History > A Historical Timeline of the Volga German Settlement in Portland
A Historical Timeline of the Volga German Settlement in Portland
1763 - Catherine the Great issues a Manifesto encouraging Western Europeans to settle in Russia. Recruitment is focused in Germany.
1764 to 1767 - The Russian government establishes 104 German colonies along the lower Volga River near the city of Saratov.
1824 - Fort Vancouver is established as a fur trading outpost along the Columbia River for the British Hudson's Bay Company.
1843 - Business partners William Overton and Asa Lovejoy file to claim the land on the west bank of the Willamette River and it is later named Portland.
1851 - Portland is incorporated as a city with a population of 821. All land within the city is on the West side of the Willamette River.
1854 - Multnomah county is created from Washington and Clackamas counties by an act of the Oregon Territorial Legislature.
1871 - Many of the privileges granted to the Volga German colonists by Catherine the Great's Manifesto are withdrawn.
1874 - The military service exemption promised to the Volga Germans is stripped away by the Russian Czar.
1874 - The first Volga German scouts are sent to the United States to determine suitability for immigration.
1874 - The settlement of Albina begins.
1875 - The first Volga Germans immigrate to the United States settling primarily in Nebraska and Kansas.
1880 - There are 143 people living in the Albina settlement and 17,577 in Portland.
1881 - The first Volga Germans arrive in Portland, Oregon traveled from Kansas to San Francisco on the Union Pacific Railroad and then to Portland by steamship.
1882 - A second group of Volga Germans arrives in Portland from Nebraska traveling by rail and covered wagons.
1883 - The Northern Pacific completes the first transcontinental railroad to reach Portland (terminating at Albina). This new rail connection made it easier for immigrants from the Midwest and Russia to reach Portland.
1883 - The first school in Albina is constructed.
1887 - The City of Albina is formally incorporated.
1887 - The Morrison Bridge is the first span across the Willamette River. Small ferries were used prior to bridge construction.
1888 - The population of the City of Albina reaches 3,000.
1889 - The Oregon Railway and Navigation Company (O.R. & N. Co.) completes the first Steel Bridge linking Albina to Portland.
1891 - Albina annexes land north to Columbia Blvd. and west to the Portsmouth area and the population reaches 6,000 people. Portland's population is 46,385 (1890).
1891 - Voters of Albina, East Portland and Portland approve a measure to consolidate the three municipalities into one city.
1892 - The Ebenezer German Congregational is the first Volga German church established in Portland by Rev. Johannes Koch.
1893 - Volga Germans establish a Mennonite Brethren Church. A building is constructed later near on NE 6th near Fremont.
1899 - The first automobile in Oregon is purchased by Henry Wemme.
1900 - The Free Evangelical Brethren church is established on NE Mallory by Elder Peter Yost. Portland's population grows to 90,426.
1902 - The Second German Baptist Church was organized and structure was built at Rodney Ave. and Morris St.
1904 - The St. Pauls Evangelical and Reformed Church is established by Rev. Jacob Hergert at NE 8th and Failing.
1910 - The first airplane is flown in Portland at the Portland Country Club and Livestock Association grounds near Rose City Cemetery. Portland's population more than doubles in ten years to 207,214.
1913 - The Second German Congregational Church is established at NE 8th and Skidmore, led by Rev. Heinrich Hagelganz.
1914 - The Zion German Congregational Church is established at NE 9th and Fremont, led by Rev. Johannes Hopp.
1914 to 1917 - World War I ravages Europe and creates an uncomfortable time for the German-Russians in Portland.
1917 - The Russian Revolution ousts Czar Nicholas II and ends Russia's involvement in World War I.
1917 - The first automobile bridge between Portland and Vancouver is completed.
1920 - The U.S. Census shows over 10,000 people of German-Russian descent living in Oregon. Portland's population is 258,288.
1921 to 1923 - A severe famine decimates the Volga German population in Russia.
1921 - The Volga Relief Society is organized in Portland on August 11th in the Zion German Congregational Church.
1922 - The German Congregational Evangelical Brethren Church is established as a successor to the Free Evangelical Brethren Church
1922 - On December 27th, the last group of Volga Germans, including Conrad Brill who had narrowly escaped from Russia, arrive safely in Portland.
1923 - The combination of the Bolshevik Revolution and famine effectively ends 40 years of Volga German emigration to Portland.
1930 - An estimated 500 Volga German families are living in the Albina enclave. Portland's population expands to 301,815.
1932 to 1933 - A devastating man-made famine ravages the Volga German colonies.
1936 to 1938 - Stalin's Great Terror grips Russia. Communication with friends and family in Russia becomes nearly impossible.
1937 - The Second German Baptist Church is renamed the Immanuel Baptist Church.
1940 - Portland experiences slower growth in the preceding decade and the population rises slightly to 305,394.
1941 - Nazi Germany invades Russia in June. The Soviet government labels all ethnic Germans as "spies and saboteurs."
1941 - All ethnic Germans living in Russia are deported to Siberia and Central Asia in August and September and are forbidden from returning to their homeland.
1941 - The United States enters World War II in December following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Many Volga German men and women in Portland serve in the U.S. armed forces.
1945 - World War II ends with the German surrender in May and Japanese surrender in September.
1948 - The Vanport flood results in the displacement of many African Americans into the Albina area, one of the few areas in Portland where they could buy a home due to discriminatory real estate practices.
1950 - An influx of people arriving during the war years increases the population of Portland to 373,628.
1953 - The Immanuel Baptist Church (former Second German Baptist Church) relocates to 8311 NE Prescott St.
1960 - The population of Portland does not increase from 1950 and remains stable at 372,676.
1961 - The Second German Cong. Church relocates to NE 55th and Alberta. Name changed to Evangelical Congregational Church.
1966 - Interstate 5 opens to traffic. A block wide area had been carved through North and Northeast neighborhoods.
1967 - A political rally at Irving Park to encourage "revolution" in the African American community results in riots and violence.
1967 - The Zion German Congregational Church merges with the German Congregational Evangelical Brethren Church
1967 - The last service of the German Brethren Church is held and the church property is sold
1969 - Continued violence, vandalism and racial tension results in the migration of Volga Germans out of the Albina area.
1970 - Portland's population increases by 2.7 percent from 1960 to a total of 382,619.
1971 - The Oregon Chapter of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia is established.
1973 - The St. Pauls Evangelical and Reformed Church is disbanded and the property is sold to the Gethsemane Church of God.
1973 - The Zion Brethren Congregational Church relocates to NE 148th and is renamed the Rivercrest Community Church.
1980 - The population of Portland decreases from 1970 to 366,383.
1990 - A nearly 20 percent surge in population raises the population of Portland to 437,319.
1992 - The Ebenezer German Congregational Church is disbanded and the property is sold to the Foursquare Church.
1993 - Portland City Council adopts the Albina Community Plan, "a blueprint for revitalizing areas that have suffered decline."
1996 - The gentrification of the Albina area accelerates, increasing property values and pricing some African Americans out.
2000 - Portland's population continues to grow rapidly during the preceding decade, reaching 529,121 people.
2010 - The population in Portland expands to 583,776 people.
2011 - The successor congregation of the Second German Congregational Church / Evangelical Congregational Church disbands.
2013 - Former members of the Second German Congregational Church / Evangelical Congregational Church celebrate its 100th Anniversary.
2015 - The former St. Pauls Evangelical and Reformed Church building is demolished to accommodate new housing.
Last updated November 9, 2017.