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Fun Facts about Central Oregon

Did You Know…

The landscape was formed by volcanoes and the history shaped by intrepid pioneers. Today, Central Oregon is one of the most enviable places in the world in which to live. Here are a few compelling and fun facts about this place we call home.

Summer Sightseeing on Mt. Bachelor

Mt. Bachelor is an inactive volcano that last erupted about 10,000 years ago. Today, it is considered the Northwest’s top ski area, with 88 groomed runs and 3,683 skiable acres of terrain served by 10 lifts. Even non-skiers can ride to the 9,065-foot peak and see for hundreds of miles – to Mt. Adams in Washington and Mt. Shasta in California.

Just west of Mt. Bachelor, the volcanic peaks of South Sister and Broken Top beckon. They are among Central Oregon’s most-climbed peaks.

Between 1964 and 1966, astronauts trained on volcanic terrain in this area to prepare for trips to the moon. Astronaut Jim Irwin of the Apollo 15 mission placed a volcanic rock from this area on the moon.

A mixed route of horse trails and wagon roads blazed by explorers in the 1800s, including the legendary John Fremont and Kit Carson, is now the Cascade Lakes Highway. Scenic America named this road, which winds alongside volcanic peaks and stunning lakes, one of America’s most important byways.

Featured in movies such as Rooster Cogburn, with John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn, and Homeward Bound with Michael J. Fox and Sally Field, Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top and the Three Sisters have had several cameo appearances in Hollywood films.

Amelia Earhart, the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, had ties to Central Oregon. In 1931, she married her publicist, George Palmer Putnam, of Putnam & Sons Publishing. Putnam had previously lived in Bend, where he served as mayor and was editor and publisher of The Bend Bulletin.

Old Mill District Shops - Bend, Oregon

Bend’s Old Mill District is on the site of the former Brooks-Scanlon and Shevlin-Hixon lumber mills, the world’s largest yellow pine producers in the early 1900s. Today it is a popular shopping and recreation site.

Wall Street in Bend was named for a lava rock wall that lined the street, and was considered more respectable than Bond Street, with its gambling houses, bars and houses of ill-repute. In the early 20th century, downtown Bend was full of freighters, buckaroos, sheep herders and timber cruisers. Today these streets are lively shopping, dining and entertainment areas.

Prineville was one of the first local towns to form a baseball team, in 1890. In 1911, Bend and Redmond formed the Bend Reds, then came the Loggers in the 1950s, and the Eagles in 1928. The Bend Rainbows had actor Kurt Russell on the minor league team in 1971. The Central Oregon Phillies, the Bend Bucks, the Bend Rockies and the semi-pro Bend Bandits followed. Today we have the amateur Bend Elks (Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox is a 2002 alumnus), and they serve up good old-fashioned fun: fierce competition, wooden bats, hot dogs and beer.

Central Oregon Visitors Association
Central Oregon Visitors Association
The Central Oregon Visitors Association (COVA) is the "Official" Tourism Information Resource for Central Oregon, including the communities of Bend, Sunriver, Redmond, Sisters, La Pine, Madras, Prineville, Crooked River Ranch, Terrebonne, Culver and Black Butte Ranch. Most of the stories posted online can be found in the Official Central Oregon Visitors Guide.