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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  As a result, many of the ghost towns listed in the various Washington Ghost Towns books are badly outdated.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.


·        SW¼ 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


·        SW¼ 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.


·        SW¼ 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.


·        SW¼ Sec 1, T38N, R31E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

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

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


·        SW¼ Sec 1, T38N, R31E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

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

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




·        SW¼ Sec 1, T38N, R31E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

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

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

Near Loomis, which is 13 miles west of Ellisford.  Ellisford is on US 97, 11 miles south of Oroville.  The overgrown site is located on a four-wheel-drive trail.


·        SW¼ Sec 1, T38N, R31E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

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

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


·        SW¼ 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 Henderson Bay, 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.


·        SW¼ Sec 1, T38N, R31E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

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

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


·        NW¼ of the NW¼ 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 east of the main road along Boulder Creek.  A fascinating gold mining town with 30 folks remaining in 1990.


·        SW¼ Sec 1, T38N, R31E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

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

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


·        SW¼ Sec 1, T38N, R31E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

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

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


Kittitas Co.

Gold mining camp along Williams Creek, two miles south of Liberty.  It was the original camp and the people moved to Liberty as it was in a better location.


·        SW¼ Sec 1, T38N, R31E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

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

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


            A mile east of the bridge, Megler is marked by a few clusters of pilings that indicate where the once-extensive docks and wharves were located.  Hundreds of dark piling stubs poke about three feet out of the water, serving as perches for numerous birds and in some cases grasses sprouting from the rotted, rounded tops.

            Megler was originally established by Marshall Kenny in 1880 as a “fishing station”.  The sources don’t give a name until 1906, when the Ilwaco Railroad terminated its Ilwaco narrow gauge rail line here, naming the facility Cooks Station.  The Ilwaco Company’s holdings were later purchased by the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company which constructed a 120’ wide by 900’ long wharf, onto which they ran the railroad tracks.  In 1908 the wharves began operation and the site was renamed Megler.  The railroad also had a large oil tank, service facilities and a turntable at the busy freighting center.  The railroad portion shut down in 1930.

            By 1921, the demand for ferry service from Astoria to the Megler area and southwestern Washington was answered by Captain Fritz Elfving, who operated a ferry from Astoria to McGowan (west of the present bridge).  In 1928, the Union Pacific Railroad opened a ferry service from Astoria to Megler, but they were bought out in 1932 by Elfving and he moved his entire operation to Megler.  He in turn was bought out by the State of Oregon in 1946, and they operated it until it shut down on July 28, 1966, just a month before the 4.1 mile-long bridge opened.

            The ferry landing was demolished in 1968-69 and the current rest area built in its place. The Dismal Nitch name for the rest stop came from the Lewis & Clark expedition, which spent a couple miserable nights camped near here November 12-14, 1805.

            A short distance to the northeast the road curves around Hungry Harbor, now a small cluster of homes in the trees north of the highway, with another large crop of dock/wharf pilings along the shore. There is also what appears to be a grounded barge sitting about ¾ mile north of the rest stop.  In 1881, a cannery was built here by John West. 

On the far side of Hungry Harbor, the highway rounds Cliff Point and crosses a low causeway across Knappton Cove. 



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.


·        SW¼ Sec 1, T38N, R31E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

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

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


·        NW¼ 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!


·        SW¼ Sec 1, T38N, R31E, Willamette Base Line & Meridian

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

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


·        SW¼ Sec 6, NW¼ 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 10, 2015




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