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Western & Eastern Treasures

Ghost Town USA Column Index for Washington

Named after the first president of the United States – George Washington, the State of Washington anchors the northwestern corner of the “Lower 48.”  Outside of the Seattle-Olympia metroplex, the state is generally rural and rugged.  Fishing, logging, agriculture and mining have all contributed a goodly share of the ghost towns in this state, and as growth is ongoing, many of the ghost towns and ghost town sites in the Puget Sound area are being overrun by civilization.  As a result, many of the ghost towns listed in the various Washington Ghost Towns books are badly outdated.  In the eastern portion of the state, agriculture dominates in an area that is less rugged, but very much more dry and rural. 


As a United States possession, Washington dates to 1846 when Great Britain ceded the northwestern area to the US, fixing the southern boundary of Canada/non-Alaska northern boundary of the United States where it is today.  In 1853, the territory of Washington was formed from Oregon Territory, generally north of the Columbia River and stretching east.  In 1863, Idaho Territory was removed from the eastern part, pretty much settling the territory to the current size of the state, to which statehood as the 42nd state, was granted on November 11, 1889.


The largest accumulation of mining ghost towns lies in the north-central portion of the state, where during the 1880s, a gold rush created scores of towns, many of which remain as ghost or semi-ghost towns.  Off to the southwest, along the Columbia River, a string of fishing towns was established.  Many of the little towns also served as canning facilities, and extensive wharves were built out into the river to allow shipping of product.  Access to many of these can often be difficult.


All in all, Washington has a plethora of ghost towns to visit, and this guide of two dozen places will get you started. 




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.





Wahkiakum Co.

This class D fishing town along the Columbia River had 30 people in 1990.  It is across from and northeast of Astoria OR.  The fish canneries here were established in the 1870s, and by World War II the town began to fade.  Aerial photos on GNIS still show buildings and clusters of wharf pilings.  I have not visited, so cannot verify what remains.


·        Center (Ctr) Sec 15, T9N, R8W, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 46.2667745 / 46° 16’ 00” N

·        Longitude: -123.6562504 / 123° 39’ 23” W


Chelan Co.

This 1860s gold mining town is located on US 97, 21 miles north of Liberty in Blewett Pass.  In this area there were a large number of gold mines and old mining camps.  Most of the buildings were wiped out when the highway was built.  There were no buildings visible in August 2009.


·        SWΌ Sec 1, T22N, R17E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 47.4231774 / 47° 25’ 23” N

·        Longitude: -120.6592488 / 120° 39’ 33” W


(AKA – New Toroda)

Okanogan Co.

An early 1900s gold milling town along Toroda Creek, 15 miles north of Wauconda. It was founded in 1900, and lasted until at least 1962.

Bodie is one of the towns featured in my new book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM


·        SWΌ Sec 34, T39N, R31E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 48.8326674 / 48° 49’ 58” N

·        Longitude: -118.8967044 / 118° 53’ 48” W


Gray’s Harbor Co.

This late 1800s gold mining center is located on the Olympic Highway (US 12), 15 miles east of Aberdeen and west of the Satsop River across from and 1.5 miles southwest of the town of Satsop.  On GNIS, it doesn’t look like much other than a fire station, old grange hall and a cluster of old cabins.


·        SEC Sec 35, SWC Sec 36, T18N, R7W, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 46.9959290 / 46° 59’ 45” N

·        Longitude: -123.5118286 / 123° 30’ 43” W


Pierce Co.

An early 1900s era coal mining town three miles south of Buckley off SH 165 and south of South Prairie Creek.  The town was abandoned after World War II ended.


·        S-Ctr Sec 16, T19N, R6E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 47.1292687 / 47° 07’ 45” N

·        Longitude: -122.0490011 / 122° 02’ 56” W


Okanogan Co.

