Ghost town of Cabell City, Oregon

Ghost town of Cabell City, Oregon

I’m not convinced that Cabell City was ever a “real” city in the traditional sense, at least, it never had a post office that I can find information about. It is pretty obvious that at a minimum it was a fairly decent sized gold mining camp though. Oregon Geographic Names says that Fred E. and John B. Cabell located the La Bellevue Mine nearby. Mining cars most likely came from the mine to the mill here to process the stone and extract gold.

The “city” as it is is a bit hard to find physically, but the location is easily viewable on Google Maps. After driving National Forest Develop Road 7335, there is a gate on the left hand side that says “Please do not block.” You have to walk up the road to see a sign that says “Cabell Cemetery 100 Yards.”

Cabell City Bridge

If you look the way of the arrow, you’ll see this bridge. Following the path takes you up to a small fenced off (by the U.S. Forest Service,) graveyard. Only one grave marker remains, but according to the USFS, Fred Cabell, his wife Johanna, and their eight year old daughter are all buried here. Only Johanna’s grave seems to still be marked with a wooden marker which is nearly impossible to read.

Following the original road, someone’s trailer is parked on the right hand side. No one was at home when I came through. A few yards past that is the main part of the town. Electricity still seems to be in the area, and several of the buildings were wired, including a couple of sheds. According to there are several buildings in the area. I was only able to find two small sheds, the ore processing building and what looks like a house.

Ghost town of Cabell City, Oregon

Ghost town of Cabell City, Oregon

I didn’t have a lot of time to really explore as it wasn’t too long until dark, but there were several tantalizing trails in the area obviously created by 4×4 ATV vehicles. Perhaps one or two of them would have led off to another building or two.

16 Responses to “Ghost town of Cabell City, Oregon

  • I remember spending my Summers in that cabin, working the mine, running the mill and processing the concentrates. Great memories. Sad to see how looters have destroyed the place since.

  • My young son and I found this place with the help of a forest service ranger. It was about 2008. We left it just as we found it. I heard that it wasn’t hold that was being mined there but some kind of quartzite.

    • Hello Chris! Thank you for stopping by.

      Technically the mine is pulling up quartz. But they then crush it to a fine powder and separate the gold flakes out. In theory one could make pretty good money finding old mine tailing piles of quartz and then processing it.

  • I visited Cabell City in 1985. At that time there were remnants of the John B. Cabell family home about a half a mile up the road. Part of the old La Bellevue Mine stamp mill was still standing. My father said the mine was established circa 1875 by his father John B. and uncle, Fred Cabell. I have a picture of my father as a child with my grandfather and grandmother in front of the cabin.

    • Hello Mr. Cabell… I have long been curious about the correct pronunciation of the name, Cabell. I think you would be the perfect person to set the record straight. Is it pronounced ‘a’ like the letter ‘A’, Ca-bell, or perhaps ‘ah’ like ‘say ah’ at the doctors office, Cah-bell. I have also heard it pronounced ‘oh’, like ‘oh no’, Coh-ble.

      As a teenager in the late 70’s, my parents leased a small cabin in the area from the forest service. It was a log cabin about 1/2 mile from the mine building, but it was downstream on Little Onion Creek. Do you know any of the history of that small cabin. I remember a couple, Rose & Harley Haskins. I believe they were caretakers of some sort.

      • Hello Lori,

        We pronounce the Ca — with a short “a” sound like in cat — and the bell part — ble, like in table. Or, you could think of it as rhyming with the word “dabble.”

        My father lived with his parents in a log cabin on the same hillside as the La Bellevue mine stamp mill, above a creek. When we visited the area in the mid 80s, it was in ruin, as was the stamp mill. I don’t know if it could possibly be the cabin you stayed in in the 70s or not.

        Rudy Cabell

  • My husband and I just purchased the claim rights for Cabell City Placer Mine. We would like to inquire as to who had put the new white crosses in the cemetery? Anyone know? Unfortunately it looks like a fire had come through there, but rest assured the cemetery was not touched, as was not most of the property. Unfortunately again, it looks like people have abused this historical site. We purchased the mineral rights to help preserve a part of Oregon’s history. Also, we would like to reach out and ask if anyone knows the name of the daughter? We would like to put a family headstone to show our respect and God blessings of the hard working family. Any help would be much appreciated.
    Adam and Carmen Warren

    • We found Cabell City this last Sept. Enjoyed walking around and taking pictures, left it the way we found it. We enjoy the history of these old sites and respect them too much to take or damage them. We were told that the Forrest Service put up the white crosses.

