In the beginning...
Thousands of years ago mastodons and other game roamed the southern shores of a giant lake we now call the Willamette Valley. They ate the reeds and other lush vegatation which grew by the local lakes, swamps and creeks. Gradually, the lake receded and the local Indians used the "new" land for hunting and travel. Today, we know these shores as Wilsonville.
As time moves on...
Transportation has always been the hub of Wilsonville's historical development. Wilsonville's recent history begins in the 1840's with the arrival, by wagon train, of Col. Alphonso Boone, Daniel's grandson. Col. Boone and his son, Jesse, built and operated a main non-rail crossing of the Willamette River, thus enabling travel and commerce between Salem and Portland via Boones Ferry.
Steamboats and sternwheelers voyaged up and down the Willamette River as they picked up and delivered wood, goods, produce and mail for local residents who did not own one of the many private landings along the river. Boones Ferry had many operators until 1954, when the Boone Bridge (I-5) was completed, providing a high-speed route from Canada to Mexico.
The Oregon Electric Railway line was built near Boones Ferry Road in the early 1900's; passenger trains used to make as many as sixteen trips a day through WIlsonville. A trestle, high over the Willamette River, was completed in 1907 and connected Portland with Eugene for freight and travel. Before then, all merchandise was transported on steamboats.
The original trading center of "Boones Ferry" of "Boones Landing" soon held a post office, two stores, a blacksmith shop and a tavern. However, it quickly grew to have two more stores, two hotels, and a bank, a garage, a butcher shop, a drug store, a doctor's office and a school.
Inza Wood, who later gave her name to the Middle School in Wilsonville, was one of the first teachers in town. The first school in town was later replaced with a two room school. Wilsonville's first high school was opened in 1995.
The first general merchandise store in town was founded by the Miley brothers and included the first post office. The town soon had the historic Frog Pond Church and United Methodist Church. The "new" town was officially named Wilsonville on June 3, 1880, after the local postmaster Charles Wilson.
The dusty intersection of Wilsonville Road and Boones Ferry Road was known as Four Corners. Nearby was Whiskey Hill, so named because the farmers would stop and rest their horses before going up the grade. They would take a swig of the beverage they likely purchased at the local saloon, the Roanoke Inn, named after the house brand of bar-whiskey.
The automobile brought a "new" look to Wilsonville. The people were more concerned with good roads than the river or the railway. The first bus service to Wilsonville began around 1936. About that same year, Clackamas County built a nine foot wide concrete road from Oregon City to Wilsonville. Before then, some citizens would pay their taxes by using their specially-rigged wagons to gravel and fill-in roads. Today, Wilsonville can boast of having one of Oregon's only free rider bus services, the South Metro Area Rapid Transit, or SMART.
Wilsonville was one of the first communities in Oregon to have its own power company. The first telephone service had but one line and also served as a lifeline for locals needing help.
A contemporary story of Wilsonville may well begin when the city was incorporated on January 1, 1969. Wilsonville has since experienced rapid, but orderly growth as new families and companies discover the idea setting and the closeness to transportation.