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 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/

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

Champoeg State Heritage Area – Donald, Oregon

Champoeg State Heritage Area

We had an appointment in Portland, OR, so we decided to try to make the trip adventurous as well.

First of all, you can’t go anywhere near Portland and not visit Powell’s City of Books!

After you find your way out of Powell’s City of Books, drive south out of Portland, and about 10 miles off of I-5 is Champoeg State Heritage Area and Campground.

 

The Visitors Center…which we didn’t visit.

The park is…cozy, meaning that the sites are pretty close together. But there are a lot of trees and shrubs to help with privacy. There is a large area to let your dogs run off-leash. Milo would like me to take this opportunity to remind you to check for ticks this summer! The ticks tend to travel around with fella’s like these. 

OMG. Why didn’t anyone tell me that velvet is so last spring?

How embarrassing. Hold on. I must go change.

There are multiple day use areas, along with a full disc golf course. They have multiple hiking trails, including a 2.4 mile trail that leads you to the Historic Butteville Store. 

The Historic Butteville Store

Over 150 years old.

The Ryan Family Library inside the store.

Butteville Store patio.

The Butteville Store has been there for over 150 years. These days they serve the public by making deli sandwiches and amazing blackberry cobbler.

Roast beef and provolone on sourdough, and homemade blackberry lemonade.

Warm homemade blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream.

Nearby, in the town of Wilsonville, is Morey Park. It is a quiet little neighborhood park dedicated to Walt Morey, who authored children’s books like Gentle Ben. At the center of the park is Gentle Ben himself.

Gentle Ben

Little Ben?

Walt Morey

Upon leaving the residential park, we realized that it’s actually an exclusive park for people living in the Morey’s Landing neighborhood of Wilsonville. We are now considering changing our name to Rebels on the Road.


For more information about the Champoeg State Heritage Area visit Oregon State Parks

Want to know how to pronounce Champoeg?

Visiting the New Old West – Pioneertown, CA

Pioneertown, California

Pioneertown, CA

Appropriately named, as it was one of the original pioneer mining towns in southern California.

Just kidding. It was created in 1940’s as a live-in action movie set. The old west houses were built for the actors to live in while their movies were being filmed.

A plaque placed at the Pioneertown Post Office

Pioneertown Stage Stop

Old Storefront in Pioneertown

Many famous old west actors made movies in Pioneertown, including Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Roy Rogers was the first to roll a ball in the town bowling hall.

Sheriff’s Office

This porch lamp looks like it is older than a town that this town is based on.

Can’t have an old west town without a church (11th Commandment)

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace is the local club and hangout. Over the years many well-known musical acts have showed up (scheduled and unannounced). Robert Plant and Sir Paul McCartney are a few performers that you may have heard of that played the Pioneertown Palace back in the day.   

…barks at midnight.

Town Haul…

Just a hipster cactus hanging out in the old west.

These days there are live gunfights, dances, shops, and live music on most days. The town is pretty quiet during the summer months due to high temperatures, but the town is quite active from October to April.

This lovely lady was filming the gunfight with this authentic old west Android.

Showdown in Pioneertown

Free beer tomorrow? Yes!

He tried to get away with free beer today…

Old West Kilgrave Gender Swap

Someone left this brand new necklace hanging from a tree…

If you’re in the area to check out Joshua Tree National Park, do make the short drive out to Pioneertown. It’s an old authentic movie set of an authentic old west town. Hollywood Magic in the desert.

They gave me a broken shot glass and sent me on my way…

Old West Poetry

LOVE places that are pup friendly!

Milo thinking about all the cowboy pups…good ol’ boys.

Rusty thinking about how he missed his calling as a horse herder.

Goat.

Fluffier goat.

Mutant goats.

More Information:
Visit California
Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

LL “Stub” Stewart State Park, Forest Grove, OR

We headed inland after leaving our exciting ghost hunting experience at Fort Stevens State Park. We drove over Highway 26 toward Forest Grove, OR. There was a three-vehicle accident along the way, and instead of just sitting on the road to wait for the wreckage to clear, we pulled into Camp 18. Camp 18 is a restaurant and logging museum in Elsie, OR.  There are lots of shaded picnic tables, a small creek flows beside it, and there is a ton of logging artifacts and history. It was a great little unexpected stop!

