Homeowner’s Family Memories of Black Butte Ranch

We have been visiting since 1981 and have lived here since 1998.

There were seven of us cousins who grew up in Southern Oregon,  We scattered, but returned every year for a family reunion, renting adjacent houses, making precious memories.

William Benson

2010 Quilt Ladies

These images are  from when my dad picked his lot  (GH212) and our first years at the Ranch.

These include:

* The original lot marker

* Paulina Springs when it had a cup holder and ladles to drink out of

* An early view from the top of Black Buttet

* An early view of the Country House Condos

* My Great Grandfather standing where the bike path alongside the Big Meadow would be

* Black Butte Gymnastics Camp, with the famous “Packy” in the background. He was the first Rec Barn Director

* Our cabin with the homemade bike stand in front.

Thanks for all the great memories! My parents had their cabin for about 45 years.

Karen Blecha

Along with our best friends, we began visiting Black Butte in the early ’70s staying in a very nice homesite. Our interest was tennis and the other husband and I played nearly every day. I usually won our matches and that always frustrated my friend. In those days we still had wooden racquets and my friend had bought a  new – and expensive one – in the hope it would increase the odds of beating me. We played one morning and I continued my winning ways regardless of my friend’s new racquet. His frustration was particularly evident after the match but our friendship was far greater than tennis and we soon forgot what had happened that morning – or so I thought. The next day, since he had declined a re-match, I decided to walk the trail that began at the golf club. I soon passed one of the small ponds that are close to the pathway and saw something that caught my eye floating in the pond. Clearly It was what was left of a wooden tennis racquet that had been smashed and crumbled and thrown far into the pond. I could only imagine the frustration of the person it once belonged to. While I was certain it belonged to my friend, it was too far away for me to be absolutely sure. Given our wonderful friendship I never brought the matter up, never inquired about what had happened to his new racquet. But I was certain what happened to it. Our families visited Black Butte for many years and loved every minute. Your slogan – There’s a Place – is perfect.

Jack Kiley

My Black Butte story started 44 years ago in 1976 when I visited the ranch for the first time. I was only ten years old, but I knew it was special. My family started our annual summer vacation in 1979 and spent the next few decades visiting every August. We loaded the big green station wagon (see photo) with bikes, clubs, coolers, and the dog for week of recreation and relaxation in the sun.

My folks were part of the original target group in Portland to receive the marketing postcards stating ‘There is a place’. Although my dad fell in love with the ranch, it seemed expensive to buy a lot at the time (we laugh about that now). In 2016 my wife, Mary, and I finally became homeowners during my 40th year visiting the ranch. It’s very satisfying to see our teenage kids enjoying all the things I love about this place and it takes me back to my youth.

I have an explosion of memories when I drive into the ranch from those pine scent summers so long ago. I still have a few of the brass tokens (see photo) that allowed the station wagon through the gates on Hawksbeard. My dad insisted that we get a few tokens every day at the lodge to ensure we did not get ‘stuck at the darn gate’.

I remember spending almost as much time at the Rec Barn as I did on the golf course. Playing pool for a dollar while they blasted 70’s rock from the old stereo in the corner. Playing basketball, ping pong, video games, and eating a lot of bad pizza. We would end up back at the lodge pool for a few more flips off the diving board or a swim across the lake. We always signed into the pools as a golf pro (I was Fuzzy Zoeller).

One of my favorite memories was ice blocking at night on the 14th tee on Big Meadow. We purchased the ice blocks in Sisters and would place a golf towel on top of each block (for comfort of course). We would wait until dark and then slide down the steep tee boxes into the fairway. When the sprinklers came on, we would sneak into Paulina Pool for a quick night swim. Those were good times!

I enjoy the ranch as much as I did when I was a kid. It still looks and feels like it did decades ago. It’s more than the scenic beauty and recreation….it’s heaven on earth. We are so thankful to be a part of it and look forward to living at the ranch full time.

Jim Milne




Owners Of EM 23

Mike Allen, Sr. with daughter Melinda, 3 years and son, Michael Jr.

1 1/2 years old at the Stables at BBR.

Melinda, the daughter, went on to win the World Appaloosa Championship and son is teaching his 11 year old daughter to ride.

And it all started at the Ranch.

Judy Allen, EM 23

Doeneka Family Memories

This photo is of my extended family at our Glaze Meadow house construction site in summer 1990, in what would become the great room. I and my wife and my four sisters and their husbands pooled our resources, bought a golf course lot with Dick Howell’s help, and built a wonderful lodge that could and still does accommodate us all.

The ranch was 20 years young then.

