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History of Sisters, Oregon

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1790

 

Spaniard, Manuel Quimper, mapped the Cascade Range.

1805

 

Lewis and Clark note the snow-capped peaks of the “Western Mountains,” (Cascade Range) including a note about what is now Mt. Jefferson.

July 6, 1825

 

Peter Skene Ogden of the Hudson Bay Co. camped by Why-Chus Creek two miles west of Squaw Flat. The next day he fed horses on meadows thought to be at Indian Ford.

1843

 

Explorers, James C. Fremont and Charles Abbot, encounter Indians along the Metolius River.

Sept. 23, 1855

 

Pacific Railroad Survey Company camps on Why-Chus Creek later called Squaw Creek and renamed again in 2006 to Whychus Creek.

1859

 

Group of men from Lebanon, Oregon scout route for eastern road over Cascades; becomes Santiam Wagon Road, completed in 1865.

 

 

Oregon becomes the 33rd state in the Union.

1862

 

Act of Congress approved allowing settlers to homestead on lands in the Public Domain.

 

 

Gold Rush in Idaho causes Willamette Valley ranchers to push cattle east over Cascades for lucrative sale in gold area.

Sept. 28, 1865

 

Captain Charles LaFollette and forty men from Company A, 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry establish a military camp at Camp Polk.

May 24, 1866

 

Camp Polk, abandoned by Company A 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry.

 

 

Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon approved, “An Act donating certain lands to the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Wagon Road Company.”

1867

 

Fish Lake Guard Station established. (It operated until 1907)

1869-71

 

Diversion of water from Squaw Creek for use on individual farms.

1870

 

Samuel Hindman and family, one of the first settles in Central Oregon, establishes a homestead near the abandoned Camp Polk.

 

 

Recording of the Cascade or "McKinzies" Trail on Platte map

1870s

 

Fire suppression begins in forest areas near early settlements.

1871

 

First recorded water rights in Central Oregon taken by Charles J. Hindman, who took water out of the Big Slough on Indian Ford Creek at Camp Polk.

1872-1895

 

Water rights from Squaw Creek (Whychus Creek) are appropriated.

1874

 

Three families, including that of JB Claypool, settle along (Squaw) Whychus Creek in an area that had been a traditional summer camping ground for Native Americans.

May 18, 1875

 

Post office established at Hindman Ranch.

1875

 

Camp Polk Cemetery started.

1880

 

E.A. Graham homesteaded on present site of Graham Corrals (six miles west of Sisters.)

 

 

Alfred Cobb settled two miles east of Sisters (Lazy Z Ranch)

 

 

Simon Bodyfelt claimed area around Cold Springs (four miles west of Sister)

 

 

John and Mark Wilt settles, obtaining first water rights on Pole Creek.

1881

 

Five homesteading families established on the upper Metolius River (Camp Sherman area.)

1882

 

Black Butte School built near First Creek in Camp Sherman area.

Winter 1883-84

 

Heavy snows, up to six feet in depth, kill many cattle. Some ranchers report losses of fifty percent.

1885

 

David and Margaret Allingham homestead downstream for Camp Sherman. This area later becomes Allingham Guard Station.

 

 

John and Mark Wilt homestead just west of what becomes the town of Sisters.

1886

 

Four families in Plainview area file for water rights from Three Creeks Lake.

1887

 

Joe Claypool homesteads just south of today’s town of Sisters.

1888

 

Post office moved from Camp Polk to area just north of present City of Sisters.

 

 

Homestead Certificate No 593 for Joseph B Claypool filed.

 

 

T. Egenton Hogg employs over 1000 men to attempt to build a railroad over Santiam Pass. He builds eleven miles of road and then abandons the operation.

1889

 

First Squaw (Whychus Creek) Canal built by Sam Davis.

1890

 

Cox Mill built – run by water power – two miles south of Sisters.

 

 

One-room school house built at east end of Sisters.

1891

 

Homestead Certificate No 2157 claim for Jacob Quiberg filed.

 

 

Homestead Certificate No 2136 claim for Robert G Smith filed.

 

 

Homestead Certificate No 1471 claim for Benjamin C Beaman filed.

 

 

Homestead Certificate No 1472 claim for John J Smith filed.

1892

 

Oscar Maxwell builds the Maxwell Ditch, drawing water from Squaw Creek (Whychus Creek) to Plainview.

 

 

Homestead Certificate No 1856 claim for John H Smith filed.

