Central Oregon’s first town began humbly in 1868, when 27-year old Francis “Barney” Prine opened a blacksmith shop and small store. Two years later he added a saloon. By 1877, Prineville was being called a town, despite being 120 miles from the closest telegraph and railroad connection.
But a lack of water and adequate transportation stunted the growth of central Oregon towns. The city of Bend is an excellent example. It began with such an uncertain series of fits and starts that few could have guessed it would one day become central Oregon’s largest urban area.