Fossil, Oregon

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Fossil, Oregon
—  City  —
Main Street
Location in Oregon
Coordinates: 44°59′53″N 120°12′58″W / 44.99806°N 120.21611°W / 44.99806; -120.21611Coordinates: 44°59′53″N 120°12′58″W / 44.99806°N 120.21611°W / 44.99806; -120.21611
CountryUnited States
StateOregon
CountyWheeler
Incorporated1891
Government
 • MayorJack Lorts
Area
 • Total0.8 sq mi (2.0 km2)
 • Land0.8 sq mi (2.0 km2)
 • Water0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation2,654 ft (809 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total473
 • Density599.7/sq mi (238.3/km2)
Time zonePacific (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)Pacific (UTC-7)
ZIP code97830
Area code(s)541, 458
FIPS code41-26650[2]
GNIS feature ID1120903[3]
Websitewww.cityoffossil.org
 
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Fossil, Oregon
—  City  —
Main Street
Location in Oregon
Coordinates: 44°59′53″N 120°12′58″W / 44.99806°N 120.21611°W / 44.99806; -120.21611Coordinates: 44°59′53″N 120°12′58″W / 44.99806°N 120.21611°W / 44.99806; -120.21611
CountryUnited States
StateOregon
CountyWheeler
Incorporated1891
Government
 • MayorJack Lorts
Area
 • Total0.8 sq mi (2.0 km2)
 • Land0.8 sq mi (2.0 km2)
 • Water0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation2,654 ft (809 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total473
 • Density599.7/sq mi (238.3/km2)
Time zonePacific (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)Pacific (UTC-7)
ZIP code97830
Area code(s)541, 458
FIPS code41-26650[2]
GNIS feature ID1120903[3]
Websitewww.cityoffossil.org

Fossil is a city in and the county seat of Wheeler County, Oregon, United States.[4] The name was chosen by the first postmaster, Thomas B. Hoover, who had found some fossil remains on his ranch. The population was 473 at the 2010 census.[1]

Contents

History

The Fossil post office was established on February 28, 1876, on Thomas Benton Hoover's ranch along Hoover Creek. He named the place Fossil after finding fossils in a clay-like rock formation on his ranch. In 1881, Hoover and Thomas Watson opened a store near the confluence of Butte and Cottonwood creeks and moved the post office to the store. When the city was incorporated in 1891, Hoover became the first mayor.[5]

After creating Wheeler County in 1899, the Oregon Legislature chose Fossil as the temporary county seat. A county-wide election held in 1900 to determine the permanent county seat yielded 436 votes for Fossil, 267 for Twickenham, and 82 for Spray.[6]

Winlock W. Steiwer and George S. Carpenter founded Steiwer & Carpenter Bank, the first bank in the city and the county.[7] By the early 20th century in addition to the bank, Fossil had a flour mill, a blacksmith shop, a drug store, a jewelry and optical store, a livery stable, and three stores with general merchandise. In the 1920s, William Jennings Bryan was one of the guest speakers at a Chautauqua meeting in Fossil. Later in the decade the John Day Valley Coal & Oil Company drilled an exploratory oil well within the city limits, but it was not successful.[5]

Geography and climate

Fossil is the county seat of Wheeler County.[8] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), all land.[9]

Fossil is located in north-central Oregon at the intersection of Oregon Route 19 with Oregon Route 218.[10] Butte Creek, a tributary of the John Day River, flows through the city.[11] The Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is 18 miles (29 km) west of the city along Route 218.[12] The city is about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Spray and about 20 miles (32 km) south of Condon along Route 19.[10] By highway, Bend, to the southwest, is about a two-hour drive from Fossil, and Portland, to the west, is about a three-hour drive.[13]

The average temperature in Fossil in January is 39 °F (4 °C), and in July it is 70 °F (21 °C). The highest recorded temperature for Fossil was 111 °F (44 °C) in 2003, and the lowest recorded temperature was −26 °F (−32 °C) in 1957. The average wettest month is May.[14]

Climate data for Fossil, Oregon
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °F (°C)45
(7)
50
(10)
56
(13)
61
(16)
69
(21)
77
(25)
87
(31)
87
(31)
78
(26)
66
(19)
52
(11)
42
(6)
64.2
(17.9)
Average low °F (°C)33
(1)
33
(1)
36
(2)
39
(4)
44
(7)
49
(9)
52
(11)
51
(11)
46
(8)
40
(4)
36
(2)
31
(−1)
40.8
(4.9)
Precipitation inches (mm)1.44
(36.6)
1.41
(35.8)
1.36
(34.5)
1.49
(37.8)
1.87
(47.5)
1.32
(33.5)
0.53
(13.5)
0.51
(13)
0.68
(17.3)
1.32
(33.5)
1.74
(44.2)
1.62
(41.1)
15.29
(388.4)
Source: [14]

Demographics

Wheeler County Courthouse in Fossil, the county seat

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 469 people, 208 households, and 128 families residing in the city. The population density was 614.5 people per square mile (238.3/km²). There were 245 housing units at an average density of 321.0 per square mile (124.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.24% White, 1.28% Native American, 0.21% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 2.13% from other races, and 1.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.62% of the population.

