Before the first settlers arrived, the area was occupied by the Tillamook Indians, the most southern branch of the Coast Salish. They were geographically separated from their northern relatives by tribes of Chinookan peoples who occupied the territory between them. Both culture and language of the southern Salish differed considerably from that of their northern peers, probably due to the influence of the north Californian tribes.
The beginning of the known Tillamook story dates back to August 1788, when Captain Robert Gray and his sloop “Lady Washington” anchored in Tillamook Bay. That also happened to be the first landing on the Oregon Coast. The first settlers, however, did not arrive until 1851, when Joseph Champion made his home in a hollow tree, which he proudly called his “castle.” People kept on coming – first individual settlers, then whole families. The population grew and formally became Tillamook County on December 15th, 1853.
The climate and the nature with its water sources and green grass, so beloved by the cows, was ideal for dairy farming. The transportation situation, however, was far from ideal. For those purposes, the community built the Morning Star ship in 1854 to make sure that the dairy products reach the market. The Morning Star is now the TCCA logo, seen on all its dairy products.
In 1861, Thomas Stillwell purchased land and opened the first store there. A town started growing around it – the town which would soon become the city of Tillamook. In 1866, the first post office was opened, and the town permanently acquired its current name. In 1873, Tillamook became the county seat, with the first public building, a jail, constructed the same year.
Tillamook was incorporate as a city in 1891. A few years later the first County Courthouse and City Hall were constructed.
Today’s City Hall occupies the building of the former Tillamook Post Office listed on the National Register of Historic Places.