History > Historical Timeline
1763 - The Seven Year's War ends leaving much of German speaking Europe in ruin and facing famine and poverty.
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1871 - Many of the privileges granted to the Volga German colonists by Catherine the Great's Manifesto are withdrawn.
1873 - The Town of Albina is first platted and recorded by developers with railroad interests.
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.
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 traveling from Kansas to San Francisco on the Union Pacific Railroad and then by steamship to Portland.
1882 - A second group of Volga Germans arrives in Portland from Nebraska traveling first by rail and then by covered wagon.
1883 - The Northern Pacific Railway and the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company complete the first transcontinental line to reach Portland in September. The passenger station, known as Union Depot, was located in the City of East Portland.
1884 - The first public school in Albina opens.
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.
1888 - The Brethren movement is banned in Russia prompting emigration to North America.
1889 - Oregon Railway and Navigation Company (O.R. & N. Co.) completes the first Steel Bridge linking the City of Albina to the City of Portland. A small passenger depot is built by the Northern Pacific Terminal Co. on the Couch Lake site in Northwest Portland, near today's Union Station.
1890 - Portland's population is 46,385.
1891-1892 - A severe famine in Russia prompts many Volga German to emigrate.
1891 - Albina annexes land north to Columbia Blvd. and west to the Portsmouth area and its population reaches 6,000 people.
1891 - Voters of Albina, East Portland and Portland approve a measure to consolidate the three municipalities into one city.
1891 - Letters from Russia report on a severe famine in Volga region resulting in cholera, typhoid fever and larger number of deaths.
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.
1896 - Union Station opens February 14, 1896. New arrivals to Portland disembark trains at this location.
1899 - The first automobile in Oregon is purchased by German immigrant Henry Wemme.
1900 - The Free Evangelical Brethren church is established on NE Mallory by Elder Peter Yost.
1900 - 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.
1905 - The Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition and Oriental Fair is held in Portland, across the Willamette River from the Albina neighborhood.
1910 - The first airplane is flown in Portland at the Portland Country Club and Livestock Association grounds in NE Portland.
1910 - 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 1924 - 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.
1922 - On December 27th, the last group of Volga Germans, including Conrad Brill, arrive safely in Portland.
1923 - The combination of the Bolshevik Revolution and famine effectively ends 40 years of Volga German emigration to Portland.
1923 - The Albina Pioneer Society is founded in February. (Disbanded in 1965)
1930 - An estimated 500 Volga German families are living in the Albina enclave. Portland's population expands to 301,815.
1932 - Frances Kanzler is selected as the 1932 Rose Festival Queen of Rosaria.
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.
1937 - Billy Starkel's group performs at the dedication of Timberline Lodge on September 28th.
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 - Joseph Stalin orders the deportation of all ethnic Germans living in Russia to Siberia and Central Asia.
1941 - The United States enters World War II in December following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
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.
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.
1954 - Jan Markstaller from Washington High School is selected as the 1954 Rose Festival Queen.
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 seeking racial equality for 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 many Volga Germans from 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.
1981 - Volga Germans celebrate the 100th anniversary of their arrival in Portland.
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 celebrate its 100th Anniversary.
2014 - The Zion Brethren / Rivercrest Community Church celebrates its 100th Anniversary.
2015 - The former St. Pauls Evangelical and Reformed Church building is demolished to accommodate new housing.
2017 - Volga German descendants celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the founding of the colonies in 1767.
Last updated January 15, 2023