C-SPAN visited numerous locations and interviewed a variety of Central Oregonians to capture the history of Bend for American History TV. Watch their stories for FREE as part of Deschutes County Historic Preservation Month. No tickets needed.Learn about Bend’s origins as a mill town. Two of the largest lumber mills of their time were located in Bend. Brooks-Scanlon and Shevlin-Hixon opened in 1916 and were located on opposite sides of the Deschutes River. Both mills have closed, but were a major part of the city’s economy during much of the 20th century. Kelly Cannon-Miller, Executive Director of the Deschutes Historical Museum, explains what life was like while the both mills were in operation and what impact their closing had on the city. Bend Developer Bill Smith shows how Bend recreated itself after its two mills shut down. Hear how the city has survived without the lumber mills.
• Hear about the Deschutes Railroad War. Railroad historian and attorney Martin Hansen talks about the race between two railroad barons to build a railroad line through central Oregon. James Hill and Edward Herriman began building competing lines to cross over the Crooked River Gorge just north of Bend in 1909. James Hill arrived victorious and nailed the golden spike at the Train Depot in Bend. The “Hill” line opened Bend for the lumber industry and made it possible to transport thousands of pounds of lumber from that part of the state.
• Discover the origins of the Bend Emblem. Kelly Cannon-Miller, Executive Director of the Deschutes Historical Museum, talks about the Emblem, created as the city logo 100 years ago by the Bend Emblem Club. Club members swore an oath to wear a pin emblazoned with the image until the town reached 100,000 inhabitants. They also employed creative marketing tactics to promote the city. Today the population is nearly 80,000 and the logo shows up all over the city.
• Visit the site where a U.S. Presidential candidate died while trying to save a young Bend boy. Socialist Labor Party Candidate Frank T. Johns was giving a stump speech in Bend when a boy fell into the Deschutes River and was taken downstream. Johns stopped his speech, and jumped into the water to save him. Historian Nate Pedersen explains how the nation reacted to this tragedy and what’s being done today to honor Johns’ life.
• Travel to the failed Tumalo Reservoir with Deschutes County Surveyor Mike Berry. In the early 20th century W.A. Laidlaw promised hundreds of settlers in Deschutes County that he could irrigate the land around Bend using funds from the Federal Carey Act. Laidlaw failed to uphold his promise and left the area owing today’s equivalent of several million dollars. The state then stepped in and tried to build a reservoir to help irrigate the land in what is now known as Tumalo. The state was never able to successfully irrigate the land promised by Laidlaw, leaving hundreds of settlers without farmable land.
The Deschutes County Historical Society, Deschutes County Historic Landmarks Commission, City of Bend Landmarks Commission, The Tower Theatre Foundation, and the BLM Prineville District Office have partnered this year to celebrate the myriad of ways historic preservation enhances our quality of life. With a full schedule of events throughout May, there are many ways to Embark, Inspire, and Engage in historic preservation.