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 to a new life?
The second stop on our Oregon Tour of Ghost Towns is the one and only Granite!
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A Brief History of Granite
Granite is a near-ghost-town located in Grant County, Oregon. The population of the city consisted of 38 individuals in 2010, an increase to the 24 individuals living there in 2000. Granite is the fourth-smallest town in Oregon based on population.
The establishment of Granite (like so many other settlements during this time) can be traced back to the discovery of gold in the area on July 4th, 1862. The news spread quickly, and soon an establishment was built a half-mile west of the current city of Granite. The town was originally called “Independence,” but the name had to be changed when the new city applied to have a post office in 1847 for “Independence” was already taken by another Oregon town.
At its peak, Granite boasted a population of around 5,000 people. The city’s primary industry was gold mining, and it’s estimated that over 80% of the men living in Granite at the time were directly employed in mining operations. By the 1900s, Granite had a drug store, two hotels, a post office, five saloons, and three stores.
The city of Granite’s demise came about rapidly in December of 1942, one year after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Gold mining operations in the United States became illegal after America’s involvement in World War II. America’s economy and workforce were being prepared for war, and it became apparent that the heavy machinery used to mine gold was desperately needed to manufacture other metals to be used in the effort. Precious metals, such as gold and silver, fell by the wayside so resources could be allocated to mining strategic metals, such as steel.
With all 12 of Granite’s mining operations being shut down, it did not take long for the entire city to revert. By the time the 1960s came around, the population of Granite was down to only two people.
Granite Quick Facts
- 1PopulationThe population of Granite dropped so low so rapidly that electrical and telephone services were cut off from the city after the end of World War II. By 1960, only two individuals were still living in the once bustling gold town. It wasn't until 40 years later that electricity and telephone services were re-connected to Granite, after the population had grown to 24 in 2000.
- 2IndustryIt may surprise some to hear that there are still two services offered for Granite visitors! There is the Outback Country Store, which supplies gas, food, and old-timey merchendise that recalls the history of the town. There is also The Granite Lodge, a wonderfully charming and cozy establishment with rooms available and an extensive DVD library. They offer free Wifi for guests and boast a plethora of outdoor activities in any season for nature enthusiasts.
- 3Granite TodayToday, you can still explore the old buildings, including a schoolhouse, church, general store, and dance hall. Several old mining operations including the Cougar-Independence mine are still accessible and are a short drive from Granite. Granite is a good jumping off point if you are planning to visit the Fremont Powerhouse, Olive Lake, or the North Fork of the John Day River Trail. Why stop at exploring just the town when there is so much beautiful nature in the area!