Unlike most small communities in Western Oregon in the nineteenth century, Silverton was laid out pretty much around its local environment. Instead of the rigid North-South grid of the township and range system, in 1854, Silverton's "Founding Mother," Polly Coon Price, decided to plan the town around a large old Oregon White Oak tree, locating the town square of the new town around it. She named the town "Silverton" after Silver Creek, which flowed by the Old Oak several hundred yards to the West. The tree had been a meeting spot along the Santiam trail for the local Native Americans of the area. Indeed, they continued to use it as such, even after the town grew up around it.