Until 1861, the land now known as Baker County, Oregon, was an unsettled wilderness. Then four men looking for the fabled Blue Bucket Mine spent the night in Griffin Gulch and discovered gold. The rush was on!
In October 1874, Governor LaFayette Grover authorized the signing of the charter of Baker City and the town was incorporated and named in honor of Colonel Edward Baker, a civil war hero who served as Oregon's first Senator.
Baker City’s economy soon was diversified with trade, lumber, cattle and transportation. By the turn of the century, Baker City boasted a population larger than Spokane or Boise at the time and Baker City became known as the "Queen City of the Inland Empire."
Over one hundred buildings in the downtown Historic District are on the National Register. Elegant and substantial buildings reflect Baker City’s prosperity and knowledge of fashionable trends and architectural styles that made it the economic base camp for Eastern Oregon.
Lumber from the region’s vast forests, bricks from local clay beds, and native stone from nearby volcanic tuff and granite quarries all contributed to the city’s rich architectural heritage.