This class D, 1890s gold camp along Meyers Creek, is ten miles east of Molson Junction in the northeast corner of the county.  It had 80 people remaining in 1990.  Most commentaries credit this old town as a ghost town, but more properly, it should be listed as a near ghost town. 


At the time of our visit in 2009, the tavern and store were both open, and several of the residential buildings in town were also occupied, or appeared to be weekend/summer cabins.  At the far end of town was a large false front.


On the road coming into town from the south, a large cabin with a nearly dead front porch invited exploration from both the inside and the outside.  That was in 2009.  I do NOT know if it is still standing, as it was beginning to lean a bit.  I also don’t know if it is currently posted against trespass.  If so, please abide by any signage on the property.  At the time of my visit in 2009 is was not posted.


·        SWΌ Sec 21, T40N, R30E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 48.9460104 / 48° 56’ 46” N

·        Longitude: -119.0514316 / 119° 03’ 05” W


Okanogan Co.

This class D-gold mining town is located seventeen miles northwest of Okanogan.  It was the county seat and was plagued by fire, flood and other natural disasters.


·        SWΌ Sec 6, T35N, R25E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 48.5573710 / 48° 33’ 27” N

·        Longitude: -119.7497894 / 119° 44’ 59” W


Okanogan Co.

A class D-logging camp on Omak Creek, about 15 miles east of Omak.  In 1990 there were still 30 folks here.


·        E-Ctr Sec 13, T33N, R29E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 48.3604327 / 48° 21’ 38” N

·        Longitude: -119.2372606 / 119° 14’ 14” W


Franklin Co.

Just by looking at statistics, Eltopia should NOT be listed here.  However, upon physical examination, that all changes.  This little unincorporated community sits alongside the railroad west of US Highway 395 in the heart of Franklin County’s wheat farming region, 15 or so miles north of Pasco and at the confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers.


I have NOT discovered much current OR historical information about this fascinating little class D town.


According to the US Geological Survey’s, Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) online database, alternate names include: ELTOPAY and HELL TO PAY.  It began as a Northern Pacific Railroad station and agricultural shipping center in 1881, and in 1902 a plat map was recorded for the community.  The original name is said to have come from an English railworker who commented that when a storm damaged some of the work being done, “There will be hell to pay  If you couple that statement with a strong British accent, it is easy to see from where the name COULD have evolved.


In 2009, Eltopia had a small general store, grain elevators and a gap-toothed string of abandoned buildings across the main road from the railroad tracks. It is difficult to tell today, but they appear to have been stores.  I enjoyed stepping inside and looking out to what once was a busier view.  Alas, care must be exercised as the roof on one of them is comin’ down!  Up on the bluffs above the tracks, there are quite a few occupied homes and a large, bright yellow-orange, two-story, former high school  building. 


I’m glad we stopped, as it is an interesting town.


Population figures:

·        1980 – 180, 1990 – 200, 2000 - 250



·        N-Ctr Sec 11, T11N, R30E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 46.4587486 / 46° 27’ 31” N

·        Longitude: -119.0172292 / 119° 01’ 02” W

fort columbia

Pacific Co.



This late 1890s through 1946 era Coastal Defense Fort is one of the best preserved of this type fort in the West.  Four batteries and over a dozen wooden structures remain, and make for a great day of exploration.

This was our Ghost Town of the Month for June 2015.


See our fort columbia page for additional details.


Pacific Co.

Fishing town located along the Columbia River east of the Astoria Bridge.  It dates to 1890 when the town plat was filed.


·        E-Ctr Sec 11, T9N, R9W, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 46.2803842 / 46° 16' 49" N

·        Longitude: -123.7559768 / 123° 45' 22" W


Okanogan Co.

Founded in 1903, this class D grist milling town was about 13 miles southwest of Chesaw, in the northeast part of the county.  A church and a school were also built, and still remain (August 2009).


·        SWΌ Sec 32, T39N, R29E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 48.8279443 / 48° 49’ 41” N

·        Longitude: -119.2042159 / 119° 12’ 15” W


Pierce Co.