 

 

Homestead Certificate No 1919 claim for John W Wilt filed.

 

 

Homestead Certificate No 2007 claim for Erastus F Buchanan filed.

1893

 

Cascade Range Forest Reserve established. Became Cascade National Forest in 1905.

 

 

Homestead Certificate No 1918 claim for Marcus J Wilt filed.

 

 

President Grover Cleveland creates the Cascade Forest Reserve, ending homesteading along the Metolius River.

1894

 

Carey Act of 1894 – encouraged the reclaiming of arid lands by setting aside up to one million acres of public lands that the states could sell to settlers or irrigation companies who agreed to construct and operate the necessary canal systems.

1895

 

Squaw Creek (Whychus Creek) irrigation District organized.

1896

 

Cache Creek Toll Station is built

 

 

George Scott became gatekeeper of the toll gate: traded land to acquire sixty acres along Indian Ford creek.

1900

 

A two-room school is built on present Sisters grade school site. Later moved twice, became the Barkley home, later Conklin House.

 

 

First school house built in Cloverdale on the George Cyrus place.

1901

 

Brothers Robert and Alex Smith plat the town of Sisters. Plat reads: “All lots 40 feet front by 114 feet and all blocks 140 feet square … bisected east and west by alleys 12 feet wide. Street 80 feet wide …”

1902

 

Mill near Melvin Butte established.

 

 

Black Butte Land and Livestock Company incorporated. (Dissolved in 1918)

1903

 

Cascade Range Forest Reserve Report – attempt to protect forest lands for the future.

1905

 

First automobile to cross Santiam Pass, car was part of a transcontinental race.

 

 

Cascade National Forest created from Cascade Range Forest Reserve.

1906

 

First mill established in Plainview.

April 1906

 

“Spring of the Brown Snow,” because of heavy winds in the Columbia Gorge whipping fine dust into the air, Central Oregon experience a 10 inch “brow snow” storm.

1907

 

Plainview School established. (Burned in 1973) built to serve Gist-Plainview area children.

 

 

Deschutes National Forest established on east side of Deschutes River.

 

 

First Ranger posted to Sisters Ranger District.

1908

 

Mill established southeast of Sisters (near Lazy Z Ranch)

 

 

Hardy Allen House built (Main and Larch) Hardy Allen’s father, Albert, was a soldier with Company A at Camp Polk.

1909

 

Homestead Certificate (number missing) claim for James B Palmer filed.

1910

 

Mill established in Sisters.

 

 

Fire lookout built on Black Butte

 

 

McCaffery Addition dedicated to the City of Sisters. Had been part of the original John Smith homestead.

 

 

First recorded “bucking contest,” using wild horses, held in Sisters.

1911

 

Land west of the Deschutes River added to Deschutes National Forest.

October 5, 1911

 

First train arrives in Bend: James Hill, owner of the Great Northern RR, completes his railroad to Bend, known as the Oregon Trunk Railroad.

1912

 

Mill established at Indian Ford.

 

 

Hotel Sisters built

 

 

Two-story building constructed to house 2-year high school and grade school.

 

 

Ellis Edgington settles on 1200 acres two miles south of Sisters.

 

 

Mel Herrington purchases ranch one mile southeast of Sisters.

 

 

Very wet year, 23.46 inches of moisture, followed by several years of drought.

1913

 

One-room school built on the William Wilt homestead.

1914

 

First Annual Fair and Race Meet – Three-day event with horse racing and agricultural exhibits held in Sisters.

 

 

Jefferson County established from a portion of Crook County.

1915

 

Sister Fair Association, May Day Celebration, held to promote cooperation between farmers and businessmen.

 

 

Carl T Hubbard established first guest ranch in Central Oregon on the Metolius River, known as Hubbard Ranch or “El Rancho.”

October 1915

 

Second Annual Sisters Fair is held.

1916

 

Brooks Scanlon opens mill in Bend.

 

 

Shelvin Hixon opens mill in Bend and sets up the moveable town that becomes Shelvin.

 

 

US Forest Service begins leasing lands along the Metolius River for summer homes.

 

 

Deschutes County established from a portion of Crook County.

Winters 1916 & 1917

 

Very bad drought years, many homesteaders lose crops and cattle.

May 13, 1916

 

Sisters stages a Race Meet. About 200 people attend to see many of the country’s best horses compete in harness races.

