C-SPAN is turning the spotlight on Bend. As a part of its 2014 Cities Tour, the network is focusing on Bend’s history and interviews with local authors in upcoming segments of “Book TV” (C-SPAN2) and “American History” (C-SPAN3).
The American West is as vibrant as it was back in the early 1900s. The development of the Pacific Northwest was in no small part shaped by an interesting cast of characters – East Coast businessmen with a taste for adventure; exceptional women ready to take on life in unchartered territory; farm families taking advantage of the federal Carey Act to purchase cheap farmland; and countless con men and scoundrels called Oregon and Washington home.
Bend is no exception. Since the first federal land surveyor arrived in the mid-1800s, Central Oregon has seen the same cast of characters arrive in the area that would eventually turn into the city of Bend. The tale of Bend’s history is also a tale of businessmen, courageous women, farm families and con men.
Now it’s time to tell that story to a national audience. On April 5 and 6, C-SPAN will feature Bend history on its “American History” show. At the same time, the network will highlight several Bend area authors as a part of C-SPAN’s “Book TV.”
Three teams of C-SPAN producers met with history experts and local authors during their stay in Bend.
The C-SPAN crew interviewed Kelly Cannon-Miller, executive director of Deschutes Historical Society, and Bill Smith, the developer behind the Old Mill District, about Bend’s mill history. The producers also spoke with local photographer Loren Irving about John Fremont, the first explorer to map Central Oregon. Irving has retraced the Fremont expedition’s path through Oregon and Nevada and photographed locations where Fremont and his team camped.
Local railroad historian Martin Hansen also met up with C-SPAN to talk about railroad tycoons James Hill, Edward Harriman and the Deschutes River Railroad War that played out in the early 1900s. Deschutes County surveyor Mike Berry was interviewed on a segment about W.A. Laidlaw, the con man who started the town of Laidlaw (later renamed Tumalo) and was in part responsible for the Tumalo Reservoir fiasco.
The team from C-SPAN also interviewed several local authors for an upcoming segment on “Book TV.” Author Tom De Wolfe spoke about his book “Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade”; Jane Kirkpatrick talked about her book “Homestead: Modern Pioneers Pursuing the Edge of Possibility”; and James Foster spoke about “Bong Hits 4 Jesus: A Perfect Constitutional Storm in Alaska’s Capital.”
Bend will be prominently featured on “Book TV” and “American History” on April 5 and 6. If you miss the shows, plan to attend special screenings at the Tower Theater on May 23, when both programs will be featured as a part of National Historic Preservation Month.
C-SPAN is touring the best cities in the country and made a stop on myWindow to talk about what they’ve found to love in Bend. myWindow host Kerri Stewart sits down with C-SPAN producer Ashley Hill to talk more about the 2014 Cities Tour, Book TV and American History TV.