Tour historic Camp Polk Cemetery


Last updated 5/17/2022 at Noon


Unveiling a tombstone at the historic Camp Polk Cemetery.

The Three Sisters Historical Society is celebrating National Historic Preservation Month this May with three tours of Camp Polk Meadow and the Camp Polk Cemetery in collaboration with the Deschutes Land Trust, which manages the Meadow.

The three tours are each limited to 10 people, and reservations may be made by calling Historical Society president Jan Hodgers, who will be leading the tours, at 541-788-0274. On the day of the tour, meet at the Deschutes Land Trust kiosk located on Cemetery Road, off Camp Polk Road. The tours are scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 22; Wednesday, May 25; and Tuesday, May 31.

Camp Polk is where Sisters got its start, for a brief time as an army camp in the winter of 1865-66, and then as the homestead and wagon road waystation of Samuel Hindman. It was also the first post office, known as Camp Polk. As more settlers began to arrive, the town of Sisters grew up and the post office was moved into town and became Sisters, after the Three Sisters mountains – Faith, Hope, and Charity.

Remaining timbers standing on the homestead indicate where the Hindman barn was located, the oldest barn in Deschutes County until locals scavenged most of the old barn board. There is a spring that was located under the kitchen in the old farmhouse, which is no longer standing.

Camp Polk Cemetery was established in 1880 when the Hindman family donated the hilltop above the homestead to be the area cemetery. Stories of Sisters history and citizens, famous and infamous, abound while touring the cemetery. Hodgers led a tour of just the cemetery on May 14, during which the new headstone for Alfred and Martha Cobb, Hodgers’ ancestors, was unveiled and toasted with sparkling cider.

As Sisters plans for its future and the accelerated changes taking place, every year National Historic Preservation Month serves to remind the residents of this special place of our roots, with programming to celebrate the month. When we know the history of the people who lived and worked in Sisters, we can better imagine their hardships, what they overcame, and the difficult decisions they made in the face of adversity. Knowing the history of a place helps instill pride in its current residents.

Volunteers are always welcome to help with research, clerical duties, planning programs, and working a three-hour shift at the museum on Fridays and Saturdays. Call volunteer coordinator Ronni Duff to get involved. The museum is located at 151 North Spruce Street next to the Chamber of Commerce office and is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, other times by appointment.


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