On east side of the peninsula on west side of Carr Inlet, 13 miles southwest of SH 16 at Purdy, which is 19 miles northwest of Tacoma.  It is located several miles north of Lake Bay, and a half-mile from the "modern" community of Home.  Exact location of the old colony not determined.



·        SEΌ Sec 26, T21N, R1W, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 47.2748180 / 47° 16’ 29” N

·        Longitude: -122.7637451 / 122° 45’ 49” W


Pacific Co.

This old Columbia River cannery town is located along SH 401, several miles east of the Astoria Bridge.  It got its start in 1867 when Jabez Knapp built a cement kiln and barrel factory to make the barrels used to ship the cement.  Cementville grew up around it, but it all faded away in a few years.  In 1869, Knapp built a sawmill, and in 1871 a post office named after Knapp opened.  It closed in 1943.  A 675’ long wharf able to service ships drawing 30’ of water was built.  In 1876 Knapp sold out and Joseph Hume opened a salmon cannery on the dock.  In 1936 the sawmill, along with several homes burned.  According to the WPA guide, in 1940, 39 people still lived here, and Knappton was “a cluster of ancient buildings around a ferry slip.”


Also in 1876, at the western end of the community, George and Robert Hume built a large wharf and salmon cannery.  Robert sold out to his brother, and George sold out in 1885 to the Eureka and Epicure Packing Company.  At the time of that sale, there were 55 salmon canneries in operation along the river. They closed up in 1897.  In 1899, the US Government purchased that wharf and cannery and opened an immigration quarantine station.  In 1912 a small hospital was built, and the whole complex operated until 1938.  It reopened in 1955 as a fishing resort, operating until 1965.  In 1971 the wharf was ravaged by a storm, and in 1975 was demolished.  In 1995, the former hospital was opened as a museum – the Knappton Cove Heritage Center.


Today, all that remains are the wharf piling stubs and a small complex of buildings at the museum.


·        NWΌ of the NWΌ Sec 17, T9N, R9W, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 46.2709899 / 46° 16' 16" N

·        Longitude: -123.8297745 / 123° 49' 47" W


Kittitas Co.

This old town is located 15 miles northeast of Cle Elum, two miles northeast of the junction of 97/Liberty Road.  A fascinating gold mining town with 30 folks remaining in 1990.


·        W-Ctr Sec 1, T20N, R17E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 47.2537337 / 47° 15’ 13” N

·        Longitude: -120.6652549 / 120° 39’ 55” W


Klickitat Co.

On north side of Columbia River, just west of the US 97 bridge that crosses over the river at Biggs, Oregon, 18 miles east of The Dalles (OR).  There is a replica of Stonehenge and a well-known museum.  A summer post office operated here from 1909-1913.



·        NWC Sec 7, T2N, R16E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 45.6776236 / 45° 40’ 39” N

·        Longitude: -120.8647863 / 120° 51’ 53” W


Kittitas Co.

Gold mining camp along Williams Creek, two miles southwest of Liberty at or near the junction of today’s US 97/Liberty Road and the confluence of Williams/Swauk Creeks.  It was the original camp and the people moved to Liberty as it was in a better location.



·        N-Ctr Sec 10, T20N, R17E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 47.2430740 / 47° 14’ 35” N

·        Longitude: -120.6976103 / 120° 41’ 51” W


Pacific Co.

This former cannery town is located a mile east of the northern terminus of the Astoria-Megler Bridge over the Columbia River,  where the Dismal Nitch Rest Area is now located.  A few clusters of several hundred piling stubs still indicate where the docks and wharves were located. 


Megler was originally established in 1880 as a fishing station by a man named Marshall Kenny.  He was bought out, and in 1906, the Ilwaco Railroad terminated its narrow gauge rail line here, and called the terminal Cooks Station.  Their property was later purchased around 1908 by the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company which then built a large, 120’ wide by 900’ long wharf, as well as a large oil tank, railroad service facilities and a turntable.  The tracks ran out onto the wharf and what was renamed Megler became a busy freighting center.  The railroad portion of the operation shut down in 1930.


