Early in April 1911, a Crook County road crew set out to improve the road from Bend to the Harney County line. At the time, Crook County included the Central Oregon area that now includes Crook, Jefferson and Deschutes counties.
It was the responsibility of Harney County to maintain the road from the county line east from Hampton to Burns.
Armed with grub hoes, picks, powder and other road-making equipment, a crew of six men started out from Bend to put a newly built road from Bend to Burns into tip-top shape for travel.
A road gang went over the road prior to the grubbing crew, which followed up to clear debris. The road gang used a heavy drag, which scraped some of the sagebrush and vegetation along the road route. Local homesteaders claimed that the drag work hardly left the road in shape for travel. Some said they could not even see the road in some places.
The road crew consisted of a road supervisor, four laborers and a cook. The crew expected to cover 6 or 8 miles a day in an attempt to get the road in shape. Homesteaders living along the route were asked to help in the road work as volunteers. The primary reason for the road update was to accommodate Hill railroad officials heading east to consider a possible rail route from Bend to Burns.
The road was rather a primitive nongraveled travel route that remained a bumpy and rugged drive for early automobiles. Horse and wagon traffic was still commonly used.
It was a long distance between travel stops along the route and sites such as Millican station, Brothers station and Hampton station were prominent stops along the way to obtain fuel, water, and supplies.
It would be many years before a modern highway was built along the route that would become Highway 20.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.