Placer, Oregon History
by Larry McLane
Placer was formerly known as "Tom East" and was unofficially established in 1885. Placer was platted in 1898 by L.M. Browning, pioneer landowner of 1870.
The first post office was applied for in the fall of 1893 as Tom East by Newell F. Inman. The U.S. Postal Department changed the name to Placer due to the mines in the area, and the office was granted August 10,1894.
Placer was established as a mining supply center for the Tom East and Upper Grave Creek mines. Placer was also on the trunk line stage route from New Leland to the Greenback Mine. Placer in its heyday had two large hotels, two large mercantiles and three saloons, the only ones on Upper Grave Creek; plus, other small businesses such as a newspaper edited by Nellie Anderson. Placer grew rapidly with the development of the Columbia placer mine and the Greenback quartz mine, the richest mine in Oregon by feet of tunnel mined.
Josephine County: The Golden Beginnings
Josephine County Historical Society