Furnished in 1890s style, the 17-room Ezra Meeker Mansion (312 Spring St., 253/848-1770, www.meekermansion.org , tours 1–4 p.m. Wed.–Sun. Mar.–mid-Dec. $4 adults, $3 teens and seniors, $2 children under 12, half price on Thurs.) was built by the city’s founder and first mayor. The original stained-glass pieces, ceiling artwork, six inlaid fireplaces, and a grand staircase offer a glimpse into the lives of the elite of this time.
As a hugely successful hop grower and broker, Meeker earned the moniker "Hop King of the World" and was for a time the richest man in the Pacific Northwest; he once earned more than $500,000 in a single year. The double whammy of the financial panic of 1890 and an infestation of hop lice nearly drove him into bankruptcy.
Meeker lived through a fast-changing era: He drove a team of oxen over the Oregon Trail, later rode the route in a train, drove it in an automobile, and flew over it in an airplane. His fascination with the Oregon Trail led to the erection of markers along the route and the preservation of the historic trail.