Shaniko, Oregon Fun with Ghost Towns
Shaniko Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
After visiting the Painted Hills in Mitchell someone (me) suggested that we should swing by a ghost town in
A little history.
But a few hearty souls stayed and are still living it up in Shaniko (well their descendents, not the original people, although that would be impressive). After doing some research, I found out that a few years back Shaniko used to have more rundown and empty buildings but in the past few years, it has been restored a bit, which is good for the locals.
When we reached Shaniko it was around noon on a Wednesday and we appeared to be the only tourists there. People have to work and it was mid week, so it made sense, well, that and I am sure that when visiting
Shaniko is right off of the highway and there pretty much is only one major road that goes around in a circle through the town and that is it. No Starbucks here my friend (yay) though when you are heading out, you will see a convenience store to your right which is stocked with many different items as I have no idea where the nearest grocery store would be! I would imagine that the people of Shaniko go shopping once or twice a month in a neighboring town and hunker down.
The first thing I noticed was that there was nobody in Shaniko. For the first 40 minutes we were there we did not see another person though we heard children laughing though not in a creepy Children of the Corn way. They appeared to be very happy considering the 100+ weather.
Unfortunately, when we were there the hotel/restaurant which are one of the main buildings in Shaniko was not open and appeared to be for sale.
There are a few deserted buildings here and there. The most noticeable would be the old bank. You can’t get in but you can take pictures. There are a few unsettling mannequins in the window but they add to the ambiance so they serve a purpose I suppose even though they have seen better days.
Next to the bank, there are a lot of deserted wagons that served as the main transportation in the heyday of Shaniko. And if you look closely you can see an old truck a 100 feet away from a cord of wood. It is almost as if the poor thing ran out of gas and never made it. There also is a blacksmith close by, though I didn’t bring my battle ax with me so I didn’t really need to stop in.
Look, I will be honest with you; there is not much to do in Shaniko. There really didn’t appear to be anywhere to eat though they had an ice cream shop which in my mind is a meal in itself though others may argue.
Luckily, a sweet woman from Shaniko came over and suggested we visit their jail. Not because of anything we had done but because she felt it would give us a great photo op and you know what? It did! It kind of reminded me of the old episode of the Brady Bunch when they are locked in the jail in the old ghost town and they try to use their belt buckle to get the key. Yeah, random, but it crossed my mind. Thanks Nick at Night Brady O’Thon!!! Too bad none of us had a belt, we could have re-enacted the scene.
Now, the jail is a good time as it is the original structure and you and your family and friends can have a fun time pretending to be incarcerated.
After the jail visit, we decided to check out the fire department which still relies on the old system of ringing a big bell when there is a fire. Yep, they still use a bell. Why not? It is cheap and appears to work, I have to say, it was pretty cool, but you could tell that many a stupid tourist had played with the bell because they had a sign on it saying not to touch it. If you walk about 100 feet away you will see a vintage fire truck along with a paddy wagon. Yep, a real paddy wagon with the words JAIL across it. Of course, I had to get a photo op because how often do you get to have your photo taken with a paddy wagon? In fact, how often do you get to use the word paddy wagon in a sentence, not nearly enough.
Moving on! Oh, wait a minute. There really isn’t anything to move on to! You have to keep in mind this is a “ghost town” with 26 people and you really can’t ask for a lot. Though they do have free public bathrooms that are nicely taken care of. They really are clean, though there was no soap the day I was there, that is okay as I keep hand sanitizer with me. There also was a big ass spider in the sink which made me run out in fear, but again, that isn’t Shaniko’s fault, but rather, Mother Nature’s.
Shaniko is definitely a fun little stop if you are within 30 miles of it while you are driving through