About This Place
Cottage Grove is a city in Lane County, Oregon, United States. It received its name from its first postmaster, G. C. Pierce, in September 1861. Pierce's home at the time was in an oak grove. The population was 8,445 at the 2000 census. The 2007 estimate is 9,345 residents.
The first white settlers came to Cottage Grove in 1848 via the Oregon Trail and then the Applegate Trail. Until that time, only the Kalapuya Native Americans occupied the southern territory of the Willamette Valley. The first post office was established in the house of Greenbery C. Pearce, who lived near Creswell, in 1855. As was common in Oregon pioneer days, post offices for locations would move with each new postmaster, and it wasn't until the later 1860s that the Cottage Grove post office arrived at its final location, in the extreme southwest of present-day Cottage Grove. When the Southern Pacific Railroad built their line through the area, they built their station more than half a mile to the northeast of the post office, starting a bitter neighborhood disagreement. Since the inhabitants near the post office would not allow it to be moved next to the railroad station, a post office was established near the station, called Lemati, after the Chinook word lemiti for mountain. In 1887, Cottage Grove was incorporated as a city, but the eastern community still used the name Lemati intermittently until both communities were merged on July 12, 1898.
In 1863, gold was discovered in what became known as the Bohemia mining district on the Calapooya Divide southeast of the town, which was named after James "Bohemia" Johnson. Gold mining activities died down in the 1920s. In 1926, Buster Keaton's The General was filmed in Cottage Grove and the surrounding countryside. The movie included a spectacular locomotive crash and the wrecked train became a minor tourist attraction until it was dismantled for scrap during World War II. The 1973 movie Emperor of the North Pole was filmed in and around Cottage Grove, as were parts of the 1978 movie Animal House. The 25th anniversary of Animal House's release was celebrated by the citizens with a toga party on August 30, 2003, on Main Street. Main Street is where the climactic parade sequence from the movie was filmed. Portions of the movie Stand By Me were filmed along the railroad tracks east of Cottage Grove, which are now the Row River National Recreation Trail, a bicycle and walking trail. Ricochet River (2001), starring Kate Hudson, was filmed along the rivers surrounding Cottage Grove, the old high school, and the downtown area.