke Signals, the current newspaper of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, 2007.

Download PDF


One of Oregon’s unique natural treasures is the Willamette Meteorite, found near the town of West Linn in 1902. Using the Historic Oregon Newspapers website, students will access accounts of the meteorite’s discovery and subsequent court battle to determine its rightful ownership. Further inquiry will reveal information about the science of meteors and a key event in the region’s geological past. A mock trial will help personalize and elucidate the competing claims of rightful ownership that have continued to surround the meteorite up to the present day. This interdisciplinary lesson is designed to teach concepts of social history, natural history, physical science, and legal issues of personal and community property rights.

Oregon Common Core State Standards

Language Arts Standards: 

  • ELA.RH.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
  • ELA.RH.9-10.6 Compare the points of view of two or more authors in their treatment of the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.
  • ELA.RH.9-10.7 Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
  • ELA.RH.9-10.8 Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author’s claims.
  • Additional standards listed in PDF Download

Social Studies Standards: 

  • Historical Knowledge HS.2 Analyze the complexity and investigate causes and effects of significant events in world, U.S., and Oregon history.
  • Historical Knowledge HS.9 Identify historical and current events, issues, and problems when national interests and global interest have been in conflict, and analyze the values and arguments on both sides of the conflict.
  • Historical Thinking HS.11 Gather and analyze historical information, including contradictory data, from a variety of primary and secondary sources, including online sources, to support or reject hypotheses.
  • Historical Thinking HS.12 Construct and defend a written historical argument using relevant primary and secondary sources as evidence.
  • Additional standards listed in PDF Download



  • Introduction: Introduce the topic of study.
    • Begin by asking students if they are aware that the largest meteorite ever discovered in the United States—and the sixth largest in the entire world—was found right here in our home state of Oregon. Then ask how many of them have seen this remarkable object in person. If any students answer in the affirmative, solicit from them the story and circumstances of how and where they came to view the meteor.
  • Building background knowledge: Students will build background knowledge by researching the case Oregon Iron Co. v. Hughes on the Historic Oregon Newspapers
    • Inform the class that there was an immediate controversy about the rightful ownership of the meteorite. Also, tell students that Mrs. William E. Dodge bought the meteorite in 1905 and donated it to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where it is still on display.
    • Introduce the case Oregon Iron Co. v. Hughes.
    • Challenge students to locate the very first news story about the meteorite’s discovery, and a newspaper photograph.
    • Direct students to the website, and research the meteorite and the court case.
    • You may narrow searches by using the advanced search option, entering specific phrases and timeframes.
    • See below for a list of links to key stories.
  • Discussion: After the students have completed their research, bring them together for a class discussion of what they have learned.
  • Some discussion questions to consider:
    • Who first discovered the meteorite?
    • Where did they find it?
    • Why did they undertake the very difficult task of moving the 15-ton object ¾ of a mile?
    • How did this lead to a case in the Oregon Supreme Court?
    • What was the court’s decision?
    • How was the decision fair?
    • What did the winners of the court case do with the meteorite?
    • Was it right to send the Willamette Meteorite to the other side of the country? Should this relic have remained in Oregon, where it was found?
  • Lesson activity: The science of the Willamette Meteorite.
    • Ensure that students gain a basic knowledge of the nature of meteorites: what they are, where they come from, and how they have impacted the earth throughout time.
    • Some resource ideas include class discussions, science curricula, or online resources such as Solar Views and Wikipedia.
    • Break students into groups to do more research on meteorites. An activity sheet is provided below.
  • Discussion: Bring students together to share their findings and interesting facts. Make sure to discuss each of the questions that students were tasked in researching.
  • Transition: Students should be made aware of a most perplexing fact about the Willamette Meteorite: It would be expected that an object of this mass falling from space would leave a huge crater where it struck the earth. However, where the meteorite was discovered in Oregon, it laid half-buried in the ground, with no crater.
    • Pose the question: How can this be explained?
    • Have students brainstorm hypotheses of their own before the class investigates further.
  • Building background knowledge: This is a great segue to the subject of ice age glaciation and the Missoula Floods (also known as the Bretz Floods, or Spokane Floods) that played a key role in shaping the geography of Oregon.
    • Geologists have hypothesized that, during the last ice age, the Willamette Meteorite made its original impact on the great ice dam that lay far to the northeast, in present-day Canada. Around 11,000 years ago, this massive ice barrier was breached, releasing a torrent of water greater in volume than all Earth’s rivers combined. Giant icebergs broke free in the floodwaters; one of these chunks of prehistoric ice rafted the meteorite hundreds of miles before depositing it where it would be found in the Willamette Valley.
    • Discuss the history and dynamics of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet and resulting Missoula Floods.
    • Some resources are listed below.
  • Discussion: Bring students together as a class to discuss the information that they were presented with on the Missoula Floods and Cordilleran Ice Sheet.
  • Some discussion questions to consider:
    • In what ways would Oregon circa 9,000 bce have looked different from the present day?
    • What are some factors responsible for these changes?
    • Which of the state’s geographic features were directly shaped because of the Missoula Floods?
    • Besides the Willamette Meteorite, what other pieces of evidence of these ice age floods have been discovered in Oregon?
  • Building background information:
    • In 2000, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon alleged that the meteorite was their rightful property. Before it was “discovered” by Ellis Hughes, Native Americans living in the Willamette Valley knew about the meteorite. In fact, they had a special name for it, Tomanowos, and used it in an annual religious ceremony. Thus, the Confederated Tribes argued, the meteorite should be returned to them.
    • Against this claim, the American Museum of Natural History continued to assert that the meteorite was legally purchased and donated to it in 1905. Individuals who agreed with the museum also argued that the meteorite is a national treasure and should remain on prominent display in a place where the greatest number of people could see it.
  • Lesson preparation: Divide students into two groups of equal size, with one group representing the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde Community and the other the American Museum of Natural History.
    • Each group will divide into two smaller groups, with one group representing “Expert Witnesses” and the other “Lawyers.” Expert witnesses will take the stand and testify, and lawyers will ask questions to lead the testimony of their witnesses as well as cross-examine witnesses from the other side.
    • Some witness roles include: Native American Spiritual Leader, Native American Mother, Anthropologist, Historian, Astronomer, Public School Teacher, Museum Curator, and Museum Patron.
    • Give students adequate time to meet with their groups and collaboratively develop their roles, brainstorm the merits of their case, and form strategies for arguing it.
    • Students should research the case further and prepare “evidence” for court.
  • Mock trial: When students’ “day in court” comes, the teacher should play the part of Judge.
    • Remind students to stay in character, even if they disagree with their roles. They must continue to provide the strongest case possible for parties they have been “hired” to represent in court.
    • To keep in character, begin the mock trial by “swearing in” the whole class as a group.
    • Lawyers from each side should be given the opportunity to call their expert witnesses to the stand and present their testimony in the case.
    • Each team of lawyers has the opportunity to call expert witnesses from the other side and cross-examine them.
    • Throughout the simulation, you as Judge can guide the activity by “overruling” lawyers and “striking from the record” expert testimony.
    • Allow students to self-direct the presentations of their cases.
    • Give students the information sheet for help during the mock trial.
  • Debrief: Rather than issuing a judge’s ruling in favor of one side, tell students how the actual dispute was settled: with a mutual compromise.
    • The Confederated Tribes reached an agreement with the museum, stating their tribal members are allowed private time to conduct a traditional ceremony around the meteorite once a year, and that ownership will be transferred to the Tribes in the event that the museum removes the object from display.
  • Some debrief questions to consider:
    • Do you think this decision was fair?
    • What do you think should have happened?
    • Who provided the most convincing argument?
    • How do you feel about your mock trial experience?
    • Do you think the decision had merit?

