Golden, Oregon – a ghost town

During our recent trip to Wolf Creek Campground, we had plenty of time to explore a bit.  Just 3 miles away was a real live ghost town.  Our daughter has a bucket list of things to do before she’s 12 and visiting a ghost town is on it.  Clearly, we had no choice but to go check it out!

Golden, Oregon, is just a few minutes off I-5 and is a fun way to stretch  your legs.  We stayed about 30 minutes and had fun imaging life “back then”. Golden is now maintained by Oregon State Parks and is open for anyone to visit.

Parts of the TV show “Bonanza” and several movies were filmed in Golden in the 1950s-1970s, so rumor has it that everything you see isn’t necessarily as old as it looks.  But even if it’s not 100% authentic, it’s an adventure and it’s listed as a Heritage Site.

 The first thing we saw, besides a big sign, was this gorgeous old church.  We parked nearby and hopped out.  I couldn’t wait to read the sign.


I’ll leave you the rest of the signs to discover for yourself, but I
loved this old photo showing the church in its younger days.  Notice the “Ruble” name.


Inside the church.  Remarkably good condition considering the door’s lock was broken.

After we checked out the church, we headed next door to the mercantile.


Inside the mercantile are remnants of another era.  How much of this is real and how much is from the Bonanza filming, I don’t really know.


First thing, we checked dates.  1993…I have no idea what someone was decorating for, but they worked hard because all the shelves were covered and the newspapers were all cut in a lace pattern.
An old stove in the living quarters of the mercantile.  Still full of ashes.
After the mercantile, the school building was next.  As late as 1906, they still had 36 children enrolled here.


Notice again the “Ruble” name.  These were scrawled under the coat hooks behind the door.
Golden is an old mining town, and for decades the miners used hydraulic pumps to blast out the hillsides and create this broad valley.  For years, it apparently was a wasteland, but now a non-profit group is working to restore it and create wetlands.


I’m a middle-aged mom of 3-6 and sometimes more, depending on day. I’m out of shape and usually exhausted. Our favorite summertime activity (and sometimes on dry winter days) is getting outdoors and finding adventure.

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