Oregon's Weirdest Town Name Has A Unique Origin

What's in a name you say? One little Oregon town right next to Milton-Freewater has a unique name and there is a myth about how the town received its name.

You might blink and miss the little town of Helix Oregon.

old Helix Hospital/ google street map
old Helix Hospital/ google street map
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Helix Oregon is located in Umatilla County and about 45 miles away from Tri-Cities Washington if you take Highway 12 through the Wallula Junction, you'll run right into the little town.

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Helix Oregon was founded in 1880 and has a total population of 200 residents according to the 2020 census.

The Helix School District is the biggest employer and the town is known for dryland farming.

Helix School/ google street map
Helix School/ google street map
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Helix Oregon hosts its own yearly rodeo on Memorial Day weekend and an annual Wheatstock music festival in August.

After doing a little research, what stands out about Helix is the name of the town.

Was An Oregon Town Named After A Part Of The Ear?

google street map
google street map
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Helix was originally named Oxford but according to legend or myth, the town planners changed the name to Helix after a resident had ear surgery.

Helix is a geometry term but also a part of the ear.

No one knows for sure but according to the entry on Wikipedia, Author Lewis A. McArthur who published a book on Oregon town names doubts the story.

google street map
google street map
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I guess we'll never know for sure the origin of Helix Oregon's name but it does make for a fascinating conversation.

If you want to learn more about Helix Oregon, check out their city page here.

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