The now “ghost town” of “Shaniko Oregon” was once a bustling gold mining town in the Oregon Desert. It is located in Wasco County Oregon along U.S. Route 97 just north of Antelope. In 2010, there was 36 registered residents. It sits at 3,343 feet above sea level atop a high plateau in a sparse vegetative environment of sage, bunch grass, and junipers. After gold was discovered in Canyon City, Euro-Americans came to the area in 1862 during the Gold Rush. Camps were setup wherever water was found. The first camp close to where Shaniko now resides was Bakeoven and then camp Cross Hollow which eventually evolved into Shaniko. 1867 saw feuds with local Indians and robberies of gold transports. The United states awarded a grant to build a military wagon road from the Dalles to Fort Boise, Idaho. Along the route homesteaders began claiming all the available land. One of the settlers was August Scherneckau who settled here after the Civil War in 1874 that Shaniko was named after as is common after postmasters which August was in 1879. The post office of Cross Hollows closed in 1887 and Shaniko post office opened in 1900. The Columbia Southern Railway was built in 1900 and terminus was in Shaniko from Biggs Junction. This was when it was known as the “Wool Capital of the World” focusing on wheat, wool, cattle, and sheep production. 1911 the Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company utilized an alternative route from Portland to Bend diverting traffic from the Columbia Southern forcing Shaniko’s industry and population to decline. The Passenger service to Shaniko ended in the 1930’s and shut down by 1966. The town became a ghost town in 1982.
Rated: 3.5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~
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