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Banks chamber of commerce

History of Banks

The early pioneers settled in Banks around 1840 using Government donation land claims of 640 acres each. The Peyton Wilkes land claim is the site of the present town of Banks.

William Mills donated part of his land in 1870 for a cemetery – now called Union Point Cemetery. A Post Office was started in the late 1890s, officially being established on January 21, 1902. Ewell S. Turner (1870 - 1919) was the first Postmaster. Montgomery “Gum” Turner,  a brother of Ewell,  was a storekeeper in Greenville, a settlement two miles to the south of the current town, Banks. It was a small community developed as a meeting place for trappers and early area settlers.

The name "Turner" was submitted for the Post Office, however, a Post Office (town) by that name already existed in Oregon. Therefore, Banks was submitted to the Government as brothers John and Robert Banks owned land next to the Union Point Cemetery on Banks Road and were instrumental in developing Banks along with the new railroad. In addition to their land, John L. Banks bought land from the Wilkes and added many improvements in the area that is known today as Quail Valley Golf Course.

Today’s United Methodist Church (originally known as the community church) was started in 1908. It was built by Mike Schrammel and Phil Parmley and dedicated in 1909. The first town bank was built in 1909. In 1921, the town of Banks was incorporated, with a population of 75 at the time. The reservoir and water system came in 1924 for $30,000, and a sewer system in 1938 for $10,000. In 1910, 100 Japanese families came to Banks and started raising strawberries. By 1950, acreage had grown to the point where the Banks Bar-B-Q program reported that 4,000 tons of berries were handled annually in Banks.

John L. Banks, Born 1840, Westmoreland Co. PA and Died Sept. 22, 1909 Washington Coounty Oregon. Buried ii Historic Yamhill-Carlton Pioneer Memorial Cemetery, established in 1853.

    You may direct any questions to the History Society by sending an email: or visit

    The web sites listed below can also be used to view and read more about history in Washington County, Oregon:

    The Washington County Historical Society and Museum also has more history of Washington County.

    First store in Banks

    John L. Banks

    Banks, Oregon


    The Banks Chamber of Commerce is an organization of business and professional people working together to stimulate a prosperous business environment for a more vibrant community in Banks, Oregon.

    13480 NW Main Street
    Banks, OR 97106


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