About This Place
Gaston is a city in Washington County, Oregon, United States. The population was 600 at the 2000 census. The 2006 estimate is 630 residents.
Prior to the arrival of European immigrants in the 1800s, little is known about Native American settlements in the Gaston area. What is known indicates that Native Americans in the area lived similarly to other Pacific Northwest tribes. In nearby Cherry Grove there are a few petroglyphs usually credited to the Atfalati tribe, which is a division of Kalapuya. Like many other indigenous peoples in North America, it is thought as many as 90% of the local population were killed by smallpox, malaria, influenza or other European diseases even before the area began to feel the presence of significant European settlement.
In the 1860s, the census recorded only about 70 people in the Gaston area. Nonetheless, in 1866, the first Gaston School was founded. In 1870, a new school was built near the connecting road between Old Highway 47 and the new Highway 47. Initially students only attended school for 3–6 months per year, later expanded to 9 months. In 1871, as a stage coach line brought more settlers, and in anticipation of a new rail line, railroad developer and town namesake Joseph Gaston set aside 2 acres (0.01 km2) of land on what was then the edge of town for a school.