Creswell Turns the Big 1-4-5

1878 – John Tunnell installed a grist mill on the Coast Fork Willamette with the capacity to grind 50 barrels of flour a day. This $10,000 building was later converted into Creswell’s first electric system. It eventually became a full-time operation and was powered by a large wooden water wheel. CHRONICLE ARCHIVES

A very Creswellian Timeline

1845 – Charles G. Martin was the first to take up claim in the Creswell area under the Donation Land Claim Act approved by Congress. Martin settled five miles west of town.
1852 – John Gilfry established this area’s first post office in his general store at Cloverdale across the Coast Fork of the Willamette River, where Dari Mart now stands on Front Street.
1853 – When Joseph Petty came to Creswell, he started a ferry service for the convenience of those on the west side of the river. For nearly 30 years, it was the only way to cross the river.
1871 – Alvin Hughes and James Robinette each donate five acres on which to map out the town of Creswell.
– John Gilfry was appointed postmaster and then N.A.W. Howe was named a year later.
– Ben Holladay’s Oregon & California railroad first reached Creswell from the north. Because there was no switchyard in Creswell, the train had to back up to Eugene. At its peak, Creswell was serviced by five passenger trains a day.
– Norman Amherst Willoughby Howe built a two-story mercantile across Oregon Avenue from Gilfry’s general store.
1873 – Creswell officially took its name, in a gesture to the U.S. Postmaster General at the time, John A. Creswell, when the post office was christened on March 4.
1874 – Creswell’s Old Schoolhouse, which still stands where it was moved to the northwest corner of 2nd and D Streets, across the street from Creswell Bakery.
1878 – John Tunnell installed a grist mill on the Coast Fork Willamette with the capacity to grind 50 barrels of flour a day. This $10,000 building was later converted into Creswell’s first electric system. It eventually became a full-time operation and was powered by a large wooden water wheel.
1882 – It is known that by this time there was a hotel, because it caught fire and the whole town burned, except Howe’s General Store.
1884 – Lane County Contractor Lord Nelson Roney built a covered bridge about a mile and a half south of Creswell.
– By this time, most of the town was rebuilt after the fire. The town consisted of two general stores, a drug store and a blacksmith shop. The 20 square blocks that made up the town held a population of 50 people.
1894 – The first record of a telephone service when C.S. Howe and John Scott put up a line between their two places. Eventually, the system grew to encompass 14 rural or farm lines and serviced 28 families.
1900 – By this time, Front Street sported the Grange Hall, an Opera House and a harness shop.
1903 – A Creswell posse nabbed former deputy and horse thief Elliot Lyons, wanted by Lane County Sheriff W.W. Withers in Walton. Lyons was convicted and hanged just over two months later.
1905 – Gilfry’s store was replaced by C.L. Weber’s brick building and a concrete sidewalk. It housed Farmers Store for a few years until F.W. Treanor opened his general store.
1905 – The Schmitt brothers opened a livery stable on the southeast corner of South Mill and Oregon Avenue. By 1911, they had 30 head of livery stock.
1909 – The Chronicle published its first newspaper.
– A concrete building went up this year on the northeast corner of Oregon Avenue and First Street and housed Creswell Fruit Growers Bank and Depository.
– The first City Council meeting was held this year.
– Creswell was incorporated in 1909. Nearly 500 people lived in the community.
– A.C. Bohrnstedt came to town and established Bohnstedt Orchard Company, advertising tracts of land nationally. Many other orchards already existed; prunes were a big crop, along with fruits – apples, pears and cherries – and nuts, particularly walnuts and filberts.
– A library association was formed, with books housed in various places around town.
– A promotional pamphlet talks of Creswell’s two general merchandise stores, a hardware and furniture store, a furniture and building materials store, a harness shop, a drugstore, a butcher shop, two barber shops, creamery station, blacksmith shop, livery, feed and sale stable, two hotels, an undertaker, photograph gallery, ice cream and confectionary store, four prune-drying establishments, a flour mill, an electric light and power plant, a bank, three real estate agencies and three lumber mills, along with three churches.
1910 – A new schoolhouse was built facing Cloverdale Road (now called Danstrom Road). It was a one-room schoolhouse with a long, narrow cloakroom that ran the length of its west wall.
-The Parsons building went up on Oregon Avenue on First Street, where several businesses opened, including a millinery, a general store and a photography shop with apartments on the second floor.
1912 – Howe School was built about six-and-a-half miles west of town, near the upper end of the Swale. It was a one-room log schoolhouse heated by wood. It held class for two month each fall and three months each spring.
1913 – Creswell Cannery was built, canning apples, pears, cherries, blackberries, loganberries and loganberry juice. The building still stands – just barely, after its most recent fire in 2017 – known as the old Whistle Stop building.
1920 – Creswell’s well-known Fruit Lands arch was taken down, with the City Council citing it as a public hazard. The committee in charge of removing the arch reported that they had taken $20.75 in proceeds from the sale of the lumber.
1931 – Creswell Volunteer Fire Department was officially formed with approximately 20 volunteers.
