North County Settlement Was Wee Bit O’ Ireland
What the Finns were to Hockinson and the Swedes to Venersborg, so were the Irish to a historical community just north of Battle Ground.
This community, centered about what is now the intersection of Northeast 132nd Avenue and Northeast 249th Street, was settled by Irish immigrants and named Dublin, after the fairest city in the Auld Sod.
Little remains of Dublin today. Two Catholic churches built by the Irish settlers have vanished, as have Dublin schools that for more than 50 years provided education for the Farrells, the O’Briens and the O’Donnells.
About the only traces of Dublin remaining are the Sacred Heart Cemetery at the intersection, where the pioneer settlers slumber under weathered stones, and a street sign that gives 132nd Avenue the secondary name of Dublin Road.
“Almost all of the old families are gone now,” said Errol Meyer, 13820 N.E. 249th St. “I guess ours is the oldest family left.”
Mr. and Mrs. Meyer live in a historic home on the original Dietrich Meyer homestead. Dietrich was the patriarch of the large Meyer family, and Errol is his grandson.
The Meyer house is more than 100 years old, but skillful remodeling and maintenance have kept it in perfect shape despite a century of Dublin weather.
Dublin was settled in the 1860s, primarily by Civil War veterans taking advantage of the homestead law passed in 1862. William Farrell is believed to have been the first settler. He was born in 1837 and died in 1907. His wife, Bridget, was born in 1848 and died in 1921. They lie side-by-side in the Catholic cemetery, once overgrown but now neat as a pin.
Old records indicated the first Dublin school was a log structure built in the late 1860s on land donated by Dennis O’Brien. Bridget Farrell was the first teacher.
Sometime after 1893, the Dublin district built a new school of sawed lumber adjacent to the cemetery. No trace remains of either school, but Meyer recalls some old buildings were still standing when he was a boy.
The Dublin School District went south to what is now Main Street in Battle Ground. The Maple Grove district lay south of this street. The two districts elected to merge in 1909 and formed what is now the sprawling Battle Ground School District.
The Irish Catholics had held worship services at Dublin since 1869 and built their first church of logs on the Dennis O’Brien homestead, on the west side of 132nd Avenue. In about 1897, a more modern Catholic Church was constructed on the north side of the cemetery. The belfry of this church supported a 1,600-pound bell donated by an Oregon newspaper editor, John H. Piper, according to the book “Battle Ground – In and Around.”
Later, when a Catholic Church was opened in Battle Ground, the Dublin church was torn down.