Best Kept College Secrets

Colleges for Real People

Pacific University – Forest Grove, Oregon


The college had its roots in the 1850s, when Portland was a community of about eight hundred, and the largest settlement was Oregon City.  The oldest building, a beautiful white clapboard house, was the first school in Oregon. Survivors of the Applegate Trail started the school to educate and care for the orphaned children who came to Forest Grove by foot from Massachusetts.  Marsh Hall, the university’s main building is the oldest collegiate building west of the Mississippi. The visitor to Forest Grove will be torn between exploring the tree-shaded and thoughtfully designed campus of Pacific University and the attractive shops and buildings in the central district of town.  Fortunately, for the visitor and the sixteen hundred students at Pacific, moving from one to the other is no problem, as the campus flows easily into town.  There are college towns in which the residents appear to feel put upon by students, and towns such as Forest Grove in which the town and university have grown and prospered together.  Ask around.  Maggie’s Buns, Pizza Schmizza are routinely clogged with Pacific’s students, and parents enjoy staying at the McMenamin’s Lodge on the edge of town.  For students, “Fo Gro” is a comfortable home-away-from-home.

Oh, and the town and campus are stunning in the fall when the leaves turn.

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