Baker City’s vibrant historic downtown offers visitors to Eastern Oregon a perfect balance of urban amenities, and small town charm.
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. 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, and 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.”
Today, over one hundred buildings in the downtown historic district are on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is one of the largest intact historic commercial districts in the West. These elegant and substantial buildings reflect Baker City’s prosperity during the turn of the 20th century. Today, the historic downtown has been carefully preserved and restored with the help of the local Main Street revitalization program, Baker City Downtown, and is once again a thriving vibrant downtown filled with numerous art galleries, restaurants, and independently owned specialty shops, and surrounded by equally charming historic neighborhoods.