Train Car at Camp 18

This super big cool thing.

Camp 18 water wheel

Water wheel

World’s biggest fishing weight?

Camp 18 viewed from the creek

All aboard!

These are deer made from wire frames to grow plants inside – the plants are all dead and it made them super creepy.

Due to some appointments we needed to be near Portland, OR for a few days.  We had reserved a spot at LL ‘Stub’ Stewart State Park (we don’t normally reserve spots, as we are a more of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of RVers). The park is really nice with lots of tall trees, miles of hiking trails, and wildflowers. There were high temperatures while we were there, so the first few days were spent hiding in the shade, but we did get to explore a little bit. 

Picnic Table Centerpiece

There is a fenced off-leash area for the dogs to run, which is always a plus for us!

Rusty enjoying leash freedom!!

Yay! Shade! Shade is good!

Mr. Rusty enjoying the day!

Milo found a tasty tree-bone!

Yum!

Tastiest tree-bone ever!

The nearby town of Forest Grove has the world’s tallest barber pole, so we had to go check that out!

World’s Tallest Barber Pole

72′ Tall Barber Pole

Rusty and Milo were impressed!

I didn’t realize that the barber pole was in Lincoln Park – but I find bliss in ignorance.

After our time at LL “Stub” Stewart, we headed over I-84 to check out the Colombia River Gorge – up next!

Fort Stevens – Hammond, Oregon

Fort Stevens near Astoria, OR was constructed in 1863-64  to defend the mouth of the Columbia River. On June 21, 1945 Fort Stevens was attacked by a Japaneses submarine – for reasons still questioned, the fort did not return fire.

Structure known as Battery Russell.

In the event of the zombie apocalypse, we at Write on the Road have stated “Claimed.”

I have always wanted a winding staircase.

The fort is now an Oregon State Park that includes camping, hiking, biking and the ability to explore Fort Stevens remains and buildings.

Big Boom Maker – even better than a boomstick, baby.

Jeep outside the Fort Stevens Interpretive Center

Large gun pointing toward the mouth of the Columbia River – and they say size doesn’t matter

Display inside the Interpretive Center.

Historical artifacts and information on display. Also –  this guy know what you did last summer.

Ancient bowling ball used by a giant-thumbed man in prehistoric times (he was also really good at hitchhiking). Also – that is made up – it’s a cannon ball.

The majority of the buildings and structures in Fort Stevens are still intact. You are able to enter most of the structures, though some only on scheduled tours. There are plenty of volunteers around for the guided tours, history lessons, and information. We did not take a guided tour while we were there because once we arrived, we knew what we needed to do right away….

 

As always, our trusty sidekicks were up for anything!

And that was the of the start of Completely “Real” Analysis of Paranormal & Psychic Entities Research, or CRAPPER. CRAPPER is a team of two travelers seeking made up stories and fictitious hauntings, using imaginative falsehoods to fib to you about hauntings, possessions and all other kinds of paranormal malarkey.

Inspiration for CRAPPER

Mike – Co-founder of CRAPPER

MeLisa – Co-founder of CRAPPER

Our CRAPPER investigation started at the structure named Battery Russell, which is a gun battery that sits away from the rest of Fort Stevens. This building stands alone, which means that ghosts and spirits that are more introverted will haunt these types of areas.

Knowing how the ghosts are likely to be introverted, I avoided taking pictures of them as much as possible.

This pit on the upper floor of the Battery Russell was obviously used by the military for getting pumped up for battle by playing “THIS IS SPARTA!”

These holes were meant for something very militaryish, but are now used as glory holes for spirits with a sense of perverted humor.

Hooks in closets for storage of hoses, chain hoists, and shell tongs. Paranormal entities may now use them for storing their own chains, and shrouds during hot weather.

Lantern Niche originally used for…lanterns. There are also blind niches found throughout the battery, which is convenient for the spirits with optical impairments.

