Quartzburg California

John and Robert Burns first settled on the site of Quartzburg in 1847. A mining camp known alternatively as Burns’ Creek, Burns’ Camp, Burns’ Ranch, and Burns’ Diggings grew up here. In 1849 the camp had a large number Mexican emigrants from Sonora. They were soon kicked out, possibly for racist reasons, more likely because they had rich gold mines, and blamed for the town’s general lawlessness. They moved to nearby Hornitos and formed a new town – one who’s mines were even richer. After word of that reached Quartzburg, it died quickly as all the miners moved to Hornitos California.

A post office was built here in 1851. It was named by Thomas Thorn for all the quartz outcroppings along the creek. It managed to last until 1861 before closing.

The last remains of Quartzburg were plowed over in 1979 – for a highway. All the remains now is the cemetery.

If you know anything more about Quartzburg (such as it’s exact location, and if there are any remaining buildings,) please comment below!

Top Ten Oregon Ghost Towns

Top Ten Oregon Ghost Towns

I get asked quite often “Of the three hundred Ghost Towns of Oregon, which ones should I visit?”

Golden

Golden Oregon is one of the best preserved Ghost Towns in Western Oregon. It is now part of the Oregon State Parks and is being preserved as part of the park program. It is located an easy drive off of I-5, making it one of the most accessible ghost towns for travelers driving up from California.

The last of three churches once in Golden Oregon

Buncom

Also off of I-5 near Jacksonville (a historic town, and great stop in it’s own right,) is the much smaller town of Buncom Oregon. It only consists of three buildings, but the town is well preserved by locals and hosts the annual “Buncom Day” and event that includes food booths, a parade, and a number of family friendly fun events. It is highly recommended, all proceeds go to preserve the town.

Top Ten Oregon Ghost Towns - Downtown Buncom

The old Post Office and mess hall building in Buncom

Central Oregon’s high desert area plays host to a large number of ghost towns. Unfortunately the weather may preserve old buildings too well. Many have been removed and reused over the decades so few full towns exist. But what does is still worth the visit.

Boyd

Boyd Oregon is another very easy to visit town. Located only 11 miles from The Dallas, the town has two striking features left. One is a massive grain elevator made of heavy timbers and well preserved. The other is the old mill owner’s stone house. The house is most visible in the winter, but can still be glimpsed in the spring when the historic bushes and trees around it obscure it from the road. Keep in mind that both buildings are on private property.

Boyd's old Grain Elevator

Boyd’s old Grain Elevator

Friend

South East of Boyd by about 17 miles is Friend. The buildings consist of a well preserved church (including it’s still functional outhouse,) and general store with another attached building next to it. The Church is on Public Property and can be easily visited. The General Store is technically on private property but is also viewable.

Friend Oregon General Store

Friend Oregon General Store

Shaniko

Shaniko Oregon is likely one of Oregon’s most photographed ghost town. This is because it embraced it’s ghost town status a long time ago and became a tourist roadside attraction. By no means does this mean it is kitschy and full of “Made in China” gifts though. But it does mean that many buildings in the town from the unique design of the school to an old barber shop are quite well preserved.

The Shaniko School House

The Shaniko School House

Mitchell

Mitchell Oregon is part of the forgotten Oregon. Located in almost the geographic middle of Oregon, it was once a fairly decent tourist town itself. Even that has fallen off though, but it is still worth a visit if you’re driving along Highway 26 in central Oregon. Make sure to stop by the Painted Hills while traveling through.

Hardman

Of every town on this list, Hardman Oregon is the hardest to get too. The roads aren’t bad, it is just far from most other destinations. But, it is well worth the side trip if you are traveling along Highway 26. The town has a permanent population of about 25 people, and a summer population of 50. Many preserved buildings and homes are here, and almost all are great picture opportunities. The Hardman Community Center doubles as the town’s historic center and meeting hall.

Hardman Community Center

Hardman Community Center taken by Gary

Galena

Galena Oregon is probably my personal favorite ghost town. It is located along the “Up Middle Creek Fork Road,” which is a beautiful drive. The road follow the river below and is on the “Old West Scenic Bikeway.” The town itself is a collection of old homes with few services. Along the river though are a number of abandoned and decaying farms, along with lots of wildlife. This should definitely be on your to visit list. Also nearby is another ghost town, Susanville Oregon. Alas, this one is closed to the public as it is on private property.

Abandoned farm outside of Galena Oregon

Abandoned farm outside of Galena Oregon

Sumpter

Sumpter Oregon is the most famous of a ten ghost towns that were once connected together by the Sumpter Valley Railroad along the Powder River. Today the town hosts the Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area (maintained by Oregon State parks,) the Sumpter Valley Railroad, a small, but nice logging museum, and lots of camping. Many people stay the summer here panning for gold. If you go, be sure to visit the other nearby towns like Granite, Bourne, and Whitney below.

Gold Dredge #1 in Sumpter Oregon

Gold Dredge #1 in Sumpter Oregon

Whitney

Despite it’s location near the rich gold fields along the Powder River in Eastern Oregon, Whitney Oregon was a saw mill town. At it’s height, three saw mills worked 24/7. Logs were shipped in via the Sumpter Valley Railroad, turned into lumber and shipped out again to all the gold mining towns. At it’s height, 150 people lived here. All that remains are a half dozen homes, about half of which are still occupied by a few die-hard residents.

