When you walk, drive, or ride around Bend, you’ll notice unique names of streets and places. These names tell a story of Bend’s early history.

Drake Park, for example, wasn’t named after a duck. The beautiful park, peacefully hugging Mirror Pond, was named after Alexander M. Drake, a frontier developer. In fact, Mirror Pond isn’t a pond, either. It’s a gently flowing river springing from the Cascade Mountains, which are reflected in its glassy surface.

More than 100 years ago, pioneers took refuge and relaxed here. Once they spotted Pilot Butte on the horizon, incoming pioneers knew they were approaching the twisting riverbanks of the Deschutes River, home to more than 300 early settlers. They lived in an area called Farewell Bend, which was the common saying when the pioneers sadly continued on with their westward journey. In November 1904, the residents voted to incorporate as a city. The town needed a name, and what better name was there than its trademark? In January 1905, the citizens dropped the farewell part and nailed up the sign that said, “Welcome to Bend, Oregon.”

Soon after, the race was on between two railroad barons, James J. Hill and E.H. Harriman, laying tracks that would later open the doors to logging commerce and tourism. The Brooks-Scanlon and the Shevlin-Hixon mills were the largest timber mills of their day, making Bend a very prosperous place to live, work, and play.

Though the mills have long been closed, the lifestyle and the vibrant culture of a booming town remains. Today, the old Brooks-Scanlon mill is humming once again, not with sawmills but with the sounds of people enjoying shopping, dining, and entertainment in the renovated Old Mill District. The historic Downtown area, full of art, fine dining, and unique shops is bustling with year-round activities and events. Relax in Drake Park and listen to music for free while indulging yourself with offerings from Bend’s finest restaurants. The stars shine as bright in the sky as they do on the stages of the Les Schwab Amphitheater, the Tower Theatre, and the Athletic Club of Bend. Everything in keeping with tradition and culture of welcoming new people to a place called Bend.

Bend, Oregon is in Deschutes County: view the map


Mind Bend-ers: Your Dose of Quirky Bend Culture and Trivia

What’s up with that?

It’s not an unusual question for someone to ask in a city’s visitor center, and we field plenty of ’em here at Visit Bend. From scandalous history to quirky culture, visitors want to know more about the things that make Bend unique.

We created the Mind Bend-ers blog series to answer some of your most pressing questions about offbeat Bend trivia. Follow the links below to see some of what we’ve posted so far.

And if you have a question for Mind Bend-ers, shoot us an email. We’re happy to help track down the inside scoop.

We’re helpful like that.

3 BIG FAT LIES ABOUT BEND HISTORY
Think Amelia Earhart used to live here, or that the 1950 mill deal was decided on a coin toss? Think again.
>> Read the full story here on the Bend Buzz Blog

KLONDIKE KATE: BEND’S ORIGINAL FUN, FEARLESS FEMALE
If marching through Downtown Bend in a showgirl costume is wrong, she doesn’t want to be right.
>> Read the full story here on the Bend Buzz Blog

WANNA SIT ON ART’S LAP?
No, really. It’s how we do art appreciation in Bend.
>> Read the full story here on the Bend Buzz Blog

NO, BIG EDDY WASN’T A LUMBERJACK
Some random history of whitewater rafting in Bend
>> Read the full story here on the Bend Buzz Blog

THERE’S GOLD IN THEM-THAR HILLS. OR NOT.
Get the skinny on Bend’s gold rush that . . . uh, kinda wasn’t
>> Read the full story here on the Bend Buzz Blog

LET’S GO SWILL GIN IN A CAVE!
Learn what dastardly deeds took place in Bend’s lava tubes during prohibition
>> Read the full story here on the Bend Buzz Blog

WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THE FLAG AT THE TOP OF THE OLD MILL DISTRICT SMOKESTACKS?
There’s nothing like scaling a 200-foot tower to show your patriotism
>> Read the full story here on the Bend Buzz Blog

GET YOUR GHOST FIX AT THE DESCHUTES HISTORICAL MUSEUM
Meet George Brosterhous, the friendly ghost
>> Read the full story here on the Bend Buzz Blog

BEND’S PRESIDENTIAL PAST
One presidential nominee’s ill-fated political career ended right here in Bend
>> Read the full story here on the Bend Buzz Blog