Our family of five couples and 10 children, all adults now, have for thirty years shared this house equally and time together at the wonderful place called Black Butte Ranch. The stories of the fun we have all had are endless.

The champagne toast in the photo was just the beginning….. Cheers to another thirty years at Black Butte Ranch!

Gene Doeneka

Robertson Family Memories

Nick and I have been home owners for 40 years!  We love coming to BBR and enjoying everything it has to offer!

Here is a “poem” I wrote followed by a few photos over the years!

Wow! The Ranch is turning 50 it seems….there will be many stories from friends!


We Robertsons began coming to the land of the gods in 1980 how could that be?

We came with friends and family to share in the glee…

We bought a home on the 17th Big Meadow Green ….40 years ago and it has been our Happy Place and more than a dream!

We have watched the the deer and played golf with the best, we have dined in the restaurants and have had numerous family and guests!

For 40 years now we have shared in the memories…. kids, grandkids:  hiking, biking, tennis, golf and slippy sliding!

What a marvelous place to bring people to play, rest or say “hey”!

Hats off to Black Butte….may it keep going strong…the Nick Robertson Family salute you …. we hear voices in song!

Katy Robertson

(152 Meadow Grass circle)

Here is our story…

We learned of central Oregon when we were living on Mercer Island in Washington, so we rented a week at Sunriver in 1974. We had a great vacation and were so happy that we booked the next year before we left Sunriver.

Later, two of our friends who did not know each other, independently, suggested we try out BBR, after all it was an hour less driving time which was appealing.

So, we canceled Sunriver and booked BBR, and stayed in 1975 at the Country House Condos(see photo), We never looked back to Sunriver. We have come to BBR yearly since 1975. In 1977, we bought a lot on Glaze Meadow as an “investment”. By 1979 our dream got bigger and we built a vacation home in ‘79- ‘80.

Our sons, Chip, Tom, and Dan have spent many summer and winter days in this paradise; skiing at Bachelor, hiking up South Sisters, Black Crater and BB Mt, biking everywhere, tennis lessons and the junior golf clinics by golf pro, Bunny Mason.

We moved here permanently in 2015 and rebuilt our home. Our 8 grandchildren so enjoy coming here.

300 days of sunshine a year, no mosquitoes, low humidity and 18 miles of paved bike trails are very appealing.

Dick and Faye McCollum

Photo Notes

  • The chipmunk photo was on the top of Black Butte
  • The rainbow with bird house is on the Glaze Meadow
  • The eclipse collage was put together from a series of images taken over an hour during the eclipse on 8/17/2017 and taken on the Glaze Meadow with my D7100.
  • The red wing black birds were nesting in the reeds along the bike trail as one enters the Glaze Meadow
  • The lupine and Black Butte mountain scene is just in front of our home here in Glaze Meadow.
  • This was our first year at BBR in 1975 at Country House Condos: Dan Faye Chip Tom Dick McCollum
  • Faye and Dan, 1976
  • Faye and Tom canoeing Phalarope Lake BBR, July 1977
  • Tom Dan and Chip atop Black Butte Mt, 1977
  • July the hike we made it, 1977
  • July Faye and Tom canoeing Phalarope Lake BBR, 1977
  • Dee Wright Observatory:Chip Faye Tom Dick and Dan, 1978
  • Tom Dan Chip at BM 14th tee, August 1979
  • Tom Dan Chip at BM 14th tee. alternative, August 1979
  • Original walking trail across the meadow, 2008

Dick McCollum

Wolverine CAMERA

Wolverine CAMERA

This Lodge Menu hangs in his BBR home.

Jeff Grubb

My memories of Black Butte Ranch began in the early 1970s. No, we didn’t own a home on the Ranch.
Instead, we had a tiny cabin in Tract C Summer Homes in Camp Sherman. I grew up in Portland, and my
family spent many weekends and summer vacations in central Oregon, creating countless memories.

While we had plenty of activities on or near the river (hiking, fishing, inner-tubing), it was quiet. Almost
too quiet for a 11-year-old! I remember looking longingly at Black Butte Ranch with its pools, tennis
courts, horses, and especially its bike trails, which were so smooth compared to the red rock roads at
Camp Sherman. On rare, special occasions, my parents would pack my brother and me in the car to
head to dinner at the Lodge. It was always a fantastic experience – the setting, the views, the food. I’ll
never forget the menus presented on the wooden boards – so cool!

In the mid 1980s, my parents sold our cabin on the Metolius, but soon realized they missed the beauty
of Central Oregon and, in 1988, purchased a home (GH-22) at Black Butte Ranch. Their vision was to
make it their retirement home. “God’s Country” was how my father referred to the area, and I think he
was right!