Concluding our investigation at Battery Russell, CRAPPER moved on to the main areas of the fort. The ghosts and spirits that reside in the main area should be more extroverted, which means we may find some interactions.

This large iron hoop was used for hoists and pulleys, but is now used to control gargantuan hell hounds.

The structures at Fort Stevens have multiple staircases, which means that the ghosts can float or climb the stairs depending on their personal preferences.

First interaction here! We are the Parkers – the haunting spirits here are obviously trying to make contact!

The remnants of an angel bursting into flames on the wall leads me to believe that there was a great battle between good and evil here – and evil won. Does it still remain?

Indisputable evidence that it does.

We continued on with our investigation, exploring as many nooks and crannies that we could. There were rooms in complete darkness, old weapons in storage behind locked gates, and even more evidence of attempts to make contact with CRAPPER.  

A few sections of the buildings were off limits due to not being structurally sound. It is unknown if this was caused by natural elements or by battles between the light and the dark.

The tracks along the ceiling were used to move the large ammunition throughout the battery. While walking underneath them I heard an eerie voice crying “An upside-down roller-coaster! Look Ma! No hands!”

A locked portion of the fort that leads to underground bunkers. I am unsure what may remain behind the gates.

Behind these locked gates is sporting equipment that more adventure seeking ghosts have obviously stolen. – They lost everything when they died, don’t you think that includes athletic equipment?

Here is an example of a blind niche (mentioned earlier) that is used by the visually impaired spirits.

Another message received from the spiritual realm. We tried to assist with GPS coordinates, but seemed to only cause frustration.

The spirit showed CRAPPER their frustration by possessing this harmless bird. After possession, the bird swooped toward us with fury and anger on it’s little bird face. Eventually it flew down a dark corridor to find it’s master.

A lantern niche with iron gates to keep the spirits from blowing out the lanterns and then yelling “BOO” in the darkness.

This looks similar to the “THIS IS SPARTA!” hole from earlier, however this one has tiny bleachers for audiences of gnomes or fairies to watch the Spartan pep rally’s.

The shell room originally used for storage. Sadly, there are no remains of the sea shells that were stored here. We believe they were moved out of the fort to be used in a Grandma’s ocean themed garden.

The final contact. Upon leaving the shell room, we discovered that the spirits changed the name – we assumed it was another attempt at contact with CRAPPER. Upon this discovery we rapidly re-considered our decision to CRAPPER, and left before we shit ourselves.

DISCLAIMER – All CRAPPER “facts” are crap.

Fort Stevens State Park and Historical Site

 

 

The Desert Queen Mine – Joshua Tree National Park

The Desert Queen Mine

The trail to the mine is a short .75 mile hike. It is a maintained trail, with wildflowers in the spring and excellent views of the mining valley.

Bright colored wildflowers along the Desert Queen Mine trail.

The Desert Queen Mine operated from 1895-1961, with multiple owners. The mine was massive, and (according to The United States Bureau of Mines) produced 3845 ounces of gold.

View of the mining valley and the remains of a cyanide tank. Go ahead, give it a lick – I’m sure it’s fine.

The mining camp included housing, office facilities, a stamp mill, winches and other structures and machinery needed for the mining process.

Um…some mining equipment of some sort. I don’t know what it was, but I am sure it something spectacular.

Mines giving you the shaft…

The current remains include cyanide tanks, cabin ruins, and mine shafts. The mine shafts were covered by the National Parks Service for the safety of visitors.

The Cabin in the Desert – You think you know the story. Oh. Wait. That was Cabin in the Woods….

Cabin Fever – College friends rent an isolated cabin in the desert to spend a week together. When they arrive, a man contaminated with a weird disease asks for help to them, but they get in panic and….no? Well, I’m just trying to make this more exciting for you.

Mining valley and piles of gravel leftover from blasting the crap of them-there hills.

In 1976 the National Parks Services entered the Desert Queen Mine into the National Register of Historic Places.

The Desert Queen Mine was the mining camp that Bill Keys worked at upon arriving in the desert. After his boss died, he filed for ownership of the Desert Queen Ranch (Keys Ranch) to compensate for unpaid wages.

You can read more about Keys Ranch here.