Crook County ORGenWeb

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History and more


Crook County is situated in the geographic center of Oregon. It has been reduced from its original size of 8,600 square miles to 2,986 square miles by the creation of Jefferson County in 1914 and Deschutes County in 1916. The current boundaries were established in 1927. Crook County is bounded by Jefferson and Wheeler Counties to the north, Grant and Harney Counties to the east, and Deschutes County to the south and west.

In 1882 the Legislative Assembly established Prineville as the county seat. The voters confirmed the choice of Prineville, the only incorporated town in the county, in the 1884 general election. Prineville was named in honor of the town's first merchant, Barney Prine.

The first courthouse was a one story wooden structure at the corner of West 5th and Main Streets. In 1885 a two story wooden structure was built for $5,474. By 1905 this building was considered unsafe to store the county's records, and a $16,526 bid was accepted to erect a new, brick and stone courthouse. The building was completed in 1909, at a cost of $48,590, and remodeled in the early 1990s.

This information from

Crooked River About the Crooked River Basin
Crooked River Project History of both the AR Bowman Dam and the Ochoco Creek Dam

Cities & Towns

Incorporated Cities


Prineville is the county seat of Crook County. It was named for the first merchant to locate in the area, Barney Prine. "His stock consisted of a barrel of first rate whisky in the fron room of his establishment and some blacksmithing equipment in the back room. The prevailing opinion around Prineville is to the effect that most of the business is done in the front room." (1)

The first post office opened under the name of Prine in 1871 with the name changing to Prineville on December 23, 1872

Unincorporated Communities

1893 Prineville
1893 Prineville - Courtsy of OSU Oregon Digital

Forest Crossing

"Forest Crossing of Crooked River is at the south end of Lone Pine Flat just north of O'Neil, in the extreme northwest corner of the county. The locality was named for Francis Forest, who was born in Polk County, Oregon, in 1857, and settled in Crook County in 1876."(1)

Lone Pine

No information on history


Members of William G. O'Neil family lived at various places in central Oregon and 3 of the sons at one time owned a store at the place now called O'Neil.


No information on the community other than it was named for the Snake Indian. Chief Paulina


Named for Walter H. Post, the postmaster. The post office was established in 1889

Powell Butte

Post office was established March 12, 1909 and is named after the Powell Buttes, a group of buttes that are in the area. It is believed that the buttes were named after one of the Jacob Powell family from Linn County.


Named after early settler in Crook County, J. E. Roberts who was one of several postmasters.


Possibly named for Charles Dorling's mother, who's maiden name was Suplee. Post Office established October 31, 1894.

(1) From Oregon Geographic Names, 1974 edition;

Crook Map, 1895