1917

 

Settlers in Squaw Creek Irrigation District (Whychus Creek) vote for $175,000 in bonds to purchase the Long Hollow Ranch from the Black Butte Land and Livestock Company, including the water rights, ditches and diversion works.

 

 

Camp Sherman Store established.

 

 

New Black Butte schoolhouse built at Camp Sherman, to replace the 1882 building.

1919

 

New dam and head gate at Squaw Creek (Whychus Creek).

1920

 

Flood destroys 1919 Squaw Creek (Whychus Creek) dam

 

 

Brook trout introduced to Squaw Creek (Whychus Creek).

1921

 

Hanson’s Resort, Camp Sherman, begins operation as a summer resort offering tents for its guests. Cabins are built in 1924. In 1935 Hanson’s becomes Lake Creek Lodge.

 

 

A 110 foot high ponderosa pine is limbed and turned into a lookout tower in downtown Sisters. Tower is toppled in 1926 after the tree rots.

1923

 

Three Creeks road built, providing access to lake and recreation.

May 11, 1923

 

Fire starts in an unattended garage in Sisters. Fire destroys buildings on South side of Cascade Street, including ten businesses and residences, one being the Sisters Drug Store and Post Office. Records lost for Squaw Creek Irrigation District (Whychus Creek)

 

 

George and Grace Aitken move a one-story building to site of burned drugstore and post office. Add a second story with living quarters and storage in 1931.

1924

 

The first golf course in Central Oregon opens at the Hansen Ranch near Camp Sherman, in what today is known as Metolius Meadows.

Sept. 11, 1924

 

Fire starts in a defective flue in the Gist Hotel destroying buildings on both sides of Cascade Street between Fir and Spruce. “Half of Pioneer Town is Leveled by Flames,” The Bend Bulletin. “Fire fought by every man in the community. Efforts Hampered by the lack of firefighting equipment.”

Winter 1924-25

 

Severe winter with heavy snow.

1925

 

Linn County bought all rights to the original road bed of the toll road over the McKenzie Pass and completed an automobile road over the pass. Spare tires were recommended.

 

 

Lookout cupola built on Black Crater.

1926

 

Suttle Lake United Methodist Camp lease is obtained. The first Methodist camp is held at Suttle Lake in 1922.

1927

 

Metolius River Market Road built allowing for direct travel between Sisters and Camp Sherman

 

 

Very little snow, another dry year for farmers and ranchers.

1928

 

Spoo Mill, also known as MG Hitchcock Mill, built. Later moved to Mitchell.

 

 

Very cold winter with lots of snow.

1930s

 

Construction of the Santiam Highway begins.

1930

 

Seventh-Day Adventist church begins (closed in the 1960s).

1931

 

Emmett Knickerbockers and Hugh Amsberry open a nine-hole golf course just south of Sisters, called Knickerbocker Public Golf Course

 

 

On April 22, tornado strength winds uproot pines and flatten cabins in the Metolius Valley, Camp Sherman area.

1932

 

A lodge is built at Camp Wingwaak at Scout Lake. In 1933 it is reported that 100 Scouts from all over Oregon and Washington use the camp during the summer.

 

 

Lookout cabin at Sand Mountain built

1933

 

Lookout tower built at Trout Creek Butte

 

 

Lookout tower built on Cache Mountain

1934

 

Mill established at Sundown Ranch.

1935

 

Camp Tamarack is established at Dark Lake by Donna Gill and Lucille Murphy. Twelve girls attend the first summer.

1936

 

Sisters High School establishes an orchestra.

1937

 

Separate Sister High School building built. (This brick building is now used as school district administration offices and is on the National Register of Historic Places.)

1938

 

Sisters residents volunteer and donate materials to build first library building.

 

 

Construction of Hoodoo Ski Bowl begins.

 

 

North Santiam Highway opens to traffic.

1939

 

Jan 27th, Sisters Library opens as a branch of the Deschutes County Library.

 

 

Sisters City Park created in December as a State of Oregon park.

 

 

North Santiam Highway opened and Santiam Wagon Road officially closed.

1940

 

Sisters first motor hotel or motel opens, Sisters Motor Lodge. This is the oldest building in Sisters still being used for the purpose for which it was built.

 

 

The first annual (official) Sisters Rodeo held at the Creighton place, northeast of downtown (near airport.) Two years later the Rodeo Grounds were moved a little west, onto Leithauser land, where Hoyt’s Hardware is today (2006).

