Grants Pass is a city in, and the county seat of Josephine County, Oregon, United States. The city is located on Interstate 5, northwest of Medford. Attractions include the Rogue River, famous for its rafting, and the nearby Oregon Caves National Monument located 30 miles (48 km) south of the city. The population was 23,003 at the 2000 census, with an estimated population of 34,237 in 2007.
Early Hudson's Bay Company hunters and trappers, following the Siskiyou Trail, passed through the site beginning in the 1820s. In the late 1840s, settlers (mostly American) following the Applegate Trail began traveling through the area on their way to the Willamette Valley. The name was selected to honor the engineer who surveyed the railroad across the Siskiyou Mountains, and not General Ulysses S. Grant's success at Vicksburg as is sometimes cited. Grants Pass post office was established on March 22, 1865. The city of Grants Pass was incorporated in 1887, a year after it had become the county seat.
The Oregon-Utah Sugar Company, financed by Charles W. Nibley was created, leading to a sugar beet factory being built in Grants Pass in 1916.Before the factory opened, Oregon-Utah Sugar was merged into the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company. Due to labor shortages and low acreage planted in sugar beets, the processing machinery was moved to Toppenish, Washington in 1918 or 1919.
In 1922, a group of local businessmen incorporated the Grants Pass Cavemen. Taking their name from the nearby Oregon Caves National Monument, this group was one of many groups of boosterism common in the United States at the time. For decades afterwards, this group would represent their city in countless public gatherings, dressed in furs and bearing clubs, performing such uncivilized acts as capturing female crowd members and politicians and putting them in their cages. To honor this group, in 1971 a fiberglass statue of a caveman was erected at the corner of Morgan Lane and Sixth Street. Grants Pass High School's mascot is also the caveman. The original monument was damaged by arson in 2004 and repaired in 2005.