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Ghost Town USA’s

Guide to the Ghost Towns of

OREGON

“The Beaver State

 

 

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Western & Eastern Treasures

Ghost Town USA Column Index for Oregon

Oregon is an interesting state for ghosttowners. It was the end of the trail for the Oregon Trail and thousands of emigrants who headed west beginning in the early 1840s, in search of arable land and freedom. What they discovered were rich river valleys, rain, green trees, rain, salmon-filled rivers and rain. Did I mention rain?

 

That same rain causes trees to grow huge, and it didn't take long for the logging industry to take off. Military posts developed to protect the mouth of the Columbia River, and fishing villages multiplied along the length of the river. Farming communities grew up in the outback (east of the Cascades), and two rich pockets of gold mining contributed hundreds of mining camps to the civilization of the state. Railroads were built, and removed; their construction camps, stations, and whistle stops becoming memories as modern diesel locomotives supplanted the old steamers, and their need for watering stops.  Winding highways were replaced by freeways: the little Ma 'n Pa Corners with their ever-present post office, store and gas station became rubbled sites.

 

Oregon is no different than any other state when it comes to ghost towns. The state has well over a thousand locations that can be considered. Unfortunately that same rain mentioned earlier, and the effusive growth of greenery has made it difficult to find many of the old sites, especially in the more humid western half of the state. Eastern Oregon is more typical of the western states with low humidity, desert, and pine-clad mountains.

 

The variations of Oregon's geography and weather patterns make for a very unique state, and a wide variety of ghost towns to choose from. Come with us as we explore a few locations in the Pacific Wonderland known today as Oregon.

 

 

HELP!  (NEW FEATURE) Please check here to find a list of ghost towns that various contacts are looking for.  IF you have any information on these places please e-mail me and I can respond back to those looking for info on these ghosts.

 

PLEASE NOTE: 

Where photos are indicated thusly (PHOTO!), please use your browser’s “BACK” button to return to this page.  More photos will be added over time.

 

THE GHOSTS

 

Antelope

 

(AKA – Rajneesh)

Wasco Co.

This two-site, class A & D town is located on State Highway (SH) 218, about 80 miles south of The Dalles. From 1862-1881 it served as a stage station/mining supply center, but in 1881 the stage road relocated.  Antelope moved to the relocated stage road and boomed.  In the 1920s, when US Highway 97 was built, it bypassed Antelope and the town faded quickly.  There was a brief mini-boom in the early 1980s when a commune was located nearby, impacting the town.  By 1984 the commune failed and Antelope returned to its sleepy ways.

See our Antelope page for additional details.

This is our CURRENT Ghost Town of the Month

ASHWOOD

Jefferson Co.

Early 1900s gold mining camp 15 miles southeast of US 197 at Willowdale, northeast of Madras. The town has faded, and had a population listed into the 1980s.

AUBURN

Baker Co.

A class B gold mining town about four miles west of US 30 at a point seven miles southeast of Baker City. Accessible via four-wheel drive road. Only rubble remains where Henry Griffen discovered gold on October 23, 1861, and where six months later 6000 people made Auburn the largest town in the county. By 1868 Auburn was rapidly approaching ghost town status.

BLIND SLOUGH LOGGING CAMP

Clatsop Co.

A class A logging camp located between Knappa and Brownsmead. Established around 1883, the post office was established in 1910, and closed in 1924. In 1923, some 300 people were employed by the Larkin-Green Logging Co.

BOURNE

Baker Co.

This old town is seven miles north of Sumpter, along Cracker Creek. Sumpter is on SH 7, 20 miles northwest of Salisbury and West of Baker City in the Blue Mountains. In the 1870s, this placer mining camp was full of saloons and other businesses, which lined a short main street. A post office was in operation from 1895 to 1927. Some mines are still producing, and a few buildings remain.

BOYD

Wasco Co.

This is an 1870s milling town/shipping center just east of US 197 about 12 miles south of The Dalles. The small agricultural community has faded from 150-200 people and a handful of different businesses. All that remains are a few occupied and abandoned homes along with a grist mill.

