Gladstone, Oregon, is located at the confluence of the Clackamas and Willamette Rivers and was once the northern half of the historic town of Oregon City. Gladstone came to prominence as the site of the first Oregon State Fair, the first Clackamas County Fair, the first railroad bridge in Oregon, and the first river crossing of the first interurban trolley west of the Rocky Mountains. In 1869, Gladstone witnessed Ben Holladay, of Pony Express–Overland Stage fame, challenge both his competitors and the Clackamas River in the great north–south railroad race. From 1894 to 1927, Gladstone became known as the "Mother Chautauqua of the West," where orators such as William Jennings Bryan and Rev. Billy Sunday held thousands of attendees spellbound in Gladstone Park. Founded by Judge Harvey E. Cross, Gladstone incorporated in 1911 and steadily grew because of its scenic setting, cultural offerings, and ease of transportation to employment at the Oregon City Mills. The excitement of first events and famous visitors may be over, but Gladstone remains, today, a thriving, family-oriented community proud of its past.
Kim Argraves Huey grew up in Gladstone, Oregon, and fell in love with its history. Lucky enough to live in the Gladstone Park Chautauqua grounds, she came to know intimately the colorful history of the Chautauqua buildings and events that were a significant part of the town’s history