• Stride Strong Physical Therapy | Portland OR
  • Stride Strong Physical Therapy | Portland OR
  • Stride Strong Physical Therapy | Portland OR
  • Stride Strong Physical Therapy | Portland OR
  • Stride Strong Physical Therapy | Portland OR
  • Stride Strong Physical Therapy | Portland OR

From Rags to Riches: A Hillsboro History

Hillsboro, Oregon, home to approximately 105,164 (2016 Census) people of various ethnicity and social classes, and is considered to be the fifth-largest city in Oregon. It’s home for one of the biggest companies in the world, Intel, together with other high-tech companies. This is one of series of articles dedicated to the home our our new clinic location in Hillsboro!

The Kalapuya settlement in the late 1700’s

But before it rose to the developing city that it is now, this area had been inhabited by a native tribe called the Atfalati tribe of the Kalapuya. They settled in the area where the city of Hillsboro stands 10,000 years before white colonization. The tribe moved to different places whenever they experience good weather for fishing, hunting, and foraging.

Alas, the Kalapuya’s population plummeted after battling with smallpox, malaria, and syphilis in the late 18th century when Europeans brought the disease. From almost 2,000 tribe members, down to 65 in 71 years (1780-1851). The US government sent the remaining natives to the Grande Ronde reservation to preserve their population.

The Birth of Hillsborough

As the Atfalati tribe of the Kalapuya’s population dwindled, the area wherein they used to live slowly became home to more and more European-American people. It was founded by David Hill, Richard Williams, and Isaiah Kelsey in 1841. But before being named after David Hill, the area formerly had two names: East Tualatin Plains and Columbia.

In February 1850, it was then named “Hillsborough,” in honor of Hill. The reason, being, was because he sold a part of his land to the county. David Hill was supposed to receive $200 for his property. Unfortunately, he died before he even got the payment, so his wife, Lucinda, received the money.

A few years after they named the place, it was then shortened to Hillsboro, because they thought Hillsborough had too many letters. Their first school was established in October 1854, which was only a log cabin. The community’s method of transportation to Hillsboro were riverboats on the Tualatin River in 1867.

The Budding of a Town’s Bright Future

The town’s first mayor was Alfred Luelling in 1876, same year Hillsboro was legally called the Town of Hillsboro by the Oregon Legislature. In 1923, the city then altered their charter and switched to a council-manager type of government. They had six city councils, a part-time mayor for significant policies, and a city manager for day-to-day operations.

The Oregon and California Railroad line ran to the south of the town in 1871. The city didn’t want to supply land in exchange for the railroad connection. But in September 1908, the Oregon Electric Railway opened. 5,000 people had gathered as it was the first to reach the community. Furthermore, the Southern Pacific Railroad began their interurban service (January 1914) on a separate line, providing transport for people between Hillsboro and Portland. Unfortunately, it discontinued its Hillsboro service in July 1929, and the Oregon Electric Railway lasted until July 1932.

In 1852, a brick building stood proudly to house the county government and a courthouse in 1873. In the following years, the courthouse was then remodeled. A clock tower was added in 1891, and the structure was further expanded in 1912, where they added an annex. The Justice Services Building was incorporated into the courthouse in 1972, which was also its last major remodeling.

The following are the establishments that were built in Hillsboro (in chronological order):

  • First fire department (1880)
  • Drinking water and electricity distribution system (1892-1893)
  • First sewer system (1911)
  • Hillsboro’s own water system (1913)
  • Carnegie City Library (1914)
  • World’s second-tallest radio tower (1921-1952, demolished in 1952)
  • Intel Corporation (1979)
  • TriMet’s Metropolitan Area Express or MAX rail line (1998)
  • Cultural Center (2004)
  • New City Hall (2005)
  • SolarWorld (2008)

Hillsboro’s Memories of the Old Days

Even if it has grown into the big city that it is now, Hillsboro never failed to look back and preserve their history. The town has properties recorded on the National Register of Historic Places or the NRHP, including:

  • Old Scotch Church (1876)
  • A house in Frank Imbrie Farm (1866)
  • Zula Linklater House (1923)
  • Harold Wass Ray House (1935)
  • Rice-Gates House (1890)
  • Edward Schulmerich House (1915)
  • Charles Shorey House (1908)
  • Richard and Helen Rice House aka Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals (1952)
  • Old Washington County Jail (de-listed in 2008)
  • Manning–Kamna Farm (1883)
  • Malcolm McDonald House in Orenco (listed in 2015)

Today, Hillsboro is proud to have found that their hometown pride has worked alongside their progressive values. They believe that big cities don’t produce greatness; people do. You can find out more about Hillsboro on their website. Go check them out!

Read more about our Hillsboro Physical Therapy Clinic

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Alice Holland, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy, Director at Stride Strong Physical Therapy
Alice earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from USC in 2007, and have practiced Physical Therapy for 12+ years in the Outpatient Orthopedic Setting. Certified in ASTYM, she also has been a featured expert on Physical Therapy on numerous publications including health.com, healthline.com and yahoo.com.