French-Canadian fur trappers of the Hudson’s Bay Company gave the name Riviere des Chutes
(River of the Falls) to the Deschutes River, from which the county derived its name. On December 13, 1916, Deschutes County was created from the southern part of Crook County. Bend has been the county seat since the county’s formation and was the last county in Oregon to be established.
In 1877, John Y. Todd bought an old ranch on the eastern banks of the Deschutes River from Tom Greer for $60 and two saddle horses. Travelers had their final view of the river at the wide bends near his ranch and named the spot, “Farewell Bend.” Less than 40 years later, the ranch became the site for one of the largest timber operations in the world, the Brooks-Scanlon lumber mill and across the river, the Shevlin-Hixon Company.
(Well, I spoke too soon.) Farewell Bend Park at 1000 Southwest Reed Market Road is located along the Deschutes River near the base of the Bill Healy Memorial Bridge. The Deschutes River Trail runs the length of the park and connects the park to the Old Mill District to the northeast, to Riverbend Park across the river and to the South Canyon Bridge to the south. It has become a popular launching location for float trips on the river in recent years, and a lovely spot to watch nature from birds in the sky to animals in the water and the natural marsh areas. In the center of the park, a playground features a “lumber mill” theme popular for children and families. A small climbing area neighbors the playground. The north end has a small beach area for play and relaxation, and a small boat launch exists at the southern end of the park. There is also a boardwalk along the river, interpretive signage, two viewing shelters which accommodate 4 each, and a large picnic shelter with a capacity of 36.
Next, is the Wikipedia link to the story of the Deschutes River. (I was surprised.)
And here is the Wikipedia link to the history of the city of Bend. Several public buildings in Bend are now listed on the National Register of Historical Places, including Reid School, the Episcopal Church across from Reid School, the original St. Charles Hospital, the old Fire Station, and the Downing Hotel, to name a few. One such building is our old Bend High School, now used as Bend-LaPine School District office. See more Bend historical plaques.
Here is a very informative link to the history and renovation of the old high school gym. I remember there was a swimming pool in the building as described in the article, but it was closed up by our time, about 1955. Other than the pool, we made full use of the gym when we went here in the eighth and ninth grades. The first year, we were eighth graders in an 8-12 grade school that was run in two shifts while a new high school was being built.
Does anyone remember walking the halls in the old high school? This was an activity we did at noon. It was a harmless way to initiate contact with a girl you liked and show off that you two liked each other. We would walk in groups of two to four up and around the length of the first floor at noon until the bell rang. I read on Bob Lanzarotta’s bhsclassof58.org site that when we all started in the new high school, we were told we could not walk the halls. Such a shame because it was such a harmless social tradition: to see and be seen.
The next year at the old high school, we were top dogs in the junior high school. (It was not called Cascade Junior High that year.)
Both of my parents went to high school here and I’m sure many of yours did too. My dad graduated in 1927 and mom in 1933. Here are pictures from my dad’s 1927 yearbook.
The plaque below is in Drake Park on a boulder adjacent to the Log Skidder, now called the High Wheels, and describes the first Bend school.
“In 1897 a multi-purpose log cabin was built by the Deschutes River. It was nicknamed the Trappers Cabin because trappers often used it for fur storage. Church services were sometimes held in the cabin and it was the original office of The Bend Bulletin. The cabin’s primary function was to serve as school house to the dozen or so children in the area at the time. In 1905, two hundred children were of school age and the cabin was no longer adequate. A $6,500 bond issue financed a new, six-room school building.”
The original landmark is an older plaque on the other side of the boulder, placed in 1958 by the Bend Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution to commemorate the site of the first school in Bend, Oregon. The building was erected in 1877. (NOTE that the older plaque says 1877 and the newer one says 1897).
The picture below may be the second high school built in Bend, the eight-room brick building that quickly outgrew its space, leading to the construction of the Union High School building which we know as the “old high school.” Does anyone know where this building was located and if it is still standing? It may be the building near the old courthouse, as described in the history of the school link below.
