It’s been forever since I last wrote about the haunted places of Bend, and because it’s Halloween (and inspired by last weekend’s Haunted Heritage Walk by the Historical Museum) it’s high time to tell some ghost stories again!
Deschutes Historical Museum: This is located in the Reid School building, which was built in 1914 and was Bend’s first modern school building. During construction, one of the contractors, George Brosterhous, fell from the third floor and died, and now it’s believed his ghost haunts the building. George has been known to move or take objects, and there may or may not have been footsteps walking around the third floor after-hours, when the building is otherwise empty, or possibly even a misty apparition.
McCann House on Congress: Take a stroll down Congress Avenue downtown and you cannot miss this stately white manor. It was built as a mansion in 1915 for Thomas McCann, the first general manager for the Shevlin-Hixon mill. Legend has it several families living there over the years have died or suffered some other tragedy, though the only definitive story (if “definitive” can be used with ghost stories!) comes from the book Ghost Stories of Oregon:
When Sharron Comeau moved in 60 years later, she says the spirits were there to greet her and her family.
Sharron believes the ghost was the mother of a former owner. The woman apparently died in one of the upstairs bedrooms. Although Sharron sensed a presence in the home, it was her daughter Mary who saw the apparition. Mary slept in the bedroom that had been the woman’s. It wasn’t long after moving in that Mary told her family there was something odd in one corner of the room. They discovered it was the corner where the woman’s bed had been.
The ghost, a misty blue-gray shape of a woman with dark hair, appeared often and would pace in front of the bedroom window wringing her hands. She would even sit on Mary’s bed and talk to the teenager.
O’Kane Building: This historic building at the heart of downtown Bend has had a long and varied history. It was built in 1916 by Hugh O’Kane, one of the most colorful business of the time, and I believe it was the third such building of his (the previous two burned down). There have been reports of “ghostly smoke, weird lights, footsteps, and voices,” and on occasion a ghostly voice has been heard shouting out orders in the restaurant (but which restaurant? There have been a number over the years). Furthermore, it’s said the basement of the building is haunted by the ghost of an old man.
Downing Hotel Building: Now the site of Seven (and host to a number of restaurants and bars over the years), the Downing Building was built in 1920 and despite being “the finest building in town and held a 24-hour restaurant, a taxi stand, a clothing store and a hotel,” there was a much seedier reputation attached: that of a brothel. From an article in The Source five years ago:
Take a walk down the alley between Bond and Wall Streets, behind the Downing Hotel (featuring the Superior Café, later known as The Grove, now Seven) then gaze at the rear-upstairs of the buildings on the Bond side. Above and behind Seven and New York City Sub Shop were at least 20 “cozy rooms” or “cribs.” During renovations along this rear stretch of buildings a few years ago, narrow rooms side-by-side and each no bigger than a closet were “rediscovered,” purposely designed to use space efficiently (a single mattress) and maximize clients, thus profits.
Haunted? Ten years ago in the now-defunct “Bend Living” magazine had an article about haunted Bend that mentioned the former brothel—possibly haunted by the ghost of a woman (I’m guessing a former prostitute).
Lara House Bed and Breakfast: This craftsman-styled home was originally built in 1910 across from what would become Drake Park. Reports of whispering noises and objects being moved amp up the creep factor, and I’ve heard stories of seeing what appears to be a woman through the window of the top floor—when it’s supposed to be empty.
Sparrow Bakery: A comment on the original 2006 “haunted Bend” post on this blog mentioned the Sparrow: “I went to The Sparrow Bakery on Scott Street the other day and the new owners told me a ghost lives in the “dish room,” which is actually a large, walk-in vault. The building was the old payroll office for Bend Iron Works.” And as reported on the Haunted Places website:
Staff [workers] report hearing loud crashes coming from the rear of the store, but upon investigating, find nothing has been moved. The doors open and close by themselves, and a worker swore she heard ghostly laughter coming from the back room.
McMenamins Old St. Francis School: Though many of the historic McMenamins locations are reputed to be haunted, I’ve not heard anything specific about our local. The Source however reports, “Guests at the hotel have reported hearing children running and laughing upstairs, in the one story building.”
Old Mt. View Hospital: I’ve never quite been able to figure out where this was, though the claim is that the building is now an apartment building next to Drake Park. One possibility is Bend’s first hospital built in 1913 which was originally used expressly for the millworkers (and accordingly named Lumberman’s Hospital). This was built at 930 Broadway, noted as “now Brooks Street” in Pioneer Spirits of Bend. Hospitals have all sorts of haunted history, of course, and at this former one floor creaks and ghostly footprints have been reported.