Just like today, vehicles arriving at Camp Abbot passed over a railroad bridge. The first thing on their right was a medical demonstration area (now Antelope and Bobcat Lanes), with the post stockade just beyond. The gas chamber, where troops trained in chemical warfare defense, was near Hare and Jay Lanes.
The post included a 411-bed hospital complex that stretched from the current business park to near Parkland and East Park Lanes. There were numerous training fields, barracks, dining facilities and warehouses. There was a post motor pool, coal storage area and sewage treatment plant. (Sunriver Owners Association still uses one of the sedimentary tanks, now called a round house, for maintenance work and storage.)
Today there are some 1,200 permanent residents and more than 4,000 homes and condominiums, many of which are second homes owned by people who live up and down the West Coast, across the country and around the world. Many are available as vacation rentals and these, combined with the Resort’s overnight lodging facilities, host as many as 15,000 visitors a day in the heat of the summer and during winter holidays.
Sunriver has a long and rich history dating back hundreds if not thousands of years. From its beginnings as a trapper’s rendezvous point to a World War II training area, modern day Sunriver has become a paradise for all to enjoy.
Portions of this article were contributed by Brad A. Ward MD and Jonathan Kahnoski.
Out in the meadow, two rifle ranges (stretching from today's airport runway to River Road) echoed with the sound of rapid fire. Beyond them was the anti-tank range. More than 90,000 combat engineers were trained at Camp Abbot before it abruptly closed in June 1944.
In the years following WWII, some of the former Camp Abbot land was returned to the U.S. Forest Service, but 5,50 0 acres were sold as private land. The property changed hands multiple times until 196 5 when John Gray and Donald McCallum obtained the land for development, forming Sunriver Properties.
The Sunriver Lodge was constructed, as were the stables, Meadows Golf Course and an airstrip. Additionally,large areas for residential home sites were plotted. The bike paths were created, although were originally designed for use by electric golf carts as an alternative means of transportation. Lot sales and home construction began in 1968.
By the time John Gray sold the resort property to the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1974, some 600 private homes and condominiums had been built. During a severe economic recession in the 1970s, 2,200 of Sunriver’s original 5,500 acres were sold back to the U.S. Forest Service. By 1979 the number of privately owned homes had doubled to 1,200. In 1993 Sunriver Resort Limited Partnership purchased Sunriver Resort and began a capital improvement campaign that continues to this day.