Marcus Oppenheimer: Jewish Namesake of the Washington State Town of “Marcus”

Marcus Oppenheimer

Marcus Oppenheimer, Marcus, Washington, circa 1875. #WS0172

Marcus Oppenheimer, Marcus, Washington, circa 1875, #WS0172

Values Codes I – E – L


Marcus Oppenheimer was born in 1833 in the town of Sonnefield in Baden, Germany.

Oppenheimer arrived in the United States in 1851, at the age of 18, and was naturalized in 1856.


Along the way . . .

Marcus Oppenheimer settled in Lexington, Kentucky with brothers Samuel and Joseph.

The three brothers then moved to St. Joseph, Missouri.

In 1862, Marcus and his brothers rode a wagon train to the town of “The Dalles,” Oregon, at the end of the Oregon Trail.

Oppenheimer filed for a homestead in 1862 on land where a British Boundary Commission crew surveying the Canadian boarder had recently closed up shop, in Stevens County, Washington.

In the 1860’s, and his brothers set up a general store to serve the miners traveling north into Canada.

By 1880, Marcus Oppenheimer drew logging and shipping business via the railroads and the Colombia River.

He renamed the town site of his store: “Marcus.”

Marcus Oppenheimer, Marcus, Washington, circa 1895. #WS0173

Marcus Oppenheimer, Marcus, Washington, circa 1895, #WS0173

“Marcus”  was relocated to higher ground in the 1930 by the Grand Coulee Dam’s construction. Its original site is

under the present-day Lake Roosevelt













  • Norton B. Stern, “Marcus Oppenheimer of Marcus, Washington,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 15/4.

Regina Merwin is curator for this Marcus Oppenheimer exhibit.