Celebrate Oregon’s Iron Jubilee in Lake Oswego on September 9

Lake Oswego will be celebrating its blue collar roots next month marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Oregon iron industry with a jubilee shindig in George Rogers Park on Saturday, September 9 from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Festivities include:

●Pioneer baseball game

●Bluegrass music and clogging

●Blacksmith demonstration

●Horse drawn wagon rides between the original furnace at George Rogers Park to the Preservation Society’s museum at 40 Wilbur Street

●Fireworks display to wrap things up

What’s the big deal?

The discovery of iron near Oswego in 1860 was a very big deal. It meant that folks on the West Coast didn’t have to wait four to five months for their iron to make its way over the 17,000 mile journey around the tip of South America from the East Coast—a trip that added exorbitant duties to the final cost. The first pig iron was cast in Oswego on August 24, 1867 and once the furnace (still in its original location at George Rogers Park) was up and running, shipments were headed to places like San Francisco.

Oswego’s charcoal iron industry did well despite having to ride the hurdles of changes in ownership, power struggles and lawsuits but ultimately it was the competition of cheaper imported pig iron made from coal, the decline of the railroad expansion and the Panic of 1893 that brought the era to an end.

Despite its demise, the Oregon Iron and Steel Company still played a role in Lake Oswego’s second re-invention. Armed with more land than cash, O. I. & S. set out to transform Oswego from a depressed mining town to a lakeside retreat, starting with a name change from Sucker Lake to Oswego Lake and fueled by the advertising slogan, “Live where you play.”

One hundred fifty years later, we are doing just that.

To learn more about Lake Oswego’s iron industry roots, be sure to visit the Lake Oswego Preservation Society Museum open Tuesdays, Thursdays and the first Saturdays of the month from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. or by appointment.

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About lovelakeoswego

I feel pretty lucky—I live where I work and I love where I live. As a Realtor in Lake Oswego, I get to share that enthusiasm with clients every day. Through this blog, with the help of my freelance writer wife, Genita, I’d like to share that enthusiasm with you. The quality of life you’ll find in Lake Oswego belies its size—there is so much to experience here from a fireworks show over the lake on the 4th of July to the Festival of the Arts--one of the premier arts events in the region. So please check in each week for another reason why I love Lake Oswego and who knows—maybe you’ll fall in love too! If you’re interested in experiencing Lake Oswego personally, please feel free to contact me either on my cell at (503) 939-9801, via email at kevin.costello@cascadehassonsir.com or check my website by clicking the link in the "Contact me" section in the right-hand column. I would love to show you around.
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