Oregon's Iron Jubilee
Join Lake Oswego historian Susanna Campbell Kuo on Tuesday, June 27 at 7pm for a presentation on the birth of the Oregon iron industry. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the first iron manufactured on the Pacific Coast. Before 1867 all iron on the remote West Coast was shipped from the British Isles or the East Coast in a 17,000-mile voyage around the Horn of South America. The discovery of iron near Oswego in 1861 excited hopes that Oregon could end its dependence on imported iron. The Oswego Iron Furnace went into blast in August 1867 and for the first time foundries from British Columbia to San Francisco had an alternative source of pig iron. The British Colonist, of Victoria, B.C., wrote, “Oswego is destined to become the centre of a great iron producing district.”
Susanna Campbell Kuo grew up in Lake Oswego and holds a Ph.D. in English Literature and Folklore from Indiana University. Since 2002, she has been active in the preservation of Lake Oswego’s industrial past. For her role in the restoration of the Oswego Iron Furnace, she was a co-recipient of a 2012 National Preservation Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The 18 interpretive signs on the Oswego Iron Heritage Trail are her work as well as the Old Town interpretive street signs. Her website “The Oregon Iron Chronicles” is a compilation of newspaper articles about the Oregon iron industry from 1860 to 1930. Her latest project is an exhibit titled “Oregon’s Iron Jubilee 1867-2017.” It can be seen in the History Center & Museum located at 40 Wilbur Street, Lake Oswego in the Iron Company Workers Cottage restored by the City in 2016.