A Review: COCC geographer pens volume on Bend history

Compiled by a master researcher, Raymond R. Hatton of Central Oregon Community College, a compact, profusely illustrated book dealing with the history of Bend and attractions that have brought the rapidly growing city wide attention is being distributed throughout the state today.

The little volume, holding many rare and historic pictures, is “Bend in Central Oregon,” (Binford and Mort, $7.95) with an index that makes it a fine reference. On the front cover of the book is an autumnal picture of Mirror Pond, with clouds scudding around the Three Sisters.

“Bend lies right in the shadow of Cascade Mountains, the volcanic spine of Oregon,” Hatton notes. He touches on the volcanic story of the Cascades and devotes attention to the geology of the region.

But primarily, the little book deals with Bend, from pioneer days when wagons cut dusty trails across the High Desert and immigrants called Lava Butte, landmark of the area, “Red Butte.”

“Bend is one of the most rapidly growing cities in Oregon,” Hatton writes, adding that the city serves a region of some 75,000 persons.

In his book, Hatton possibly does not give as much attention to Bend’s pioneers as do other historians, but if the history story is sketched, pictures make up any gap. Hatton obviously has dug deeply into old home libraries of the area and has come up with many fine pictures of Bend in its horse and buggy days.

Hatton is a geographer at COCC, and it should be expected that he would give more than passing notice to the geography and geology of the region. Bend’s volcanic landscape gets attention and the Deschutes, in its lead from the high Cascades to the Columbia, is not overlooked.

Geographer Hatton recalls, from history sources, a gloomy day in Bend. That was in 1937 when F.A. Silcox of the U.S. Forest Service forecast that Bend was nearing its end as a thriving city. Silcox said the big local pine mills were overcutting their renewable supply of timber and gave Bend “about 20 years to live.”

But Bend survived, and virtually “outgrew its pants.” That growth continues as the city stretches its fringes in all directions.

A fine college took shape in the western hills; a big hospital was built at the desert’s edge; tourists flocked in from afar.

Hatton is a native of England who came to America on a track scholarship at the University of Idaho. He taught in various western schools and received his master’s degree from the University of Oregon. His master’s thesis was based on “The Impact of Tourism in Central Oregon.” That study led him into the writing field. In 1973, he completed his first book, “Bend Country Weather and Climate.” A second book, “High Desert of Central Oregon,” followed.

With “Bend in Central Oregon” completed, he is preparing for another book, one that will deal with the “high country of Central Oregon.”

The field sport, track, that brought Hatton to the Pacific Northwest continues as a major attraction, and he continues long distance competition.

The geographer, trackman, historian and author will be presented at an autograph party at the Book Barn downtown Bend on Friday, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Source: The Bulletin ©1978






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