Oregon is Home to an Abandoned Town Most People Don’t Know About

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team





Oregon is known for its natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and rich history. But did you know that it also has a hidden gem that few people have ever seen? A town that was once bustling with life, but now lies deserted and forgotten.

The Rise and Fall of Shaniko

Shaniko is a ghost town in Wasco County, Oregon, that was once the “wool capital of the world”. It was founded in 1900, when the Columbia Southern Railroad reached the area and connected it to the markets of Portland and beyond. Shaniko soon became a thriving hub for the wool industry, with over 4 million pounds of wool shipped annually. It also had a bank, a hotel, a school, a jail, a post office, and several stores and saloons.

At its peak, Shaniko had a population of about 600 people, and was nicknamed the “Queen City of the Sagebrush Empire”. However, its prosperity was short-lived. In 1911, a fire destroyed much of the town’s business district, and the railroad was abandoned in favor of a new route that bypassed Shaniko. The wool industry declined due to competition from synthetic fibers, and the Great Depression hit the town hard. By the 1940s, Shaniko was virtually deserted, and most of its buildings were left to decay.

The Legacy of Shaniko

Today, Shaniko is a ghost town that attracts curious visitors who want to explore its eerie remains. Some of the original buildings still stand, such as the hotel, the jail, the schoolhouse, and the city hall. They are preserved as a historic district, and some of them house museums and shops that showcase the town’s history and culture. Shaniko also hosts annual events, such as a wool festival, a car show, and a bluegrass festival, that celebrate its past and present.

Shaniko is a fascinating example of how a town can rise and fall in a matter of decades, and how it can still retain its charm and character despite being abandoned. It is a hidden treasure that offers a glimpse into Oregon’s history and a unique experience for those who dare to visit it.


Oregon is home to an abandoned town most people don’t know about: Shaniko. It was once a booming center for the wool industry, but it declined rapidly due to fire, economic changes, and isolation. Now, it is a ghost town that preserves its history and culture, and welcomes visitors who want to discover its secrets. Shaniko is a place that deserves to be known and appreciated, as it is a part of Oregon’s heritage and identity.

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