William F. Willingham

William F. Willingham, Ph.D., has taught at the college level for eleven years, served as District and Division Historian for the Corps of Engineers for fifteen years, and spent twelve years as an independent consulting historian. He has written widely in the fields of Pacific Northwest history, historic preservation, historic architecture, and water resources development. Major publications include Waterpower in the Wilderness: A History of the Bonneville Lock and DamNorthwest Passages: A History of the Seattle District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Starting Over: Community Building on the Eastern Oregon Frontier (2005). He also has written numerous scholarly articles, reviews, consultant reports, and professional papers.

Author's Entries

  • Adams

    Adams is a small town about thirteen miles northeast of Pendleton on Wildhorse Creek in Umatilla County. The town got its name from the homestead of John F. Adams, which became part of the town. The federal government established a post office in Adams in 1883, and the first postmaster …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • Autzen House

    The Thomas J. Autzen house, built in 1927, is a rambling brick-and-stone, half-timbered, Tudor-style residence located at 2425 N.E. Alameda in Portland. Designed by prominent Spokane and Seattle architect Kirtland K. Cutter, the Autzen house displays exceptional workmanship, careful use of materials, and other significant characteristics of the …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • Benson Hotel

    The Benson Hotel, built in Portland by pioneer lumberman Simon Benson in 1913, was constructed as an annex to the adjacent Oregon Hotel to the south. It was originally called the New Oregon Hotel. Soon after it opened, however, it became known as the Benson. The older hotel was demolished in 1959 to make …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • Bonneville Dam

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built and operated Bonneville Lock and Dam as the first of eight federal locks and dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Located 41 miles upriver from the mouth of the Willamette, Bonneville Dam impounds a 48-mile-long reservoir with a pool elevation of 76.5 …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • Cascade Locks

    A massive ground movement known as the Bonneville Landslide, which occurred about 1200 AD, briefly blocked the Columbia River. The river subsequently broke through the obstruction, and the uneroded portions of the landslide created the rapids known as the Cascades of the Columbia.  Native peoples settled along this portion …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • Long Creek (town)

    The eastern Oregon town of Long Creek, in Grant County, is located in a valley and near a stream of the same name. In the early days of settlement, it was thought that this stream was one of the longest in that section of the state.  Settlers began arriving in …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • Morris Whitehouse (1878-1944)

    Over the course of his career, Morris Whitehouse designed many important buildings in Portland, the Willamette Valley, and the Columbia Gorge. Born in Portland on March 21, 1878, Whitehouse studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, completing his studies in 1905. After a year's study at …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • Pendleton Round-Up

    The Pendleton Round-Up began in September 1910 as a frontier exhibition of horsemanship and cowboy skills that dazzled 10,000 spectators with its sheer speed and colorful variety over the four-day event. Organizers managed to put the first show together in a little more than three months as a community undertaking. …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • Pendleton Woolen Mills

    Pendleton Woolen Mills opened in 1909 in a defunct woolen mill that had been established in Pendleton in 1896. The town’s efforts to persuade the Bishop family (a prominent retail family in Salem with close ties to the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill) to revive the closed mill meant leveraging …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • Swan Island

    Swan Island sits about eight miles above the mouth of the Willamette River. The island has played a significant role in the development of waterborne commerce in Oregon and the history of the Port of Portland. It was first noted as Willow Island on an 1844 chart by …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • The Dalles Dam

    The United States Army Corps of Engineers constructed The Dalles Dam between 1952 and 1957. The dam was a significant part of the federal government's effort during the twentieth century to develop the hydropower and navigation potential of the Columbia River. Located 192 miles upstream from the mouth of …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a hybrid military and civilian federal agency, developed Oregon's water transportation infrastructure and played a major role in the state's economic growth. Beginning in the 1820s, Congress mandated the Corps to improve the nation's navigable rivers and harbors so they could safely accommodate ever-larger …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • Willamette River flood of 1894

    The Willamette River, in its natural state, has been subject to annual flooding, at times severe. Draining an area of over 11,200 square miles, the river supplies water for agricultural, industrial, municipal, and domestic purposes in the Willamette Valley. Between November and February, heavy rains often fall on …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • Willamette River flood of 1964

    The Willamette River, in its natural state, was subject to annual flooding. Draining an area of over 11,200 square miles, the river supplied water for agricultural, industrial, municipal, and domestic uses in the Willamette Valley. But between November and February, heavy rains falling on deep snow at higher …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • Willamette River flood of 1996

    In 1996, as part of a larger pattern of winter flooding in the Pacific Northwest, the Willamette River experienced a major flooding, threatening the City of Portland and seriously damaging the navigation locks at Willamette Falls. It was one of the more serious floods of the twentieth century. Portland's …

    Oregon Encyclopedia

  • Willamette University

    Willamette University, the oldest university in the West, was founded in 1842. Located in Salem, the university had its origins in a school for Native American children, operated by Reverend Jason Lee and his fellow Methodist missionaries from 1834 to 1844. Throughout its history, Willamette University has honored its …

    Oregon Encyclopedia