Date of visit: May 27, 2012
Population: 16,745 (2010 Census)

Watermelons are famous in Hermiston even though they are not the biggest crop in this area. Back in the 1960s the Hermiston mayor, Frank Harkenrider, was looking for a way to promote his town. Potatoes and alfalfa weren’t very interesting, but watermelons were. So he decided to market Hermiston as a place that grew quality watermelons and even started delivering Hermiston watermelons to the mayor of Portland. Eventually the melons started becoming so popular around the Pacific Northwest that the name Hermiston became synonymous with watermelons. Umatilla County produces 45,000 tons of watermelons annually. Well-drained sandy soils, long growing season, and plenty of sunshine make for good growing conditions. High daytime temperatures and cool nighttime temperatures make for a sweeter melon as well.

Welcome to Hermiston

Hermiston Watermelons
Advertising the watermelons

Hermiston Main Street
Quiet Main Street on a Sunday morning

Clock in McKenzie Park

Peaceful evening
Riverfront Park

Roemark’s Men’s Wear

Maxwell Siding
Old trail cars at Maxwell Siding

Florist shop in historic building

Hermiston Library
Hermiston Public Library

Map of Hermiston

Oregon Towns Project


Date of visit: May 26, 2012
Population: 329 (2010 Census)

The little town of Ione was established in the 1880s. An early resident of the town, Joseph A. Woolery, moved there in early 1890s and set up a general store. He became a successful merchant and served as the town’s postmaster. He was elected as the town’s first mayor. He built a beautiful house in 1900 which still stands today (serving as a B&B). He was so respited and revered that when he died in March 1908 an estimated thousand people gathered for his funeral.

Welcome to Ione

Main Street
Ione’s main street

City Hall and library
City Hall and library

Old street signs as artwork in the city park

Woolery House
The historic Woolery House is now a B&B

Old house
A crumbling old house

Old grain elevator

St. Williams Catholic Church
St. Williams Catholic Church

FIrst fire hydrant
Ione’s first fire hydrant

Map of Ione

Oregon Towns Project