Nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, Bend, Oregon is a city known for its natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and vibrant community. But the city’s history is just as fascinating as its present. Here is a look at the history of Bend, from its early days as a logging town to its growth as a thriving community.
Bend was founded in 1901 as a logging town. The city was located in the heart of a vast forest, which made it an ideal location for the timber industry. The first sawmill was built in 1903, and the city quickly grew as more mills were established. By 1910, Bend was the largest city in Central Oregon, with a population of over 5000 people.
During World War I, the demand for lumber increased, and Bend became a major supplier of wood products to the war effort. The city’s economy boomed, and new businesses were established to meet the needs of the growing population. In the 1920s, Bend experienced a building boom, as new homes, businesses, and public buildings were constructed.
In the 1930s, Bend faced economic challenges as the Great Depression took hold. The timber industry suffered, and many businesses were forced to close. But Bend’s spirit of resilience helped the city survive. The construction of the Bonneville Dam in the Columbia River Gorge provided new jobs, and the city’s tourism industry began to take shape as visitors came to explore the area’s natural beauty.
In the 1940s and 1950s, Bend experienced a period of growth and change. The city’s population continued to increase, and new businesses were established. The construction of the Cascade Lakes Highway made it easier for tourists to visit the area, and Bend’s reputation as a recreational destination grew.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Bend underwent a transformation as the city’s economy shifted from timber to tourism. The construction of the Mount Bachelor ski resort brought new visitors to the area, and Bend became known as a premier destination for skiing and other outdoor activities. The city’s downtown area was revitalized, with new businesses and cultural institutions established.
Today, Bend is a thriving city with a population of over 100,000 people. It is known for its outdoor recreation, including skiing, hiking, fishing, and biking. The city is also home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, with museums, galleries, and music venues. Bend has been recognized as one of the best places to live in the United States, and it continues to attract new residents and visitors.