Installment I

(You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!)


Promoters were touting the land as wonderfully productive, covered with waist-high grass perfect for grazing cattle. Water was readily available, and the sun shone beautifully. So they came; immigrants from Great Britain, Germany and other European countries, as well as speculators and would-be farmers and ranchers from the eastern States. Before the turn of the century, the present Long Hollow ranch had been homesteaded, irrigated, worked and lost. The present-day Homestead House and the Irrigation District records are testimony that settlers were here in the 1890s.

Then in 1902 the Black Butte Land and Livestock Company (BBLLC) was formed, comprised of five ranches in the Sisters Country. Long Hollow Ranch became the Headquarters for the Company. In 1910 A.S. Holmes was hired as the superintendent of the Company. He lived at Long Hollow with his wife, Ida, and two children, Dorothy and Priday, in the present-day ranch house which had been built in 1905. Two years later he bought shares in the Company.

This was remote country at that time. Gardens and orchards at the various ranches provided vegetables and fruit for the many men needed to work all that land and livestock. Cows, hogs, and chickens provided meat and dairy products. Supplies not grown at the ranches had to be hauled in by horse and wagon over the deeply rutted Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Wagon Road, which was the only access to Long Hollow. These supplies were stored in the building which is now The Cottage. Men who worked the range picked up their supplies before heading out to their remote workplaces.

The BBLLC ranch operations were in production of cattle, sheep, hogs, horses, hay and grain. There were about 2200 head of cattle, and about 10,000 sheep. Sheep were raised primarily for wool, which was carried by horse-drawn wagons to the train depot in Shaniko. Hay and grain were raised on all five ranches. Crews went from ranch to ranch to put up the hay and harvest grain with horse-drawn equipment.

Prineville was the mailing address for the ranch at that time, though there was no regular mail service. The County seat of Crook County was also in Prineville. Phone lines to the ranch were installed and maintained by BBLLC and other local ranchers.

Irrigation water came from Squaw Creek (now Whychus Creek) through the Squaw Creek Irrigation Company (SCIC) ditches. Long Hollow has water rights dating back to 1895, when the Company was organized. BBLLC became part-owner of the Irrigation Company, but several years later sold its interest to the newly-formed Squaw Creek Irrigation District. Shortly thereafter, the BBLLC was dissolved, and A.S. Holmes received the Long Hollow Ranch for his shares in the Company.

End of Installment I

To be continued