Drain History


Drain Business District circa 1890’s

      The original townsite of Drain was settled in 1847 by Warren Goodell who received 320 acres as a Donation Land Grant from the U.S. government.  Goodell’s claim was long and narrow in order to encompass as much of the valley’s bottom land as possible.
This claim was sold to Jesse Applegate (Oregon Trail) in 1858.  Charles C. Drain emigrated from the midwest and purchased the land in 1861.

Charles platted the townsite in 1872 and sold 60 acres to the Oregon and California Railroad for one dollar.  The railroad brought prosperity to Drain and within a decade, many homes, stores and public buildings were constructed.  An overland stage route was established between Drain and Scottsburg in 1876.  This was the only means of public transportation between the interior valleys and the coast.  The stage route linked the railroad in Drain to the paddlewheel river boats in Scottsburg.  The boats traveled down the Umpqua River to Coos Bay.

In 1906, the Southern Pacific Railroad began construction of a route from Drain to the coast.  After spending an estimated $1.5 million on the project, it was abandoned and a line from Eugene to Coos Bay was built.

Fires in 1903 and 1914 destroyed most of the commercial buildings in the city.  Losing the railroad line to Eugene and the Normal School to Monmouth halted much of the commercial and population of the community.  A telegraph plan fell through. Drain had a population of 500 in 1881.  It would be almost 40 years until the town reached 500 again.

From  the end of World War II to the present time, Drain’s population has remained between 1,000 to 1,200.


  Drain Train Station Elevation 292 feet