Spooky Season has arrived!
The wind is chilled, the leaves are changing, and through this period of transition, we find a reinvigorated sense of adventure.
Happy Campers RV Rentals is here to inspire and encourage your new found Fall feelings! Let’s dig into the spirit of the season together, as we take you on a journey to some of the best Ghost Town destinations in Oregon! It’s time to pack up your costumes, consolidate your candy, and hit the open road on a Halloween destination vacation.
Ghost towns have always been a fascinating subject. Towns are not created with the intent to become vacant. What celebrations took place in its streets? How did its founders envision the future? What hopes did settlers have when they arrived at a new life?
There are three technical categories of Ghost Towns in the state of Oregon.
- True Ghost Towns: The true ghost towns are those without anyone living there anymore.
- Partial Ghost Towns: Partial ghost towns have a population that has declined to extremely low numbers.
- Tourist Ghost Towns: which while preserving their historic features, have become tourist attractions and fun places to visit.
The fourth stop on our Oregon Tour of Ghost Towns is the unique and mysterious town of Golden, one of the only Ghosts Towns in Oregon to have once been a dry settlement. Golden is considered today to be a “True” Ghost Town.
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A Brief History of Golden
Golden is an abandoned mining town located at Coyote Creek in Josephine County, Oregon. The city was established during the 1840s gold rush (picking up on the theme here?) and began as a mining camp along Coyote Creek. When the Idaho gold rush began to pick up momentum in the late 1950s, the few settlers of Coyote Creek left with the hopes of finding more prosperous locations for gold mining.
A few years later, the original gold miners returned to find that their claims had been seized by a mass mining operation, employing 500 Chinese immigrants who were paid 10 cents per day to work the creek. After an ongoing dispute, the second operation eventually conceded ownership of the land.
Golden officially transformed from a mining camp to a town in 1890. The arrival of William and Ruth Ruble, along with their sons and their remarkable gold mining invention known as “The Grizzly,” quickly gained wealth and bought up land and claims to put Golden on the map. By 1892, there were over 150 residents along Coyote Creek, and Golden served as an outpost for additional individuals living in more rural nearby areas. The Ruble family were strict Campbellites who established two churches and forbade liquor or dance halls. Because of the religious overtones of the town, it was not uncommon for prospectors to travel to a placer mine on Grave Creek for “refreshments.”
Around the turn of the century, gold production began to slow and inevitably the population began to dwindle in search of more profitable opportunities. The post office officially ceased operations in 1920, and by the mid 20th century, the town was left completely abandoned.
Golden Quick Facts
- 1A God Fearing TownUnlike almost all other Oregonian Ghost Towns, the town of Golden was never home to a bar or a saloon. Instead, they had two churches, a large orchard, a post office, a general store, and several small residential buildings. The official founder of Golden, a priest by the name of William Ruble Senior, ran the town with (what has been suggested to be) a hard hand. Prostitution and alcohol of any kind was banned from Golden since its official inception in 1890.
- 2Golden Television DebutSome of you ghost story enthusiasts out there may already be familiar with this bit of trivia, but did you know that Golden was featured on an episode of The Travel Channel's hit series, "Ghost Adventures"? It has been suggested that the old church standing today plays host to otherworldly spirits. In 2017, The "Ghost Adventures" team decided to find out for themselves. The crew visited the old Golden church and described the presence of an eerie voice warning of demonic presences. Do you think you're brave enough to repeat their experiment?
- 3Golden TodayGolden's remains include four buildings: a church, a former residence, a shed and a structure that once housed a post office and store. The church remains unlocked at all times and is still used and visited by local Oregonians and enthusiastic travelers alike. In fact, the old church was the site of an exorcism ritual held just in 2019. The entire property is in the National Register of Historic Places. The property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, and OPRD purchased it that same year. It is the only former mining community owned and managed by OPRD.