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~ Kathy M.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Camp Abbot aka: Sunriver, Oregon

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Less than a half-an-hour from Mt. Bachelor in Central Oregon, lies the resort community of Sunriver.  Before the 1980's, when Sunriver was developed into the cool place that it now is, the area was formerly an army training camp in the 1940's known as Camp Abbot.


Camp Abbot was named after General Henry Lancom Abbot, a railroad surveyor in the 1860's who camped at that location and found it mighty beautiful. The camp was built in only 5 months time, and cost over 4 million dollars to complete.  The commanding officer of Camp Abbot was Col. Frank Besson.

Nearly 100,000 military engineers were trained at the camp, which was open between April 1943 and June 1944. 10,000 men were trained at a time, and their training course took 17 weeks.  There were three phases of training and they included:  "The first focused on hand grenades and anti-tank grenades; defense against air, mechanized, and chemical attack; and rifle marksmanship. The second phase concentrated on demolition training to blast bridges and other structures. The final phase consisted of three weeks of field maneuvers carried out under combat zone conditions."  Source, click here.  WAC's (Womens Army Corps) were also stationed at Camp Abbot.  

I took these photos last January, when our grand-daughter Kylie and I spent a sunny day taking tons of pictures:

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

After closing, the camp was dismantled, except for the officer's mess hall, which is still standing and is now known as The Great Hall.  The black and white photo below was taken from Sunriver Resort's Blog and shows the Great Hall under construction.  Approximately 500 logs from the property were used to build this beautiful building, and it took 6 months to complete.  After the camp was dismantled, The Great Hall deteriorated and was even used as a cattle barn for a while. 

Source:  Sunriver Resort Blog

The plaque above tells us that in the 1960's the site was used in filming the movie The Way West, starring Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Richard Widmark and Sally Field.  They paid for a new roof for The Great Hall in exchange for using it, and thereafter the building was restored a bit at a time.  This is how The Great Hall looks today:

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Here are two photos of the inside of The Great Hall that I borrowed from Wikipedia and Ft. Wiki, taken by John Stanton:


I have copied and pasted the article below from KOHD's news report ... the video no longer works, but there is some great info in there.  The Ft. Wiki reports Abbot as a General, and this report says that he was a Lieutenant, so I am not sure which is accurate.

Camp Abbot and the Great Hall

10/13/09 - Sunriver
By Jonathan Bellemore

Camp Abbot in Sunriver, was named after military engineer, Lt. Henry Abbot who camped here in 1855 while leading a railroad survey party.  It opened in April of 1943 and closed in June of 1944 -- alongside the allied invasion of Europe and the end of World War II.  The environment was similar to western Europe, making it a perfect spot to train nearly 90,000 troops.

"There was a very strong contingent of wood workers and masons that were involved in the operations that were here. So they had talent among the troops that were here," says Chris Otto with Sunriver Resort.

During one training exercise, the men built one of the most notable buildings in Sunriver today: the Great Hall.  Originally called the Officer's Club, construction started in October 1943. Six months, 63,000 man hours and $4,500 dollars later, the building was complete.

"All of the trees with the exception of this big log here, were from this site, so over 500 trees harvested and put into this," Otto says.

After 1944 it was sold to Hudspeth Land and Livestock of Prineville and the Great Hall used to house livestock until the early 60s when John Gray purchased the land, eventually creating the Sunriver Resort, renovating the Great Hall in 1996.

I'm Jon Bellemore with this KOHD Flashback.

There is a lot more info on this place ... just Google it!
History of Sunriver

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At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.  Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Check


Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Oh Wow - that is beautiful! It looks like a national park lodge. Maybe we'll get to go there on our RV road trip!

Mike Brubaker said...

Terrific travel piece. I love genuine timber structures like this, the circular staircase is amazing!

No Copying!


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