CLATSOP

Clatsop Co.

Originally located on the west side of Skipanon River, about 14 miles north of Seaside. The original site was incorporated in 1870, but the town drifted towards what is now the City of Seaside, settling in about a mile north of that town. In 1894, it was renamed Seaside, and the original post office closed on January 29, 1918 when the site was actually incorporated into the town of Gearhart. The original site has disappeared.

CORNUCOPIA

Baker Co.

Some 20 million dollars in gold came from this wild and wooly gold mining town full of shootings, saloons and "sporting" ladies. Shortly after the gold was found in 1885, 1000 miners flocked to the town. In 1898 the town relocated a quarter mile to a new location, and it grew quickly. The mines faded, the town died, and by the 1970s only empty buildings remained. I don't know if they are still standing, or if the town has reverted from a class C to a B site. The town is in the Wallowa National Forest, 12 miles northwest of Halfway. Some summer cabins have been built in recent years.

FLAVEL

Clatsop Co.

Near Hammond, on the site of an old Indian village. This wanna-be port was intended to rival Astoria. In 1896, a hotel and a number of docks were built. The huge, three-story hotel had an adjoining building with a swimming pool, bowling alley and saloon inside. A tennis court and a riding academy were also on site. The town failed, and in 1918, Flavel was annexed to and absorbed by Warrenton.

GALENA

Grant Co.

An 1860s gold mining town about 20 miles north of Prairie City. Still shown on the AAA state map.

GRANITE

Grant Co.

Class D, late 1800s gold mining town that once had 5000 people. It is 15 miles northwest of Sumpter, in the northeastern corner of the county about 45 miles out of Baker City. The first gold was found on July 4, 1862, and by 1900 Granite had a drug store, two hotels, livery stable, a post office, five saloons and three stores. The gold choked off, the town faded, and today Granite and its dozen or so citizens remain as a monument to the past.

GREENBACK

Josephine Co.

Class B, early 1900s placer mining company town, on a winding dirt road three miles north of Placer. Later the Greenback Mine produced about a million dollars in gold before shutting down.

HARDMAN

Morrow Co.

A class D agricultural ghost on Oregon's eastern grasslands. It is located on SH 207, nine miles south of Ruggs and 20 south of Heppner. Hardman was founded in the 1870s, and the post office was established in 1881. Hotels stores, and other businesses soon followed. When automobile and trucks came into their own, the town faded.

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

HORSE HEAVEN

Jefferson Co.

Early 1900s-1930s mercury mining town east of Ashwood. Once had a population of 100 or so.

JACKSONVILLE

Jackson Co.

This class E former mining town still has a population of 2000 or so, and is located on SH 238, five miles west of Medford. Jacksonville's roots date to December, 1851 and the overflow of miners from the California Gold Rush. As the original "49ers" spread north into the southwestern corner of Oregon they found gold. Today Jacksonville is a colorful collection of multi-hued brick and wood buildings housing an eclectic collection of small town businesses. The buildings were restored after World War II by the Southern Oregon Historical Society.

KENT

Sherman Co.

This class D, early 1900s railroad and agricultural town is located along and just east of US 97, in north-central Oregon's high grasslands, south of Biggs and north of Shaniko.  It has a number of interesting, picturesque buildings.

See our KENT page for additional details.

KERBY

Josephine Co.

This class E former gold mining town is on US 199, five miles south of Selma. Kerby was established around 1850, and through the 1850s was a major gold mining camp with some 500 people. In 1980 it still had about 500 folks, and a nice collection of old buildings.

LONEROCK

Gilliam Co.

A crossroads travel and agricultural center on Lonerock Creek, 15 miles southeast of SH 206, at a point five miles east of Condon. It was originally settled in 1881, but by WW I was nearly deserted. The town had a jail, two-story school and an Methodist-Episcopal Church. In 1980, 26 people still remained.

MAYGER

Columbia Co.

This class C fishing village still has spectral remains. In 1985, the large warehouse still stood on a pier hanging out over the Columbia River.

