The Wild West comes alive in Pendleton, Oregon. Nationally famous for its annual Roundup, Pendleton is an old cow town set in between the steep hills along the Umatilla River in the center of a large ranching and farming area. Settlers passed by here in the 1840s when traveling on the Oregon Trail. It is one of the largest towns in eastern Oregon, and Umatilla's county seat. Pendleton is the trading center for extensive wheat and green pea production from the surrounding Umatilla county area.
Pendleton's underground tunnels, dug by the Chinese between 1870 and 1930, cover over 70 miles underneath Pendleton's historic district. In 1989, some of the tunnels were restored and exhibits and mannequins used to recreate the businesses that used to be located there. These businesses included ice plants, butcher shops, and Chinese laundrys, as well as illegal saloons, bordellos and opium dens. Take the tour and learn all about Pendleton's wild past. An above ground "Cozy Room" tour takes you to Miss Stella's bordello and boarding house. A notable fact is that in the past, Pendleton's population of 3,000 once supported 18 bordellos and 32 saloons.
Rodeo fans will enjoy the Round-up Hall of Fame, which is located under the south grandstands of the Rodeo Grounds. It features the history of the Pendleton Roundup, one of America's largest and oldest rodeos, as well as cowboy and Indian memorabilia. Train buffs should visit the Umatilla County Historical Society Museum, located in Pendleton's 1909 train depot. Displays include historic photographs, memorabilia of the area's sheep industry and wool mills, local Indian artifacts and even a working railroad telegraph system.
The brick front downtown storefronts and beautiful Queen Anne homes of nearby residential area transport you to the Western era. The friendly hospitality of the locals make you want to stay and enjoy the Wild West flavor of Pendleton.