Cove Palisades Park

copyright Guy Swanson

Ship Rock rises on the left side of the road after you cross the Deschutes and come upon Cove Palisades Campgrounds, Over the years it has been also called Battleship Rock or The Ship, but a hundred years ago, when paddle-wheelers dominated the Columbia River, it was called Steamboat Rock.

Just north of that sits The Island, a ¾ by ¼ mile hunk of lava that sits about 200 feet lower.   A hundred years ago it was called “No Man's Land”, where an early settler ranged his sheep, away from the coyotes and other predators.  During Prohibition it became the perfect place for him to hide his still from another predator, the Revenue Agent.  The Island was closed to hikers in 1997 to secure it's pristine condition.

In 1879 Clark Rogers became he first settler at the cove after the terrible double-winter of 1883/1884, when snow fell five-feet deep and the temperature dropped to 50 below. In 1886 he received his homestead claim, signed by President Cleveland.

In 1888 T F McCallister traded his Prineville house to Rogers for the deed to the property where he planted a peach and apple orchard.   He built the first road down down the canyon wall, a narrow one, just fit for a horse and rider or a sled.

William Boegli bought the Cove in 1905 for $10,000 from the McCallisters, who had adopted him as a young boy.  Boegli was later Crook County School Superintendent and the first Judge of Jefferson County.

In 1941 the Boegli's sold the Cove to the State Highway Department for $16,000, and Mancil Nance was hired as the first superintendent of the new State Park. The area was modestly developed for camping and day use.

When Round Butte Dam was built in 1964 the canyons were flooded, creating Lake Billy Chinook, and the campground was moved up to its present location. Before the water filled the canyon, a boulder with a water monster petroglyph was brought up from the Crooked River and placed at the new campground.


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