This is our old high school, built in around 1923. Most of us do not know that Union High School was the original name of the building or that it was the third high school built in town. It is now a historically-preserved site that houses the Bend-LaPine School District.
Here is a link to the Wikipedia article on the history of the school. The article describes the first wooden school built in what is now called Drake Park. Nothing remains of the original structure.
Many of us went to Reid School in first and second grade. I would love to know the story of the design of the building, the architectural style. The arched doorway and glasswork below are gorgeous. (My first grade classroom was the first room on the right with the three large windows.) Send in your class photos.
The construction of the building is remarkable for the times. Look at the size of the stone blocks. How in the world did they cut them, get them to the site, and lift them up to construct the building? I do see a pulley on the roof. Does anyone know where the local quarry for these stones is?
While doing research for this site, I happened to find Reid School listed as one of Bend’s haunted buildings. I think that is absolutely terrible and to make matters worse, look at the spelling of Deschutes in the article. “Des chutes” is the correct spelling in France, but we are in Bend, Oregon, people, helloooo, get with the program. The historical society has been spelling it Des Chutes (with the s) for many years now. Wouldn’t we love to change this? It’s just so wrong!!! THIS JUST IN!!! I just googled the historical society and was shocked to find they have corrected the spelling to Deschutes.
Further research brought me to the anecdote below about the ghostly history of Reid School:
“The Reid School building was built in 1914 and was Bend’s first modern school building. During construction, one of the contractors, George Brosterhous, fell from the third floor and died, and now it’s believed his ghost haunts the building. George has been known to move or take objects, and there may or may not have been footsteps walking around the third floor after-hours or possibly even a misty apparition, when the building is otherwise empty.” That came from this site which you absolutely MUST READ:
Bend’s Haunted Places – Hack Bend and this link found in that site Historical Haunts Heritage Walk of Downtown Bend.
There’s another story about a custodian working at night on the third floor. He hears a man say, “Memories,” and turns to see an apparition standing in the doorway. He turns a bit further and sees a book named, “Memories.”
The architectural style of Reid School is Richardson Romanesque. Richardsonian Romanesque is a style of Romanesque Revival architecture named after the architect Henry Hobson Richardson. The revival style incorporates 11th and 12th century southern French, Spanish, and Italian Romanesque characteristics. Richardson first used elements of the style in his Richardson Olmsted Complex in Buffalo, New York, designed in 1870. Multiple architects followed in this style in the late 1800s; Richardsonian Romanesque later influenced modern styles of architecture as well.
Additional information on this style of architecture can be found here: Richardsonian Romanesque: 1880 To 1900 – Buildings (cincinnati-oh.gov) .
The following description of the construction of Reid School was copied from Reid School – Deschutes Historical Museum and Society (deschuteshistory.org)
Bend’s first modern school building, Reid School opened September 1914 to 241 pupils. The school’s name honored Ruth Reid, who arrived in Bend in 1904 as a teacher. Miss Reid later served as a principal for the school district and married H.J. Overturf, who was instrumental in laying out the city of Bend. Harley J. Overturf – Wikipedia
Overturf arrived in Central Oregon in 1903 with only sixty cents in cash and several hundred dollars in debt. After arriving in Oregon, he filed a timber claim and then quickly sold the property for a profit. He used the money to finance his college education at the University of Oregon. He graduated from the university in 1904, and then returned to Central Oregon, settling in the newly established community of Bend.