PLACER

Josephine Co.

Early 1900s gold mining town on a four-wheel-drive road northeast of Grants Pass and about four miles east of I-5.

RICHMOND

Wheeler Co.

An 1890s agricultural ghost in the northeastern grasslands, 11 miles east of SH 207 and north of Mitchell. About five miles south of Service. During the years when the town was active there was a school, M-E Church, community center, general store/post office, IOOF hall and other businesses. Again as is so typical of agricultural centers, once cars and trucks came into vogue, the towns faded and died. Richmond was no different.

SHANIKO

 

Wasco Co.

This class D, early 1900s wool shipping center is located on US 97, in north-central Oregon's high grasslands, 36 miles north of Madras, and 58 miles south of Biggs. Shaniko also has its own website at: http://www.shaniko.com/indexOld.html

See our SHANIKO page for additional details.

SUMPTER

Baker Co.

Class D gold mining town on SH 7, 20 miles west of Salisbury, which is nine miles south of Baker City. Sumpter got its start in the 1860s when three Carolinans settled and started farming. They called their homestead Fort Sumter, but when gold was found and the valley was overrun with Northern sympathizer miners, the name was changed to Sumpter. In the 1890s, 3000-5000 folks lived here, sharing space with 36 saloons along a long main street. The old town was wiped out in 1917 by a major fire, and has never recovered. Today, Sumpter has full services including four RV parks, a motel and a Bed & Breakfast inn, as well as a 1990 population of 150.

VANPORT

Multnomah Co.

Former seaport and company town. Actually located inside the city limits of Portland, this town died when the dikes broke and the Columbia River filled its low-lying site with water. Local research should bring this site to life for you!

WHITNEY

Baker Co.

Early 1900s railroad shipping center for the local mining camps. Located just south of SH 7, 11 miles southwest of Sumpter. A late 1890s/early 1900s logging camp, freighting and commercial center whose remains include a small handful of old buildings. When the sawmill burned in 1918, the town almost became deserted.

 

·        Latitude: 44.6593210 / 44° 39’ 34” N

·        Longitude: -118.2807737 / 118° 17’ 27” W

·        SW¼ of the SW¼ Sec 27, T10S, R36E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

 

MORE INFORMATION

 

Historians estimate that there may be as many as 50,000 ghost towns scattered across the United States of America.

Gary B. Speck Publications is currently in process of publishing unique state, regional, and county guides called

The Ghost Town Guru's Guide to the Ghost Towns of ***

These original guides are designed for anybody interested in ghost towns. Whether you are a casual tourist looking for a new and different place to visit, or a hard-core ghost town researcher, these guides will be just right for you. With over 30 years of research behind them, they will be a welcome addition to any ghost towner's library.

 

Thank you, and we'll see you out on the Ghost Town Trail!

 

For more information on the ghost towns of OREGON, contact us at Ghost Town USA.

 

E-mailers, PLEASE NOTE:

Due to the tremendous amount of viruses, worms and “spam,” out there, I no longer open or respond to any e-mails with unsolicited attachments, OR messages on the subject lines with “Hey”, “Hi”, “Need help”, “Help Please”, “???”, or blank subject lines, etc.  If you do send E-mail asking for information, or sharing information, PLEASE indicate the appropriate location AND state name, or other topic on the “subject” line. 

THANK YOU!  :o)

IMPORTANT

 

These listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites in OREGON above are for informational purposes only, and should NOT be construed to grant permission to trespass, metal detect, relic or treasure hunt at any of the listed sites.

 

If the reader of this guide is a metal detector user and plans to use this guide to locate sites for metal detecting or relic hunting, it is the READER'S responsibility to obtain written permission from the legal property owners. Please be advised, that any state or nationally owned sites will probably be off-limits to metal detector use. Also be aware of any federal, state or local laws restricting the same.

 

When you are exploring the ghost towns of OREGON, please abide by the

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.

 

 

 

Also visit: Ghost Town USA’s

 

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THIS PAGE

FIRST POSTED:  June 1999

LAST UPDATED: July 28, 2014

 

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