Extension Activity Ideas

  • Field trip: Visit the site where the meteorite was found, near present-day Willamette Methodist Church in West Linn.
    • Another option: Visit a replica of the meteorite outside the Museum of Natural and Cultural History on the University of Oregon campus.
    • Another option: Visit the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinniville, Oregon, where on display is a 7.5-inch piece of the actual meteorite.
    • Visit the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.


Links to coverage of the Willamette Meteorite

Links for supplementary material regarding the Missoula Floods and Ice Sheet

  • “About the Ice Age Floods,” on Ice Age Floods Institute website
    • Provides background information on the floods, including how they were discovered.
  • “The Cordilleran Ice Sheet and Missoula Floods,” on S. Geological Survey website
    • Provides more background information about the ice sheet and floods.
  • Cordilleran Ice Sheet map, via Google
    • A valuable tool to help students visualize these ancient phenomena.
  • Missoula Floods map, via Google
    • A valuable tool to help students visualize these ancient phenomena.
  • “Mystery of the Megaflood,” by PBS NOVA
    • An episode discussing the floods. (A teacher’s guide is available on the website.)
Posted in High School Common Core, K-12 Lesson Plans

Timber! Oregon’s Economy and Environment

Photo of a forest of Yellow Pine.

Yellow Pine in Eastern Oregon. Image from the Daily Capital Journal (Salem, OR), 1911.

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From the earliest days of pioneer settlement, a large segment of Oregon’s economy has been based on resource extraction of one kind or another. The Pacific Northwest is especially rich in natural resources such as timber, fish, water, minerals, and soil. Harvesting these commodities allowed the economy of the region to develop quickly, but over the years, the people of Oregon learned some hard lessons about what can result when too much of a natural resource is used up too quickly. This lesson will focus on the history of one of Oregon’s most impactful resource industries: timber extraction.