Since then, our family has held a wedding on the ranch (my brother’s) and celebrated my parents’ 40th
wedding anniversary with a friends and family golf tournament (18 years ago!), but most importantly we
have raised our two boys – now 24 and 22 – to love the ranch and the area as much as my husband I do.
It has been a real treat for them enjoy all the activities that I had dreamed of experiencing. Nearly every
Christmas has been spent at that same home my parents purchased in 1988, and we have established
holiday traditions on the ranch that trump anything that we have at our home in northern California. It’s
not Christmas if we aren’t at BBR!

It was a silly moment when, years ago, I stumbled across an old sign on the burn pile at the dump that
was immediately recognizable to me:
I couldn’t help but grab it! One (wo)man’s junk is another’s treasure, right? Bringing back so many
memories, it now resides at our home, a little piece of BBR history that reminds my family of the early
days when we visited the ranch.

Sue McDonald

In 1976 our family returned to Oregon after 3 years in the Military in the Philippines.

Friends took us to Black Butte Ranch.

Our kids ages 3, 6 and 9 had their first experience in snow boots crunching around the meadow.

As soon as we could, we bought a lot on Mountain Clover. We built our house there in 1979. We slept on the foundation under the stars as we waited eagerly for the house to be built.

As our family grew from 5 to 17…with 9 grandchildren, we packed in tight for holidays,summers,ski trips in our beloved number 9 on Mountain Clover.

On a bike ride one summer day in May 2015 we saw that one of our favorite houses on the ranch was for sale.

We polled the kids. Are we ready for more bedrooms and more importantly more bathrooms?

Their reluctance turned to enthusiasm as they visited the new Boyd Black Butte gathering spot.

So after 34 years at the ranch with memories too numerous to count, we are still celebrating summer, snow and each other at 206 Glaze Meadow.

Thank you from all 17 Boyds for many years and 3 generations on the “Ranch”

Hal and Judy Boyd

Our first visit together was August 1984 .  Geni & I were guests of Mike Clark (Geni’s ) dad.
Our first vacation as a couple together was in Black Butte in July 1987

We first started coming the BBR because of it’s beauty and the recreation .  It was easy for us to get to from Portland.  We loved to play tennis, bike the paths, golf, fly fish. hikes nearby.

Best memories
family vacations with our kids in the mid 90s
summer vacations with the Johnson family in the late 90s
skiing vacations with the Collins family
buying our house in August 2002.  We actually were supposed to close our purchase on the Monday after the Cache Mountain fire touched the edge of the ranch in late July 2002.  It was postponed due to the fire for 2 weeks and we closed in mid August.
bringing our dog Henry to the ranch for the first time in January 2005
Our son’s wedding Sept 2 , 2017

what makes BBR special for me is the lake and the scenery while i fly fish.  what makes the ranch special to all of us is that we all love to go together as a family.  once we start east from Salem, it gives us a sense of relaxtion, calm, knowing we are heading to our special place.

The ranch means family, friends , special memories.
There is a place for our family.

Kevin & Geni Director

GH 131

We came up & stayed with friends who had one of the first homes on the ranch.  We built our first home on Fiddleneck Lot #9.  My brothers and most of their friends worked on the ranch in some capacity.  Workers could eat at the lodge for 1/2 price!

One of our friends had 2 Condos next to the Lodge.  She was a gourmet cook and hosted many wonderful dinners. One of my brothers later married her.

My family bought lots on the Big Meadow Golf Course and built spec homes.  They sold them and ended up moving from GH 9 to GH 95 on Bracken Lane.

Every New Years Eve we would have a big Poker Game at our house.  The Electricity would go out later in the evening which caused a lot of unhappiness.  Eventually the underground power lines were replaced and we no longer had the problem.

My romance with my first husband started at the Ranch.  We ended up divorcing and now he is married to a woman with a beautiful home near Glaze Meadow.  Our son purchased a home near Glaze Meadow and enjoys time with his family and friends up there.

Black Butte Ranch has many wonderful memories over the last 48 years for our family.  It’s a family tradition to go up to the Ranch and hang out.  We’re going on with the 4th generation enjoying the Ranch.

Two of my nieces were married at the Lodge.  Many Family Celebrations have been held there.

Here’s to another 50 years appreciating and loving Black Butte Ranch!

