German immigrant Anton Birkenfeld settled in the Nehalem Valley in 1886 and founded Birkenfeld in about 1910. Birkenfeld's post office was founded in 1916, bringing much-needed mail service on a more local basis. As of 2010, the Birkenfeld post office has been closed permanently. Although mail can still be addressed directly to the defunct post office, the community has a ClatskanieZIP code, 97016 and all mail directed toward Birkenfeld is automatically redirected there.
As of the 1990s the community had a store, a café, a tavern, a garage, and a church.