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Need help with your Historic Research?

The Friends of Historic Forest Grove often gets requests for help in local historical research!

Some of the most frequently asked questions and tools for answering them are below.

If you need more help, please contact us, and our volunteers will try to assist. 
Note: We are an all-volunteer nonprofit organization. Please Donate to help us offer this assistance!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find out more about the history of my house / building? 

Our volunteers at FHFG consult a few resources in order to answer this question, and most of these resources are available online!

  1. Check the Oregon Historic Sites Database
    If your building is within one of Forest Grove's Historic Districts, it is likely also in this database! We recommend only putting in a few search terms, like the city and the name of the street, then browse to the correct address. Click through to your address. Look for a link to a "form" as well as an "inventory form" for more detail. 

  2. Discover whether the Street Name has Changed
    Forest Grove's street names have been revised twice: first in 1892, and again in 1949. Check the charts on the linked page to discover whether the historic street name for your building has changed, as the old street name is what may appear in relevant historic records.

  3. Check the "Sanborn Maps" of Forest Grove
    For buildings located in central Forest Grove, it is often possible to find a detailed view of what was present on your street from the 1880s-1930s! Sanborn Maps were originally created for fire insurance purposes, and they will show the footprint of each building, the approximate property lines, and sometimes the names of occupants or stores. Note: street names in Forest Grove have changed over time; see the Old Street Names Chart

  4. For advanced researchers:
  5. Contact us at FHFG to see if we can help
    Stumped? Need more help? Our volunteers can try to find more information. 
Where can I find historic photographs of a particular person, place or event? 

The best source overall for finding historical photographs of the Forest Grove area is This site contains thousands of historic images from the collections of Friends of Historic Forest Grove, Pacific University, Forest Grove City Library, Five Oaks Museum, and more. 

If you cannot find photographs there, some additional places to check include: 

  • Pacific University Archives. Contact to ask about any undigitized photos in their collections. (Most of their collections are about the university, its students and faculty.)
  • Forest Grove News-Times newspaper archives on microfilm: these are free to use at the Forest Grove City Library whenever it is open. 
  • Try asking on the Historic Forest Grove Facebook page! With over 2,000 members, someone may know where to find the picture you need! 
How do I get permission to reprint / use an historic photograph for my business?

The best source overall for finding historical photographs of the Forest Grove area is; see their Reproductions page for notes on how to request permission to use an image there. 

If you already know that FHFG is the owner of the original photograph that you wish to use, please Contact Us with a description or link to the photograph and a note about how you would like to use it. 

What is the history of a particular person, place, event or group in Forest Grove? 

FHFG has a few articles on this site about prominent people, places and events in our past (see the Learn tab), but there is so much more that we have not yet covered! A few sources that are particularly useful for reference include: 

Splendid Audacity: the Story of Pacific University (free ebook) 
The first section of this ebook provides an excellent introduction to the early history of Forest Grove. Later chapters go into depth about the history of the university. Check the index for local names, places and events!

Forest Grove - Images of America (printed book available through Amazon or at the Library)
This book was authored by Lisa Amato and Mary Jo Morelli (past FHFG president): it contains many pictures and an overview of our history. 

Forest Grove Indian School Web Site and Video 
This web site and video, both produced by Pacific University, document some of the tragic history of the federal boarding school for Native American children that once existed in Forest Grove (1880-85). 
Although known best as a place to find historic photographs, many of the descriptions of photos contain great information about local events, people and places! 

For more sources, see our "Recommended Readings" page, or Contact Us for help!

FHFG is committed to preserving local historic resources, educating our residents about our past, and creating a community for enthusiasts to support this mission.
Join a community of people who care about Forest Grove's history! Memberships to FHFG include invitations to members-only events, discounts, a subscription to our newsletter, and more.

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Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 123, Forest Grove, OR 97116
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