 

 

Santiam “Ski” Lodge dedicated, built by CCC crew with enough dormitory space for 90 people. A snowmobile operates between the lodge and Hoodoo Ski Bowl.

1946

 

Sisters become an incorporated city.

 

 

Brooks-Scanlon moves 37 “rail houses” including a schoolhouse and store from the Brooks-Scanlon Bull Springs logging camp to a site just west of downtown Sisters.

1949

 

First separate elementary school built in Sisters.

1950

 

New Black Butte schoolhouse built in Camp Sherman, replacing log building; 13 students enrolled.

 

 

Lodge at Hoodoo Ski Bowl is established. The new building is created from an abandoned officer’s quarters from Camp Adair in Corvallis that is cut into sections and moved to the site.

1951

 

Artificial propagation of steelhead trout in Squaw Creek (Whychus Creek).

 

 

Hitchcock Mill sold to Dant and Russell

1952

 

Dant and Russell mill closed.

1953

 

An estimated 1,000 steelhead trout spawn in Squaw Creek (Whychus Creek).

 

 

Dant and Russell mill purchased by Leonard Lundgren and reopened. This mill was later moved to Bend

1954

 

New Sisters grade school built to replace 1912 structure.

April 1956

 

“Spring of the Brown Rain,” was the result of heavy winds in the Palouse. The high winds brought “muddy rain” to Central Oregon, resulting from the fine dust being taken high into the atmosphere. Some think the dust may have actually acted as cloud seeding, causing substantial rain.

1957

 

First hatchery reared adult steelhead trout return to Squaw Creek (Whychus Creek).

1958

 

Delton Dam built on Deschutes River.

 

 

Sisters Baptist Church begins services in building at Main and Elm streets.

 

 

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints begins holding meetings in homes.

1959

 

People in Sisters becoming concerned about the future of the town as mills close or move out of the area. Some begin discussing the idea of enacting an ordinance requiring an 1880s style for commercial buildings.

1960

 

Wakefield Garage catches fire, embers jump across the street and burn much of the Leithauser Store merchandise.

 

 

Camp Davidson, operated by the Oregon District of the Assemblies of God, is established near Link Creek, just east of Suttle Lake.

1963

 

St. Edward’s Catholic Church constructed on land donated by Rex Trowbridge.

 

 

Last mill closed in Sisters.

 

 

Johnson’s Sporting Goods store (Sisters) is burned, destroying the second floor and killing Mr. Johnson. Cause of the fire is a cigarette.

1964

 

City of Sisters hit by major flood; took out highway bridge over Squaw Creek (Whychus Creek)

1964

 

Round Butte Dam built on Deschutes River.

1967

 

Last steelhead trout or Chinook salmon seen in Squaw Creek (Whychus Creek).

1968

 

Sisters High School closed; students bussed to Redmond High School.

1971

 

First meetings held at old high school for the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration.

 

 

Black Butte Ranch, the Brooks Resources resort begins selling lots and Big Meadow Golf Course opens.

1972

 

Black Butte Ranch – Many new homes built. Work begins on the Golf Course Condos, Ridge Cabins, Aspen Houses, Black Butte Homes and Ranch Houses. Construction of Paulina and South Meadow Pools.

1973

 

Circle W Properties of Eugene, begins development of Metolius Meadows. It becomes the largest residential development in Camp Sherman.

1974

 

Hard winter with heavy snow. Gil Ticoulat’s cattle were trapped in the Big Meadow at Black Butte Ranch. 42 inches of snow fall in 24 hours.

1975

 

Jean Wells and Cathi Howells begin the first annual Sister Quilt Show; eleven quilts exhibited. The annual show is held the second Saturday of July.

 

 

Lutheran church begins services held at the home of Pastor Ylvisaker.

 

 

Hard winter with heavy snow. Black Butte Ranch uses a tractor to clear snow off Phalarope Lake for ice skating, the ice is 14 to 16 inches thick.

 

 

Mid-summer, Hap Taylor is excavating for utilities in Rock Ridge section of Black Butte Ranch and a fire starts. Borate bomber is called in.

1978

 

City of Sisters passes ordinance requiring 1880s style store fronts.

1979

 

Commercial development west of town, Three Winds Shopping Center, opened

 

 

Laurence Callwell, a bank robber on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List, lives at Black Butte Ranch in South Meadow 76.

 

 

Retail sales employment in Sisters becomes the leading job classification.

1980

 

New Sisters fire station constructed.

1981

 

Fire burns east side of Black Butte's top.