Sally Ball Haffner

  • How long have you been visiting or living at the Ranch? Since 1975
  • What brought you to the Ranch? As a student in Eugene a large group of couples rented house to party, cook, golf, walk, run the river and enjoy the decks. From those college experience groups laughing outside on the deck are still “happy noises” to me.
  • What kept you returning to the Ranch? The smell of Ponderosa Pines, the relaxation on the decks, walking and biking paths, BBQ’d meals on the deck, marvelous Michael in the Lodge dining room who makes each of us feel special, climbing Black Butte, the Recreation Guide, the ability of the children to roam on their bikes, the beautiful path across the main meadow, the beautiful swimming pools and good food and drinks, knowing we create memories every time we stay at our BBR home.
  • Describe one of your best memories alone? When Facebook first started there was a questionnaire that was popular and one question was to list 20 of your best lifelong memories. When my young Canadian niece wrote that near the top of her list was summer weeks at Black Butte with family I felt that every dime spent in relation to our Black Butte home quarter share was spent well. I still feel that way. And, by the way, we have fantastic partners in our home at BBR.
  • What makes BBR unique or special to you? It’s always close to perfect in so many ways, partially because the traffic speed is kept at 25 and we all need enjoy slowing down. Also partially because there are few commercial opportunities on the Ranch we find other activities for our stay at BBR.
  • I do appreciate the General Store, especially the last couple of years as it has stepped up the inventory and removed the TV.

Thank you for planning the celebration of BBR’s 50 years!

Dianne Rodway 

We have been at Black Butte Ranch from before they even broke ground. My uncle Bob Harrison was first President of Brooks Resources with responsibilities for developing the Ranch. I remember sitting in his living room in Bend as he spread out all the potential logo designs as we all weighed in on what we all thought would look the best. I recall them digging a test pond where  Phalarope lake now exists. They were not sure that the area would hold water long enough to allow for the lake. I have great memories of working at the golf club house picking up range balls for Bunny Mason. I also spent a couple of summers working for Packy Longfellow as a life guard working all the pools. Every Labor Day there was a big end of the season event with swimming competitions in the lake. Log rolling, distance swim and a variety of field events. I have fond memories of sneaking over from Willamette University with my fraternity brother to ski at Hoo Doo. Several of those fraternity brother have homes at BBR today!

I am now 61, my own children have grown up with their own experiences and memories and still hold BBR. I now am the 3rd generation owner of our cabin  and still find that “There is a place!”

Jeff Harrison

My family has been going to BBR for over 30 years now… Maybe closer to 40 now. Attached are some photos from horseback riding, at the general store, Glaze Meadow Golf Course, etc.

Emma Vanden Busch

Here is a bread recipe that was used at the lodge back in 70’s. My Aunt lived in Bend at the time and said a few of the recipes from the Lodge Restaurant were published in the Bend Bulletin newspaper in 1971.
Hope you enjoy!

Cindy Murray

I’d like to share my story of Black Butte with you.  I turned 35 in September and this was my 34th year going to Black Butte with my family (my mom claims 35th year since she was 8 months pregnant with me 1 year).

We have always rented at Black Butte the last week of July or the first week of August.  We started in a ridge cabin, moved around a bit and then for 16 years we rented South Meadow 10 by the fire station. I feel like I grew up at Black Butte (I have photos to prove it).  Black Butte is a family tradition in our household and we’ve never missed a summer.  The closest we came was when the forest fires almost pushed us out.

I have so many fond memories of Black Butte.  I can remember diving in the old Glaze Meadow deep in pool.  I can remember running across the pool tarps after closing with the lifeguards.  I can remember riding my bike around the entirety of the property knowing every bump and turn of the trails.  I remember having contests of who can sit on the bottom of the pool the longest, learning how to golf in the afternoons with my dad, ice cream at the old Lodge pool cafe on the HOT deck over looking the pool.  I grew up playing tennis at Black Butte with my family, cards in the evenings and eating all day.  Some of the best stories from Black Butte for my family are: when I rode off the path in to the bond between hole 10 and the meadow, when I got a moth stuck in my ear and the fire department said they could do anything so my mom grabbed it with a pair of tweezers out of my ear, to when I got my head hit with one of the lodge doors and had to go get stitches, and countless bike crashes I could recount.

Now, I’m married with a 3 and a 5 year old.  The stories of my childhood and experiences at Black Butte stay fresh in my mind though.  That smell of the fresh crisp air, the giddyness I still get when I pull in to the ranch and the love for this place that seems to increase every year. The memories I’m creating with my wife and children just continue to add to the nostalgia I have for BBR.

Since about the time I was 15 years old I have always told my parents I would love to own at Black Butte. It’s always been a dream of mine.  I wanted to give my children the same (and more of) memories I had growing up. This past year, I was able to make that dream come true (with the blessing of my wife) to purchase a share of golf condo 103.  The purchase of this condo filled that dream of mine but it also did something much more it purchased me a piece of history.  As I understand it golf condo 103 was owned by the architect that designed the condos and the lodge at black butte.  Being part of the HOA and ownership of Black Butte but also owning a piece of its rich history means a lot to me!

