Located at the mouth of Ochoco Creek on the Crooked River, Prineville is a small, prosperous city surrounded by nature. It was founded in 1868 by Francis Barnett “Barney” Prine, who started the town one day by constructing its first building by himself. This building was one story high and held all the town’s necessities under one roof: a hotel, saloon, general store, blacksmith shop and dwelling house.
Even before he built Prineville, Barney Prine was known to be an excellent athlete. Strong and husky, he was a soldier in the First Oregon Infantry and could outrun and outwrestle everyone else in the regiment. With his strength, he could also haul the heavy logs for Prineville’s first building without needing much help.
Initially, his settlement attracted some of the toughest men in the region. Although their fierceness may have caused more fights at the saloon, it might have also helped to make the town more resilient.
For example, in 1911, the railroad tycoons Edward H. Harriman and James J. Hill overlooked Prineville while laying track through the area. Not having a railroad could have led to the town’s demise. However, its residents rallied and voted 355 to 1 to construct their own railroad and link it to the main track 19 miles away. Instead of becoming a ghost town, Prineville thrived thanks to the tenacity of its residents.
The City of Prineville Railroad turned out to be a good investment, too. Timber harvested from the nearby Ochoco National Forest was transported by rail, providing the city with significant revenue throughout the 20th century.
Nowadays, the city’s main draw is its beautiful location. It’s close to the Ochoco National Forest, which holds gorgeous natural areas like Walton Lake and Steins Pillar. Prineville is also a short drive away from the Ochoco Reservoir and Prineville Reservoir State Park, both great spots for boating and water sports.
There are lovely natural areas right inside Prineville’s city limits, too. Ochoco Wayside State Park is worth visiting just to get a stunning panoramic view of the city (locals call it “View Point”), though it’s also a pleasant, quiet park for a picnic lunch.
Tubing, fishing, kayaking, and other outdoor activities can quickly fill up your free time in Prineville. However, if you ever want to spend a day in a more cosmopolitan place, Bend is also nearby. You’ll be able to enjoy all of Bend’s amenities and activities, while still living in peaceful Prineville.
Prineville isn’t lacking in its own activities, shopping and restaurants, though. There are many locally-owned stores and eateries to enjoy, like The Hub, a comfortable bookstore, coffee shop, and local coffee roaster in one. If you love a good steak with beer, Prineville has several excellent restaurants to choose from, like Club Pioneer, Barney Prines, or Toni’s BBQ. If you enjoy brew pubs, check out Ochoco Brewery and Crooked River Brewing Co.
For children’s activities, you need only to head to the local library, which regularly organizes family-friendly events. You can sing and dance with your toddler during Family Storytime, or do crafts together and interact with live animals during the bi-monthly Animal Adventures. Teens can watch movies with friends at the library during Teen Late Night, or get involved in the Teen Library Commission to plan events themselves. There is also a bowling alley and The Pine Theater that plays first run movies.
In addition to its appealing location and local attractions, Prineville has many beautiful, unique homes which alone could make you want to move to the area. For instance, a pilot would appreciate this custom-built, 3-bedroom home in Dry Creek Airpark, which includes a personal airplane hangar and access to a private runway!
For a true recreational retreat, look at the amazing Lake Springs Ranch in Mill Creek Valley, surrounded by the National Forest. The property has 185.9 acres of pine forest and meadows, with Mill Creek frontage and two stocked ponds.
These two homes are just a small sampling of the great listings around Prineville. With a nice community and beautiful wilderness in every direction, you could definitely find your dream home here.