Pilot Butte Is Presented To State For Public Park

Terrence H. Foley, in whose name the Butte was purchased and dedicated as a State Park in 1928. This photo is from the early 1920’s. Photo Courtesy: Pilot Butte Partners and the Foley family.

Pilot butte, historic landmark of Central Oregon, Sunday afternoon became property of the state, to be used for park purposes, when Governor I. L. Patterson accepted from Mrs. Charles A. Brown of Chicago a deed to the aged volcano which years ago guided emigrants to a watering and camping place on the Deschutes river.

With the crown of the butte lines by two rows of automobiles  the presentation program got under way a few minutes after 3 o’clock when Robert W. Sawyer, who presided, introduced Mrs. Brown. First delivering a message from the donors, Mrs. Brown handed the deed to the grounds to Governor Patterson, the second speaker introduced. H.B. Van Duzer, chairman of the Oregon highway commission, followed Governor Patterson on the brief program and R.S. Hamilton was the concluding speaker, touching on the life and work of Foley.

Tablet is Unveiled

The presentation ceremonies ended when Miss Mary Ellen Foley, daughter of the man for whom the park was named, unveiled the memorial tablet to which bears the world: “To Terrence Hardington Foley who devoted his energy, courage and ability to developing the resources of nature, this natural monument is dedicated as a fitting testimonial to his great value as a pioneer and citizen.” The tablet was veiled with the American flag of the local lodge of Elks, organization of which Foley was exalted ruler when he died, on April 16, 1926, as the result of an automobile accident.

References to the early history of Oregon and tributes to Foley characterized the various speeches, although praise for Pilot butte as an observatory was frequent. In concluding his address, Governor Patterson, after expressing his appreciation of the gift to the state, said that in his opinion, the view from Pilot Butte is the most impressive in Oregon. “When my friends mention they are going to Bend, I tell them by all means to visit Pilot butte,” the governor remarked.

“I hope the acceptance of this gift will inspire people of Oregon to make similar gifts, that future generations may enjoy these parks,” said the governor. The deed given him by Mrs. Brown was in turn handed to Van Duzer, the governor explaining that the highway commission of the state is charged with the duty of administering the state parks.

Struggles of Pioneers Recalled

“The early history of many parts of Oregon is a history of settlement,” said Sawyer in preface to his introduction of Mrs. Brown, continuing; “Unlike these, the first history of this section is one of travel. First these came the trappers who ascended the rivers hunting for beaver. Slightly over a year ago we gathered to dedicate the Crooked river bridge and park named for one of the first of these trappers– Peter Skene Ogden. In time, the trappers were followed by emigrants who came across the country from water hole and spring creek and river, bound for the settlements beyond the mountains.

“Always they sought the most direct route to their destination that the oxen could travel and always they sought feed and water- chiefly water. These was water in abundance in the constant Deschutes, but for miles of its course precipitous canyon walls made access difficult if not impossible. At a few places, however, the walls were flattened and the river emerged from the continuing canyon to flow through the meadows with gentle banks and level shores where wagons could be drawn in, camp made, the cattle watered and fed and the party rested against the next hard pull. One of these Elims was on the river here and for years travelers rested on Sisemoro meadows before turning south and gaining that last glimpse of the river’s curve that they called ‘Farewell Bend.’

“Easy access to water was their reason for coming here and they were guided by the butte on which we now are– Pilot butte. Standing alone and in sight for miles acreoss the sagebrush plain, Pilot butte told the traveler where he was and where his course lay to reach the river. It was a landmark.” Sawyer then reviewed the purchase of the butte by Miller, Brown and Welles and its presentation to the state.

T.H. Foley is Honored

Tribute to the memory of Foley was paid in the message from Brown, speaking on behalf of the donors, which was delivered by Mrs. Brown. This message follows:

“I speak on behalf of the donors of this park, who find a double source of gratification in participating in this ceremony of dedication”

“We are gratified to show the appreciation, extending far beyond the boundaries of Oregon, of the noble attributes and achievements of this proud commonwealth; and we are gratified that, in doing this, we are aiding this community in commemorating the high qualities of Terrence H. Foley, whose kindness, courage and devotion to the public welfare won him wide affection and esteem.”

“May this imposing natural monument, which is linked with the thrilling story of Oregon, and which served as a pilot to the first pilgrims to this beautiful land, stand as a perpetual inspiration to future generations to vital deeds of heroism such as were performed by the pioneers who founded and built this priceless segment of our immortal national structure; and may it, in doing honor to the sterling qualities of Terrence Foley say to the passerby;”

“Lift up your eyes, Oh stranger to the hills/ And view the scenes o’er which I lover to roam:/ Here I with Nature strove for humankind/ And here has nature granted me a home”

“For this sacred purpose we give the state of Oregon forever this Pilot Butte park.”

The concluding address, delivered by Hamilton, reviewed the life and work of Foley, with special reference to his local civic activities- as Red cross chairman, as Boy Scout executive, as president and director of the Bend Chamber of Commerce, as exalted ruler of the local order of Elks.

Although gusts of September wind whipped over the exposed summit of the butte while the program was being held, with several overcoats in evidence, the weather was good for fall. Clouds capped the Cascade peaks and cloud shadows raced over the vast prairie seen from the butte.

The task of handling the traffic on the butte was performed without a hitch. Four state officers, Jay Saltzman, The Dalles; Earl Houston, Eugene; Herbert Hamilton, Redmond, and Charles Dovin, Bend, were on the job.

All members of the highway commission, Van Duzer of Portland, Sawyer of Bend and C.E. Gates of Medford, were present. Roy Klein, state highway engineer, attended the program also.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1928

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *