Oregon's nursery industry began with the first pioneers arriving via the Oregon Trail. Henderson Luelling arrived in 1847 with a wagon full of young plants, trees and seeds and settled in what is now the city of Milwaulkie. His friend, William Meek, came the following year with 20 varieties of grafted trees. Together, the two men started the first nursery of grafted plant materials on the Pacific Coast.
Within a few years, the nursery had over 60 varieties of trees local settlers could purchase for their homesteads. With the demand high for quality apples, other nurseries began and flourished, offering large varieties of fruit and ornamentals trees.
By the early 1890's, Oregon's nursery industry had representation within the Oregon Agriculture College, current day Oregon State University. A couple of greenhouses were built to foster the study of Horticulture. The industry continued its strong growth with the formation of several grower associations. By the early 1900s, Oregon's nursery industry consisted of about 1,000 acres with a crop value of just over $150,000.
Over 100 Years Later...
...and the industry has continued to thrive and grow. A lot of things have changed over the years. Today Oregon's nursery crops are quite varied and are shipped world wide. Those early settlers chose their location wisely...the fertile Willamette Valley continues to be the hub of nursery production in this state.