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Thread: just visited Malheur, Oregon

  1. #1
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    Default just visited Malheur, Oregon

    Just yesterday (Feb. 28th, 2015) I made the trip out to Malheur, Oregon to look for the ghost town mentioned on this site. I thought it might be good to give people an update on what the current state of the place is.

    For one thing, the current page on Malheur has no directions. I eventually guessed from the map that Willow Creek Road would be my best bet to get close, and it was. Take it from either a couple miles west of Brogan, or from Ironside (the end from Brogan was marked "to Malheur Reservoir", only later did I confirm that it was Willow Creek Rd.) When you get to the northmost bend on Willow Creek Rd., there is a 3-way crossroads with a sign pointing north to Bridgeport - I guessed here that this was Malheur City Rd, but I now believe it may have been Mormon Basin Rd...in any event, it got me where I was going. Soon enough there is a rougher road going east which is marked "Malheur Cemetery".

    As for the town, all that's left are an interesting stone arch and some dirt wall foundations, and the (very well-preserved) cemetery itself, which is worth seeing. While I was there one of the locals who maintains the cemetery drove up and chatted a bit about the town's history (he helped try to fight the grass fire that ultimately destroyed Malheur). Friendly old guy, I should have gotten his name.

    Anyway, I made the whole trip in a 2WD Honda Accord, but a few of the dirt roads were a bit tricky as it had just rained and the mud was slick and rutted. No real problems but I wouldn't try without 4WD if there had been heavy rains.

    Also might be worth pointing out that neither Brogan nor Ironside is much of a town. Ironside appeared to be just a cluster of farms. Brogan appeared to have once had a few convenience stores but they were all out of business and falling apart. On the other hand, the little store/cafe in Willow Creek (the town, east of Brogan) was friendly and well-stocked.

  2. #2
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    Default Malheur City

    BigRed,
    The arch is the remnants of a large cellar that once was attached to the back of a store building occupying that location. Right after the range fire of 1957 the cellar was fully intact with a large fancy steel door in the arch. Someone made away with it years ago and the cellar has since fallen in on itself. The store and others like it fronted on Malheur's main street and about 100 yards behind them were the houses of the residents. Malheur was platted in 1868 and that original plat is located in the Court House in Baker City. There are about a dozen photos of the town from the early 1900's.

    You probably remember the tree trunk tombstones in the cemetery-those were given or sold to the families who were signatory to the Woodsman of the World Insurance Co. that I believe still exists. People can still be buried in the cemetery and I enjoyed meeting you there.

    There are actually four ghost towns up there-Eldorado, Malheur City, Amelia and Humboldt or Mormon Basin. They are all located on the same road that rims that range of mountains and all owed there existence to gold.

  3. #3
    bad bob's Avatar
    bad bob is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BigRed View Post
    Just yesterday (Feb. 28th, 2015) I made the trip out to Malheur, Oregon to look for the ghost town mentioned on this site. I thought it might be good to give people an update on what the current state of the place is.

    For one thing, the current page on Malheur has no directions. I eventually guessed from the map that Willow Creek Road would be my best bet to get close, and it was. Take it from either a couple miles west of Brogan, or from Ironside (the end from Brogan was marked "to Malheur Reservoir", only later did I confirm that it was Willow Creek Rd.) When you get to the northmost bend on Willow Creek Rd., there is a 3-way crossroads with a sign pointing north to Bridgeport - I guessed here that this was Malheur City Rd, but I now believe it may have been Mormon Basin Rd...in any event, it got me where I was going. Soon enough there is a rougher road going east which is marked "Malheur Cemetery".

    As for the town, all that's left are an interesting stone arch and some dirt wall foundations, and the (very well-preserved) cemetery itself, which is worth seeing. While I was there one of the locals who maintains the cemetery drove up and chatted a bit about the town's history (he helped try to fight the grass fire that ultimately destroyed Malheur). Friendly old guy, I should have gotten his name.

    Anyway, I made the whole trip in a 2WD Honda Accord, but a few of the dirt roads were a bit tricky as it had just rained and the mud was slick and rutted. No real problems but I wouldn't try without 4WD if there had been heavy rains.

    Also might be worth pointing out that neither Brogan nor Ironside is much of a town. Ironside appeared to be just a cluster of farms. Brogan appeared to have once had a few convenience stores but they were all out of business and falling apart. On the other hand, the little store/cafe in Willow Creek (the town, east of Brogan) was friendly and well-stocked.

    Directions to many of these places have been left out on purpose, due to ever-increasing vandalism.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Excellent trip report. It's a shame the town burned down, sounds like a common theme.
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