Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Local History in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

Historical Sketch

Given that it lies along the border with Benton County - and, in fact, North Albany falls within the boundary of Benton County - Albany has been included among the Benton County communities in this guide.

Named the Linn County seat in 1851, Albany, Oregon sits at the confluence of the Willamette and Calapooya rivers, on the ancestral lands of a number of First Nations peoples, including the Kalapuya. Contact with European explorers brought waves of devastating disease - smallpox in 1782-1783, and malaria in 1830-1833 - and it is estimated that 90% of the Kalapuyan population died during this period.

Hiram Smead (alternately spelled Smeed) and Abner Hackleman were the first two white settlers to arrive; both staked donation land claims in the area in 1845. Having staked his claim, Hackleman began the return trip to Iowa, hoping to gather his family and return. Hackleman died making the trip, however, and in 1847 brothers Walter and Thomas Monteith of New York bought a 320-acre land claim from Smead for $400. The Monteiths ultimately plotted Albany's original 60-acre footprint, naming it after New York's capital city.

The brothers Monteith also built the first frame house in Albany in 1849, widely considered to be the finest house in Oregon at the time; a post office was established a year later. The first school was established in 1851 by the town's first physician, R. C. Hill, with Eleanor B. Hackleman, wife of Abram Hackleman (Abner's son), as the schoolmaster. Albany was formally incorporated in 1864.


There are over 70 collections that reference Albany in SCARC's holdings (you can view the complete search results list here: "Albany"). The collections listed below represent a sampling of those collections.

Manuscripts

Corvallis-Albany Farmers' Markets Records, 1991-2012
The Corvallis-Albany Farmers' Markets Records document the establishment, organization, and promotion of seasonal markets for farm-direct products in Corvallis and Albany, Oregon. The non-profit organization, Corvallis-Albany Farmers' Markets, was established in 1998 through the merger of the Corvallis Wednesday and Saturday markets with the Albany Saturday market. Promotional materials include posters, flyers, bookmarks, and brochures. The Records also include vendor handbooks and applications, the Market Line newsletter, grower information sheets, clippings, annual reports, and related materials. A 2012 pricing study and site plans for market layout at various locations are also included. The collection includes annual brochures listing all farmers markets in Oregon for 1998-2012.

Max Geier The Color of Night Research Files, circa 1900s-2016
The Max Geier The Color of Night Research Files include the materials used by author and history professor Max Geier to write his 2015 book The Color of Night: Race, Railroaders, and Murder in the Wartime West. The book revolves around the 1943 trial of Robert E. Lee Folkes, a young black man and train cook who Geier argues was wrongly accused and convicted of the murder of Martha James, a young white woman, while both were aboard a train traveling near the Willamette Valley town of Albany, Oregon. The collection includes Geier’s research on the history of African Americans in Oregon and California, as well as the history of the Pullman Company; legal documents and other materials related to the Robert E. Lee Folkes case; and The Color of Night manuscript drafts and publication related documents.

USDA Northwest Cannery Survey Collection, 1914-1915
The USDA Northwest Cannery Survey Collection consists of materials pertaining to a 1914 survey of fruit canneries in Oregon and Washington. The survey was conducted by the USDA Office of Markets and Rural Organization in cooperation with Oregon Agricultural College. The collection includes correspondence, financial records (e.g. bookkeeping methods, salaries, etc.), photographs, historical notes and essays, equipment lists, blank forms used in timekeeping and production, and can labels. A survey of the Albany Creamery Association can be found in Box-folder 1.1.

Jeannette I. Cox Collection, circa 1915-1986
The Jeannette I. Cox Collection consists of photographs of Corvallis, nearby communities, and sites throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, as well as administrative correspondence of the Pacific Northwest Water Laboratory for the period 1962-1969, when Cox was a secretary to the Director. Of especial note are images of the Oregon Electric Depot in Albany circa 1915 (Box 01). Cox attended Oregon State College and was a life-long resident of Corvallis and avid photographer.

