Images of America Prineville By Steve Lent Soft Cover
Images of America Prineville By Steve Lent Soft Cover
Images of America Prineville By Steve Lent Soft Cover
Images of America Prineville By Steve Lent Soft Cover

Images of America Prineville By Steve Lent Soft Cover

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Images of America Prineville By Steve Lent Soft Cover
Images of America Prineville By Steve Lent
Softcover 127 pages
1.The Early Settlement Years
2.Entrepreneurship on the Frontier
3.The Growth of a Community
4.Community Social Development and Activities
5.Working on the Railroad
6.Hard Times
7.Development of Industry and Utilities
The Central Oregon region was mostly bypassed in the rush to settle the Willamette Valley. Major mining activity never occurred, and as a result, settlement came relatively late to the High Desert east of the Cascades. The lush grasslands of the region beckoned the first settlers to the area in 1867, and they came to graze livestock near the confluence of Ochoco Creek and Mill Creek. Soon other settlers arrived, and in 1868, Frances Barney Prine became one of the first to settle along the banks of Crooked River in the valley nestled between rimrocks. He established a primitive blacksmith shop and dispensed liquor from the back of his shop. The post office of Prine was established in 1871. Prine sold his holdings that year to Monroe Hodges for $25 and a packhorse. The post office name was changed to Prineville in 1872. Hodges had visions of grandeur for the young community, and after he "proved up" on his homestead claim, he began to plat a community with streets wide enough to turn a wagon around.
At this time, all of Central Oregon was part of Wasco County, with the county seat located in The Dalles. Hodges rode to The Dalles, and the town-site plat was filed for Prineville on March 28, 1877. He had lots partitioned on his property within the town limits and began selling them for $10 each. To help promote business in the new community, he donated some lots. Soon the community began to grow and a flour mill, planing mill, and merchandise store were established. Monroe had earlier established a hotel, and the community became the major commercial center for Central Oregon.
Prineville emerged as the focal point for growth on one of the last frontiers in Oregon. Stock raising was the major business enterprise, and most businesses catered to local ranchers. Freight and stage lines began servicing Central Oregon through Prineville, and it was once said that "all roads lead to Prineville." The young community began to bustle with activity, but it was located a long distance from county government and law enforcement authorities.
Violence soon began to arise on the rugged frontier. In 1882, a local land dispute erupted into a double murder north of Prineville. The culprit was captured, but because there was no jail in Prineville, he was held in a local hotel waiting for justice in The Dalles. A group of local citizens decided that justice could not wait and formed the Committee of Vigilance, more commonly, known as the Vigilantes. The hotel was stormed by masked riders, and the prisoner was shot and killed. A hired man of the victim was considered guilty by association. Found in a boardinghouse, a rope was thrown around him, and he was dragged through the streets to a wooden bridge on Crooked River and hanged. The rule of the Vigilantes had begun.
The violence of the frontier created concern, and local legislators managed to pass legislation to establish a new county in Central Oregon so government would be more locally based. Crook County, named for Gen. George Crook, was created out of Wasco County in October 1882, and Prineville was selected as the county seat. The first election for the new county was held in 1884, and with the establishment of an elected government, the Vigilantes began to be forced out of business.
Prineville began to boom as the major community between The Dalles and Lakeview; it was the only sizeable community in Central Oregon. More businesses were established to cater to the growing population. A new wooden courthouse was built in 1885, and justice was brought to the wild frontier. Further violence later erupted between sheep men and cattlemen, which lasted into the early years of the 20th century.
After the turn of the 20th century, a homestead boom came to Central Oregon, and Prineville served as the base for hundreds of homesteaders trying to find their piece of paradise. The homesteaders found the harsh desert to be a difficult place for their farming enterprise, though, and many soon became disillusioned and abandoned their claims.
The Hill and Harriman Railroads began the last major railroad war in 1910 and fought their Way up the Deschutes River to Central Oregon. Unfortunately for Prineville, the rail lines bypassed the major community in the region. Soon upstart communities such as Bend, Redmond, and Madras began to grow with the arrival of the railroad. A grand new stone courthouse was built in Prineville in 1909, and an outcry from the newly developing communities along the railroad led to petitions to form new counties. Jefferson County was created out of Crook in 1914, with Madras serving as the county seat, and Deschutes County was carved from Crook County in 1916. Bend became its county seat. The once huge Crook County was diminished to its current size. The communities along the railroad soon became the new commercial centers for Central Oregon.
The residents of Prineville, concerned that the community would become a ghost town if it did not have a connection to the railroad, passed bond issues, and in 1918, a city-owned railroad was built to the main rail line just north of Redmond. The new railroad provided a rail market for livestock and crops, but industry still did not arrive in Prineville. The rail line floundered for several years until the lumber industry arrived in the 1930s, and it began to boom. Because there were plentiful ponderosa-pine forests in the surrounding region, several large mill operations were established in the community. The railroad provided a means to get lumber to a large market. By the end of World War II, Prineville was once again a booming community, with plentiful jobs in the lumber and logging industry. The lumber industry continued until the 1970s, then gradually began to decline, which caused the railroad to face some hard times. However, it managed to continue operations.
Eventually all lumber-producing mills left the community, but a rising new industry was established in 1952 by a young entrepreneur named Les Schwab, who had grand visions of developing a large tire operation. He started his first store in Prineville, and through the years, it has grown to be one of the largest independent tire businesses in the Untied States, with the base of operations remaining in Prineville. As the mills left the scene, Les Schwab Tires became one of the main employers of the community.
The community has passed through booms and times of hardship, but it remains as the first community established in Central Oregon. This book photographically chronicles the emergence of Prineville from a small frontier outpost to a boomtown and the emergence of a lovely community beneath the rimrocks.
The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

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