About This Place
Monmouth ( /mɒnməθ/ is a city in Polk County, Oregon, United States. It was named for Monmouth, Illinois, the origin of its earliest settlers. The population has reached 9,726 as of the 2010 census, It is part of the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Monmouth was settled in 1853 by a group of pioneers who made a point of allocating 640 acres (2.6 km²) to build both a city and a "college under the auspices of the Christian Church" and proceeds from the sale of these lands were used to found Monmouth University. By the early 1880s the college fell on hard times. In 1882, ownership was transferred to the State of Oregon and it was renamed Oregon State Normal School at Monmouth. It is now known as Western Oregon University.
For decades, Monmouth was a dry town that banned the sale of alcoholic beverages in supermarkets, restaurants and bars. Monmouth's status as the last dry town in Oregon was ended by a popular vote in the November 2002 election. Spurred on by the closure of Monmouth's last grocery store, and a general decline of its retail sector, three local men (John Oberst, Paul Sieber, and Chuck Sheffield) led a referendum campaign to allow the sale of beer and wine. The measure passed 57-43%.