I know that not everyone is interested in the same things I am, especially when it includes history. But history that you can see in the form of wagon tracks, old buildings, artifacts, even fossils, arrowheads and antiques can be fascinating. Many of our guests do ask questions about the history of Long Hollow and that is gratifying. Recently I’ve spent some time looking through materials that I’ve gathered over the years since we first acquired the ranch, so today I’ll share some Long Hollow Ranch history with you.
- Elijah Sparks, for whom the lake was named, used to be an owner of some parts of the Long Hollow acreage.
- The town of Sisters, originally called Camp Polk (for President Polk), was known as a timber and lumber town, with mills located in the present-day industrial area. The last sawmill closed in 1965.
- The town of Sisters was twice nearly destroyed by fire – in 1923 and again in 1924.
- Electricity first came to Long Hollow in 1946, indoor plumbing in 1947.
- Starting in 1943, Long Hollow Ranch cattle were moved on foot to the Sparks Lake area for summer pasture every year. The story goes that the older cows had done the trip so many times that when summer began to wane, they knew it was time to go home, and the cowboys would meet them coming down the mountain in the fall.
- John Fremont, Kit Carson (remember them?) and Billy Chinook, in 1843 passed through the present town site of Sisters while developing a map of Oregon.
- The Squaw Creek Irrigation Company (now Three Sisters Irrigation Company) formed in 1895. Long Hollow Ranch has some 1895 water rights.
- The first Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show was held in 1975. My understanding is that only once was the show ever rained out!
- Holmes Road (named for the Holmes family who came to the ranch in 1910) was finally paved in 1965.
- The first truck to be used on the ranch arrived in 1944. It was a new 1942 Dodge that had been “held back” by the government for possible military use during World War II. In what year did the war end? Whom were we fighting, and who were our allies?
- In 1937 and 1938 summer range fires northwest of the ranch threatened the buildings, but a CCC crew from Prineville and a mill crew from Sisters saved the day.
- In 1880 the local tourist economy got its start as Sisters merchants supplied sheepmen passing through each summer as they drove their flocks to pastures in the high Cascades, again on foot, not by truck.
- Early trappers and US Army representatives began exploring the east side of the Cascade Mountains in 1825.
OK, there’s a start. Pretty interesting, right? Now two more history questions for you: when did Oregon become a state, and what year was Deschutes County formed? There are great stories connected to both of those events, so why not do a little research? Try it, you’ll like it. Leave a comment with the answers you find!