Established in 1879, Joseph Oregon was the first real town in the county. Named in honor of the Nez Perce Chief Joseph, he referred to the area as ‘Hah-um-sah-pah’, meaning ‘big rocks lying scattered around.’
Early settlers engaged in cattle, sheep, fruit and timber operations, later moving onto mercantile, banking and lodging.
The area is still scattered with white salt-and-pepper granite rocks and real Cowboys still work cattle the old way. Due to the mountain streams and 13 to 22 inches of rainfall, Joseph stands like a gleaming emerald in a normally brown Eastern Oregon landscape. Its farms produce some of the best grass and alfalfa anywhere, despite the short growing season.
At last count (2010) the population stood at 1125, growing by just 70 people in 10 years. The elevation is 4200′, and is located 71 miles east of La Grande, the closest major city. There are no traffic lights here, or anywhere else in the county for that matter. Despite it’s small size, it has great schools and a modern 5000′ airport runway capable of landing small jets. In the last 20 years Art and Bronze Sculpture have grown to supplement the agricultural industry.
More on Joseph, Oregon, including Maps, Useful Links and Points of Interest.
View Climate Data for Joseph and Wallowa County in general.
Just how pretty is it? Visit our Joseph Oregon Photo Gallery.
Visit the Towns Official Site: josephoregon.com
This area is known for its fine art, Visit Joseph Oregon Artists to see why.