1940 – By this time, overcrowding created the need for expansion in the schools. The first high school was built (where the middle school now stands). Mrs. Katherine Melton, George Ross and Cletus Kemp donated the land for the school and surrounding athletic fields. The head carpenter was paid $6 a day and other laborers were paid $4 a day to build the school. The total cost was between $39,000 and $40,000.
1948 – Walker Airfield was established around this time.
1949 – The post-World War II baby boom created the need for further expansion in the schools. Creslane Elementary was built to address this need.
1950 – The Creswell Rural Fire Protection District formed and took delivery of its first factory-equipped truck a year later.
1955 – The Creswell Telephone Company was incorporated for $100,000.
1961 – Plans for a new sewer system were approved by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare Public Health Service and the lagoon system was installed.
1962 – Interstate 5 was completed.
– Baby-boomers had reached high school age, and overcrowding was the deciding factor in the purchase of land for a new school northwest of town on Niblock Lane, where the high school still stands. By fall of 1967, the new four-year high school was open for classes.
– Also this year was the Great Columbus Day Storm, bringing heavy rain and high winds to the Pacific Northwest. Barns, sheds and trees were down all over the Creswell area and the steeple from the Methodist Church toppled. The area’s orchard farms suffered high losses.
1965 – The City purchased 28 acres of land from the State for an airport. Creswell’s Hobby Field was named for Walter Hobbensiesken.
1969 – A light snow began one morning in January and didn’t stop until a foot had fallen.
1971 – Creswell Police Officer Curtis VanDerson was shot and killed in the line of duty, after he responded to a robbery in progress at Creswell Community Bank. The following year, the City decided to close its police department and contract with Lane County Sheriff’s Office, a partnership still intact to this day.
1974 – The City bought a 34-acre area known to locals as the ”gravel pits” from the State and received limited funding that was used to develop property into a park.
1976 – Several high school students went before the School Board and City Council in an effort to gain support of their plan to use the property where a school used to stand for a city park. The City voted to purchase the land and convert it to a city park.
1988 – Creswell Airport runway was expanded on an additional 66 acres purchased by the City the previous year and it was realigned with a paved taxiway.
1992 – Creswell’s Rural Fire Protection District took delivery of its latest apparatus: a ladder truck with a 50-foot extension ladder and a 500-gallon water truck.
1998 – Creswell’s Water Treatment Plant received major upgrades to increase the number of users.
1999 – The City of Creswell took over operations and management of the airport.
2000 – Mayor Eddie McCluskey retires and completes his reign as Creswell’s Mayor after 22 years, having served eight years before that as a City Councilor.
– The City of Creswell received approval of its wastewater facilities plan.
2001 – Ray’s Food Place opened a new store on the east side of Interstate 5.
2003 – South Lane Rural Fire Protection District and Creswell Rural Fire Protection District consolidated.
2007 – Lane Library District’s Board of Directors voted enthusiastically to continue Library District Director Su Ikeda (now Liudahl)’s employment contract after a six-month job performance evaluation.
2010 – Seven-digit dialing comes to an end; callers must now dial the 541 area code to connect to local calls.
2012 – The City of Creswell was in hot water after the Oregon Secretary of State’s office stated that the City was in violation of state law due to its lack of up-to-date financial audits. The City had annual expenditures of roughly $3.5 million. The last year the City had filed an audit was for the 2009 fiscal year, and it was submitted six months after the filing deadline.
2013 – Longtime local pastor Dave Stram is elected Creswell’s Mayor.
2014 – Ray’s Food Places closes, but Farmlands Market, Burlap and Lace and Dairy Queen open up shop in town. Creswell Farmers’ Market also returned in 2014 in the former lumber yard behind Creswell Library.
2015 – Creswell Kiwanis Club installed a new ”Welcome to Creswell” sign and The Creswell Chronicle celebrated its 50th anniversary.
2016 – The marijuana green light was halted in Creswell, after reinstating the city’s ban by just 128 votes.
– The Creswell Library officially purchases their building and gains momentum for expansion plans.
2017 – ”Potroversy” begins in Creswell after a recreational marijuana initiative was filed with the City by One Gro, cofounded by high-profile attorney Mike Arnold. Business owners banded together and local residents held protests on Oregon Avenue. Ultimately, the initiative was squashed down by a unprecedented 85 percent of voters.
– New economic development was stimulated as new businesses abounded in Creswell. One Gro Investments, Creswell HealthMart Pharmacy, Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Camas Swale Medical Clinic all opened up shops in town.
– The Community of Creswell was shocked when Creswell High School Principal Andy Bracco and Vice Principal and Athletic Director Jordan Osborn resigned amid a texting scandal for allegedly ridiculing students via text message during a sporting event.
– Creswell gets its first full-time sergeant. Lane County Sheriff’s Office’s Sergeant Scott Denham added 20 hours per week to his shift, making him solely dedicated to serving Creswell, instead of splitting his time with Veneta.