OUR HISTORY AND THE MILLING INDUSTRY
For nearly a century, timber production was the unchallenged king in Bend, most of it taking place in the Old Mill District at the Shevlin-Hixon and Brooks-Scanlon mills. The site of the Shevlin-Hixon mill is where the Les Schwab Amphitheater now sits. The old brick powerhouse buildings and their three towering smokestacks still stand, silently testifying to the district's colorful past, as do many buildings used at the venue itself. The "White House" was the former management office of the Brooks-Scanlon mill. We relocated it to the back of the venue to accommodate hospitality for talent. Behind the White House stand four refurbished rail cars once used at the mill. They now serve as dressing rooms and offices.
In 1993, Bend developer Bill Smith began a new chapter in the Old Mill District’s history when he developed 270 acres of riverfront property, including the site of the old mills. City planners created a special riverfront mixed-use zone to accommodate Smith’s plans, which included single-family homes and townhomes as well as shops, restaurants, entertainment and offices. The Old Mill team received The Phoenix award for remediation of the site including nearly 14,000 linear feet of riverfront previously closed to public use.
Since the first retailers opened in 2000, the Old Mill District has once again become a major economic force in Bend, employing around 2,000 people and drawing thousands of visitors to its shops, galleries, restaurants and events each year.
In 2002 Bill and his team planted grass, built a stage and named the venue in honor of longtime friend and mentor, Les Schwab. Les was an enormous impact on Bend and Central Oregon. His number one commitments were his employees, community and customer service.
Come down and see what we have to offer. Enjoy a free concert on the grass with your puppy and family. Stroll along the Deschutes River Trail and grab a bit to eat. We hope to see you here.