Oregon Ghost Towns
Oregon has more ghost towns that any other state, and there are many websites dedicated to their history and in inhabitants. However, here are some of the more interesting ones to get you started on your “ghostly” trek.
Ashwood: Located in central Oregon near Trout Creek, Ashwood became a mining boom town in the spring of 1897 when quartz as well as silver and gold, was discovered on its rocky slopes. In no time at all saloons, hotels, livery stables and stores were built and Ashwood was a new town. Commerce eventually petered out and the town’s inhabitants left for richer fields and larger cities. Today only a few buildings remain to remind visitors of what once was.
Austin: Unlike many owns in the west, Austin did
not begin as a boom town or a mining camp. Rather, its roots
go back to being a supply depot for Blue
Mountain area gold camps. The town had 3 large sawmills,
a hotel, a stagecoach way-station, a post office, assorted
stores, office buildings and a jail. The town’s population
peaked at 500, then diminished to 50 by the end of WWII
and by the 1970s had all but disappeared.
Mitchell: Named for U.S. Senator J.H. Mitchell, the 1880s town was built near a stream known as Bridge Creek. It had many buildings including a blacksmith, and a hotel. By 1884, the town was very prosperous; however, when the rainy season brought severe thunder storms which caused a great deal of damage to the town. Complete buildings were washed away and the streets were covered with boulders, mud, and debris. Then in 1904 yet another storm demolished 28 structures and 2 people were killed. The town, like many others, was rebuilt and today visitors are delighted by its buildings and history.
Shaniko: Located near the Columbia River Gorge,
Shaniko was started with intentionality. The town was designed
to help with the transportation of wool. Consequently, it
was known as the wool center of the west coast. By 1900,
the town consisted of a hotel, a combined city hall, firehouse
and jail, and a general store. Soon thereafter, a school,
post office, and chapel were built. Today you can still
see some of the original houses, the old sheep barn, the
original school and part of the wool barn. The chapel, hotel
and an ice cream parlor are still in operation. There are
also antique shops, and antique cars. Convenient to the
town is a small campground with tent sites and RV sites
As you visit the many Oregon ghost towns, you will discover their differences—total dilapidation, partial disrepair, complete desertion --as well as their similarities—history and unique cemeteries/gravestones. You will see that some of the towns still have descendants of the original families, and that other towns are empty and seemingly impossible to find. But one thing is certain, as you travel Oregon’s byways and highways looking for ghost towns to explore, you will meet great people and see a variety of wildlife along the way.
Below is a list of the Oregon ghost towns and the county in which they are located.
ANTELOPE ORIGINAL -Wasco
INSKIP STATION -Malheur
Want to see other haunted places? If so check out our haunted Georgia guide.
Photo Credits: Ghost Town Photos by Zack