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Deschutes County History Books and Publications

The following are books written during the past 50 years that deal primarily with Deschutes County history or communities in Deschutes County. If you have additional books to suggest, please complete this form. You may also use this [ PDF ] version. 
The listing is merely to inform people of some of the available history publications. It is not an endorsement of any or all of the publications.

Deschutes County Historical Society. A History of the Deschutes County in Oregon. Bend: Deschutes County Historical Society, 1985. Maps, Illustrations, Photos, Index. 530 pages.
A thematic history of Deschutes County from initial white settlement through the mid-twentieth century that includes chapters on general county history, important organizations, communities within the county, and profiles of local families. Information on state and local representatives and the 1900 census are provided in table form. Local records, newspaper articles, and oral histories are used as source material and referenced within the text; however, notes and bibliographies are not included. A good general source for county history.
Deschutes County Historical Society. Deschutes County Yesteryear. Bend: Deschutes County Historical Society, 1989 -. 
A bi-annual publication of the Deschutes County Historical Society featuring brief stories on the important historical persons, events, places, and trends. Index available at the Oregon State Library. Articles are primarily written in first person, rely heavily on oral histories, and do not include footnotes or bibliographies.
Deschutes County Landmarks Commission, Building Deschutes County:  Architectural History 1813-1950.  Bend: Deschutes County and the Cities of Bend, Redmond and Sisters, and the State Historic Preservation Office, 1997.  Maps, graphs, charts, notes, photographs. 133 pages. PDF   [7.6 MB]
Focuses on the art and craft of architecture and its place within Deschutes County. Begins with initial broad overview of county history and architectural developments. Includes listings of buildings by type, and the history of Bend, Redmond and Sisters. 

Deschutes County Landmarks Commission. “Deschutes County Prehistoric Context Statement.” HPF 9516. Bend: Deschutes County Community Development Department, 1996. Maps, Illustrations, Bibliography. 146 pages.
A planning document meant to assist with the management of the over 1,400 known and still yet-to-be-discovered archeological sites in Deschutes County. Report discusses the county’s pre-history, identifies resources, and makes recommendations for further study and management of these sites. PDF [10 MB]

Due, John F. and Francis Juris Rush. Roads and Rails South From the Columbia: Transportation and Economic Development in the Mid-Columbia and Central Oregon. Bend: Maverick Publications, 1991.
The authors describe the exploration, geology, water, rail, and road development of the region, including their relationship to economic development of the area.
Friends of the LaPine Library. History of LaPine Pioneers. Bend: Sagebrush Printing, 1983. Photographs. 223 pages.
A history of  LaPine from its initial white settlement through the early 20th century. Much of the book focuses on family history; however, larger events such as exploration, overland travel, and the county’s changing boundaries are also addressed. Oral histories, local newspapers, and government documents are the primary sources used, no bibliography or footnotes provided.
Hall, Michael, Irrigation Development in Oregon’s Upper Deschutes River Basin, 1871-1957. Bend: Deschutes County and the Cities of Bend, Redmond and Sisters, and the State Historic Preservation Office, 1994. Maps, graphs, charts, notes, photographs. 139 pages. PDF [8.2 MB] 

This publication provides a discussion of the development of desert reclamation efforts between 1895 and 1920 in the Upper Deschutes Valley. The study follows the impact of irrigation and land policy on the nation and state’s economic, political, and social institutions from the historic period to the present. The text identifies and evaluates resources related to the historic development of irrigation and makes recommendations for their preservation.

Hollinshed Davidson, Bonnie. The Hillman-Terrebonne Saga: 1907-1924. Privately published, 1977. Photographs. 28 pages. 
A history of the Davidson and Ellliot families in the Hillman-Terrebonne area of Deschutes County during the early part of the twentieth century based on oral histories as told by a descendent. The book offers good insights into daily life during this period and information about local events and institutions. 

Renewable Technologies, Inc. “Sagebrush to Clover: The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s North Unit of the Deschutes Project, Vol. 1: History.” U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 2013. Maps, photographs, bibliography. 48 pages.

This document includes a detailed history of the North Unit Irrigation District of Deschutes and Jefferson Counties. Topics include the rise of irrigated agriculture in the Upper Deschutes Basin, Carey Act projects, homesteading, and settlement on the North Unit. PDF [15.9 MB]

Shaw Historical Library, Sheep Trails: Sheep Ranching in the Land of the Lakes, Klamath Falls: Shaw Historical Library, 2004. (Volume 18 of its periodic journal.) Photographs, maps, 148 pages.
Eighteen scholarly articles and reminiscences of the sheep ranching industry in central and southern Oregon and northern Nevada beginning in the late 19th century. 


Smith, Dwight A. “Historic Context: The Development of Irrigation in the Bend Area, c. 1890-1940.” Salem, OR: ODOT, 1991. Photographs, Bibliography, Maps. 22 pages.
This document explores the development of irrigation systems in Bend and statewide. It includes information on the canal system of the Deschutes River and a timeline of development. PDF [3.45MB]

Wilson, Tillie, Alice Scott. Yesterday: A History of the Town of Sisters, Oregon and the Surrounding Area. Redmond: Midstate Printing, 1974. Photographs. 113 pages.
A history of Sisters and surrounding areas from initial white settlement to the mid-20th century. Topics include the local institutions, industries, and social life. A complete chapter is dedicated to specific events and another to pioneer profiles. Largely based on oral histories, the book is well organized and specific, yet lacks footnotes and a bibliography.