George P. Griffis Portfolio and Scrapbook, 1926-1979
The George P. Griffis Portfolio and Scrapbook were assembled by Griffis to document his career with The Oregonian newspaper and the Pacific National Advertising Agency in Portland, Oregon, during the 1940s-1960s. Griffis attended Oregon State College from 1926 to 1929 and was national advertising manager for the Barometer campus newspaper. The scrapbook contains a series of newspaper articles published as part of an Oregonian series promoting Oregon cities in 1947-1948 that were arranged and written by Griffis in his role as promotion manager for The Oregonian. The scrapbook includes clippings of the articles, published responses, poster-size reproductions of the full page spreads for each city, and advertisements promoting these cities that were developed by the The Oregonian and published nationally. Albany, Oregon was one of the cities featured in this series (Box 01). A later addition to the collection consists of a letter, newspaper clippings, photographs, a souvenir packet of snapshots, and a student handbook. Numbering 45 negatives in total, the photographs include downtown views of Corvallis, Albany, Salem, Medford, and McMinnville (Acc. 2013:016, Box 01).

Donald G. Jefferys Collection, 1931-1969
The Donald G. Jefferys Collection consists of materials assembled by Jefferys documenting his student experience at Oregon State College; his family's turkey farm near Albany, Oregon; and his interest in national and worldwide news events. Jefferys attended Oregon State College from 1937 to 1940. The bulk of the collection consists of accounting ledgers, tax records, correspondence and other business documents for Jefferys' family turkey farm near Albany, J.M.J. Turkey Farms (Box 01). These date from the mid-1930s until 1950. Of special note is a handwritten journal of farming activities and notable weather events for 1942-1945. The collection also includes issues of several newspapers with notable headlines including the death of Will Rogers in a plane crash, the Hindenburg disaster, World War II battles and developments, and the 1969 moon landing. The newspapers include the Albany Democrat Herald, Oregonian, and News of the World (London) (Box 02).

Lucy Lewis Scrapbook, 1914-1915
The Lucy Lewis Scrapbook humorously documents a twelve-day hiking excursion taken by Lewis and six companions in 1915 to Mount Jefferson, a peak in Oregon's Cascade Range. The party began in Corvallis, Oregon and travelled through Albany to Detroit, Oregon by train. From Detroit, they followed what is now Oregon Route 22 to Hoover (now Idanha) and hiked the Whitewater Trail to Jefferson Park. The scrapbook includes a twenty page typed narrative humorously detailing the events of each day. Included are descriptions of the local scenery, the activities of each member, and several minor mishaps.

Macpherson Family History, 2010
This family history consists of the monograph, The Macpherson Family Through Four Generations, written by Hector Macpherson, Jr. The book describes the author's childhood in Corvallis and growing up on the family's farm; his student years at Oregon State College and service in World War II; farming in the Willamette Valley near Albany and Corvallis; his public service in county planning and the development of Oregon's land use planning system; and his work as an Oregon state senator and member of the Land Conservation and Development Commission. Macpherson graduated from Oregon State College in 1940 and, as a senator, was instrumental in development of Oregon's land use planning system with passage of Senate Bill 100 in 1973.

Oregon Wine Industry Collection, 1937-2011
The Oregon Wine Industry Collection documents the wine industry and winemaking in Oregon and includes clippings, winery newsletters and guides, publications, and ephemera. Newsletters from Tyee Wine Cellars (Corvallis), Springhill Cellars Winery (Albany), Foris Vineyards Winery (Cave Junction), Bellfountain Cellars (Corvallis), Hinman Vineyards/Silvan Ridge (Eugene), and Serendipity Cellars Winery (Monmouth) are included (Box 01).

Watercolor Society of Oregon Records, 1958-2009
The Watercolor Society of Oregon Records document the activities, membership, and administration of the Watercolor Society of Oregon (WSO). These records primarily consist of notebooks assembled by WSO members that reflect the two shows of WSO artwork held annually as well as painting workshops and board meetings. The notebooks in Series 1 primarily document the planning process and activities associated with the two shows of WSO member artwork organized every year by the society, and include photographs, exhibit catalogs, flyers, meeting minutes, membership rosters, newsletters, newspaper clippings, and reports. Two notebooks documenting the spring show held in Albany in 1988 can be found in Box-folder 02.09-10.

