History of Sunriver Resort



Made of stone and logs cut near the property, the Great Hall at the Sunriver Resort is more than just an impressive building— it's a part of history. This building used to be the officer’s mess hall at Camp Abbot and is the only original structure still standing.

During World War II, Camp Abbot was a military training center located in Central Oregon, along the Deschutes River. The camp was established in 1942 to be a training center for combat engineers in the US Army. Named for the career officer Henry Larcom Abbot, the 5,500 acre camp was used for a little over a year and then closed shortly after D-Day in 1944.

After the war was over, the land was divided up. Almost 2000 acres of the property were sold to the US Forest Service and is now a part of the Deschutes National Forest. But the remaining 3,800 acres became private land and was put up for sale. This was the humble beginning of Sunriver, Oregon. 

Building the Sunriver Resort

The history of Sunriver goes back farther than Camp Abbott, but we owe what Sunriver is today to two men who seized an opportunity and had a vision for the land. John Gray, founder of Omark Industries, and Donald V. McCallum, a local attorney, purchased the acreage in 1965.

The two men had a vision to build a luxury resort and a residential community while maintaining the history and dignity of the land. To truly implement their vision, it was important to preserve the natural environment that made the area so beautiful. 

In what they called Sunriver, the first home was sold in June of 1968 and the Sunriver Resort opened the following year. 25 years after Gray and McCallum broke ground on the property, the Sunriver Resort was sold to the current owners, Sunriver Resort Limited Partnership. An improvement plan was carried out to modernize the resort, but the beauty of the natural surroundings still remained. 

What is Sunriver like today?

Today, Sunriver is much like it was when John Gray and Donald V. McCallum first implemented their vision, just with a few more amenities. With nearly 3,400 acres of land, Sunriver is a resort and residential community with over 1800 full-time residents. Aside from the full-time residents, there are many others who spend several months out of the year soaking up the Oregon sun.

Home to a variety of recreation facilities including golf courses, tennis courts, bike paths, and an ice rink— in Sunriver, there's something for everyone. The Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic and Recreation Center, or SHARC for short, offers both indoor and outdoor aquatic activities as well as disc golf, basketball, and winter tubing.

The Sunriver Resort offers luxury rooms and vacation rentals to guests visiting Sunriver throughout the year. Much like the rest of Sunriver, the resort is still connected to its history and this is evident through the design of the Great Hall.

As the only original structure left from Camp Abbot, this historic building now serves as a meeting room for conferences or as a location for weddings and banquets. In 1993, renovations were made to update the facility. But with the high ceilings, stone fireplace, and large balcony overlooking the entrance and main floor of the hall, the integrity of the structure remains.

There was one other structure from Camp Abbot that remained on the property for an extended period- the General Patch Bridge. The bridge was built in 1943 and was located on the land that became part of the National Forest. Unfortunately, the structure was demolished back in 2008 due to its instability.

Visiting Sunriver

Even today, Sunriver remains a permanent residence and beloved vacation spot for many tourists each year. And who would not want to visit this beautiful community? In the winter, you can witness the snow-covered Sunriver Resort while you prepare your skis and snowboards. In the summer, the weather is warm but not hot with no average temperatures above 71 degrees.

No matter what time of year you visit, there's always something to do in Sunriver. And although there are many options for your stay, private vacation rentals are a popular choice for many visitors.

How do private vacation rentals work?

If you're planning to stay in Sunriver, private vacation rentals are one of the options for you to choose from. When you book a rental through Cascara, you're renting a house that is privately owned by a resident but managed by us. The people who live and own property in Sunriver love this community and private vacation rentals are a way to keep property ownership local. Choosing a private vacation rental for your stay allows you to have space and privacy during your time in Sunriver. 

Vacation rentals also give you the flexibility to choose a residence that meets your specific needs. Whether it's a pet-friendly home or a home with a hot tub, we have you covered. After a busy day spent in Sunriver, you'll want to come back to a place that is comfortable and truly feels like home.
A great place to visit

Does Sunriver, Oregon have a myriad of activities and fun for your whole family? Sure. But it's more than just an exciting place to vacation. Sunriver is a community with a rich and vibrant history, from the Native Americans who first inhabited the land to the officers who trained combat engineers there during the war.

When two developers purchased the land in 1965, they saw a beautiful landscape and the potential for it to become so much more. They envisioned Sunriver could be a place for some to live and others to enjoy throughout the year. While preserving the beauty of the surrounding area, they built a place they knew would far outlast them. 

Despite how far Sunriver has come since it was first established, the history of the community will always be a part of its identity. Many people come to Sunriver for the pleasant weather and recreational activities, but the way they feel welcome in this community is what brings them back year after year.