By Elaine Rohse • Columnist • 

Test your knowledge of local history

How much do you Yamhill County residents know about your county and its towns?

Test your historical knowledge by answering the following 10 questions — 10 points for each question answered correctly.

Answers follow at the end of the test.  Good luck. Don’t peek. Don’t cheat.


Ten questions for determining your knowledge of Yamhill County.     

1.  You’re walking down McMinnville’s Third Street and at the corner of Evans you come to Serendipity, an ice cream parlor with memorable ice cream cones.  Look up at this building that houses Serendipity, and give particulars with regard to its history. 

2. You, your spouse and another couple are “doing” Saturday night in downtown McMinnville and are looking for something special.  You decide to go where you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of McMinnville, unequalled in town.  Where do you go?

3. You’re walking from McMinnville Public Library across to the Aquatic Center and chance to notice a memorial plaque to a Lorne Knight.  Who was he, and why the plaque?

4. What Yamhill County community  — one very much still alive — previously was named  Hoskins for pioneer horticulturist, Cyrus Hoskins?

5. What is that imposing big building on your left as you head south of McMinnville on Highway 18, and what is happening there Sept. 13?

6. What popular children’s author lived in the “gingerbread house” at the west end of Third Street in Yamhill?

7. Although there are many wineries in Yamhill County with outstanding views, name two where you can enjoy your glass of wine with a phenomenal panorama.

8. What Yamhill County community is named for a famous Midwestern soldier-explorer, for whom a famous peak also was named?

9. What Yamhill County company supplied Alaska Gold Rush miners with a dehydrated soup mix — the Gold Nugget brand — a soup mix that was marketed all across the west?

10. What member of a prominent Yamhill County family is credited with starting woolen manufacturing in Oregon?


1. According to the McMinnville Downtown Historical District Self-Guided Walking Tour, this three-story, stuccoed, brick Italianate structure was built in 1886 and first housed Cook’s Hotel — a fine hotel with 28 rooms,  bridal shower, billiard hall, large dining room and second floor parlor.

2. Go to McMenamins Hotel Oregon — the hotel that was built in 1905 and is now the largest historical hotel building in Yamhill County.  It’s a warm summer evening and you go up to Rooftop Bar — and looking down it seems a city never before seen.  McMinnville is a beautiful city down there — with a Main Street that vies for national honors.

3. Lorne Knight died June 23, 1923, at age 28, on an exploratory trip to the Arctic with Explorer Stefansson’s group.  His parents lived in McMinnville, and in Jennifer Niven’s “Ada Blackjack: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic,” she writes, “Lorne was widely regarded as the bravest and most adventurous young man to come from McMinnville.”

4. The community of Springbrook, north of Newberg, was first known as Hoskins, and a post office of that name opened June 30, 1893.  Because Benton County also had a “Hoskins’” post office, it created much confusion. Yamhill County’s Hoskins was changed to Springbrook, which was the name of Hoskins’ farm. As of 1915, Springbrook had a Friends Church, a public school, a population of 200, and a large warehouse owned by Fruitgrowers’ Union.  The prevalence of horticulture led to development of Springbrook Packing Company Cooperative, specializing in evaporated black raspberries, and canned goods under such labels as Nor Pac and Flav-R-Pac.  In 1967, Flav-R-Pac purchased the cannery, but ran it only a year. It later became a pet food and manufacturer’s plant. The school was used as a sportswear factory.  The community received a big boost when A-dec Inc., a dental equipment manufacturer, located there, and later, The Allison Inn & Spa.

5. That impressive building is Yamhill County Historical Society’s imposing newest museum that is open Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  This is where “Treasures in the Attic,” an appraisal fair, vintage market and quilt show, will be held September 13, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is $2; kids under 12, free.

6. This “gingerbread” house was the childhood home of Beverly Cleary, well-known children’s author, who created “Ramona, the Pest.”

7. Two wineries that immediately come to mind are Anne Amie, 6580 N.E. Mineral Springs Road, Carlton; and Youngberg Hill Vineyards & Inn, 10660 S.W. Youngberg Hill Road, McMinnville.

8. The community of Pike, northwest of Yamhill, was named for Zebulon Montgomery Pike because many of the settlers who came to this area were from the Pike County, Missouri, area. Pikes Peak, Colorado, also was named for him. 

9. That company was Dayton Evaporating & Packing Company, started in 1890  by Reuben Snyder and son, Douglas. During World War II, the plant produced about 8 million pounds of dehydrated soup for the  U.S. government, but after OPA price ceilings were imposed, the company was unable to adapt to their costs, and in 1944 the plant closed and did not again open its doors.

10. Joseph Watt is the man. He brought across the Great Plains not only sheep, but machinery for spinning wool. In 1868 he shipped the first cargo of wool from Oregon to a foreign port and, that same year, the first shipment of Oregon wheat to the New York and Liverpool markets. His brother, Ahio, is credited with naming the town of Amity.

Pat yourself on the back if you scored 70 or better. You know well your Yamhill County and its communities. 

Elaine Rohse can be reached at

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