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Elgin straddles the Grande Ronde River between the Blue and Wallowa mountains. Lush meadows and rich fishing grounds made this a favored camp of the Nez Perce Indians who called it Lochow Lochow, meaning “lovely little forest.” The area is still called Indian Valley. The first Europeans called the area Fishtrap for the Native American fishing gear along the river. When the first post office was established in 1885, the name Elgin was chosen reportedly to commemorate the tragic 1860 wreck of the steamer Lady Elgin on Lake Michigan.
The historic Elgin Opera House at 104 N. 8th St. was built in 1912 as a combination city hall and theater. The two-story brick structure has a Colonial-style exterior and an ornate interior featuring pressed-tin ceiling panels and fanciful ornamentation depicting such mythological creatures as Pan and Pegasus. One of the most prominent buildings in Elgin, the renovated opera house serves as the community’s performing arts center.
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Current Location: Elgin, Oregon