One of the abandoned homes in Whitney Oregon

One of the abandoned homes in Whitney Oregon

I hope you enjoyed my Top Ten Oregon Ghost Towns list. If you’re interested in seeing what other ghost towns Oregon has, visit my comprehensive Ghost Towns of Oregon map. Please comment below if you feel I’ve left out any must see ghost towns!

Ghost Town of Union Oregon (Clackamas County)

Name: Union (Clackamas County)
Class: Uknown
GPS: 45.4206764, -122.4137002
Directions: In Damascus, on SE 242nd Avenue where the Deep Creek-Damascus School is now.

Description:
*NOTE* This town is different then Union in Union County. Nothing is known about this town though. If you know anything, please comment below

Bibliography:

Uniontown Oregon (Jackson County)

Name: Uniontown (Jackson County)
Class: Unknown
GPS: 42.1984581,-123.0442105
Directions: From Jacksonville head South West on Highway 238, at 7.7 miles take a left on Upper Applegate Road. The town site was 3 miles at the intersection of Upper Applegate Road, and Little Applegate Road (towards Buncom)

Description:
A post office was opened in Theodoric Cameron’s (or Theodore Cameron,) general store in April 1879. It served the local settlers at the mouth of the Little Applegate River. Cameron was the only postmaster and named the post office due to his Republican Politics, and Unionist leanings during the American Civil War. The post office lasted until September 1891. Cameron came to Oregon on the 1852 Wagon Train.

Bibliography:

Fort Hoskins, Oregon

Fort Hoskins was one of three forts built in the Oregon territory to protect white settlers from coastal indians on the Siletz Reservation and to protect those same indians from white settlers.

Drawing of Fort Hoskins

By all accounts from both military records, and from journals kept by two soldiers stationed at the fort, it was a lonely and quiet post. But, Fort Hoskins and its northern twin, Fort Yamhill had solid connections to the American Civil War. The third fort was Fort Umpqua to the south.

The first connection was in the person of Captain Christopher Columbus Augur. Already a veteran of the US-Mexican War, he would later go on to become a general during the Civil War commanding a division in one of the Civil Wars last battles at the siege of Port Hudson. He was also in command of the troops protecting Washington D.C. and commanded the detail of soldiers who marched with Abraham Lincoln’s body. After the war he would play a major role in Indian negotiations in the midwest.

At the command of Brig. General John E. Wool, Captain Augur scouted the site of Fort Hoskins. He located it on a ridge above the Luckiamute Indian trail and near the community of Kings Valley. The location was ideal as it watched over one of two trails into the Siletz Valley and Indian Reservations, and was able to draw upon the local community for goods and services when needed.

The “fort” was constructed during the winter of 1856-1857 by a second Civil War connection, General Philip Sheridan whose calvary was instrumental in forcing the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox and thus ending the Civil War.

Fort Hoskins 2010

View of the Fort Grounds as seen in 2010. Note how the bluff matches the drawing above

Unfortunately Sheridan was only a lowly second lieutenant and the most junior officer at this time. He was originally assigned to Fort Yamhill, but was detailed to build a military road, build and garrison a couple of blockhouses closer to the reservation, and was in charge of building Fort Hoskins. After the Fort was built, he would remain there as Quartermaster.

The fort itself wasn’t a traditional fort. It lacked any type of fortifications except a guard house that was mostly used as a jail. It had 15 to 20 buildings arranged across the bluff around a 100 foot tall flag pole. The entire thing was surrounded by a low picket fence.

Map of Fort Hoskins

By the time the Civil War broke out in 1861, Fort Hoskins was no longer needed. It’s soldiers were redeployed to the East Coast and fort was garrisoned by Union volunteers from California and Oregon. It was finally shut down on April 16th, 1865 and all the property was sold at auction. Many of the buildings were moved to nearby towns, although Samuel and Mary Frantz lived in the hospital until they built their own home nearby.

The short lived town of Hoskins sprung up next to the fort site, built with some of these buildings.

Despite that, during the Civil War the fort was of interest to both the South and Southern sympathizers living in the Oregon Territory at the time. One of them, The Knights of the Golden Circle, headquartered in Monroe Oregon reportedly drew a crowd of 1000 people to attack and seize the fort and the ammunition and guns stored there. It is also reported that the crowd was too drunk to do so.

The fort site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Benton County took over the site in 1992 and have restored it as a park. Since then it has undergone multiple archeological digs led by David Brauner, an archaeologist at Oregon State. The most interesting event though is that one of the original buildings was found in nearby Peedee and has been returned to the Fort’s grounds. This house was thought to have been Captain Auger’s quarters during his stay here. When it was sold it was dismantled and floated down the Luckiamute River. It was moved back in 2012 and has been erected on it’s original site.

Visit Fort Hoskins


Directions to Fort Hoskins. From Salem Oregon, head west on Highway 22 to Rickerall. Take a left onto Highway 99W, and pass through Monmouth Oregon. At 7.3 miles turn right onto Airlie Road, until you get to Airlie (the town was not marked on my 2013 visit, so watch for the road signs.) Turn left onto Maxfield Creek Road. At 7.4 miles turn left on to OR-223 S. It should be marked with a sign pointing to Kings Valley and Peedee. At 1.5 miles turn right onto Hoskins road. At about one mile you’ll see the Frantz-Dunn House on your right. The Park’s entrance is another half mile on the right.