The Ghost Towns of Central Oregon – Part 6 – Friend

Due to some unexpected events, I wasn’t able to finish off the Ghost Towns Blog Series as soon as I would have liked.

The unexpected event….

This is the final in the Ghost Towns of Central Oregon.

Friend, Oregon

Welcome to Friend, buddy

In its prime, the town consisted of a schoolhouse, a store, a train depot, and a cemetery. The town Friend was named after George Friend who had the original post office established on his own homestead in 1903.

Like the nearby ghost towns that we have already visited, the town seemed to only exist because of the railroad. Friend was the end of the line for the Great Southern Railroad, but when a new rail line was built from Dufur to The Dalles, then the little town of Friend all but shut down. The Friend train depot closed in 1928, and Friend has been considered a ghost town since the early 1930’s.

Hi, Friend!
Friend Store.
Friend school.

The old Friend Store is located on private property now, but the schoolhouse was open for self-tours. Although there are a few ranches nearby, Friend was probably the ghostiest of the ghost towns that we visited during our Central Oregon Ghost Town Trip.

This building sits alone in the middle of a field. Rumor mill says it used to be a bank.
Inside the school house looking out.
A piano remains in the school building.
School’s out…
The only friend I actually met in Friend.

Now that our central Oregon ghost town tour has come to an end, we will begin working on our summer travel plans. What are you summer camping/travel/RVing plans?

Ghost Towns of Central Oregon – Part 5 – Lonerock

Welcome to Lonerock

The small town of Lonerock was founded in 1881 to provide much needed supplies and services for all of the local ranches. After much deliberation, I’m sure, the town was named for the lone rock that still sits next to the Methodist Church.

A rock. Alone. A lone rock if you prefer.

Although we didn’t see any active businesses in Lonerock, people do still live there. Also, the Gilliam County website states that the church is still used for weddings and special occasions.

A lone church

Lonerock is located in the southeast corner of Gilliam County. Surrounded by grassland there are only three ways in or out of town, but only one of them is paved.

As I was saying, there are only two ways in and out of Lonerock, but only one of them is paved.
Rolling hills of grasslands
A lone cabin nearby

During its prime the town had a sawmill, post office, jail, church, and a school.

A lone school house
A lone community building
A lone gas pump
A lone jail

Once the sawmill in Lonerock closed down, people started moving away to larger cities, like The Dalles, to find work. Over the next next 70 years the population dwindled down to only 11 residents by 1990.

However, according to the last census the population had increased to 21, which shows that residents in small towns in the middle of nowhere are quite capable of entertaining themselves.

A lone cow doing a lone moo

Ghost Towns of Central Oregon – Part 4 – Rajneeshpuram

ghost town
noun
a town that was busy in the past but is now empty
or nearly empty because the activities that kept
people there have stopped

Rajneeshpuram

Chandra Mohan Jain aka Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh aka Osho (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Chandra Mohan Jain was born December 11, 1931 in India. He later became known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. In the 1960’s he traveled throughout India as a public speaker sharing his philosophies and criticizing orthodox religions.  Bhagwan encouraged meditation, mindfulness, celebration, courage, and humor. His teachings on having an open attitude of sexuality is what caused him the most controversy during his life.

In the early 1970’s Bhagwan and his followers, which were called neo-sannyasins, settled in Pune, Maharashtra, India. The neo-sannyasins built an ashram for Bhagwan, which is similar to a monastery, where his followers could learn his teachings. By the late ’70s the ashram was in debt to the Indian government for back taxes of over $5 million.

And this is where Oregon comes in.

Central Oregon

Bhagwan became interested in the United States and sent his people to create a new ashram. His right hand woman, Ma Anand Sheela, purchased land in Oregon near the small town of Antelope with the money they had saved on their taxes.

Rajneeshpuram (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

The Big Muddy Ranch in central Oregon became Rancho Rajneesh, and was later incorporated as the city of Rajneeshpuram. The commune was an enormous 64,229 acres. Rajneeshpuram had a 160-room hotel, a 2 acre meeting hall, shopping malls, restaurants, laundromats, city police, and even an airport. For being a spiritual leader Bhagwan sure had a taste for the finer things; like 85 Rolex watches and 93 Rolls Royce.

