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Historical Landmarks in Sunriver, Oregon

Spending time in scenic Sunriver, Oregon is a treat for travelers from near and far. Whether you’re one for the great outdoors or you’re looking to relax and settle in at your own pace, Sunriver has something wonderful waiting to be enjoyed. But for all of the modern marvels and comforts this inviting area offers up, guests are often thrilled to find that Sunriver is also a destination rich in history. In fact, many of the areas that visitors frequent have intriguing stories to tell and have served important purposes through time. If you’re looking to connect with the past the next time you’re in town, there are plenty of places to find historical landmarks in Sunriver, Oregon that speak to bygone eras.

The Very Ground You Walk on Tells a Story of Time

Before Sunriver Resort was the vacation getaway it is today, it was home to native tribes that called the lands their home. Today, artifacts continue to be unearthed related to these tribes and some experts believe they indicate the area was settled thousands of years ago. This was likely after lava flow gave way to lush meadows and woodlands flourishing across the terrain. Notes of these artifacts were found in explorer John C. Fremont’s journal as he made his way through the modern Sunriver area in 1843 scouting for potential railway line destinations in an attempt to connect California with the Columbia River.

During the 1800s, pioneers began making their way in droves to what is now modern Sunriver. The area was built up with ranches and schools as settlements began to take shape. The following decades were defined by trappers and cattlemen learning to hunt the lands to the point where staying in the area permanently was a possibility. Visiting Sunriver today is only possible because of the effort these settlers put into creating a place where people and nature could live together successfully.

Sunriver’s Great Hall Is Full of History

A visit to Sunriver today often includes quality time spent at the community’s Great Hall. This is an important historical landmark in town with strong military ties. The Great Hall dates back to 1942 when the U.S. government began searching for a prime place to build a military training center. Sunriver was eventually selected because the terrain was so very much like that of the conditions soldiers would potentially face in Europe. Once the destination was selected, work began on building what was known as the site for Camp Abbot. It was constructed with the goal of housing up to 10,000 people at a time. The corresponding Officer’s Club was built using area materials with a focus on local wood and stone finishes. While these structures served their important purpose during the war, afterward, they were renovated and transformed into what is today known and loved as Sunriver’s Great Hall. Here, annual festivals are hosted, and locals and visitors alike gather in the name of fun. The greater Camp Abbot was divided up and some land was made available for private purchase. This is how Sunriver’s recreational community was formed. Out of the camp, golf courses, rental properties, and residential home lots were formed. Today, Sunriver continues to thrive as a vacation destination with a focus on scenery, leisure, Oregon landmarks, and fun activities too.

The Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Not far from Sunriver, visitors can enjoy time at another unique historical landmark in the form of The Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Located at 58201 US-97 in Bend, the Newberry National Volcanic Monument was first designed as a historical and protected area in 1990. This monument sits within the boundaries of the Deschutes National Forest and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. It’s a truly fascinating place to explore as it was formed as the result of lava flow creating unique geological features ranging from rock formations and calderas to nearby lakes and waterfalls.  The main caldera here stretches 17 miles across the volcano and a visit showcases a variety of vents and cinder cones as well. This is a formation that is believed to date back thousands of years.

The Sunriver Nature Center and Observatory

If you’re looking to connect with history in Sunriver alongside little ones, be sure to spend some quality time at the Sunriver Nature Center and Observatory the next time you’re in town. Found at 57245 River Road, this center is dedicated to exploring the past in order to help nature thrive in the future. The mission of the nature center is to help guests gain a greater understanding of the natural world and universe as a way of inspiring care for creatures, nature, and the cosmos well into the future. A visit here is a chance to explore the natural world alongside knowledgeable guides and learn more about the history of Sunriver. It’s also a place where you can stay after dark and observe the stars and planets through 23 high-powered telescopes on-site at the observatory. These activities are designed to provide a greater understanding of how time changes the world and how we can protect what’s important going forward.


Explore Historical Landmarks in Sunriver, Oregon by Booking Your Stay Today

Enjoy time in Sunriver by visiting Oregon landmarks and make sure you have amazing accommodations to match when you book your vacation rental through Arrived. Reach out today to learn more about our options and to start planning your next trip!

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