Washington is full of history, including many areas that once thrived but have since been abandoned. All that remains in them now are old, decaying structures and a creepy vibe. If you’re up for exploration, be sure to grab a camera & check out these ghost towns in our state:
Originally founded in the 1850s, Claquato quickly became a thriving lumber town with a mill. It continued to prosper until the death of the founder, who sustained fatal injuries falling at the mill in 1864. About ten years later, Claquato was bypassed by the railroad, which eventually led to the town's abandonment.
Not much is left anymore, except for a cemetery and this Methodist church - which is the oldest standing building in Washington. You can find the remains of this old ghost town in Lewis County, just outside of Chehalis.
The hike to this abandoned town in the Mount Rainier area is not only easy, but it's absolutely fascinating. It was originally founded in 1900 when a subsidiary of the Northern Pacific Railway opened a coal mine. They had everything in town from a schoolhouse to a train depot and a hotel. The coal mined was used exclusively by Northern Pacific, but when they switched from steam locomotives to diesel and electric models, the economy of the town was pretty much destroyed.
In this photo, you can see where the entrance to the town's school used to be, reclaimed by nature. The building originally had three stories, but the top two were demolished after abandonment so that the wood could be used for construction elsewhere.
Founded as a ranching community in the 1800s, Govan was slowly abandoned as farming in the area started to decline. As highways and vehicles started to improve, it was easier for people to travel to other, larger towns to find better selections and prices.
Nearly all that's left now is this schoolhouse which you can visit year-round, in addition to an old post office and a couple other structures. It's located along Highway 2 between Wilbur and Almira in Lincoln County.
The once booming town of Molson was first founded in 1900. In only about a year, the population shot up to 300 and the town had a newspaper, stores, an attorney, doctor, saloon and hotel. It didn't last long, though - by 1901, the mining was failing, and the population fell to only 12 people.
By 1905, it rose again with news of a railroad was being built. In the meantime, a local who ran a barn and stage line filed for a homestead that included most of the area in town. By 1909, he published a notice for everyone on the land to depart, causing citizens to found the site of New Molson about 1/2 mile north. If you walk through what's left of this town near the Canadian border in Okanogan County, you'll find old pioneer buildings, farm machinery and incredible artifacts.
Bodie was first started by prospectors as a mining town around 1888 at the mouth of Bodie Creek. Up until the 1930s, high quality ore was processed and milled here until falling gold prices closed the mine and eventually emptied the town's buildings by 1934.
While there isn't much left in Bodie, there are still a few abandoned structures left you can see along the present road. The classic ghost town can be found north of Wauconda in northeast Okanogan County.
Living Ghost Town
may not be exactly "creepy," it's still quite a captivating place to visit. It's considered to be the oldest mining town in our state, and dates back to 1867 when gold was first discovered in the area. After awhile, deposits started to dwindle and people started to leave to find their fortunes elsewhere. Only about a dozen people still live in the area - many of which still mine.
Pictured above, the original cabin of Thomas Meagher, the founder of Liberty, still stands. Additionally, you can spot several relics and abandoned farm equipment around town.
Located north of Wilbur, this town in Lincoln County once thrived like many small towns during the agricultural boom of the 1880s and 1890s. As the price of wheat fell and better roads and vehicles made traveling easier, Sherman was eventually abandoned. All that remains is a schoolhouse, church and peculiar cemetery you can still explore.
The town of Lester was first founded in 1892 when the Northern Pacific Railroad laid track over Stampede Pass, just south of Snoqualmie Pass. By the 1950s, steam engines and passenger service started to decline on the railroad and the station was eventually demolished.
Pictured is one of the few remaining houses in this town. If you head inside, the abandoned scene looks like it came straight out of a horror movie.
Have you been to any of these ghost towns before? Share your stories with us below!