McLoughlin Memorial Association

The McLoughlin House


Dr. John McLoughlin (1784-1857)


Dr. John McLoughlin was chief factor (superintendent) of the British Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) based at Ft. Vancouver on the Columbia River. The fur trade brought the first permanent white settlers to the area. Dress hats made of beaver fur were worn by men and women around the world. British, French and American trappers swarmed over the western wilderness to bring in the sought after pelts.


Dr. McLoughlin crossed the Rockies in 1824 and established Ft. Vancouver in 1825. He was sent to this area to establish the Columbia Department headquarters for the HBC. He proved to be a shrewd businessman, but was always fair in dealing with company employees, natives and settlers alike.


The American pioneers, who traveled the Oregon Trail to this area starting in the early 1840's, often arrived at Fort Vancouver hungry, tired and with few supplies. Out of kindness, Dr. McLoughlin allowed them access to the fort's supply warehouse to get supplies on credit. That eventually cost him his job with the HBC, leading to his building a home next to Willamette Falls in Oregon City. He and his wife moved to their new home in 1846. He was forced to purchase the HBC land claim to this area when he moved.


Dr. John McLoughlin’s key role in Oregon's early history prompted the 1957 state legislature to name him the ‘Father of Oregon.’


The home opened as a museum in 1910, and it continues to draw thousands of visitors each year from all over the world. It is one of several historic homes in Oregon City which are open to the public. These sites include the Barclay House (which is part of the McLoughlin House Unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site) and the Rose Farm, where the first Oregon Territorial Legislature met in July 1849. Authentic furnishings, artifacts, and early photos take visitors back 170 years to the beginnings of the ‘American West’. Other historic house museums in the area include the Ermatinger House and the Stevens-Crawford House.


Oregon Country


Until 1846, included all land from the crest of the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean and from 54 degrees, 40 minutes North Latitude south to the present California and Nevada state lines. The Oregon Country was reduced in 1846 to the 49th Parallel on the north. This entire area became a territory of the United States in 1848. Eventually the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and parts of Wyoming and Montana were carved from it.


Oregon City


The McLoughlin House National Historic Site is located in the heart of Oregon City's McLoughlin Preservation District. The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is 10 blocks north; the Museum of the Oregon Territory and Willamette Falls are 10 blocks south. The city owned Carnegie building and 1845 Ermatinger House, where the City of Portland was named, and other examples of early architecture are within walking distance. A municipal elevator (‘vertical street’) takes pedestrians between the river level and the bluff. Depression era stone work marks steps and a cliff-top promenade dating to the 1850's.


Dr. John McLoughlin Quick Facts:


Canadian-born (Riviere-du-Loupe, Quebec, Oct. 19, 1784)

Irish, Scottish and French Descent

Son of Angelique (Fraser) and John McLoughlin

Company doctor

Founder of Fort Vancouver

Founder of Oregon City

Prominent businessman, developer, humanitarian

Oregon City civic leader, city planner, mayor

American citizen as of 1851

Wife: Marguerite Wadin McKay


TOURS:   We are open from February to December from 10:00am to 4:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Tours are 15 minutes after the hour with the last tour at 3:00pm. The Gift Shop is open. For additional information visit our Facebook site.



The McLoughlin Memorial Association © 2014

713 Center Street Oregon City, OR  97045 USA

P.O. Box 3261 Oregon City, OR 97045

Tours of the McLoughlin House begin at the Barclay House. Hours Friday and Saturday

 10:00 am to 4:00 pm


713 Center Street Oregon City, OR  97045 USA