Slough Area

Ducks used to land on the sloughs and rest there while they were migrating.

South Century Drive

South Century Drive, even with its grand name, was a dirt road in the 1930’s.  The family called it the "Old Highway" because it was the main north-south road in Central Oregon until Route 97 was built.

Sweat House

When the Indians visited every fall (see Teepees below) they built a dome-shaped sweat house out of bent over willows. It was only about four feet in diameter.  They heated rocks over a fire outside and then dumped the rocks into buckets of river water they had carried into the sweat house. Steam would rise up like a steam bath. When they got hot enough they would run naked to the river and jump in.


Indians visited the ranch for about two weeks every fall. W.P. Vandevert could speak their language and had known some of them for many years. The Indians brought a car, horses, and their teepees. They put up the tents in about three or four hours with poles they brought with them. The men went away during the day to hunt for deer and brought meat and hides to the camp. The women would prepare the hides for tanning. The Vandeverts provided the Indians with fresh milk every day they were there.  The Indians were very respectful of other people's property.  When they left it was hard to tell they had ever been there.

Timber & Pasture

“The jackpine trees across the river were the source of our wood for the three or more stoves and the fireplace in the living room. Wood was cut and trimmed at the site in the forest, and then the poles were hauled back to the house where Claude and Dad would use a buzz saw to cut it up to the lengths we needed. Then it had to be stacked in the wood shed. Every day they had to chop up several blocks of wood for our cook stove in the kitchen, and they would fill the wood box to overflowing so my mother wouldn’t have to go out and get more before they came home each day. Everybody pitched in to help carry in wood – just whoever was available at the time. Every day, someone had to bring wood in to the house whether it was winter or summer. Cooking and heating was needed every day. Claude and Dad took care of those chores along with many others, such as hauling in the water from the river for everyday use and getting water to drink from the pump on the back porch.” (from “Home on the Vandevert Ranch” by Gracie Vandevert McNellis, page 36. Used by permission.)  In the photo, Gracie is on the west side of the river, right next to the July 4th picnic area.  She is holding a birthday cake because July 4th is also her birthday!  Her mother took the picture.  The mixed timber and pasture is behind Gracie, to the north.   The truck in the background will be used to carry the logs, and to "buzz" the wood into the right lengths for the fireplaces and stoves.  The Vandeverts ran a pulley belt from the back wheel of the truck to a pulley on the buzz saw.  They'd start the engine, put the truck in gear, and cut up the wood to throw in the woodshed.

Uncle Bill’s Cabin

Two of William Plutarch Vandevert’s eight children decided they liked ranching and were going to stick with it. They were Gracie Vandevert McNellis’ father, Claude, and her Uncle Bill. Bill bought 80 acres just west of his father’s ranch.  He started to build a cabin that he planned to live in with a woman he was presumably going to marry.  The half-built cabin doesn't have any doors and windows because those were always cut in later.  Apparently things fell through with the lady and the cabin was never finished.  Uncle Bill sold the land and later bought a larger ranch seven miles away at Paulina Prairie.  The land became the property of the US Forest Service.  Jim and Carol Gardner swapped land located elsewhere for these 80 acres and consolidated the land with W.P. Vandevert’s original 320 acre ranch.

Return to Ranch Map circa 1935

Continue to Points of Interest Page 1

Note: Black and white photographs are the property of Grace Vandevert McNellis and are used by permission.
Text quoted from her book is copyright 1999 by Grace McNellis. All other copy and art is
copyright 2005-2010 by T. Haynes & G.V. McNellis. Neither the The Vandevert Ranch Association nor its members guarantees the accuracy or completeness of information or representations on this Web Site.  Buyers should obtain
definitive information from their real estate agent.