(Photo | Courtesy of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department)
The Central Oregon Canal Historic District in Deschutes County is among Oregon’s latest entries in the National Register of Historic Places.
Oregon’s State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation recommended forwarding the historic district’s nomination to the National Park Service —which maintains the National Register— at their November 2018 meeting. The National Park Service accepted the nomination and listed the Central Oregon Canal Historic District in the National Register on March 18, 2019.
The Central Oregon Canal Historic District represents a portion of the Central Oregon Canal, which, along with the Pilot Butte Canal, forms the backbone of the Central Oregon Project, which provided irrigation to tens of thousands of acres of arid and semi-arid lands, transforming the desert into highly-productive agricultural land. Construction on the Central Oregon Canal began in 1904, reached the now-listed segment in 1905, and was completed to near the Crooked River in late 1911. The Central Oregon Canal Historic District comprises approximately 3.4 miles of the 47-mile long Central Oregon Canal, bounded by Ward Road on the west and Gosney Road on the east.
In addition to its significance to the history of agriculture in Oregon, the Central Oregon Canal Historic District is also historically significant for its demonstration of the extreme and varied efforts required to overcome the challenging volcanic terrain within a short period of time to satisfy contract obligations and successfully deliver irrigation to the lands beyond it, making possible the settlement and development of areas downstream.
The Central Oregon Canal Historic District is one of 43 individually listed historic properties in Deschutes County. The National Register of Historic Places was established as part of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.