Ever Wonder What the History Behind Sunriver Is?
Do you know what fur traders, a lost wagon train and a World War II training camp have in common? Sunriver!
Long before we were a residential community and destination resort, Sunriver enjoyed a rich history.
Cattle grazed here, majestic ponderosa pine, eight feet in diameter, were the norm prior to logging, and rumors hint at a murder in the Great Meadow over a land dispute.
Does this have you interested in Sunriver’s History? Keep reading to learn a little about Sunriver History!
In the fall of 1853, one of the largest wagon trains to travel the Oregon Trail was heading to the southern Willamette Valley via a new route over the Cascades. Led by Elijah Elliott, they followed what became known as the Elliott Expedition Cutoff. The group eventually passed through Sunriver on their way toward Willamette Pass. High in the Cascades, all nearly perished from starvation before they were rescued near present day Oakridge. Ruts from the wagon train are still visible among the trees between Fort Rock Park and circle 11. An interpretive sign marks the location.
Sunriver was also an encampment for Lt. Henry Abbot, head of an army engineer survey crew looking for a possible railroad route. One of Sunriver’s main roads is named after Abbot and the residential complex near the village was named for Fremont.
Camp Abbot – (Sunriver History)
Built in 1942 as a self-contained city, the Camp Abbot complex contained roads, water/sewer facilities and enough housing to sustain up to 10,000 soldiers at a time.
Named for Lt. Henry Abbot, thousands of men trained here prior to the camp’s closure in 1944. The buildings were razed and little evidence remains except for the iconic Great Hall at Sunriver Resort. Constructed of local timber and lava rock, the hall was used as the officers’ club. Today, it serves everything from weddings and business meetings to music festivals.
Stop by the resort to view the beauty of the Great Hall and Sunriver’s World War II connection.
Birth of Sunriver Resort
Following strict design rules, homes are required to blend into the landscape. You won’t find a pink house in Sunriver.
A network of pathways were constructed. They were originally intended to allow electric carts as a main mode of transportation.
Once touted as the “Bicycle Capital of the World,” Sunriver’s 34-plus miles of paved pathways continue to be its biggest attraction for cyclists and walkers.
Some information above comes from the book, “Sunriver The First 20 Years” by James W. Quinn and Paul Redding and sunriverstyle.com.