(Photo Credit: SIPA/Rex/Shutterstock)
Part of the runway for the Rajneeshpuram airport, and an old fire truck in the background.

Rajneeshpuram was a bustling city and its resident were the only ones happy about it. The following years were filled with legal battles between the Rajneesh and local farmers and Oregon government. Most conflicts were due to illegal land use by the commune and the commune’s unwillingness to compromise.

The main office of Rajneeshpuram, as it looks today.

After the Rajneeshees established Bhagwan as a religious leader in the United States, he began a vow of silence and Sheela became his voice. Eventually Sheela started using her own voice to gain local political power. At her direction some members of the commune moved into the nearest town, Antelope. In time they managed to get themselves voted onto the city council and they changed the name of Antelope to Rajneesh.

Dedicated to those of this community who throughout the Rajneesh invasion and occupation of 1981-1985 remained, resisted, and remembered…”The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burk

Flexing their political muscles gave the Rajneesh even more bad press. Rumors that the commune was nothing more than a sex cult with rampant drug use irritated everyone…except for those having the sex most likely. Gossip was that even Bhagwan had his own drug problem of a lot of Valium and inhaling nitrous-oxide for fun.

Temporary housing for the 1983 First World Celebration. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

In the summers of 1983 and 1984 Rajneeshpuram held World Celebration Festivals. During the festivals there were up to 15,000 neo-sannyasins visiting rural central Oregon. The Rajneeshees were spreading through Wasco and Jefferson counties like a bright red STD.

Bhagwan driving one of his Rolls Royce to wave at his followers. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

In October of 1984 neo-sannyasins, following the orders of Ma Anand Sheela, poisoned multiple salad bars at restaurants in The Dalles, Oregon with Salmonella. The purpose? It was a practice run for election day in November. The goal was to keep the citizens of The Dalles home sick so they couldn’t vote, which would give the Rajneeshees even more political power. No one died during the attack, but the 750 people that got food poisoning probably wished they had. The incident is considered the first bioterrorism attack in the United States. It is still questioned as to whether Bhagwan was the mastermind behind the bioterrorism or if Sheela planned it on her own.

Rajneesh propaganda that is completely fake.
According to rumor this is the building that the Rajneesh grew their Salmonella.

By 1985 Rajneeshpuram was falling apart. Bhagwan began insisting that he was not a religious leader and ordered his neo-sannyasins to burn all his teachings and books. In October of ‘85 a grand jury indicted Rajneesh and several of his disciples with conspiracy to evade immigration laws. His lawyers, which were of course neo-sannyasins, made a deal with the US Attorney’s office. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was given a 10 year suspended sentence, 5 years of probation and a $400,000 fine – and the agreement that he leave the United States.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh left Oregon and went back to India. He changed his name to Osho and continued his spiritual teachings to new and old neo-sannyasins. Osho died January 19, 1990 in Pune, India of natural causes. His philosophies and teachings are still available, and you can still join his cult if you like. Just visit https://www.osho.com/

Apartment Buildings still standing
Currently there are signs saying that this is maintenance housing.

By 1987 Rajneeshpuram was empty of the followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The state of Oregon took ownership of the town for past due taxes and fines, and then sold it to Dennis Washington. Washington attempted to run a ranch for profit (The Washington Family Ranch), and when that failed he tried to sell the land back to Oregon to be used as a state park. Oregon said oh, hells no!

Welcome – Young Life – Washington Family Ranch

In 1996 The Washington Family Ranch donated the land to Young Life, a Christian youth organization. Since 1999 they have held various youth summer camps, festivals, and retreats.

Welcome to summer camp!

The city of Rajneeshpuram is so ghost town that it isn’t a town anymore…just a church camp where people congregate to hear the word of Jesus, a man who hung out with people of open sexuality and shared his philosophies and beliefs of prayer (meditation and mindfulness), church (celebration), and standing up for your fellow man (courage); plus he liked to brag about his 3-day hide and seek championship (humor).

