History of Heppner

Photo: Historical photo

Incorporated on February 9, 1887, Heppner celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1987.

It is known as the "Gateway to the Blue Mountains" and serves as the base camp for a multitude of recreation activities nearby, including hunting, fishing, camping, snowmobiling, 4-wheeling and cross-country skiing. In 1869 George Stansbury purchased the claim of a man name Estes in the foothills of the Blue Mountains where five canyons converge.

The area was known as Stansbury Flats. In 1872, J.D. Morrow, a merchant in La Grande, was convinced that the area would be a favorable site for a trading center. Morrow entered into a partnership with Henry Heppner, also of La Grande, and they built a store on the crossing of the present May and Main Streets, thought to be the present site of the Les Schwab Tire Center.

The store building was later moved farther north to the crossing of the present day Willow and Main Streets where Devin's Chevron Service Center now stands. A blacksmith shop and a saloon were soon opened followed by rapid growth of the community.

It was suggested by J.D. Morrow that the new town be named Heppner in honor of Henry Heppner, and over Henry's objection, the townspeople approved the name change. As he never married and had no direct heirs, it is only fitting that the community he was so instrumental in founding should perpetuate his name.

Today, Heppner is the thriving county seat of Morrow County. As a gateway to the Blue Mountains, there is easy access to all the nearby mountain recreation areas. You are invited to visit Heppner and enjoy recreation at its best.