Pete French Round Barn

Eastern Oregon

Built in the 1880s to help train draft animals, this historic round barn is worth a look – it's exactly what it says it is, a big round barn – but the real story is the man who had it built. Pete French, Eastern Oregon's 'Cattle King,' arrived here in 1872 and immediately started claiming huge swaths of land in the area, often on dubious grounds.

French's claims led to conflict with neighboring ranchers, including a 10-year court battle with homesteader Edward Oliver. After a face-to-face argument in 1897, French hit Oliver with a whip, then turned to ride away; Oliver shot him in the back of the head. By then, locals were fed up with the big, aggressive cattle barons – Oliver was tried for murder and found not guilty. The contested land, called the 'P' Ranch, eventually became part of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

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