About Bend, Oregon
Bend Oregon is nestled in between the awe-inspiring Cascade Mountain Range, the high desert area, and the crystal blue waters of the Deschutes River. Here, visitors can enjoy countless outdoor pursuits, sip a tasty cold pint of locally brewed craft beer, eat exceptional farm table foods, and stay in top notch accommodations – all the makings for an extraordinary vacation experience.
Since the very early years of the Oregon Trail and starting out as a logging town, Bend has developed into an outdoor enthusiast’s playground with year around activities. In the winter through spring, Mt. Bachelor, standing tall at over 9,000 feet, becomes a skier’s paradise with an average of over 400 inches of powdery snow each year. Then the summer and fall are ideal times for hiking, biking, rock climbing, kayaking, paddle-boarding and river surfing.
Bend is a city with around 100,000 people, just big enough to feature exceptional dining, premier shopping, a plethora of events, festivals and concerts and a thriving arts and cultural scene that draw visitors to the area year after year.
Bend Oregon is a vacation destination that is an experience. Its perfect location in the Pacific Northwest is where the mountains meet the river, and a city that is immersed in natural beauty. With the changes of the season, each offers a new activity keeping the city vibrant with energy.
History of Bend
The name “ Bend “ was derived from “ Farewell Bend “, the designation used by early pioneers to refer to the location along the Deschutes River where the town was platted, one of the few fordable points along the river.
The Native Americans hunted and fished here. In the winter of 1824, members of a fur-trapping party led by Peter Skene Ogden visited the area. John C. Fremont, John Strong Newberry, and other Army survey parties came next. Then pioneers heading further west passed through the area and forded the Deschutes River at Farewell Bend.
Bend started out as a logging town and The Pilot Butte Development Company constructed the first commercial sawmill in May of 1901. The original location was at the rear of the Pilot Butte Inn of later years. Steidle and Reed also set up a small mill in Bend 1903. This was on the Deschutes River just below the Pioneer Park area. The mill was operated by waterpower.
A small community developed around the area and in 1904, a city was incorporated by a general vote of 300 residents. On January 4, 1905, the city held its first official meeting as an incorporated municipality appointing A. H. Goodwillie as the first mayor. The settlement was originally called “Farewell Bend”, which was later shortened to “Bend” by the United States Postal Service.
In 1910, Mirror Pond was created by the construction of the Bend Water, Light & Power Company and they built the dam on the Deschutes River. The dam provided the city with its initial source of electricity. The dam has been owned by Pacific Power since 1926 and still powers approximately 200 Bend households.
By 1915, two large companies, Shevlin-Hixon and Brooks-Scanlon, started building lumber mills south of downtown Bend. By the mid 1920s, the combined lumber capacity for both mills was one of the largest in the world.
The logging era lasted until the 1980s. Shevlin-Hixon closed operation in 1950, while Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Company sold their timber interests in the 1980s.
The Deschutes Historical Museum is a great place to start learning the history of Bend and you can download the Historic Deschutes app so you can learn and explore all the historic sites in the surrounding areas.