A rainbow seen shining down on The Old Muddy Ranch aka Rajneeshpuram aka Washington Family Young Life Camp. Which one got the nod from God? Who knows. He works in mysterious ways.

Ghost Towns of Central Oregon – Part Three – Antelope

ghost town
noun
a town that was busy in the past but is now empty 
or nearly empty because the activities that kept 
people there have stopped

Antelope

Antelope Public School

The Antelope Post Office was built in 1871, and the tiny community of Antelope became the tiny town of Antelope. The town’s population peaked at 249 in 1900, after the Columbia Southern Railway completed a rail line between the Columbia River to just north of Antelope in the town of Shaniko. The State of Oregon incorporated Antelope in 1901 and the population has had a pretty steady decline since then. The 2010 census put the population at 46.

One of the older buildings in Antelope. I am sure these walls have secrets.
City of Antelope Fire Department
An old hose house for the fire department.
Hose Cart No. 2

Antelope found it’s fame in 1981 when the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh purchased the Old Muddy Ranch land just 18 miles southeast of Antelope. It quickly became clear to the residents of Antelope that the Rajneeshees were not just there for some small town farming. The Rajneeshees turned the Old Muddy Ranch into their own city, named Rajneeshpuram.

Lead by Bhagwan and Ma Anand Sheela, the Rajneesh flexed their newfound local power and took over the city council of Antelope – and even went so far as to rename the town Rajneesh. After nefarious actions by some of the citizens of Rajneeshpuram were discovered and investigations began, the town formally known as Antelope began to dwindle. In 1985 the remaining citizens of Rajneesh (including some Rajneeshees) voted 36-0 to restore Antelope’s original name.

The Antelope Garage
School’s Out.
Yes, this is pretty creepy in person too.
An original building from the community of Antelope

The citizens of Antelope commemorated their resistance to the cult of Rajneesh by installing a plaque next to the Antelope post office.

Dedicated to those of this community who throughout the Rajneesh invasion and occupation of 1981-1985 remained, resisted, and remembered…”The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Want to know more about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his cult followers?

The office building in Rajneeshpuram, now known as The Washington Family Ranch/Young Life Camp.

UP NEXT Ghost Towns of North Central Oregon – Rajneeshpuram!

Ghost Towns of Central Oregon – Part Two – Kent & Shaniko

ghost town
noun
a town that was busy in the past but is now empty 
or nearly empty because the activities that kept 
people there have stopped
Kent, Oregon

Kent

The town of Kent is located on Highway 97, south of Grass Valley and north of Shaniko. The town site was originally called Guthrie, and a smaller town site, named Kent, was in a nearby canyon. When the Columbia Southern Railway arrived in Guthrie around 1900, the people of Kent moved to the larger town, and the town of Guthrie was renamed Kent. The post office is the only active business in town.

Kent false advertising.
Kent Market
Cheapest gas in Oregon!

Shaniko

August Scherneckau moved to the area in 1874, after the Civil War. It is said that the town was named after the way that the local Native Americans pronounced Scherneckau’s name. The Shaniko Post Office was opened in 1900, and the town was incorporated the next year.

Shaniko Schoolhouse

The town of Shaniko became a transportation hub between the Columbia Southern Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad. Between the years of 1901 and 1911, Shaniko was known as the “wool capital of the world.” The largest building in town was a wool warehouse, which still stands today.

Wool Warehouse

In 1911 the Union Pacific Railroad began using an alternative route to Portland, and Shaniko started losing businesses and population right away. Shaniko was first called a “ghost town” in 1959. According the last census the population is now 36.

The Shaniko Hotel
Inside the Shaniko Hotel
Shaniko – The hub of transportation.
Another example of the local transportation.
I bet there is some antique dog tinkle on this.

UP NEXT Antelope!

