Ghost Town of Kent, Oregon

Name: Kent, Oregon

Class: D4

GPS: 45.1951258, -120.6942154


From The Dalles, head east along Highway 84 19 miles towards Biggs Junction. Follow signs south along Highway 97 towards Wasco or Grass Valley. Kent is 40 miles south of Biggs Junction.


There isn’t a lot of information about Kent. It seems that not a lot happened here, nor did the town get very large. Lewis McArthur writes in his venerable tome, Oregon Geographic Names;

“J.E. Norton, postmaster at Kent in 1926, wrote the compiler that a petition was circulated in Jan 1887, for a post office where the community of Kent is now situated. In order to select a name a number of persons wrote their preferences on slips of paper, which were subsequently stirred in a hat. The name, Kent, was drawn and was the one suggested by R.C. Bennet. M.H. Bennet was the first poster master. The only reason R.C. Bennett gave for the election of the word Kent was that it was “nice and short.” However, Giles French of Moro told the writer in 1975 that R.c. Bennett was not involved and that Milton H. Bennett was alone in the Kent venture and named the post office on his own.”

Richard Helbock in “Oregon Post Offices , 1947-1982″>Oregon Post Offices, 1947-1982” adds that the Post Office was opened on February 17, 1887 and that it was on the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company’s spur line.

Kent Oregon

Kent Oregon

Kent Oregon

Kent Oregon

Kent Oregon

The old wooden grain elevator, situated directly next to a newer concrete one, was removed several years ago.

More Information:

If you know any more information about Kent, please leave a comment below. Thank you!

17 Responses to “Ghost Town of Kent, Oregon

  • Hi Rick, sorry I’m late to the party…..another resource that is especially helpful for E. Ore towns is the Pacific Christian Advocate, a Methodist newspaper published first in Salem (1855), then in PDX from 1859 until 1932 where it merged with a larger paper. Why is this important? Because in those days Methodists were the MOST active of any entity in the NW in going where settlements were, and one can commonly find comments about small settlements in C and E Oregon (and W Oregon). All Methodist pastors took it, and one can find population stats, names, biz data, etc. Very valuable.

  • That is really cool! Do you happen to know if the paper’s archives are online anywhere?

    • They used to be. There was a woman who maintained a site long ago….but that is long gone, I believe. The best way is to go to your local library, and get microfilm through Inter-Library loan. If you know your target range, then you order what you’re looking for. Most of the settlement areas are clustered around certain dates and so you can narrow it down. For example, the heyday of Sherman County was about 1877-1910, and there is tons of stuff in there about Wasco, Moro, Grass Valley, Kent, Shaniko, Klondike, Grant, Rutledge, etc., etc. But you need to grind it out in front of a microfilm reader! Methodists were extremely active then, and they did not wait long before starting up a church……

      • Do you happen to know the name of the paper or the lady who was maintaining it? A quick Google search found the Oregon Spectator out of Oregon City was heavily Methodist, but I was not able to find any obvious ones from Salem.

        • No clue as to her name. The paper was called the Pacific Christian Advocate, printed in Salem in 1855, then moved to Portland from then on. If you live close to Salem I would imagine the state library carries it and I know that Willamette University carries it. So does the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma.

  • With this ghost town called Buncom which should have an better name that one called Buncom should be replaced and call it wolf town. from Wendy Sells

  • The majority of what made Kent a ghost town is Gone there was a really nice old homestead there with the windmill that you see in these photos its now gone too bad I wish we could preserve these old towns for historical and photography reasons

  • Too funny, I’m a resident of Kent. I enjoy every once and a while looking at what people have to say and the pictures they take of our town. I own the building in the 4th picture. Called the Rebecca hall, or ioof hall. My wife’s aunt’s family owns the old gas station and rock building that use to have a generator in it. Right now there is approximately 14 people that live here! The old grain elevator was torn down do to being a hazard. That’s my understanding. The old gas station my wife’s aunts family owns was closed in the 80’s because she was running it for the most part by her self and her husband was farming. There is a lot of rumors that the EPA shut them down, that’s not the case. Our town doesn’t mind people taking pictures or asking questions. Where a very friendly town. Every once in a while we have people that are not very respectful, I have offered on a few occasions unlocked the old building and let people look in the Rebecca hall. If you want to know about a lot of history in this town show up on a Sunday for church at 9:00 a.m. The older locals will have a lot of answers.

    • Are you talking about the little rock thing that is across from the gas station? I went that highway from Tacoma WA to go to a car show in my old convertible in Prineville just to see that old gas station and several other stops along the way and at 97 degrees out i still didn’t see all i wanted to. The 6 hr drive was 12 hrs or so by the time i got there but loved it! I had to stop and ‘get gas’ ya know! 🙂 My car was a dirt ball after the gravel road to see sun rise cemetery near wasco with woodsmen headstones! Wish I’d seen this before i went i would of for sure asked to see more and get more info! You most likely won’t see this reply but it was july 2017 that i went down there. Maybe I’ll make it again, never know! There is so much to see over there. I would post a pic if it were possible!

    • Todd, do you still live there? Like to get in touch with has station owners.

      • Yes I still live there. My wife’s aunt passed away but her daughter still lives in there house

  • I lived in Kent from 1948 until I graduated from college in 1957. My Uncle Eugene Knott was principal of the school. I was in the eighth grade when we moved there from Wisconsin. We had six in our class. I used to hike on the roads east of town . It was perfectly safe, but I understand that there are dangerous cats (pumas, mountain lions ?) that make it dangerous now. We had parties at the Rebecca Hall and the building that was across from what was the tavern. Our house is still there. It has a large mobile home parked in front of it in the picture. From my upstairs bedroom I could see Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt St Helens (before it blew its top) Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson. Looking east at night I could see the lights of Condon across the John Day River. We went on the 20miles to go to high school in Moro. Later the grade school children went to Grass Valley to school. Now the all
    schools in the county are in Moro.

  • I aiso went to school in Kent My aunt and uncle (Bill and Elaine Smith) lived across the road from the gym I have fond memories of Mr Knott and his kids. My grandmother Nell Smith was postmistress there for many years

  • Can anyone still move there to live

    • Yes, but property doesn’t come up for sale very often! The town at this time can’t sustain to many people! The town well is 11gpm and has a 30,000 gal cistern. And Rt now it has approximately 11 house holds on that cistern. Hope this helps

  • I would like to contact Mr Todd Mills directly if that is possible. I live in the Tri Cities and travel to San Luis Obispo CA (mother in law) regular basis. have stopped in kent lots of times—-dont think i ever saw an actual person on any occasion. Will be making the trip in early march 2021 and would like to meet mr. mills (socially distanced of course)
    thank you

    Troy Wilson

    • Just saw your post troy. Been a while since I’ve look at this sight. Weekends are usually best. When in doubt just knock on a door. All the neighbors are super friendly and you can ask them for me. Or leave a number with them and I will call you. If you went to school in Sherman county my wife said she probably went to school with a troy wilson. Lol and I don’t care about social distancing. Not scared of anything.

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