Fossil is a city in and the county seat of Wheeler County, Oregon, United States. The name was chosen by the first postmaster, Thomas B. Hoover, who had found some fossil remains on his ranch. The population was 473 at the 2010 census.
The Fossil post office was established on February 28, 1876, on Thomas Benton Hoover's ranch along Hoover Creek. He named the place Fossil after finding fossils in a clay-like rock formation on his ranch. In 1881, Hoover and Thomas Watson opened a store near the confluence of Butte and Cottonwood creeks and moved the post office to the store. When the city was incorporated in 1891, Hoover became the first mayor.
After creating Wheeler County in 1899, the Oregon Legislature chose Fossil as the temporary county seat. A county-wide election held in 1900 to determine the permanent county seat yielded 436 votes for Fossil, 267 for Twickenham, and 82 for Spray.
Winlock W. Steiwer and George S. Carpenter founded Steiwer & Carpenter Bank, t