Oregon State University Memorabilia Collection, ca. 1860-present
The Memorabilia Collection is an artificial collection consisting of individual items of historical value such as programs, posters, brochures, clippings, buttons, pennants, stickers, and other ephemera. The Memorabilia Collection includes information about Oregon State University buildings and campus development; academic departments and programs; research, extension, and outreach; faculty, staff, and alumni; student organizations; intercollegiate and intramural athletics; and other campus events, activities, and issues. It also includes limited information about Corvallis, Benton County, the mid-Willamette Valley region, and the state of Oregon. Materials documenting the 1932 Albany College Baccalaureate Service held at First Presbyterian Church, and the Albany Democrat-Herald, can be found in Box-Folder 6.8 and Box-Folder 182.4, respectively.

Photographs

Robert W. Henderson Photographic Slides Collection, 1936-1998
The Robert W. Henderson Photographic Slides provide visual documentation of Oregon State University and the state of Oregon from, in bulk, the mid-1950s to the late 1990s. Consisting of nearly 16,000 unique 35-mm color slides, all of which are described individually, the collection depicts a wide range of university activities, particularly as concerns agricultural research and the development of agricultural practices at OSU's county Extension offices and regional Experiment Stations. Robert Henderson (1914-2006) was an OSU alum and photography enthusiast who worked as a faculty member in Farm Crops and the Agricultural Experiment Station for thirty years. The collection contains 41 images of Albany and the surrounding area; these images cover a variety of subjects, including water pollution (images #06840a - 06840d), air pollution near the Albany Kraft paper plant (image #00120), coin shows (images #17124a-17124b, 10340a-10340b), and the Albany Boys and Girls Club Building (images #17725-17727). The Henderson Slides are being digitized for online access in Oregon Digital.

Gerald W. Williams Postcards Collection, 1893-1959
The Gerald W. Williams Postcards Collection consists of postcards acquired and assembled by Williams in the course of his work as a Forest Service sociologist and historian and due to his avocational interest in the regional history of the Pacific Northwest. The bulk of the collection consists of scenic views and natural landmarks in Oregon, Washington, and California.  Forestry, logging, fishing, and other rural activities are predominant topics in the collection. Gerald Williams worked for the U.S. Forest Service from 1979 to 2005 as a sociologist (1979-1998) and historian (1998-2005). Images of Albany and the surrounding area can be found in Box-item 1.113 - 1.118. Items from the collection are available online in the Gerald W. Williams Collection.

Agricultural and Resource Economics Department Photographs, 1925-1979
The Agricultural and Resource Economics Department Photographs consist of images taken by Oregon State College County Agents, Farm Management Department faculty and staff, and Agricultural Economics Department faculty. The photographs depict agriculture in Oregon, including livestock, equipment, and crop fields. Additional images document damage caused by the 1945/1946 Willamette River flood, pasture scenes, operations of the Duckwall Fruit Processing Plant, and fruit harvesting and processing in Wenatchee Valley, Washington.
Series 3, Agricultural Machinery and Equipment, includes images of haying equipment in use at farms in the Albany area (Box-folder 1.4 and 3.2, images #3-A-401, 3-D-103, 3-A-301).

