Washington June 14, 2016
This Haunting Road Trip Through Washington Ghost Towns Is One You Won’t Forget
abandoned towns all over Washington, but you can find many of them along a short loop in the Okanogan Highlands. Filled with empty, century-old buildings and dozens of historic relics, these former towns can really give us a first-hand look into our state’s fascinating past. Check out the directions on this Google Map for an eerie trip through seven of these deserted communities.
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Govan makes for a perfect, creepy place to kick off your trip along Highway 2. Founded as a ranching community in the 1800s, this old town had been slowly abandoned as farming in the area started to decline. As highways and vehicles began to improve, it became easier for people to travel to larger towns for better selections and prices.
There isn't much left in town, but you can still walk around this abandoned schoolhouse, as well as their old post office and a few other structures.
Head about 15 miles northeast and you'll reach the old town of Sherman. It once thrived like many small towns during the agricultural boom of the 1880s and '90s, but as the price of wheat fell and better roads and vehicles made traveling easier, the town was eventually completely deserted. Today you can still find their old schoolhouse, church and cemetery remaining.
Not to be confused with a ghost town in California of the same name - Bodie was originally founded as a mining town around 1888 by 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 passing through the area now, you'll still be able to see many of their old log buildings along both sides of the main road.
The old community of Chesaw sits about 15 miles west of Bodie. This near-ghost town only thrived for a few years from 1896 to 1900, but the area's still filled with old buildings and forgotten cabins.
Located not far from the Canadian border,
was first booming back in 1900. In only a year, the population shot up to 300 and the town was complete with a newspaper, stores, attorney, doctor, saloon and even a hotel. It didn't last long, though - by 1901, the mining started to fail and the population fell to only 12 people.
By 1905, it grew again when news came around that 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 town. By 1909, he published a notice for everyone on the land to depart, forcing citizens to found the site of New Molson about 1/2 mile north. The empty town is now preserved as an "open-air museum" with pioneer buildings (including an old schoolhouse), farm machinery and other vintage artifacts.
Situated by the Similkameen River, Nighthawk got its cool, peculiar name from a nearby mine that's now closed. In the early 1900s, it had been a booming town with hotels, a saloon and even a railroad depot. But as with a lot of the towns in the Okanogan area, mines were eventually shut down due to operating expenses and the drop in metal value. The population is now less than ten people, but several of the old structures still remain - many of which date back to 1903.
Before looping back to Govan (or heading home), swing by the old town of Dyer. This former community in Douglas County has been empty for years, but it's still home to several deserted homesteads, old pottery and other relics.
What do you think? Would you like to take this eerie trip through some of our old, abandoned towns?