Ghost Towns of Central Oregon – Part One – Grass Valley

ghost town
noun
a town that was busy in the past but is now empty 
or nearly empty because the activities that kept 
people there have stopped

Grass Valley, Oregon

Grass Valley was established in 1878 and  was incorporated in 1901. The town is located in Sherman County, Oregon. According to the last census the town population is 164. Grass Valley earned its name because of how tall the rye grass would get in the area; it’s said that it was tall enough to be well over a mans head, even so when on horseback. Alternative history: the men were ridiculously short and made up a tall tale about mutant rye.

Grass Valley School was built in 1903, and closed sometime prior to 1940 when students started attending a school in nearby town of Moro – which is not much bigger than Grass Valley.

For this central Oregon tour of abandoned buildings and ghost towns, we stayed in Grass Valley for the week at the Grass Valley RV Park. It is not a five-star resort…but it centrally located for what we needed, and the owner was really nice – like hands out little bags of candy when you check in kind of nice. It is a tiny park with most residents being long term, but it isn’t a mess. The RV park is right on the highway, so expect some truck noise.

The Old Methodist Church in Grass Valley. The church was built in 1902. The church stopped holding service between 1946-1947.

There are a few abandoned and historical buildings in Grass Valley, including a beautiful abandoned Methodist church and an old school building, plus 99% of the buildings along the highway, but don’t be too impressed since that is only like 3 buildings.

One of the closed businesses along the main street on Highway 97.
Old Methodist Church.
On the inside, looking out.
Inside the Methodist church.
Grass Valley, Oregon School Building.
An old abandoned car on the school property.

However, there is a store/cafe that has found The Facebook. Yes, they even have The Facebook out here in ghost town country.

Country Cafe in Grass Valley appears to be the happening place in town…and they close at 6 p.m. every day.

Up Next Kent and Shaniko!

https://www.grassvalleyoregon.com/

Book Review – Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

Seventeen fantastic short stories. Each short stands alone, but they are all linked. I am a sucker for a connection. Which Stephen King novels are part of the Dark Tower world? Which reoccurring hilarious characters are going to show up in the books of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett? I am an addict of the MCU because “it’s all connected…”

So, Mr. Hanks, who holds a small spot in my heart for being an all around decent male human, (who has never been accused of assaulting women in Hollywood! Knock on wood…just not his. Oh, please stop me) has written a book with stories that feel good AND they are all connected? I love it! His literary debut is a winner in my book (book puns are such a novel idea!).

This may sound odd, but even the paper the book is printed on is comfortable. It is soft and easy to turn the page, but still thick enough to be strong. No, it isn’t a coincidence that I am describing my perfect man, and a book at the same time. I also love to sniff both; but not in a creepy way like sniffing a stranger in an elevator (you know who you are).

If I gave out stars in my reviews, I would give out enough that you could read the book by the starlight! So, get a copy, and sit down with a warm cup of something.  And then enjoy the fun and comfort of old friends that you’ve just met.

Book Review – Anne of Green Gables Series by L.M. Montgomery

The Haunted Wood?

While hiding away in the forest, I made up my mind that I wanted to time travel. I am not one to mess with the timey-wimey of it all, so I chose to avoid the butterfly effect by travelling back in time with Anne of Green Gables.

Sadly I do not have the entire set of of the Anne Chronicles, but I do have the Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, and Anne’s House of Dreams. I am missing a few books in  there, but the four I read took me back in time just the same.

Reading the novels was so nostalgic! Anne reminded me of being a smaller human with big hopes, fantastical dreams, and a good scope for the imagination! It was a joy to hang out with Anne, Diana, and Gilbert (my first literary love). I cried when Matthew passed. I cried when Joy passed. I laughed when Anne died her hair green! And I saw myself in Anne’s temper as she broke her slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head.

If you haven’t read the series at all…remedy that as soon as you can! If you read them when you were young like I did then read them again! I promise you the dust will clear off the scope of your imagination too!

Waiting for Spring

All of our winter was spent in Oregon – again. Except for two weeks that we got to escape to northern Washington just in time for the snowpocalypse.

