Fight to Save Historic Wilkes Home is On

The Banks Historical Society and its Friends of The Wilkes House committee have launched the Save the Wilkes House campaign. They want to preserve the oldest site-built Oregon Trail pioneer home in the city along with the acre of old, heritage trees that surround it. Built in the early 1870s, this beautiful, historic home and urban forest are currently in danger of being torn down and developed into an industrial site. The Banks Historical Society has created a GoFundMe to raise money to secure the house and acre of land for the creation of a city park, cultural center, and museum. It would also connect to the nearby Banks-Vernonia State Trail and the new Salmonberry Trail that goes to the Oregon Coast.  You can hear more here:


Photo courtesy of Banks Historical Society
Photo courtesy of Banks Historical Society

The beautiful, 150-year-old landmark home belonged to the Wilkes family, the Banks area’s first permanent Euro-American settlers who came on the Oregon Trail in 1847.
Historical records indicate the Wilkes family lived harmoniously alongside the Atfalati-Kalapuya people, who used the land along Dairy Creek for their summer encampments. Recently uncovered historical information, first-person accounts, and Native American objects found in an archeological survey in the area indicate there was a rich, cultural exchange that took place on this property, and a more formal archeological exploration is warranted.

For more information on the project and ongoing updates, visit the Banks Historical Society Facebook page. If you would like to get involved, please contact the Banks
Historical Society at [email protected] or (503) 389-8967.

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