Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Basques of Harney County, Oregon, Oral History Collection, 1976-2001

Historical Note:

Basque sheepherders immigrated from northern Spain and southwestern France to southeastern Oregon, Idaho, and Nevada from the 1890s until the early 1920s. They worked as itinerant herders on the mountain ranges of Harney County until the 1930s and often spent the winters in Basque boarding houses or hotels, such as the Star Hotel in Burns. The Taylor Grazing Act, drought, and the depression brought an end to the sheep industry in Harney County.

The Basques of Harney County, Oregon, Oral History Project was part of an inventory of historic sites in Harney County conducted by Royal G. Jackson and Jennifer A. Lee in 1976 and was funded by the OSU Research Council and the Harney County Oral History Program. Jackson was an Associate Professor in the Department of Resource Recreation Management at Oregon State University; Lee was a student in that department fulfilling an internship requirement.

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