Named for “Bingen-on-the-Rhine” by early German settlers, the town lies between bluffs and the river on a narrow strip of rich sandy loam. It was established by P. J. Suksdorf and other German settlers in 1892.
On the fringes of the town are luxuriant meadows dotted with dairy cattle. Irrigation from the river permits extensive truck farming. Bingen had two sawmills, a fruit company, a hotel, taverns, and restaurants. A railroad depot caused controversy between Bingen and neighboring town White Salmon over which was the location of the station—so the depot was named after both.
That depot is gone but Amtrak stops at the current Bingen Station and Walnut St. Lumber is still big business in Bingen, as evidenced by the giant SDS Lumber Co. facilities near the railroad tracks at the west end of town. The Gorge Heritage Museum, housed in the old Bingen Congregational Church (1912) has much more on the history of the area.