Whether you’re walking in the shadow of brick buildings around downtown Bend or grabbing a bite in historic structures elsewhere in town, it’s hard not to feel a tinge of reverence for Central Oregon’s history. In the early 1900s, after all, scores of ranchers, loggers, and businessmen of all stripes descended on Bend to strike it rich and establish themselves in the growing community.
Today, echoes of the past abound around Bend—sometimes literally. That’s because the city’s myriad landmarks guard the buried secrets of its past, with more than a few reports of unexplained voices, footsteps in otherwise empty rooms, and other paranormal hauntings.
So with Halloween fast approaching, we wanted to show why Bend is such a great destination for amateur investigators and history buffs alike. These are just some of the allegedly haunted buildings and businesses to check out while visiting Bend, Oregon:
Want to see for yourself? Read on for more about ghost tours and haunted houses in Bend, Oregon—if you dare.
Deschutes Historical Museum
In 1914, contractor George Brosterhous was working on the roof of a third-floor schoolhouse in downtown Bend when he fell to the ground—and to his death. More than a century later, it is said that his ghost haunts that building—which now houses the Deschutes Historical Museum.
Today, you can look for the ghost of George Brosterhous while exploring Deschutes County’s past at the captivating museum, which dives into local history through exhibits that cover a wide range of topics—like mid-1900s tourism in Central Oregon, regional forests, and the area’s Native American populations. And as Halloween approaches, check the museum’s events page for history tours and other seasonal events.
O’Kane Building in Downtown Bend
The O’Kane Building sits at the corner of NW Oregon Ave. and NW Bond St. in downtown Bend, hosting several businesses—including Smith Rock Records (which sells new and used CDs, vinyl, and cassettes), Red Chair Gallery (specializing in fine and contemporary art), and Chomp Chomp (dishing ramen, wings, whiskey, and more in a chic atmosphere).
Get beyond the crispy wings and rockin’ tunes, however, and you might hear the ghost of businessman Hugh O’Kane, who in 1916 constructed the building on the site of a hotel that had burned down the year before. O’Kane lived in the building with his family for a time and remained active there until shortly before his death in 1930.
Nearly a century later, employees and visitors have reported hearing O’Kane’s footsteps and voice inside—and have even claimed to see an elderly man patrolling the spine-tingling basement. You can’t head downstairs to check for yourself, but who knows who you might run into around the historic building?
Café des Chutes and Iron Works Building
In 1912, a few ironworks buildings were constructed on Bend’s eastside to help bolster the community’s growing timber industry and to craft tools from iron and steel. As the town’s lumber fortunes faded throughout the 1900s, the old-school brick buildings fell into obscurity—until a new generation of makers, crafters, and restaurateurs moved into the neighborhood and turned it into the Ironworks Art District—a hip, community gathering space.
One of the most prominent buildings in the district (the site of a former payroll office) is today home to Café des Chutes, a European-inspired eatery serving sandwiches, pastries, and other light bites (often with a vegan- or gluten-free focus). Long before the café moved in, however, the building housed The Sparrow Bakery—whose employees reported numerous ghost stories over the years.
Bend Ghost Tours
Want some assistance for your trip into Bend’s paranormal past? Sign up for an outing with Bend Ghost Tours, where a guide will take you through the haunted streets and alleyways of downtown Bend while regaling you with stories of the city’s most notable ghosts.
Ghost lovers and history buffs can choose among two historically accurate and unique tours. The two-hour Ghosts & Legends of Downtown Bend tour is geared toward adults and older children (where topics covered include prohibition, brothels, and murder), while the Lights On Frights outing lasts 75 minutes and is suited to children 5 and older; the latter—more spooky than scary—includes an interactive walk through Brooks Alley in downtown Bend, complete with storytelling, history, and a choral performance.
When you’re suitably spooked, learn more about some of the other top fall activities in Central Oregon.
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
Top Fall Activities in Central Oregon
As the days of summer wean, kids head back to school and the aspens begin to change color, Central Oregonians prepare for the days of fall. Adventure starts early with crisp fall mornings perfect for riding some singletrack or starting out on a long hike into the mountains. The afternoons give way to comfortable temperatures and plenty of sunshine to bask in via a paddleboard on a peaceful Alpine Lake or on a patio at a local eatery. It’s difficult to put your finger on exactly what makes the fall such a special time to visit Central Oregon, but we’ve rounded up a few of the top fall activities to try on your next getaway.
There's just something about Bend, Oregon. The high desert oasis has something to offer visitors year-round. From nearly every vantage point in Bend, it's easy to see why this town has become an outdoor paradise. Bend, Oregon has been on dozens of best-of lists, highlighting its livability, its outdoor opportunities, its pet-friendliness. When you'll visit, you discover that's all true. But dig deeper to find just how much this place has to offer.