About This Place
Canyon City is a city in Grant County, Oregon, United States. It is the county seat of Grant County, and is about a mile south of John Day on U.S. Highway 395. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 669.
Canyon City was established in June 1862 as a result of the discovery of gold in Canyon Creek, which flows through the town. The discovery led to land between Canyon City and John Day being worth $500 per square yard ($598/m²). Panning for gold could yield several ounces in each pan of sediment. At the peak of the local gold rush, it is claimed that 10,000 people lived in Canyon City, making it larger than Portland at the time.
The preeminent geologist, Waldemar Lindgren, during his 1900 visit to the gold belt of the Blue Mountains, estimated that no more than $16 million in gold had been recovered from Canyon Creek by then. At the fixed value of $20.67 per troy ounce, this would correspond to roughly 800,000 troy ounces (25,000 kg), worth today (at $1,000 an ounce) about $800-million.