Let me know if you have any other questions…I have tons of pictures of growing up at Black Butte.  I also could say so much more…Please feel free to re-write any of the above to make more sense.  I love Black Butte and couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the ranch.

Adam Ladage

Third generation since we built in 1974. Grandkids riding their bikes in the Meadow, looking to the future of driving grandpa’s classic, to the youngest granddaughter actually driving it.

I love this idea to celebrate the 50th anniversary! Our family has been celebrating the Fourth of July at Black Butte Ranch for the past three years. Our kids love the bike parade!

In the photos:
The little kids: Grayson and Libby Whiting
The adults: Jeff and Emily Whiting
The grandpa holding Libby is Gary Whiting

Emily Whiting

Thanks to the Goldberg / Eppinger family for sending in this photo taken from the top of Black Butte. They left the Ranch about 4am to reach the summit in time for the sunrise. The photo of 12 year old Josh was taken by his father, Seth Goldberg.   The grandfather, Yank Eppinger  (owner of the third house that was built on the Ranch and still in the original family) says that “to me it captures hope in these difficult times.”

Family memories of Black Butte Ranch

During the 1950’s, when I was in my late teenage years and early twenties, I made many trips from Madras to the Willamette Valley on Highway 26.  I would often look and admire the beautiful meadow that is now Black Butte Ranch.

In the 1970’s when Brooks Resources were excavating and building Black Butte Ranch, my wife and I, and our four small children, would often take Sunday drives from Madras in order to see the building progress.  After the Lodge was completed, our favorite Saturday night consisted of my wife and I joining friends and having dinner at the Lodge to listen to a teacher from Madras play the guitar and sing.

In 1977,  my sister and brother-in- law, Dan and Dee Nordhill, along with their two college sons, Dan and Kevin, began building a new home in newly opened Glaze Meadow, (GM53).  In 1982 Dan retired, so Dan and Dee moved from Portland to live at Black Butte Ranch permanently.  They loved to play golf, bridge, and visit with their many friends on the Ranch.  Their three children, my four children, and my and Dee’s nephew, Bill Wilson and family,  all loved to visit Dan and Dee.

In 2009, Dan passed away and Dee remained at their Glaze Meadow home until she had a fall in 2019.  At the age of 95, she now resides in an apartment at Touchmark in Bend, but her heart is still, and always will be, at Black Butte Ranch.

In 1987, I purchased a home at GM51, next door to Dan and Dee.  My four children, and grand children, have spent a lot of time at BBR throughout the years.  My daughter, Theresa, worked four summers at the Ranch during her college years.  The house I purchased in 1987 is now owned by my son, Paul, and his family.  In 2012, my daughter and son-in-law, Ann and Jim Barri, purchased GM86. They love to spend their summers there.  Two of my nephews, and their families, also own property at BBR.

Black Butte Ranch is a very special place for all of my family.

Murray Meade

I wanted to share a story about Black Butte with you. My husband Taylor’s family has been coming to Black Butte for over three decades. His aunt bought a home near Glaze Meadow years ago, and has since added on to it to accommodate a growing family.

In about 2009 or so, I started coming with him and his family to Black Butte for summer and winter getaways. I also had wonderful memories here because my family visited quite a bit with the Doherty family over the years, who’ve had a house here probably since it opened!

In October of 2014, we were all at the ranch for a beautiful Fall week with family, and unbeknownst to me, Taylor was planning to propose. The whole family was in on it. We all hiked Black Butte that day and had just gotten back to the house to shower up and get ready for dinner at the lodge. As I was getting ready, everyone was running around upstairs setting things up for the proposal. When I was close to being done, Taylor shooed them away to the lodge. I came upstairs to find a series of notes and photos leading up to the deck outside, which had been lit up with candles all around. Taylor was waiting for me and proposed on the deck where he and his family had made so many precious memories. It was a special place for him, and is now such a special place for both of us!

We recently had a baby girl and broke the good news that we were pregnant to his family in Black Butte. We love making memories here and expect our families to continue to grow and have our children and grandchildren someday be able to come to know and love Black Butte like we do!

Thank you!!!

P.S. – I have attached two photos to go with the story. One is of the moment Taylor popped the question, and the other is the cork we saved from the champagne we had at the lodge that night to celebrate with our family.

My best,


I thought you might like these pictures. Taken September 17, 2019 as I was driving past the Sports Field to the lodge.


Ann Spires

GM 362