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Historical Resources

City of Milwaukie Oregon Official Website

The City of Milwaukie has a rich and vibrant history. Here we provide resources and links to outside resources that highlight how Milwaukie was founded, became a City and those who contributed to its history.

The word Milwaukie is believed to derive from a Potawatomi Indian word meaning "fine land" or possibly "council place" (see Wisconsin Historical Society).  Before the arrival of American and European explorers and settlers, the Milwaukie area was part of the homeland of the Clackamas Indians, members of the Upper Chinook language group who occupied much of present day Clackamas County.

The City of Milwaukie was settled by the Luelling family, orchardists from Iowa in 1847, and formally claimed and settled by pioneer entrepreneur Lot Whitcomb  in 1848.  Whitcomb named the town site after the city in Wisconsin out of admiration for that growing Midwest metropolis.  Much of Milwaukie's initial fame would stem from the agricultural pursuits of the town founders Seth Lewelling and Henderson Luelling, brothers who are credited with developing the Bing cherry. 

The Town of Milwaukie was formally incorporated in 1903 by an Act of the Oregon State Legislature.