Gerald W. Williams Regional Albums, 1875-2000
The Gerald W. Williams Regional Albums consist of images and ephemera assembled by geographical regions. They were acquired and compiled Williams in the course of his work as a Forest Service sociologist and historian and due to his avocational interest in the history of forestry and the history of the United States, especially that of the Pacific Northwest region.  The albums document popular tourist destinations, national parks, the natural environment, prominent natural and architectural landmarks, forests and forest operations, mining, trains and railroads, early towns and cities, prominent citizens, and human activities, such as public events, hunting and fishing, and everyday life. Gerald Williams worked for the U.S. Forest Service from 1979 to 2005 as a sociologist (1979-1998) and historian (1998-2005). Series 8, Willamette Valley Region, includes a number of images of Albany and the surrounding areas (Box 08). Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Walter R. Baker Photographs, circa 1863 - circa 1930
The Walter R. Baker Photographs consists of images taken or collected by Baker during and soon after his student years at Oregon Agricultural College (OAC). The collection includes images of campus buildings and students as well photographs of buildings in and near Salem, Oregon, and of the Portland, Oregon, waterfront. Also included are several images of Albany-area bridges (Box-folder 1.5, images #051, 053 - 055), Albany Water power with the Oregon Electric Railroad tracks overhead (image #059). Baker attended OAC from 1904 to 1909; he earned a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1908 and completed graduate work in 1909 leading to designation as an Electrical Engineer. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Gerald W. Williams Stereoscopic Photograph Collection, 1870-1943
The Gerald W. Williams Stereoscopic Photograph Collection is comprised of stereoscopic photographs collected by former U.S. Forest Service historian Gerald Williams. The photographs depict natural and scenic landmarks, river basins, communities, forestry and logging.  Geographic locations featured in the collection include Oregon, Washington State, other western states, Washington D.C., the East Coast and other countries. Series 14, Willamette River and Valley, Oregon, includes two stereoscopic images of Thornton Lake near Albany (Box-Item 2.110 - 2.111).

Fred Deininger Luse Photograph Album, 1908-1910
The Fred Deininger Luse Photograph Album consists primarily of images collected by Luse while attending Oregon Agricultural College in the early years of the twentieth century. The images document campus buildings and grounds as well as student activities. Included in the collection is an image of Albany College (Box 01). Luse graduated from Oregon Agricultural College in 1909 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Wilson H. Foote Photographs, 1948-1955
The Wilson H. Foote Photographs consist of color slides taken by Foote during his early years at Oregon State College. The images depict the Oregon State College campus, students, and athletic events; agricultural scenes; Oregon landscapes and landmarks; and landscapes of western North America. Included in the collection are images of the Albany Timber Carnival (Box 01). Foote was a faculty member in farm crops and administrator in the Agricultural Experiment Station from 1948 until his retirement in 1984.

John E. Dever Photograph Collection, 1960-1962
The John E. Dever Photograph Collection primarily documents campus views, including buildings and marching band events both inside and outside of Gill Coliseum. An image of the Albany Timber Carnival is included in the collection (Acc. 2000:051).

Maps

Historic Oregon Topographic Maps, 1898-1993
The Historic Oregon Topographic Maps consist of superceded or obsolete topographic maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey. The maps cover all of Oregon as well as small portions of the bordering states of California, Idaho, and Washington. The bulk of the collection consists of 1:24,000 (7.5 min) quadrangle maps that were issued predominantly in the 1950s through 1970s and 1:62,500 (15 min) quadrangle maps which date from 1906 to the early 1970s. The maps depict topography; vegetation cover; rivers and lakes; roads, railroads, and other transportation; political boundaries; and the boundaries of national forests and parks. Of special note are topographic maps of the Willamette Valley and vicinity that were prepared in the 1900s-1910s; these depict the southern and central Willamette Valley from Springfield and Eugene to Albany (Folder 11).

Oregon State Highway Division Maps of Oregon Cities and Towns, 1969-1989
The Oregon State Highway Division Maps of Oregon Cities and Towns consist of street maps of 230 municipalities in Oregon primarily from the 1970s and 1980s. The maps depict streets and roads, political boundaries, public structures, and some landscape features. The collection include two oversize maps of Albany dating from 1977 to 1982 (Box-Folder 3.1).

State of Oregon Maps Collection, 1866-2000
The State of Oregon Maps Collection includes a diverse selection of maps of the full state of Oregon as well as counties, cities, and regions. Topics of the maps include geology, soils, agriculture, recreation, traffic flow, dams and reservoirs, land use, and physiography. Series 6, City Maps, includes several maps of Albany, including an 1890 city map by G.W. Watts (Folder-Item 17.1), two city maps from 1975 to 1978 (Folder-Item 17.2), two city maps from 1964 to 1970 (Box-Folder 20.2, item 1), and the 1972 Albany Comprehensive Plan and Interim Highway Plan (Box-Folder 20.2, item 2).

