Bend Oregon History: Heritage Walk

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Bend Heritage Walk

Learn about the fascinating history of Bend’s early days by taking the Bend Heritage Walk in downtown Bend. Read More

  • View some of Bend’s most important historical buildings as you walk down Wall Street.
  • The Liberty Theater, built in 1917, is Bend’s oldest standing theater.
  • The Goodwillie House is the oldest home in Bend, built in 1904.
  • Reid School, built in 1914, now houses the Deschutes Historical Museum.

Overview

The Bend Heritage Walk is a great way to learn about Bend’s early history. Sponsored by the Deschutes Historical Museum, the walk takes you past some of Bend’s most important historical buildings.   

  • Distance - The walk covers a little over 5 blocks.
  • Time - The walk takes about a half hour.
  • Trailhead - Start at the Goodwillie House, located at 875 NW Brooks Street in Bend.

Tour

You can download an audio MP3 as well as a map at the Deschutes Historical Society website. They also have a brochure for $3 that covers a more complete history of 45 buildings in downtown Bend, all located on or near Wall Street.

Highlights

  • Goodwillie House – Currently operated by Arts Central, this is the oldest home in Bend and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This early craftsman bungalow was built by Arthur Goodwillie shortly after he was elected mayor of Bend in 1904.
  • Wall Street – Go east and take the breezeway to Wall Street. Bend’s main street from the beginning, it was named for the lava rock wall that lined the street. The city’s earliest businesses were built on this street.
  • Liberty Theater - Heading south on Wall Street you’ll see the Liberty Theater with its Spanish Colonial front. Bend’s oldest standing theater, it opened in 1917 and hosted silent movies, Vaudeville shows, lectures, dance recitals, plays, and boxing exhibitions.
  • Tower Theater - Continue south and look for the famous Tower Theater sign, which rises 40 feet above the top of the theater. First opened in 1940, the theater hosted a variety of events including fashion shows and amateur hours. It closed for many years and then reopened its doors in 2004.
  • Old Bend High School – Continue south on Wall Street for about two blocks. You’ll see a two story stone brick masonry building which was Bend’s only high school until 1956. Built in 1825, it now houses the Bend La Pine School Administration offices.
  • Amateur Athletic Club – Return to Wall Street and continue south. Constructed in 1917, this building once served as a makeshift hospital when Bend was hit with the deadly influenza epidemic. It currently houses the Boys and Girls Club of Central Oregon.
  • Reid School – Continue south and turn left on Idaho Avenue and look for a 3 story stone school building. Built in 1914, it served as an elementary school until 1979. It was named after Ruth Reid, the first school teacher in Bend. Since 1980 it has housed the Deschutes Historical Museum.