Washington state ghost towns
Many Washington towns began with a boom and ended with a crash due to radical shifts of economy, access, or natural disaster. Here are just a few that…
SAN JUAN VILLAGE, San Juan County
SAN JUAN VILLAGE, San Juan County. The original site of San Juan village was on the island’s southern-most peninsula. It was abandoned after the British-American Pig War dispute ended and burned to the ground in 1890.
'Northern Pacific Freight Train, Attalia, WA, 1953' Giclee Print - Jim Frederickson | AllPosters.com
ATTALIA, Walla Walla County. Attalia was located on the east shore of the Columbia River two miles north of Wallula. Its post office was established in 1906 and remained in operation until 1952. It was a stop on both the NP and OR&N railways. The town’s newspaper, the News-Tribune, was established 1909. Some amount of oil exploration also took place during the 1920s, but, like the town, never amounted to much. Industrial plants including Boise Paper now occupy the townsite.
Deep River Wahkiakum County
DEEP RIVER, Wahkiakum County. First settled in 1875 by Finnish emigrants, Deep River was built on pilings because of the Columbia River tides which came in twice a day. By the 1890s it had become a thriving logging settlement with steamboat landing, post office, and a school. By 1917 it had two stores, a hotel, coffee shop, community hall, pool hall, a logging railroad, and daily boat service to Astoria. The restored Deep River Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church is worth a visit.
Camp Creek Mine Skamania County Washington
CAMP CREEK, Skamania County. Claims were staked as early as 1903 at Camp Creek. By 1930 a small water-powered separation mill was established. The bulk of production here was between 1934 and 1940. Even tunnel access to most of the mines has collapsed there is still some ongoing activity at the site.
OAKLAND, Mason County
OAKLAND, Mason County. Founded around 1850, this community had a church, several mills, stores, and a ferry. Mail was delivered by boat. Unfortunately, it was a “dry” town, and when nearby Shelton was built and served alcohol, Oakland’s prospects faded.
Once Upon a Ghost Town
COLBY, Kitsap County. Boasting a lumber mill, several stores, a hotel (by 1886), two blacksmiths, a school, doctor’s office, post office—and even an ice cream parlor—Colby’s founding fathers had once referred to the bustling town as “the Oakland of Seattle.” Wealthy Seattlelites came to it “to get away,” and thousands came by steamship for the infamous fireworks celebration. All that remain today are a few of the old homes.
FORT CASEY, Island County
FORT CASEY, Island County. Designed as part of the massive modernization program of U.S. seacoast fortifications, construction of Fort Casey on Whidbey Island began in 1897 as part of the “triangle of fire” to protect Puget Sound. With the invention of the airplane and other innovations, the fort’s batteries became obsolete. Fort Casey is now a marine camping park. Admiralty Head Lighthouse (pictured here before renovation) is located within the state park.
PING, Garfield County
PING, Garfield County. A post office called Ping was established in 1889, and remained in operation until 1910. The community has the name of Frank and Robert Ping, pioneer settlers. The cemetery east of the townsite (shown in photo) is about all that now remains.
Copper City Ghost Town
COPPER CITY, Yakima County. After the first mine claim was filed in 1889, Copper City grew to serve 42 active mining claims during the period from 1907 to 1942. By 1910 it had cabins, a bunkhouse, a sawmill, a blacksmith shop, and an ore mill. An elaborate water system provided the cabins with running water, and even modern telephone lines were installed. In the end, the mines never produced the riches expected. By 1948 all of the machinery in the town was moved to more profitable mining areas.
Monticello Convention Black Walnut, Monticello, WA
MONTICELLO, Cowlitz County. With a post office set up in 1850, it was first named Mount Solo but renamed in 1852 after early settler’s home town in Indiana. In the same year delegates met there to petition for a new territory out of Oregon Territory. Monticello became the seat of newly created Cowlitz County of Washington Territory in 1854. The town was partially adandoned after the flood of 1867 and lost its post office in 1876. Another devastating flood in 1884 finished off this historic town.
ALTO, Columbia County
ALTO, Columbia County. A post office called Alto was established in 1882 and remained in operation until 1903. The community was so named on account of its lofty elevation. Alto is now an extinct town.
ETNA, Clark County
ETNA, Clark County. This small farming community had its own post office from 1882 to 1918. Not much original remains except the restored Cedar Creek grist mill which still operates and has a small museum inside. A covered bridge crosses the creek next to the mill. The name of the town is a transfer from Etna, Indiana. Photo from Google Maps by Kimberly Hunt.
Pysht - Washington Ghost Town
PYSHT, Clallam County. Homesteaded in the early 1880s along the fertile Pysht River, demand for spruce for WWI airplanes resulted in a logging boom that grew the town. In the 1920s the Klallam village co-located there was demolished while the villagers were away to build a lumber mill (https://www.youtube.com/embed/m3jUwBI-Mb0). All that today remains is a current tree farm with its office in an original building, along with a superintendent’s house, guest house, and several workmen’s houses.
Farmer Community Hall - Washington
FARMER, Douglas County. Brought to life with the arrival of the Great Northern Railroad in 1895, the community Farmer lasted to about 1961. Farmer consisted of a post office, general store, community hall, and service station. The community hall (still used for dinners, dances and receptions), the cemetery and building ruins are all that remain of Farmer.
Blewett Chelan County WA
BLEWETT, Chelan County. A site of mining activity in the 1860s and where a stamp mill was constructed in 1878, its name started as Werner with the establishment of a post office in 1893. A year later its name was changed to Blewitt. The town was complete with hotel, saloon, assay office, black smith, and school. The mine mill ceased operations around 1905 when the ore vein ran out. Today only ruins of the stamp mill, arrastra, and tramway ruins, and mines remain.