This is a somewhat famous barn in southeastern Oregon, in an area we like to call the state’s “outback”. It dates from the late 1800s, when Peter French, a cattleman from California, drove a herd from California into the open spaces of the Oregon Territory. His ranch eventually covered some 800 square miles! He became one of Oregon’s so-called cattle kings.
He built a round barn so that his buckaroos (what cowboys are called in this country) could train horses while sheltered from the harsh high desert winters. The barn has been partly restored, but most of it is original. The beams are quite stout and the barn extremely well built, which is probably why it has stood up to the fierce winds and snow that hits this region every winter.
It was long ago that I first visited this barn, and it was in much poorer shape then (though the structure was very sound). In recent years, money for its restoration has been made available, and a small visitor center/book store was built nearby. I photographed it at night and then again the next morning, with the light pouring in.
On that quiet morning, with only the sound of the wind, I thought about the life here in the 19th century. The life of Peter French, his leadership, his drive to make it in this lonely outpost. The lives of the buckaroos, working hard every day, making just enough to get by, and occasionally being able to spend some of it in saloons. Were there ghosts roaming the hills still?
I hope you enjoy the pictures, and also that your week is going well. Happy shooting!