Oregon Common Core State Standards

Language Arts Standards: 

  • ELA.RH.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
  • ELA.SL.6-8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • ELA.SL.6-8.3 Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.
  • ELA.SL.6-8.4 Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • Additional standards listed in PDF Download

Social Studies Standards:

  • Historical Knowledge 6.2 Identify examples of the social, political, cultural, and economic development in key areas of the Western Hemisphere.
  • Historical Thinking 6.8 Analyze cause-and-effect relationships, including the importance of individuals, ideas, human interests, and beliefs.
  • Geography 6.11 Distinguish among different types of maps, and use them to analyze an issue in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Geography 6.15 Explain how people have adapted to or changed the physical environment in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Geography 6.16 Explain how technological developments, societal decisions, and personal practices influence sustainability in the Western Hemisphere.


  • Historic Oregon Newspapers website
  • Access to the Internet
  • Copies of articles (see below)
  • Copies of maps
  • Copies of role background (see PDF Download)
  • Poster paper (optional)
  • Graph paper (optional)


  • Introduction: Introduce the topic of study.
    • Students will be using the Historic Oregon Newspapers website to build background knowledge on the historic prominence of the timber industry in Oregon.
  • Building background knowledge: Internet research using website and analysis of lumber export.
    • Direct students to the advanced search page.
    • Students will type in the complete phrase “lumber mills.”
    • You may wish to give students certain newspapers to research.
    • Give students adequate time to sift through the newspaper results.
  • Discussion: Bring students together to discuss their findings and observations.
  • Some discussion questions to consider:
    • How many page matches does the search turn up?
    • What did the articles say?
    • What is your initial reaction to what you saw in the results?
  • Additional background knowledge: Now that students have an understanding of the significance of lumber in Oregon history, they will analyze the amount of lumber that was exported in 1904.
    • You may wish to perform this activity as a whole class or in small groups.
    • Pass out copies of the article “Commerce with the Whole World” from Morning Oregonian
    • Each section describes the amount of goods that were imported. Each section is organized into parts of the world: the Orient (Asia), South Africa, Europe, Australia, South America, and Papeete (Polynesia). At the end of each section, “Recapitulation” tallies up all major exports.
    • Have students browse each section to see patterns and find the level of lumber exports that were delivered to each country.
    • This can be done as a class or in small groups.
    • Chart the board feet, as well as the dollar value.
  • Discussion: Bring the class together to discuss the levels of lumber exported.
  • Some discussion questions to consider:
    • What was the total board feet of Oregon lumber exported from Portland in 1903?
    • What was the total dollar value of these exports?
    • Which regions of the world bought the most Oregon timber?
    • Why do you think so?
    • Why do you think some didn’t buy as much timber?
  • Additional background knowledge: To further build background knowledge, provide students with a visual record of Oregon’s turn-of-the-century lumber industry.

You may wish to present these pictorial features to the whole class:

  • Discussion: Pose the following question for discussion.
    • What conclusions can we draw after examining maps showing the extent of U.S. old-growth forests in 1620, 1850, 1920, and the present day?
  • Transition: Prepare students for debate.
    • What we think of as “environmental awareness” is a relatively new concept. In the pioneer days, people who settled in Oregon had an entirely different way of looking at the land. From their journals and letters, we know that many appreciated Oregon’s unspoiled, natural beauty. At the same time, they couldn’t help but view the environment in light of its economic potential. The “bounties of nature” in the Pacific Northwest seemed inexhaustible. So little, if any, thought was given to preserving nature for future generations.
    • As the 19th century came to a close, a new relationship toward the environment emerged. This time period was known as the Progressive Era, and many of the country’s old assumptions were being reexamined by a new generation of thinkers and political leaders. Among them were Theodore Roosevelt, president of the United States; Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the U.S. Forestry Service; and John Muir, the celebrated naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club.
    • As a precursor to the debate activity below, students may be assigned biographic research on Roosevelt, Pinchot, and Muir.
  • Lesson activity: Debating forest preservation.
    • Break students into three groups: Laissez-Faire, Conservationist, and Environmentalist.
    • Pass out a role sheet for each student to prepare for the debate.
    • Quickly discuss each position.
    • Remind students to stay in character, even if they disagree with the position.
    • Give students time to research and prepare arguments. Resources are provided below.
    • Giving students enough time to debate their position’s concerns, offering rebuttals and questions.
  • Discussion: Bring students together to discuss the debate.
  • Some discussion questions to consider:
    • Do you disagree or agree with your position? Why?
    • Did someone persuade you to his or her side?
    • What is your idea to help prevent deforestation?
  • Debrief: Bring students together to debrief and connect the debate to present-day issues.
    • Most of the world’s remaining virgin forestland is tropical rainforest. Here, we see many of the same patterns of deforestation playing out as they did in the United States in previous centuries. It is here that the contemporary environmental debate is centered.
    • The U.S. Geological Survey maintains Earthshots, the website showing environmental changes as viewed from space. A series of satellite images of Rondônia, Brazil, illustrate the spread of deforestation over an 18-year period. Sharing these images with the class can be an excellent way to tie in this lesson from Oregon’s past to the present day.


Posted in Common Core: English Language Arts Grades 6-8, Common Core: Social Sciences Grades 6-8, K-12 Lesson Plans