The Farewell Bend Ranch site became the community of Bend

November 7, 2021
The Farewell Bend Ranch site became the community of Bend

When the railroad arrived in Bend in 1911, the community began to prosper and rapidly expand

John Y. Todd established the Farewell Bend Ranch on a cove on the east bank of the Deschutes River in 1877. It was at a location used extensively by early travelers for fording the river. He built a log cabin and other major improvements, and it became the first established stopping place in the Bend area.The ranch was located at what is currently the site of the Old Mill District in Bend. Todd faced financial ruin in 1880 when he conducted a large cattle drive from Oregon to Wyoming that resulted in a disastrous loss. Todd sold his ranch to John Sisemore, who later patented a homestead at the site.In 1885, John Sisemore made application for a post office, and one was established at his ranch on Jan. 18, 1886, and he was appointed the first postmaster. He had proposed that Farewell Bend be the name of the new office, but postal authorities decided the name was too long and shortened it to Bend. The office operated at the location until it was discontinued on Jan. 21, 1893.The office was reestablished on April 18, 1899, with William H. Staats the postmaster. In 1902, Staats platted a town site that he named Deschutes, and the Bend post office became briefly known as Deschutes. There were two post offices within a short distance of each other for a brief period, and a battle as to the name of the office resulted. After much heated discussion, the official post office with the name of Bend was established on March 7, 1904.Bend was platted by the Pilot Butte Development Company, and the plat was filed for record on June 7, 1904. The new town soon had a hotel and some mercantile stores. It was a small community in old Crook County.The community soon began to grow, and when the railroad arrived in 1911, the community began to prosper and rapidly expand. The large mills of Brooks-Scanlon and Shevlin-Hixon became established, and Bend began to rise to the prominent community in Central Oregon.The Farewell Bend Ranch had become a community that soon replaced Prineville as the commerce center of Central Oregon. The people of Bend and Redmond wanted to have a county government closer to their location and petitioned to have a new county formed, and Deschutes County was created in 1916, and Bend was selected as the county seat.By Steve Lent

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