Crook County was established on October 24, 1882. It was created from the southern part of Wasco County and named after U.S. Army Major-General George Crook, a hero of the Snake Indian Wars. Geographically Crook County, with a population of approximately 26,845, is Oregon's most centrally located county. It was been reduced from its original size of 8,600 square miles to 2,991 square miles by the creation of Jefferson County in 1914 and Deschutes County in 1916. The county seat, Prineville, was established in 1882 by the Legislative Assembly. Prineville was named in honor of the town's first merchant, Barney Prine. Powell Butte, Post and Paulina are the other communities found within the County.
Development of Crook County was slow in the early years because the Cascade Mountains formed an imposing barrier to travel. But the discovery of the Santiam Pass in 1859 and the subsequent development of the Santiam Wagon Road helped spur the settlement of the Crook County area. Finally, in 1862 a supply train with cattle crossed the Scott Trail.
Crook County is rich in forests, rangelands and irrigated agricultural fields. Livestock, forest products, recreation, agriculture, manufacturing and wholesale trade traditionally comprise the major industries found within the county. Recently, a new technology sector has moved into Crook County, with Apple and Facebook building facilities, helping provide jobs and boost the economy. The elevation of Prineville is 2,868 feet and receives an average of 10.5 inches of moisture per year. Nights are cool and daytime temperatures are moderate. The average temperature in January is 31.8 degrees F and in July it is 64.5 degrees F.