Two Excellent Websites Offering Brief Writings on People, Places, and Events in Pacific Northwest History

“Whitman Mission, drawing,” date unknown, photograph by Arnold Studios, State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives,, accessed 11-23-21.

Sometimes you don’t want to have to dig through a big history book to learn more about a particular person or event you’ve heard about somewhere. Fortunately, there are excellent websites that offer vast collections of useful and often intriguing writings about all aspects of history in both Washington and Oregon.


The Washington site is called HistoryLink,org. Billing itself as “the free online encyclopedia of Washington state history,” it offers 7961 articles (and counting) on everything from the indigenous tribes that lived in different parts of the state in pre-contact times to the particulars of important political races in more recent days.

A pleasantly designed and usefully organized site, it is easily navigated from the home page, where you’ll find not only a search box and tabs for useful links (such as classroom-specific resources) but also:

  • a featured article about something that happened during the current week in history called “This Week Then
  • historical news bits with links to related articles called “News Then, History Now
  • links to articles about things that happened on today’s date called “Today in Washington History
  • links to the newest articles on the site
  • a featured historical image
  • a “Quote of the Week


The Oregon site is called simply The Oregon Encyclopedia. Assembled under the auspices of the Oregon Historical Society, it, too, offers thousands of articles that cover all aspects of the state’s history (and pre-history).

Like, The Oregon Encyclopedia is well thought-out and put-together. In addition to a search box, the attractive and helpful main page features:

  • a link for educators that includes access to pre-prepared “Primary Source Packets
  • a variety of sample articles focused on important subjects
  • suggestions for especially intriguing reads
  • a link to an interactive map of notable places, people, and events in Oregon history
  • a link to the Oregon Historical Society’s digital resources and online narratives
  • a feature called “The Corner Gallery,” focused on a subject of current interest (right now, its focus is Indigenous Peoples Day and it offers related links)


Although Montana and Idaho don’t have websites dedicated to them that are as extensive and entertaining to read, you can find many useful links to online resources and articles on pages offered by their respective historical societies:

Montana History Links” on the Montana Historical Society’s “Montana: Stories of the Land” webpage

Idaho History at Home” on the Idaho State Historical Society’s website

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