City History

In search of opportunity and a better life.

Happy Valley holds a past rich with history, one that dates back to open plains, covered wagons, and early explorers dreaming of a better life for their family. Learn more about this place we call home.

Historical Happy Valley – What’s in a Name?

Happy Valley. The name envisions a community comfortably nestled in the shadows of a picturesque skyline and populated by a congenial citizenry. But what’s the real story behind the name? Folklore tells the tale of local boys who would enjoy a bit too much hard cider and sing “loudly and gaily” at Sunnyside church services, earning the description of “the happy boys from the hollow” and, so the story goes, was the origin behind the name of “Happy Valley.” Historical references, however, might point to a clever sales strategy to attract future land buyers.

Want to learn more about local history? Enjoy these short essays written by Mark Hurlburt, a historian with Clackamas County Historical Society. The many historical pictures included within the articles bring Happy Valley’s history to life.

The full Happy Valley history, in chronological order. Transport yourself back in history and see when Happy Valley got its start, who was there, and how Happy Valley has grown to be the city it is today.