Northeast Oregon Cities and Towns
Pendleton, Oregon is known for its colorful Western history. Like many cities in Northeastern Oregon, Pendleton owes its establishment to the Oregon Trail emigrants of the 1840s who traveled across the rugged Blue Mountains to reach the West. Landmarks like Emigrant Springs and Deadman's Pass are reminiscent of the struggles that settlers endured to reach this new land.
Established in 1880, the town is known internationally for its profitable Pendleton Woolen Mills, which has been distributing locally made blankets and tapestries since 1909. Originally started for the purpose of weaving blankets for local indigenous populations, the mill now distributes all over the world and is known for the bright, distinctive colors and regional patterns of its products.
The early 1900s was a time of enterprise for Pendleton residents. In 1910, a local attorney initiated the town's first Pendleton Round-Up rodeo. The rodeo is considered one of the longest-running of its kind in existence.
Home to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Nation, which comprises the Wallowa, Umatilla and Cayuse Tribes, the Pendleton area is rich in Native history and culture. The Tamástslikt Cultural Institute includes museum exhibits and a multi-media theater that are open to the public.
Pendleton's fame also reflects a more controversial side of Wild West history that is often overlooked. The non-profit Pendleton Underground Tours provides historical presentations of the numerous bordellos, opium dens and saloons that once thrived in Pendleton's downtown area. The tours are presented by trained docents. Visitors tour an original bordello and have the opportunity to stay in a former boarding house or participate in a yearly reenactment of the city's 19th-century history.
Ecological landmarks of the area include the Blue Mountain State Scenic Corridor along Interstate 84, which features campgrounds, day-use parks and interpretive areas.
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