Chuckanut, WA – February 2019

After that we wanted to quietly bring in spring (and get away from the Internet) so we spent two weeks hiding in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. I have written about the area before, and you can find that here.

This is usually a small bubbling brook, but on the first day of spring it was raging white water.

The Mr. spent his time off-grid playing with his large collection of Lego’s.

Mr. Write on the Road working hard at his travelling writing desk.
The Mrs. spends lots of time in the library nook.

I read six books, and worked on some photography. We wandered around quite a bit through the area. We found a foot of snow still on the road in one area, a landslide that cut off a main logging road, downed trees, and raging waterfalls. Mother Nature let her attitude loose in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National forest this past winter.

This mudslide completely cut off the road.
…and it just kept sliding below the road.
Go ahead and chase the waterfalls…those lakes and rivers get boring after a bit.
Mother Nature may have been destructive this winter, but she certainly knows how to leave her mark.
Found a St. Patty’s Day Waterfall. No gold at the end of the rainbow, but there was leprechaun with some smooth Irish whisky. Or I saw the leprechaun after the whisky?
This waterfall caused a lot of damage to be this beautiful. Which sounds like me trying to put my makeup on before coffee.
This is the road below the previous waterfall.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest campgrounds in the area are free during the off-season, which is October-May. When the campgrounds are officially open they are $10/night, 50% off with the Golden Access Pass. The smell of the forest and the roar of the river is worth every penny.

For more information about the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest you can find them here.

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park – Winchester Bay, Oregon

The original Umpqua Lighthouse. Photo courtesy of lighthousefriends.com

The Umpqua Lighthouse was originally constructed on the north side of the Umpqua river mouth, and was finished in 1857. However, the surveyors that had picked that location had never seen the Umpqua river at flood levels – and the original lighthouse tower tumbled down after a brutal  storm in 1863.

Umpqua Lighthouse 2019

After two decades of a dark coastline, the Lighthouse Board eventually approved the funding to rebuild the Umpqua Lighthouse, as well as construct the Heceta Head Lighthouse, her sister to the north. The lighthouses were built simultaneously, and with almost identical plans. Heceta Head was lit first in 1893.

View from the lighthouse today.

Having learned their lesson with the first lighthouse, the second Umpqua Lighthouse was built on a headland above the mouth of the river, where it is the farthest away from a river or the ocean of all the lighthouses along the Oregon Coast.

The rotation mechanism needed to be restored in 1985, but it is still the original mechanism.

The mouth of the Umpqua river at Winchester Bay was finally lit up again on December 31, 1894.

This former U.S. Coast Guard facility built in 1939 was restored by the Douglas County Park Department and dedicated as a public recreation facility on June 19, 1960.

The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The old housing facilities have been turned into a museum, but the lighthouse is still an active U. S. Coast Guard lighthouse base today.

On site Museum and Gift Shop

Development of facilities for Umpqua River State Park began with trails and a picnic area at the nearby Lake Marie in the 1930s. Access to the small freshwater lake was provided for fishing and swimming. In the late 1950s, the overnight camping area was added.

The campground is small with only 20 hookup sites, plus tent sites, yurts, 2 log cabins, a hiker/biker camp, and well-maintained restroom and shower facilities.

They also have the jawbone of a whale on display because we are fucking savages on the Oregon Coast.

The nearby towns of Winchester Bay and Reedsport, Oregon both have shopping, recreational supplies, and restaurants. We recommend Don’s Main Street Diner right on Highway 101 in Reedsport. Their clam chowder is delicious, and their pies are to die for!

Mmm. Pie.

Nearby attractions include the marina in Winchester Bay with crabbing, fishing, and beautiful views. Reedsport offers grocery stores, river views, and the Umpqua Discovery Center, which is an educational and cultural resource for all ages.

Winchester Bay Marina
Railroad trestle near the Umpqua Discovery Center
Lots of great photo ops nearby!
The whale watching station near the lighthouse.

More information

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park

Don’s Main Street Family Diner

Umpqua Discovery Center