In Bend, Overturf found a job with of the Pilot Butte Development Company. This was the company that had laid out the town of Bend. Within a year, he became the company’s on-site manager and assistant corporate secretary. Overturf remained in that position until 1910 when the company was liquidated. On 25 October of that year, Overturf married Ruth Reid. She had arrived in Bend in 1903 and was the town’s first public school teacher. In 1911, he joined two partners to found the Overturf-Davis-Miller Company, a construction supply business. Overturf became the company president. Bend was growing quickly, so his building supply business was very successful. Overturf left the business in 1913 when he became the local agent for the Western Loan and Building Company, a real estate and mortgage business with its headquarters in Salt Lake City.[
The Reid School building is constructed of locally quarried pink volcanic “tuff”. Designed by Spokane architects Sweatt, Levesque and Co., the general contractors were Ed and George Brosterhous. The building featured ten classrooms, an auditorium, indoor toilets and a central heating system.
In 1977, the building was decommissioned by the Bend LaPine School District. Through a land exchange with Deschutes County, Reid School became a county property. The Deschutes County Commissioners entered into a lease with the Deschutes County Historical Society for the purpose of establishing a museum.
Reid School is now the home to the Deschutes Historical Museum, dedicated by Governor Victor Atiyeh on July 4, 1980. The Museum houses exhibits, a resource library, and Society’s collections. Between 2000-2002, a major renovation campaign for Reid School upgraded the building’s windows, installed an elevator system and a modern heating and cooling system. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a cornerstone for the City of Bend’s proposed Heritage Square.
Are you a Reid School alumnus? We’d love to hear from you! Click here to join our Reid School alumnus blog at http://www.deschuteshistory.blogspot.com/.
Here is some interesting information about the history of Downtown Bend. There are at least two historic districts: the Drake Park Neighborhood Historic District and the Old Town Historic District.
Below is a document listing the Historical Preservation homes in the Bend Downtown or Old Town Historic District, along with a description of the architectural style, memorable features of the home, and name of the original owners. It was surprising to learn that several vacant lots are also included. Did any of you live in any of these houses? I was close, but…..
Use Control f to search for a street or address in the document.
January 13, 2017 – BEND, Ore. (KATU) – City officials in Bend, Oregon, have closed down all schools in the Bend-La Pine district after an elementary school’s roof collapsed Thursday morning under the weight of a recent snowstorm. Authorities said no students or staff were hurt when the roof of the gymnasium caved at Highland Magnet at Kenwood School. The gym was empty at the time of the collapse, and students and staff evacuated the rest of the building.
Staff at Highland Magnet School at Kenwood discovered debris near the gym, when they got to work Thursday morning. But, it wasn’t until the sun came up, that they realized the roof had collapsed sometime in the night. Dave Howe, with Bend Fire, says recent snowfall proved too much. “You can see how much snow collected on the roof. It looks to me that the snow was at least two-feet deep up there on the roof. That is a lot of weight.” Crews demolished the building later that same day.
The gym was built in the 1950s and had a flat roof, which made it more vulnerable. “A building like this built today would probably be built to higher standards,” Howe tells KBND News. “Not only that, but when you have a flat roof and you have decades and decades of snowstorms, just like this one here, with snow piling up, it weakens the structure over the span of time.” The school itself is a separate building and is much older than the gym.
NOTE: I remember the gym being built while we were in elementary school.
Many of us locals were born in the St. Charles Hospital, gone now. There was a newer hospital built next to it and it is also gone. They were both located on Hospital Hill which now has office buildings and a large parking lot. Reminds me of Joni Mitchell’s song, “Pave paradise and put up a parking lot.”
The old fire station is the building on the left with the yellow windows. It is now a historical preservation site. I should know these street names, but I don’t. (Help.)
The historic downtown Bend building known as Post Office Plaza recently sold for $4.3 million to new owners who plan upgrades, while keeping its familiar architecture in place. I have heard it might be condos and there might be an addition put on the back. When I was there in 2019, it was offices.
From what I have read, Mirror Pond was created when the Newport Dam was built (and water backed up behind it), however, I can see the pond in this picture. Here is a link to the various discussions about the future and maintenance of Mirror Pond.
We are just starting to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic now in 2021, but back in 1952, Bend lived through another pandemic, polio. Here is an article about how that pandemic was handled in Bend and of a local polio survivor.