The Sublimity area before 1840 was a vast forest, interspersed by Indian trails and sparkling mountain streams. A large Indian burn in the early 1800's cleared the land where the present town now exists. Sublimity had its beginning as an outgrowth of an Indian village or trading post before 1846.
As early as 1852 the area served as a convenient gathering place for pioneers and had a primitive store. In September 1852 a post office was established and the town got its official name. James Denny, one of the early settlers, thought the community ought to be called "Sublimity" because of the fine vista and sublime scenery in the hills around the town. The post office has been in continuous service since 1852 making it one of Oregon's oldest post offices.
In 1856, Sublimity School District No. 7 was organized. The first building was a log cabin with a dirt floor. The following year, Sublimity College, a semi-public institution was established and operated by the Church of United Brethren. By modern standards it was more like a grade school but gave early Sublimity the distinction of being a college town. The first teacher and president of the college was Milton Wright, father of Wilbur and Orville Wright.
Early Sublimity was a larger town than it is today. In 1857 it had a Chinese Laundry, five stores, a gunmaker's shop, a public school, a college, Methodist Church, United Brethren Church, a hotel, post office, public well, and a made-to-order furniture shop.
When the Civil War broke out Sublimity was a town of 1,500 but people returned to their native states to fight and the town became deserted. Population declined and depression set in. The 1860's brought resettlement by German Immigrant farmers. By 1874 nearly all the abandoned farms around Sublimity were possessed by new people and the town grew rapidly.
In 1878 the town was divided into 20 city blocks. In 1878 buildings included a hotel and rooming house, a store, Catholic Church, saloon, blacksmith, and Ditter's Store.
Sublimity was incorporated and granted its own charter in 1903. John Kintz was elected the town's first mayor in that year. In 1912 the city saw the first fire fighting equipment. Electric lights were brought to town in 1914.
Sublimity has come a long way from being one of the early towns of Western Oregon and is now a city worthy of more than just a passing interest in the history. It is a city with a strong reflection of its past roots.
Some Sublimity History Thanks to Henry Strobel
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