Elgin, Oregon

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Elgin is a city in Union County, Oregon, United States. The population was 1,654 at the 2000 census. The 2007 estimate is 1,685 residents.[3] The community is named after the Lady Elgin, a ship lost on Lake Michigan.

The city is known for the Elgin Opera House, originally dedicated in 1912.[4]



The area of Elgin was previously called "Fish Trap" and "Indian Valley." The city was platted in 1886 following the washout of Ruckles Road over the Blue Mountains, which caused investors to leave nearby Summerville for Elgin.[5]

By 1887 Elgin had general stores, a livery, a hotel, and a church, as well as a nearby sawmill, which continues as a more modern Boise Cascade mill.[6] Between 1887 and 1908, the area around Elgin had 35 sawmills, most transportable water-driven whipsaws (vertical reciprocating saws).[7] Local landowners would sell the trees for 50 centers per thousand board feet, which is about how much the sawmills could handle in a day.[7] Log transportation cost about two dollars per thousand board feet, and a mill could sell the processed lumber for $6-10 per thousand board feet.[7]

Growth increased with the arrival of the railroad in 1890, and Elgin was incorporated by the Oregon Legislative Assembly on February 18, 1891.[8]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.0 square miles (2.6 km²), all of it land.[9]

Elgin is located at the junction of State Highways 82 and 204.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 1,654 people, 638 households, and 444 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,675.9 people per square mile (645.1/km²). There were 699 housing units at an average density of 708.3/sq mi (272.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.16% White, 0.06% African American, 0.73% Native American, 0.06% Asian, 0.36% Pacific Islander, 1.03% from other races, and 0.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.33% of the population.

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