Kerby, Oregon

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Unincorporated community
Kerby is located in Oregon
Kerby is located in the US
Location within the state of Oregon
Coordinates: 42°11′40″N 123°39′2″W / 42.19444°N 123.65056°W / 42.19444; -123.65056Coordinates: 42°11′40″N 123°39′2″W / 42.19444°N 123.65056°W / 42.19444; -123.65056
Country United States
State Oregon
County Josephine
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 97531
Area code(s) 458 and 541

Kerby is an unincorporated community in Josephine County, Oregon, United States, north of Cave Junction on U.S. Route 199. Although the current population of the Kerby area reported by the 2010 United States Census is 595,[1] it is often listed in tourist guides as a ghost town, because of the number of historic buildings left from its days as a gold-mining town. Kerby came into existence between 1854 and 1857.[2]


Kerby was named for James Kerby (or Kerbey, as he sometimes spelled his name). The community was founded during the heyday of Josephine County gold mining and went through numerous name changes (and various spellings) in its early years.[3] When Josephine County was established on January 22, 1856, a new county seat was to be chosen in the next county election.[3] The original county seat was a place called "Sailor Diggings" (which was eventually renamed Waldo).[4] One of the polling places listed was called "Kirbey's Ranch".[3] James Kerby and Samuel Hicks, partners in a general mercantile and supply business, probably founded the town of "Kerbeyville" for the county seat race, and the town was selected in the election of June 1857.[3]

An act of the territorial legislature of December 18, 1856 changed the name from "Kirbeyville" to "Napoleon", possibly because of the association of Napoleon with the name Josephine.[3] The new name was not popular and a bill was introduced in the next legislature that would change it back.[3] The bill passed the House but was then held up in the Senate judiciary committee.[3] Though the county commissioners used the name Napoleon for a short time, they reverted to calling the place Kerbyville in about April 1860.[3] The name Kerbyville was used officially for many years despite the failure of the legislature to restore it.[3] The name was finally changed to Kerby for the sake of simplicity.[3] Grants Pass became the county seat in 1886.[4]

The history of the name of the post office in this locale is simpler: Kerby office was established in September 1856; it was later made a rural station of Cave Junction.[3] The post office was proposed to be closed in 2009.[citation needed]

Points of interest[edit]

  • Kerbyville Museum, established in 1959[5]


This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F (22.0 °C). According to the Köppen climate classification system, Kerby has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.[6]


  1. ^ "American FactFinder". Archived from the original on 2014-12-10. 
  2. ^ Pfefferle, Ruth (1977). Golden Days and Pioneer Ways. Josephine County Historical Society. p. 136. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k McArthur, Lewis A.; Lewis L. McArthur (2003) [1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (Seventh ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. ISBN 0-87595-277-1. 
  4. ^ a b "Josephine County History". Oregon State Archives. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  5. ^ City of Grants Pass: Kerbyville Museum
  6. ^ Climate Summary for Kerby, Oregon

External links[edit]