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Gaston, Oregon


Main St., Gaston 1910
Main St., Gaston 1910

Like many early settlements the development of the Gaston community was synonymous with the coming of the railroad to the area.  In 1865, Joseph Gaston accompanied Colonel A.C. Barry on a preliminary survey to locate a railroad through the Wapato Pass.  Gaston wrote, "At about that time the settlers were just about a mile apart along the country roads, which were cut through the thick brush and timber, just wide enough to pass a team and wagon."  Two years later Joseph Gaston returned to convince the inhabitants of the area of the need for a west side railroad, which would run from Portland to Corvallis.  The Oregon Central Railroad Company completed this line to St. Joseph via Hillsboro, Cornelius, and Gaston on November 3, 1873.  The line terminated at St. Joseph due to lack of funds until January of 1880 which construction continued to Corvallis.  Ownership of the railroad was transferred to the Oregon and California Railroad in 1880.  In 1927, Southern Pacific Railroad took over the line.  In the early 1900's the Oregon Electric Railroad offered commuter service two days a week on the line in the Gaston-Forest Grove area. 

Joseph Gaston founded the Community named after him.  With the coming of the railroad, he felt that the town could become a center for a social, educational, and commercial development.  He built a railway station, a warehouse, and he spent much of his 16 years

Main St, Gaston 1912
Main St, Gaston 1912
in Gaston working to drain an 800 acre swamp, known as Wapato Lake, and convert it to fertile farm land.   He lived in the new town from 1880 to 1896, when he moved to Portland.  The Gaston home later burned and is now the site for the Parish House of the Congressional Church.  In 1892 he sold land to the City for $100.00 for a school.  He had previously offered to donate the property, but indecisions ultimately lead to the sale.  The property is now the site of the Gaston High School.

The town site of Gaston is partially located on the Donation Land Claim of Donald McLeod.  Main Street marks the south line of the claim.  The property south of Main Street was owned by Alvarez Matteson, who built the home Gaston lived in. 

In 1872, Will Webber plotted the part of Gaston west of the Railroad and south of the Tualatin River to Oak Street.  A variety of businesses developed in Gaston, including the Flour and Feed Mill, the blacksmith shop, a slaughter house and butcher shop, and a cheese factory.  The mill was built in 1889 and was operated on water power for thirty years.  (Source: “A Cultural Recourses Survey for the Gaston-Forest Grove Sewer Project,” by Julia A. Follansbee, Archeologist, and Felicity Musick, Historian.)

The City of Gaston was incorporated in 1914.  The city’s population was certified in the 2000 Census at 600. 

Official Website of The City of Gaston