It’s Friday. I intend not to approach any serious subject… Going through my photos, I found some shots that I took at Shaniko, Oregon last year. Shaniko is listed as a ghost town. When I first heard of ghost town, I thought the town was haunted, but it has nothing to do with ghost at all. Ghost town only means an abandoned town or village. The town is abandoned primarily because lack of economy activities which support the lifeline of the place. Or, due to natural disaster and the damage, which is so severe that it is cheaper to abandon than to rebuild.
In Gold Rush days, many small towns like this one was discovered, developed and abandoned after gold mining activity ceased. Among all, Shaniko still has some residents and a few businesses are still open between spring-fall for tourists. Without coming to Shaniko, I had no clue what a ghost town and a then gold mining town) looks alike. When our car rolled into the town, Shaniko Hotel was probably the first construction caught our eyes. A brick building with white molding trims and white balcony railings has obviously been restored. Looking into the window, I did not see anyone waiting on the reception desk, no car was parking outside as well. A cafe was adjacent to the hotel, but nobody inside either.
We thought to ask a local someone to get some direction how to tour the town, but there was nobody walking down the street. We decided to park our car across the street from the Hotel and began to stroll down the streets on our own. Easy enough, there were only two main roads that lead us to almost all the buildings and constructions in town.
|Original Museum with a century old organ outside|
It was a warm sunny day. We desired something cold and we went in one of the very few stores for ice cream. One lady was serving at the counter while the other sitting on the corner of one table sizing us up. She saw our cameras and asked us what we like to take pictures of. We said, anything, particularly old stuff. “Follow me”, she said and led us to a warehouse-like building about one block away.
I saw “Shaniko Museum” sign above the door frame. She rolled up the door and there were about a dozen of antique cars and half dozen of stage wagons! I have seen friend’s fancy refurbished antique cars, but not the true original antique cars. I saw stage wagons in the movies, but not just inches away. It was an eye-opening for me. As it turns out, this lady is the leader of the Chamber of Commerce. She cruised around town and she had her eyes on tourists. She mentioned that some businessman was financing the town, not much any more and they are doing their best to maintain the place in hoping for someone to make investment and revitalize the town.
|Shaniko Museum warehouse|
When the hope floats, wait on it and not to give in easily. This is a typical American pioneer spirit that I admire. Oregon itself is not a tourist destination not mentioning this small ghost town. I do wish whoever comes to eastern Oregon drop by, get an ice cream and buy a mug for souvenir. And, a investor will show up one of these days.
I have been waiting to post these pictures and telling people about these independent and courageous souls. It is not only for photography, it is just as interesting to observe the remaining buildings in town and know what they are. From there, we know what are the essential facilities and activities required to sustain a gold mining town. A wagon yard, a bank, a general store, a wedding chapel, a jail, a salon, a museum and a blacksmith where metal parts and tools were produced.
|Mercantile (General Store)|
|Bank with trading table outside|