The Columbia River Gorge, located on the border between Oregon and Washington, is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The gorge is over 80 miles long and is known for its scenic beauty and waterfalls.
Deschutes County, located in central Oregon, has a rich and diverse history that dates back thousands of years. The region was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, most notably the Northern Paiute, who relied on the rich natural resources of the area for their livelihoods. However, with the arrival of European explorers and settlers in the 19th century, the region underwent significant changes.

In the mid-1800s, many pioneers began to settle in what is now Deschutes County, drawn by the promise of fertile land and abundant water sources. The Deschutes River, which runs through the county, played a crucial role in the development and later irrigation of the area. These early settlers engaged in various industries such as logging, ranching, and agriculture, which formed the foundation of the county's economy.

Deschutes County experienced a significant period of growth and prosperity following the construction of the Oregon Trunk Railroad in the early 1900s. The railroad not only facilitated faster transportation and the movement of goods but also led to increased tourism. Many people were attracted to the county's stunning natural landscapes, including the famous lava fields, high desert, and the nearby Cascade Mountains, which provided opportunities for outdoor recreation and adventure.

In more recent times, Deschutes County has experienced a population boom and rapid urbanization, particularly in the city of Bend. The county's vibrant arts scene, thriving breweries, and popular outdoor activities have made it a desirable destination for residents and tourists alike. However, managing the challenges that come with growth, such as housing affordability and environmental conservation, has become a key concern for the county's leaders.

Overall, Deschutes County's history has seen a transition from Native American homelands to a pioneer settlement, railroad expansion, and the development of the region into a popular recreational and tourist destination. Its diverse landscape and natural resources continue to shape the county's culture, economy, and growth patterns.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Deschutes County, Oregon.

  • 1836: The area that is now Deschutes County was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Northern Paiute, Bannock, and Warm Springs tribes.
  • 1843: John C. Fremont becomes the first recorded non-Indian to visit the region. He names the Deschutes River "Riviere des Chutes," meaning "River of the Falls" in French.
  • 1859: Oregon becomes a state, and the Deschutes County area becomes part of Wasco County.
  • 1870s: The Central Oregon region, including present-day Deschutes County, starts attracting settlers and ranchers due to its fertile lands and opportunities for farming.
  • 1904: Deschutes County is established, separating from the larger Wasco County.
  • 1905: Bend is established as the county seat of Deschutes County, replacing the initial county seat of Hila.
  • 1911: The first Deschutes County Fair is held, showcasing the agricultural achievements of the region.
  • 1930s: The Great Depression affects Deschutes County's economy, leading to a decline in agricultural and mining industries.
  • 1938: Pilot Butte State Park is established, providing recreational opportunities and hiking trails.
  • 1960s: The construction of the Deschutes River dams, including the Wickiup and Crane Prairie dams, leads to the creation of reservoirs and the development of the area's irrigation system.
  • 1980s: Deschutes County experiences rapid growth and development, with an influx of new residents attracted to the area's natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities.
  • 2002: The Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center is expanded and renovated to better serve the community.
  • Present: Deschutes County continues to grow and thrive as a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities such as hiking, skiing, fishing, and whitewater rafting.