There were 208 households out of which 16.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.8% were married couples living together, 4.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.0% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.73.

In the city the population was spread out with 18.1% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 17.1% from 25 to 44, 32.8% from 45 to 64, and 27.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 52 years. For every 100 females there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,250, and the median income for a family was $37,125. Males had a median income of $29,688 versus $20,893 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,236. About 12.0% of families and 12.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.2% of those under age 18 and 3.3% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Annual events

During the second weekend in August, Fossil hosts the Wheeler County Fair and Rodeo; on the first weekend of July the Wheeler County Bluegrass Festival is held on the courthouse lawn.[15] For more than 30 years, the American Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) of Oregon has held motorcycle rallies in the area in late May.[16] Golf tournaments are held each year at a six-hole golf course at Kinzua, near Fossil.[13]

Museums and other points of interest

Fossil is the site of the only public fossil field in the U.S.[17][18] The field is located behind Wheeler High School.[19] After the initial discovery of the fossil field in 1949 or 1950, access was free and unrestricted until 2005, when a small interpretive center was constructed, and a collection limit of three fossils was established in exchange for a $3 entry fee.[20] The basic entry fee per person in 2011 is $5.[21]

The Oregon Paleolands Institute (OPLI) headquarters and exhibition hall are in Fossil, near the courthouse. OPLI is an educational, community-based non-profit that offers tours, hikes, and workshops related to the region's geology and paleontology.[22]

Education

Wheeler Junior/Senior High School and Fossil Elementary School are located in Fossil. In the 2011–12 school year, about 50 students were enrolled in grades 7 through 12 and about 35 in kindergarten through grade 6.[23]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "2010 Census profiles: Oregon cities alphabetically D-G" (PDF). Portland State University. http://www.pdx.edu/sites/www.pdx.edu.prc/files/media_assets/2010_PL94_cities_D-G_updated.pdf. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Counties/Pages/FindACounty.aspx. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ a b Steiwer, Jack; Fussner, F. Smith, ed. (1975). Glimpses of Wheeler County's Past. Portland, Oregon: Binford & Mort. pp. 29–36. ISBN 0-8323-0249-X. 
  6. ^ Stinchfield, Janet L.; Stinchfield, McLaren E., eds. (1983). The History of Wheeler County, Oregon. Dallas, Texas: Taylor Publishing Company. pp. 5–6. OCLC 10948544. 
  7. ^ Corning, Howard M. (1989) Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing. p. 234.
  8. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. 2005. Archived from the original on June 26, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080626200900/http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/usamap.cfm. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  10. ^ a b Rand McNally & Company (2008). The Road Atlas (Map). pp. 84–85. ISBN 0-528-93961-0. 
  11. ^ DeLorme Mapping (1991). Oregon Atlas & Gazetteer (Map). pp. 80, 84. ISBN 0-89933-235-8. 
  12. ^ "Clarno Unit". National Park Service. July 25, 2006. http://www.nps.gov/joda/clarno_unit.htm. Retrieved July 8, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "About Fossil". City of Fossil. 2006-10-23. http://www.cityoffossil.org/. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  14. ^ a b "Monthly averages for Fossil, OR". The Weather Channel. 2011. http://www.weather.com/outlook/driving/interstate/wxclimatology/monthly/USOR0127. Retrieved March 11, 2009. 
  15. ^ "Wheeler County Bluegrass Festival". wheelercountybluegrass.org. http://www.wheelercountybluegrass.org. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  16. ^ "ABATE plans Fossil Campout fundraiser". Albany Herald Democrat. 2010-05-25. http://democratherald.com/news/local/article_1517bc34-6835-11df-88dd-001cc4c03286.html. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  17. ^ Lockwood, Brad (2008-02-13). "What Remains: A whirlwind tour of Central Oregon's nearly forgotten history". The Source Weekly. Lay It Out Inc. http://www.tsweekly.com/news/local-news/what-remains-a-whirlwind-tour-of-central-oregons-nearly-forgotten-history.html. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  18. ^ Robben, Janine (2008-04). "The Only Lawyer in Town". Oregon State Bar Bulletin. Oregon State Bar. http://www.osbar.org/publications/bulletin/08apr/onlylawyer.html. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  19. ^ Banse, Tom (2006-01-22). "Oregon County Sees Its Future in Fossils". NPR. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5166813. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  20. ^ Mortenson, Eric (July 3, 2005). "For $3, Fossil delivers 30 million years". The Oregonian. http://www.paleolands.org/pdf/2005_07_03_For%20$3,%20Fossil%20delivers%2030%20million%20years%20Oregonian.pdf. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  21. ^ "Fossils at Wheeler High School". Wheeler County. http://www.wheelercounty-oregon.com/fossils.html. Retrieved 2011-07-09. 
  22. ^ "Oregon Paleolands Institute". Oregon Paleolands Institute. 2011. http://www.paleolands.org/find/time/here. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  23. ^ "Welcome to Fossil Charter School". Fossil School District. http://www.fossil.k12.or.us/. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 

External links