What are “Market” roads and why are there so many in Bend??
Cars zip by our office, as the door to the patio stands cracked open. The combination of fresh air, a quiet office, mountain views and slowly melting snow all come together and create a feeling akin to that of a mother for her child. It makes me happy inside.
About 30 years ago I was spending the day “yard saling” with a close friend, in the downtown Bend area. They’d just remodeled the home, and in the walls, they’d found old Newspapers from Shaniko circa 1880 something…. I bought one for twenty-five cents. Pristine condition. I had it preserved and framed. It’s still a favorite piece in my “local” collection.
In it they talk about wheels on wagons being broken; a family was stuck out in the cold overnight for several nights until they were found.
Thinking on this, and today’s #BendJOY project text, I couldn’t help but look deeper into the “Market” roads of Bend.
Closing my eyes, I can block out the sounds of the cars out the doorway…. Skip forward to the early 1900’s. Skinny tires on old cars… the whole family piled in to go to town for Church, or to market… I can imagine this area living hard. Dairies and farms eeking out a living. Getting their goods to a central locale, like Bend, depended much upon weather, and road conditions.
Sure— we still “deal” with weather and roads…. But we’re cozy and warm inside a car, leather & heated seats. I start my car long before I go out to get in it each morning. I can do this from my bedroom with the press of a button in my key fob.
What my great grandfather would say of this… thinking back to when we were riding in the old Model A as kids, it was a novelty as an antique. That horn that went A–oooohhhh-gah…. In his day, it was progression!
100 years ago, Central Oregon had no luxuries like we do now. The closest thing to it was the Market Road Act of 1919. Market roads would be constructed to enable farmers, ranchers, fisherman, dairyman and families from across the region to come together in town– Bend.
These roads were paved and maintained; the large wheel-breaking rocks brought up from the frost each year, poking up through the “roads” were soon to be a memory. Ranch Roads and Market Roads connected rural areas to Bend, and progression started in earnest.
A one-time road tax was levied and the first Market Road, Shevlin Park Market Road was surveyed by 1920. Yes this was our first “Market”road. It connected Bend to the Tumalo fish hatchery.
By 1931 Central Oregon had 51 Market roads and $368,238 had been spent to wash the memory of rocks in the road…. To the wayside.
It would be another 50+ years before Central Oregon would see the “boom” of growth, but these market and ranch roads were the precursor for the extensive road system we have today.