Walking Tour

Barney Prine founded Prineville in 1868. He was quite the entrepreneur. In one day he set up as a blacksmith, dry goods merchant, and barkeep, all under one roof. Take a walk around historic Prineville, visiting the Crook County Courthouse, which caused a controversy resulting in the splitting off from Jefferson and Deschutes counties. View cabins and houses of the early settlers and business people. Then switch gears and view modern-day Prineville. Strolling the streets of town, you will notice the vivid heritage that typifies Prineville as Forever Country. Prineville has a heritage of sheep and cattle ranching, and you will see trucks with ranchers, cowboys, farmers, and hay. You will also notice a strong merchant heritage in Prineville, while you enjoy exceptional, friendly customer service.

Selected Points of Interest

This tour starts at the Bowman Museum located on the corner of Main Street and 3rd Street.

  1. The Bowman Museum
  2. The Crook County Courthouse
  3. The Jasper Wright Cabin
  4. The Clifton & Cornett Store Building
  5. The Baldwin House
  6. The Elisha Barnes House.
  7. The Marion Elliott House
  8. The Mason Building.
  9. The Collins Elkins House.
  10. 1st National Bank Building.

Historical Notes:

Journalists had historically descended upon Crook County, well-known as a county able to predict the political winds of the country. The residents of Crook County had voted for the winning presidential candidate every time since the county was founded in 1882. It had been the longest “bellwether” county in the nation for the presidential election. When Crook County voted for George Bush in the 1992 presidential election and the rest of the country elected Bill Clinton, the county lost that coveted status. Crook County voted against the winner again in 1996 by casting votes for Bob Dole.

Crook County is named for General George Crook who fought the local Native Americans for two decades. Oregon was not a state until 1859, but referred to as the Oregon Country of which both England and the United States claimed the territory. The skirmishes with the Native Americans began to subside after the signing of the treaties that created the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in 1855. Some hostilities with the Native Americans continued, and as late as 1878, the citizens of Prineville dug rifle pits in the heart of the town to defend it from an attack. Crook County was carved out of Wasco County in 1882, where vigilantism ran rampant and the nearest sheriff was over 120 miles away.

Prineville is named for Barney Prine, who came to the Crooked River Valley in 1868. He was the industrious sort who pulled the nails out of abandoned wagon train wagons in order to supply his store. It was from the front room of his establishment that his profits were made. The whiskey was dispensed in the front room, and the blacksmithing was done in the rear. The post office was established in 1871 and named Prine in honor of Barney, but then was renamed Prineville in 1872. The town was platted in 1877 by Monroe Hodges, who named the town after the existing post office.

Additional Points of Interest

  1. Meadow Lakes Golf Course
  2. Crook County Library
  3. Juniper Haven Cemetery
  4. City of Prineville Railroad
  5. Mount Emily Shay
  6. Ochoco Creek Park
  7. Wildland Firefighters Memorial
  8. POW/MIA Monument