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Oregon, 1879-1956
The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Oregon are an extensive collection of detailed maps of 178 towns and cities in Oregon beginning in the 1880s. The maps depict both business and residential areas and provide information about the location of structures and type of construction. SCARC's Sanborn collection includes Sanborn maps for Albany in the years 1884, 1888, 1908, 1925 (Box-folder 4.1). The Library of Congress has digitized select Sanborn maps in their collection, which include maps for Albany in the years 1884, 1888, 1890, and 1895.

Camp Adair, Oregon, Maps and Aerial Photographs, 1942-1973
The Camp Adair, Oregon, Maps and Aerial Photographs collection includes topographic maps, orthophotographs, and other maps and images documenting Camp Adair, which was located north of Corvallis, Oregon. Most of the materials in the collection were prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Two orthophotographs of the areas surrounding Camp Adair include the Albany area (Folder-Item 1.1 and Box-Item 2.1). Camp Adair was a U.S. Army training facility during World War II.

Wetlands Inventory and Survey Maps, circa 1976 - 1990
The Wetlands Inventory and Survey Maps document the National Wetlands Inventory as conducted in the western United States and the central Willamette Valley and Pacific Coast in Oregon by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services. The collection includes an atlas of state and local wetlands surveys that had been conducted in 1965-1975 as well as drafts of wetlands inventory maps documenting the type and extent of coastal and inland wetlands in Oregon. Series 2, National Wetlands Inventory Maps, includes a map of Albany-area wetlands (Box-folder 2.1).

Street Surface Maps of Oregon Cities and Towns, 1939-1942
The Street Surface Maps of Oregon Cities and Towns consist of 426 detailed maps depicting street surface types, railroads, and locations of structures for more than 200 cities and towns. The maps differentiate between concrete roads, bituminous surfacing on rock, concrete, or treated bases, macadam surfacing, graded surfaces, or unimproved road surfaces. The maps also show the location of structures and the function of the building -- house barn, garage or shed; school, church, or post office; and business establishments of 1-3 stories. The collection includes two Albany maps dating from 1939 (Box-Folder 1.1, item 2).

Record Groups

Office of Multicultural Affairs Records, 1986-2009
The Office of Multicultural Affairs Records document the administration and functioning of the Office, which was established in 1991, and the variety of multicultural programs and activities for students and faculty at Oregon State University. The Records also reflect the many associated duties of Phyllis Lee, Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs from 1992 until her retirement in 2003. Series 7, Presentations, includes a file documenting a presentation Lee made at the Albany General Hospital Home Care and Hospice in 1992 (Box-folder 9.2).

Contract Administration Records, 1889-1976
The Contract Administration Records consist of expired contracts, leases, and agreements records; real property records including deeds and titles for land purchases, leases, and easement agreements; and construction and architectural service contracts for construction of buildings on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis and other sites in Oregon. The collection includes a file of correspondence between the Albany Typewriter Exchange and State Board of Higher Education regarding typewriter service and repair (Box-Folder 3.13).

Oral Histories

Oregon Higher Education Oral Histories Collection, 2019
The Oregon Higher Education Oral Histories Collection contains the interviews of 17 individuals sharing the histories and their experiences of 6 community colleges in Oregon including Blue Mountain Community College, Central Oregon Community College, Chemeketa Community College, Lane Community College, Linn-Benton Community College, and Portland Community College. The collection includes three interviews with faculty and staff of Linn-Benton Community College: Russell Tripp, Greg Hamann, and Bob Ross. All of the interviews are available online.

