About This Place
Sweet Home is a city in Linn County, Oregon, United States. The population was 8,016 at the 2000 census. Sweet Home is sometimes referred to as the "Gateway to the Santiam Playground", due to its proximity to nearby lakes, rivers and the Cascade Mountains.
The Sweet Home Valley of the South Santiam River was first settled in 1851. By 1865 a freight wagon and livestock toll road extended from the Sweet Home Valley across Santiam Pass in the Cascades to Camp Polk in Central Oregon. The Santiam Wagon Road was a vital means of supplying livestock and goods from the Willamette Valley to Central Oregon and transporting wool from east of the Cascades back to Western Oregon woolen mills. The wagon road collected tolls until around 1921. Competition with railroads that extended south from the Columbia River into Central Oregon, and the newly opened McKenzie Pass highway in the 1930s made the wagon road obsolete by around 1939. Later, U.S. Route 20 was constructed across much the same route as the Santiam Wagon Road. In the 1990s, efforts began to restore abandoned sections of the Santiam Wagon Road to hiking and other recreational activities.
The first community in the Sweet Home Valley was named Buckhead after the name of the Buckland saloon on nearby Ames Creek. Another community a short distance from Buckhead was called Mossville. By the 1880s, the two communities had expanded towards each other and the combined village was named Sweet Home. The City of Sweet Home was incorporated in 1893. By the 1980s, Sweet Home had expanded to include the community of Foster.