    • In answer to your question about the white crosses at the cabell city cemetery my son Chad Daniel put them there out of respect to that family.

      Bob Daniel
      Hermiston, Oregon
      Sep. 22, 2020

  • I am the great-great-grandaughter of John Cabell. He was the co-founder of Cabell city and owner of several mines in the area, including the La Bellevue Mine, along with his brother, Fred Cabell. It is Fred’s wife, Joanna, whose headstone is still readable in the Cabell City graveyard. Sadly, the only elder member of this branch of the family still living is my 90 year old father, Rodolph (Rudy) Cabell, Jr. Unfortunately, he was never told the name of Fred and Joanna’s daughter, who died at the age of six.

    • My family is Cable, of Cable Cove and Cable Creek which is northeast of Granite. My Great Grandfather and his brothers operated the Columbia Mine. Do you know if our families are related perhaps with a variation in spelling?

  • Hello Tanna,

    I believe there is no relationship. I belong to the Cabell Family Foundation and there has never been a reference to the family name being spelled Cable, and our only know affiliation with mines in the Eastern Oregon area is La Bellevue.

    Shelley Cabell Moore

    • Hi Shelly, Im in the process of doing a video or two about the LaBellevue Mine and would like to chat with you about your family history. Shoot me an email at [email protected]

  • I have many memories of spending the summers at Cabell City. My grandparents, Harley and Rose Haskin owned or leased it in some way, I am not really sure. (probably the 50’s through the 80’s) possibly the mineral rights or what have you. This was in the 70’s and early 80’s. (I graduated Baker High School in 82)
    The mines were being worked then, dynamiting, hauling gold ore etc. But as kids, lets say 10 through 16 age wise. We were just exploring and fishing, mostly..helping out with the mining aspect very little, reading comic books, swimming in the “frog pond” and just having the best summers year after year. We all had alot of chores there, but they were all pretty easy, and we did them with a smile to make it easier on everyone. We were the grandkids on Rose’s side of the family…Curt, Chris (me) and Pam and also Rob, Missy, and Cindy our cousins on Harleys side. Good times.
    We picked and made Princess Pine tea, and wild raspberries, huckleberries that grandma would bake pies out of. We ate cornmeal mush and hand sliced bacon every morning cooked on the wood stove. No running water so we packed it from the creek.
    The outhouse was named Mrs Jones. So it was always “I’m gonna go see Mrs Jones” if you had to go, to all involved. It seemed the wasps hung out around there, so you had to be on your toes and not spend too much time around there, or you would get stung on occasion trust me on that…Grandma Rose washed our clothes on a gas powered washing machine once a week, but if that broke down, which it would, there was a couple washboards we would have to use to do our own laundry on them. Everything was hung on a line to dry, always crisp like cardboard afterwards when you took it off the line, and it smelled like the clean forest air.
    We would also snow machine up to Cabell City in the winter to check on everything with Rose and Harley. Also ride to Bart’s cabin as well. (Harley’s brother Bart, who passed away in 68) But they worked/maintained it and we would stay there for weeks at a time in the summer as well, packing water and cooking on a woodstove. It also had a mining claim on property This is where grandpa Harley died in 1985.
    I miss those days and miss all the family very much.
    Father time is undefeated.
    Blessings to all.

    • I recently found this website after reading Jason Jacoby’s article in the Baker City Herald. It brought back old memories of when I worked with your Grandma Rose at Albertsons in1968. I loved the stories she told about their mining adventures at LaBellevue Mine. We camped at Crane Flats when my sons were very small and rode our dirt bikes up to visit Rose and Harley. That has been over 50 years ago as my sons (Steve and Scott Hawkins) went to school with you and Curt. We bought a place at Bourne in ‘71 and I never forgot Rose’s caution about drinking creek water a the arsenic leached out of the mines. Rose was always a hard worker and kind person. I think of her often.

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