Today on the Land Use Trail: "Ranch under the Rimrock"

We’re continuing our tour of our Land Use Trail. Today, March 3: Ranch Under the Rimrock, Governor Tom McCall’s childhood home in the desert of Crook County.

About: Settled by Hal and Dorothy McCall in 1911, Tom McCall’s childhood home (known as Westernworld) is located in central Oregon. The natural beauty surrounding the home is a true testament for why McCall worked so vigorously in preserving Oregon's landscape. The home lies under the beautifully-formed basalt Rimrock, which runs for miles and rises 200 feet above the ranch. The views were even enough to inspire Dorothy McCall to write her famous book about life on the ranch, appropriately named Ranch Under the Rimrock.

Key Fact: Tom McCall’s parents came from Massachussetts to settle the 640-acre ranch. McCall actually split his time between Westernworld and his maternal grandparents’ estate in Massachussetts for the first nine years of his life before moving to Oregon permanently. As journalist Anna Griffin writes, “he rode bareback through the sagebrush to a one-room schoolhouse.”

Another Cool Fact: Dorothy Lawson McCall, Governor McCall’s mother, recorded her memories of rural Oregon life in 1968 in Ranch Under the Rimrock. It’s an interesting account of a blueblood New Englander encountering a very different lifestyle in a remote part of the West.


The ranch is privately owned, but you can drive past it on the O'Neill Highway, State Route 370 between Terrebonne and Prineville in Crook County. As Griffin wrote last year, “Nothing brands the ranch as a landmark. There's no historical marker, no signs of its significance inside, beyond a copy of "Ranch Under the Rimrock" strategically positioned on a table in the front hallway.”

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See the whole Land Use Trail, featuring exceptional Oregon natural places, communities, and working lands from every corner of our state.

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