Ghost Town of Van Oregon
GPS: 43.99045, -118.68882
Directions: From John Day head south on Highway 395 or the John Day-Burns Highway for 36.6 miles. Turn left on Silvies-Hopper Ranch Rd. After about two miles it becomes NF-17. Follow that for 11.5 miles to Van-Drewsey Rd. Turn right at the “T” intersection. Van was .8 miles after the turn.
Van was named after local settler Van Middlesworth.
The General Store and Post Office for Van was reported to be at the “Tom Cleveland Place” though. Today this location still has a ranch with several modern buildings. Interestingly, an irrigation ditch called Cleveland Ditch runs parallel to the road and Wolf Creek for about half a mile. It looks to have irrigated the ranch here. The remains of a small dam still exist in Wolf Creek to run water through the ditch.
There is another smaller ranch about a quarter of a mile south of here that looks like it relied on the creek for all it’s water.
My information says that the town was actually up on the hill to the east of this first ranch. There is a dirt road that goes up to this location, but there is no sign of any buildings here. I’m assuming that the Cleveland Place probably served as the center of “town” for the ranches strung along Wolf Creek.
The Post Office was open for a pretty respectable span of time considering it’s location. It opened March 3, 1891 at “Calamity Creek.” Amaratha Bliss was the first post master. The post office closed on August 31, 1953 and was moved to Drewsy. There is no Calamity Creek in the area that I can find, so I assume that it was renamed to Wolf Creek.
As of 2008, the US Forest Service was selling their property in the area. I can not find any information about this property or its exact location. If you know anything more about it, please comment below!