Meacham was a station on the Union Pacific Railroad, near the summit of the Blue Mountains. Major Henry A. G. Lee established a troop encampment, called Lee's Encampment, there in 1844. Meacham was named for Harvey J. and Alfred B. Meacham, who operated Meacham Station, a stage station, in the 1860s and '70s. The first post office in the locality, established in 1862, was named "Encampment". The name was changed to "Meacham" in 1890.
President Warren G. Harding gave a speech in Meacham on July 4, 1923 commemorating the Oregon Trail. At the time his wife was presented with a Pendleton blanket shawl in a design that became popular as the "Harding design".