In 1848, Charles Hubbard Jr. bought 400 acres of nearby land from a Frenchman for "three yoke of oxen and chains valued at $25 each." Many towns in Oregon, Hubbard included, owe their existence and identity to the route of the railroad, and when plans for development of the Oregon-California Railroad were being made, Hubbard offered the right of way and every other block to railroad officials. The offer was accepted, the town site of "Hubbard" platted, and track was laid.
In 1871, the first train stopped in Hubbard and business was prospering at the turn of the century. Goods and services were readily available, and City Hall, built by a local stock company 1892. A traveling photographer came through town selling postcard photos of Hubbard, identifying the town as "on the road of a thousand wonders." Over time agriculture replaced the railroad as the center of Hubbard’s economy characterized by slow, steady change in and around Hubbard. Hops became a major crop, and the basis of the local hop festival.