In 1928, the Union Pacific Railroad operated a ferry between Astoria and Megler, but they were bought out in 1932 by a Mr. Elfving, who in turn was bought out by the State of Oregon in 1946.  The state operated the ferry until July 28, 1966, a month before its replacement, the 4.1 mile-long bridge opened.


The ferry landing and all remaining structures were demolished in 1968-69 and replaced by the current rest area. The Dismal Nitch name came from the Lewis & Clark expedition, who spent a couple miserable nights camped near here November 12-14, 1805.



·        Ctr Sec 24, T9N, R10W, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 46.2493537 / 46° 14' 58" N

·        Longitude: -123.8598904 / 123° 51' 36" W


Spokane Co.

In 1990, 70 people still lived in this tiny lumbering town on the Little Spokane River/SH 2, 24 miles north of Spokane, in the northern point of the county.


·        E-Ctr Sec 35 T29N, R43E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 47.9668399 / 47° 58’ 01” N

·        Longitude: -117.3316058 / 117° 19’ 54” W


Okanogan Co.

This is a wonderful old class D triple ghost in the mountains east of Oroville.  Old Molson was active from around 1900-1905.  New Molson was founded in 1905.  In 1914 a school was built between the two locations, and Center Molson was born. 

Molson is one of the towns featured in my new book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM

See our MOLSON page for additional details.


Okanogan Co.

Along the Similkameen River, 12 miles northwest of Oroville, and five miles south of the Canadian border. This late 1890s-1950s era gold milling center is quiet now, with only 30 people here in 1990.

Nighthawk is one of the towns featured in my new book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM


·        NWΌ Sec 13, T40N, R25E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 48.9665449 / 48° 58’ 00” N

·       Longitude: -119.6420210 / 119° 38’ 31” W


Okanogan Co.

Established in 1896, this gold mining town is at the confluence of Toroda Creek and Cougar Creek, northeast of Wauconda, four miles south of Bodie.


·        N-Ctr Sec 21, T38N, R31E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 48.7776639 / 48° 46’ 40” N

·        Longitude: -118.9114265 / 118° 54’ 41” W


Kitsap Co.

A class B lumber mill and shipping center located on the southeast end of Bainbridge Island, directly west of downtown Seattle.  Was in operation from 1863-1920s.  PHOTO!  A small housing development with the same name lies just to the east of the wharf ruins, which are on the north side of the west end of Blakely Harbor.


·        NEΌ of the SWΌ Sec 2, T24N, R2E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 47.5966395 / 47° 35’ 48” N

·        Longitude: -122.5158616 / 122° 30’ 57” W


Wahkiakum Co.

This class E former fishing town is located along SH 4, eight miles northwest of Cathlamet in a shallow backwater at the confluence of Skamokawa Creek/Brooks Slough and the north shore of the Columbia River.  It was a salmon fishing, canning and logging center, founded in the mid 1800s when access was only via riverboat.  Today it is a quaint little riverside community that has expanded almost to the point of it not needing to be listed here.


·        SWΌ Sec 6, NWΌ Sec 17, T9N, R6W, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

·        Latitude: 46.2696746 / 46° 16’ 11” N

·        Longitude: -123.4547297 / 123° 27’ 17” W


See our SKamokawa page for additional details.




There are over 50,000 ghost towns scattered across the United States of America. Gary B. Speck Publications is trying to capture as many of these historical locations as possible and 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.


For more information on the ghost towns of WASHINGTON, 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, and we'll see you out on the Ghost Town Trail!



These listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites in WASHINGTON as shown 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.   ALWAYS respect the rights of the landowners. 


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

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.




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FIRST POSTED:  April 08, 2001

LAST UPDATED: July 27, 2015




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