January 3-4, 1982

 

A 68 inch snow fall closes Santiam Pass to all traffic.

1983

 

New Sisters city park built, called “Village Green,” across from fire station.

 

 

Santiam Wagon Road placed on Register of National Historic Places

February 12-13, 1986

 

39 inches of snow falls at Camp Sherman.

1989

 

Construction of a new Sisters Library building begun on old library’s 50th Birthday.

July 1980

 

Tollgate Fire burns 2,300 acres between Sisters and Black Butte Ranch.

1990

 

Cascade Community Church members begin meeting in member’s homes.

 

 

New Sand Mountain Lookout Tower dedicated on August 18.

1991

 

Sisters Industrial Park opens for business.

1992

 

New Sisters High School opens, taking old mascot name, Outlaws.

June 1992

 

Sage Flat Fire, north-east of Sisters, 250 homes evacuated, 1000 acres and five homes burned.

Winter
1992-93

 

Heavy snows. At Black Butte Ranch snow depth is up to four feet.

1995

 

New lookout tower constructed on Black Butte.

1997

 

Three Sisters Fellowship formed.

 

 

Sisters Seventh Day Adventist Church reopens.

 

 

Black Butte Ranch Historical Society founded, becomes Sisters Country Historical Society in 2003.

1998

 

Cascade Community and Sisters Baptist churches merge to become Sisters Community Church

 

 

Sisters city voters pass a city sewer development measure

 

 

Construction of major new development west of Sisters, Pine Meadow Village

 

 

Black Butte Ranch – cache of bi-faced tools found next to Paulina Pool, dated to over 1000 years old.

Jananuary 2001

 

New lodge at Hoodoo Ski Bowl opens at the top of Santiam Pass.

2002

 

July 2002, Cache Mountain Fire hits Black Butte Ranch, two homes lost.

2003

 

August 2003, B&B Complex Fire causing Camp Sherman residents to evacuate twice for over a week of total time.

2005

 

New Sisters Library building opens in December.

 

 

A McDonald’s opens in Sisters.

2006

 

Squaw Creek renamed Whychus Creek

 

 

Sun Ranch Business Parks opens in Sisters

 

 

First Annual “Sisters area artists” art show held in New Sisters Library.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

History of Deschutes County

Deschutes County was created from the western portion of Crook County on December 13, 1916. It was named for the Deschutes River that flows through the county. Early fur traders had called the river Riviere des Chutes, which means "River of the Falls." The county encompasses 3,055 square miles and is located in the central portion of the state. Geographically, the county includes portions of the Cascade Mountains and the central high desert plateau. It is bounded by Jefferson County to the north, Crook County to the east, Klamath and Lake Counties to the south, and Lane and Linn counties to the west.

The county seat is located in the city of Bend that was incorporated in 1905. 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 eventually was platted. County offices were first located in two rooms of the O'Kane Building and later moved into an office building constructed by the Deschutes County Investment Company. The county court met there from 1917 to 1935. A county jail was completed 1918. In 1935 the county court decided to purchase the old brick high school to serve as the courthouse. In 1937 the courthouse and most of the early county records were destroyed by fire. The greatest loss of records was in the county clerk's office. The state fire marshal investigated the cause of the fire, but arson was never proved. A new courthouse was constructed in 1940 and an addition was built in 1978. The Deschutes Services Center opened in 2004 and houses a number of county offices, including the clerk, assessor and commissioners.

The first meeting to organize county government was held in the O'Kane Building. Appointments were made for the positions of district attorney, county judge, two commissioners, clerk, assessor, treasurer, surveyor, superintendent of schools, coroner, physician, and sheriff. The county judge position, which had juvenile jurisdiction, was abolished in 1971 and replaced by a third county commissioner. In that year the county court administrative system was replaced by the three-member board of commissioners.

Principal industries in the county are tourism, timber, and agriculture, chiefly cattle and potatoes. The destination resort, Inn of the Seventh Mountain, and the resort communities of Black Butte and Sunriver, were developed during the 1970s. The Mount Bachelor ski area and High Desert Museum add to the tourism-based economy in the county as well. Numerous golf courses have been added in recent years.

The first county census taken in 1920 enumerated a population of 9,622 inhabitants. Deschutes County has experienced the most rapid growth of any county of the state in recent years. The 2000 population of 115,367 was a 53.91% increase over 1990. The 2006 population of 152,615 represented an increase of 32.3%.