Oral Histories of the 1959 Oregon State College Wrestling Court, 1983-2013
The 1959 Oregon State College Wrestling Court oral history collection consists of born digital audio files and transcripts, as well as supporting research materials compiled by OSU undergraduate student Brittany Backen in her research on the wrestling court and the controversy that it provoked. The collection includes interviews with members of the court, the former editor of the OSC Daily Barometer, and a former member of the 1959 wrestling team. In her interview, Sharon Ransom Reid, "Miss Reversal," discusses her childhood growing up in Albany, Oregon, majoring in Business Education at Oregon State College, engaging in activities on campus with her sorority, and her decision to join the wrestling court (Box 01).

History of Oregon State University Oral Histories and Sound Recordings, 1956-2019
The History of Oregon State University Oral Histories and Sound Recordings consist of oral histories conducted in 1956 by Lillian Van Loan for her doctoral dissertation on the history of Oregon State College and subsequent interviews done by Ilona Fry in 1980 on the development of the liberal arts at Oregon State University. The collection also includes more contemporary interviews conducted by SCARC staff and relating to various aspects of OSU's history. In his interview, Gordon W. Gilkey discusses Albany College and Albany, Oregon (Box-Folder 1.25); the transcribed audio of Gilkey's interview is available online.

Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives Oral History Collection, 2014-2017
The Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives Oral History Collection is a growing repository of interviews with industry professionals, journalists and community members. More specifically, this collection documents the stories of people involved with Pacific Northwest hops and barley farming; craft and home brewing, cider, and mead; and scientific research. In his interview, Joel Rea, owner of Corvallis Brewing Supply, talks about his early life in Kirkland, Washington; moving to Albany, Oregon in elementary school; his college work in environmental studies and the fine arts, and his decision to change careers to open a home brew shop.

Audio-Visual Material

KBVR-TV Moving Images and Sound Recordings, 1979-2013
The KBVR-TV Moving Images and Sound Recordings consist largely of original television productions created by Oregon State University students from the mid-1990s to early 2010s, including scripted comedies and dramas, unscripted educational and reality shows, nightly news broadcasts, and programs focusing on OSU athletics. The collection also holds footage documenting a wide variety of campus events, beginning with the 1979 commencement exercises and including, in particular, musical performances such as the annual Battle of the Bands and IFC Sing events. A recording of the Spring 2001 “Valley League Band Festival," showcasing Corvallis and Albany bands, is included in Box 01 (videotape #013, 1:38:05). A substantial number of items from this collection have been migrated to digital format and are available online.

University Advancement Videotapes, 1983-2006
The University Advancement Videotapes consist primarily of Oregon State University promotional videos and public service announcements in draft and completed forms, as well as compilations of raw footage collected to support the creation of these items. The collection also includes recordings of news snippets and external productions that are in some way related to OSU. A VHS recording of High Five Challenge - Corvallis High School vs. West Albany High School, February 26, 1993 - is included in the collection (Box 02, #065).

Rare Books

Albany. Charter and General Ordinances of the City of Albany: 1887. C.W. Watts, Printer, 1887. JS521.A53 A5 1887

Albany. Charter and General Ordinances in Force April 1, 1890. Laws of the Albany Fire Department, and Table of Street Grades, of the City of Albany ... 1890 ... 1890. JS521.A53 A5 1890

Albany College. The Orange Peal. LD3061.L455 A3

Albany Commercial Club. Albany, Oregon and the Heart of the Willamette Valley. 1908. F884.A5 C6

Haskin, Leslie L., et. al. Pioneer Stories of Linn County, Oregon: W.P.A. Interviews by Leslie L. Haskin et. al. Linn-Benton General Services, 1984. F882.L7 P56 1984*

Nutting, Fred, and Williamson, Nina L. Old Time Albany. Richard R. Milligan, 1982. F884.A5 N81*


Additional rare books documenting Albany's history can be found by searching the Valley Library's online catalog.

Digital Resources

Looking for online content? Oregon Digital, ScholarsArchive, and Media Space contain a wealth of digitized materials that document the rich history of Oregon's residential communities. Often, digitized materials are gathered together as sets, either by publication or collection. Please note that links listed below are "canned searches" for specific content relating to the city, town, or community in question.

Map