Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14

Thread: Ghost Town or Grain Silo?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Renton, WA
    Posts
    333

    Default Ghost Town or Grain Silo?

    In trying to investigate potential ghost towns throughout Washington, I've discovered what has become a very prevalent roadblock.

    In the wheat country of Eastern Washington, there are numerous old railroad and farming towns that have passed on, leaving little more than name on a map, or a couple of buildings to signify that they ever existed. At first, I took many of the names I'd find, and assume them to be a former community.

    However, we all know what assuming does...

    Eventually, I realized so many of the places I cataloged are no more than "Cement" here:


    The name may appear on the tracks, and like numerous places, even on some maps, but there never really was a community. Instead, it is just a name given to signify where there was something significant, which usually amounts to a grain silo along the tracks, or in some cases a wye in the tracks, or something similar that isn't much of interest to a ghost town hunter.

    However, every once and a while the story is different, such as Tokio, where no buildings stand after grassland fires of the recent decades, or Riparia, where everything was torn down of a once-significant community.

    So the question really comes down to what of the collection of locations I have was once a real community, and what is just a name? And how can I tell? I lucked out in trying to research and found an article on the history of Riparia, while the silo location of "Revere" turned up articles referencing it as such. But so many turn up nothing more than the notion that it is a name attributed to a place, so the hunt continues...
    Easily distracted.

    Current distraction: Railroad Depots

  2. #2
    campp's Avatar
    campp is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    614

    Default

    I'm not sure about the place in the photo, but railroads give names to just about any feature along their route. Sometimes they correspond with a "regular" named town or place, but more often, they are just a RR-only name so the crew knows where they are and what they need to do. The name might be for something obvious (perhaps the above was where there was once a cement load out or whatever), and sometimes I think they are just named after people (who worked for the road). I've seen all sorts of odd ones, such as "chicken" or "burn".

  3. #3
    Tsarevna's Avatar
    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    OR
    Posts
    530

    Default

    Geographic names books are a great place to start.

    One of the best resources I have for Oregon is "Oregon Geographic Names". Just an encyclopedic book with place names, such as towns and cities, and geographic features, such as mountains and rivers. 1-2 paragraphs about the origin of the name and what is important about it.

    OGN will say something like this:

    Idiotville, located in X county. Once a large logging camp, so remote that it was said "only an idiot would go out to work there." Idiot Creek gets it's name from the small community, of which nothing remains.


    I have just done a google search and found that there is a similar book called Washington Geographic Names.

    http://www.amazon.com/Washington-Sta.../dp/0295954981

    You may want to start there.

    If the place name has no explanation, and there is little on the web about it, you can still do some research.

    1) call the county museum or historical society and ask about it
    2) call the railroad and ask about it
    3) remember most communities have a school and a cemetery. Search for school records and burial records on genealogy sites
    4) check the census, see if it is a census designated place
    5) go to the local library and dig for old newspaper articles on microfilm about the place
    6) find a history book about the general region and look up your unknown place name in the index

    (I like to search the old out of print books on google books, finding a general history book then searching inside the books individually by typing in the place name and pressing "search.")

    7) try to find old maps with the mystery place on them. Sometimes old maps designate a place as a town or city in the map key, with a different marking for a "locality" name



    I love using Hometownlocator.com. It's a bit of a messy webpage, but has really nice information.

    http://washington.hometownlocator.co...ha,alpha,c.cfm

    Here's a link to communities that start with "C" in Washignton state. Not finding a "cement" would help confirm that it probably wasn't a town.

    I find something interesting, a town called "Cinebar." Being a mineral, and ghost mining towns are often named after minerals, I decide to check it out.

    I click on Cinebar, then scroll down and click on "cemeteries" under the
    "Cinebar Directory of Business, Government & Social Services".


    It then shows a google map of where the cemetery is located. This trick works for living towns and many ghost towns.

    For example, Champoeg, Oregon, hasn't really been a living town since 1861. But you can still find out where the cemetery is located, and other information, from that website.

    When I go to Champoeg next, I'll know not to miss it.

    http://oregon.hometownlocator.com/ci...id,1162887.cfm
    Last edited by Tsarevna; 09-10-2010 at 12:11 AM.

  4. #4
    campp's Avatar
    campp is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    614

    Default

    ^^ Great information! ^^

  5. #5
    Darin's Avatar
    Darin is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Tacoma, WA.
    Posts
    1,051

    Default

    Well I just got lost in all that info on Washington.
    I just stuck that in my "favorites" for easy access when out GT'ing.
    Think I'll go and get that geographic names book too.
    Thanks for the info Tsar.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Renton, WA
    Posts
    333

    Default

    Tsar, thanks for all the great info!

    I just bought the book online, so hopefully I can find out about at least a few of the places i've come across.
    I did notice looking through the hometownlocator site that a few places I've known were just silo sites do manage to show up, so really my best guess for a good source would be something that documents schools and post offices that have existed in the past, Unfortunately, that info can sometimes be hard to come across.
    Easily distracted.

    Current distraction: Railroad Depots

  7. #7
    Tsarevna's Avatar
    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    OR
    Posts
    530

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fairlane500 View Post
    Tsar, thanks for all the great info!

    I just bought the book online, so hopefully I can find out about at least a few of the places i've come across.
    I did notice looking through the hometownlocator site that a few places I've known were just silo sites do manage to show up, so really my best guess for a good source would be something that documents schools and post offices that have existed in the past, Unfortunately, that info can sometimes be hard to come across.
    Yeah that is possible that the silo sites can sneak in there. But another great thing about the hometown locator is you can click on "schools" to find out if there is/was one nearby.

    It's a huge mess of a web page, probably auto-constructed via database input, which is auto-farmed by bots.

    What I do to look for things in that site is Control + F to do a search. Then I just type in school or cemetery or whatnot.

    ....................

    Often times I'll search for things like via County.

    http://oregon.hometownlocator.com/or/columbia/

    Check this out. All of towns listed for Columbia County, Oregon. With a red asterix for incorporated cities/towns. Notice that Neverstill is at the bottom...so I ask myself...is/was Neverstill a ghost town?

    (I can click on Neverstill, and at the top of Neverstill's page it says it's a populated place located at X lat/long. That still doesn't tell me much. It says "Panaramio Photos." I clicked on that, but unfortunately, nobody has uploaded a Panaramio Photo from that specific place. So I'll dig deeper.)


    Look at the top of the page in the link above. See where it says "Features?"

    You click on that to get to this page:

    http://oregon.hometownlocator.com/features/

    Now you can search by "Feature" on the landscape...airports, cemeteries, bays, rivers, mountains, tunnels, post offices, schools, lakes, springs, even wells!

    If you go and press "features" at the top of the page, it lists all features for the entire state of Oregon. I want to narrow it down to just Columbia County.

    So, I go back to the Columbia County page, and look at #2 on the short list at the top...where it says "Columbia County Physical, Cultural, and Historic Features."

    I click on that and end up here: http://oregon.hometownlocator.com/fe...c,columbia.cfm

    In my quest to find out if Neverstill was a town, I'm gonna first look at "Post Offices."

    But wait!

    Notice, there are 2 listings for Post Offices. One in the "cultural" column, for today's existing post offices, and one in the "Historic" column.

    I click on the one in "Historic."

    There it is. Neverstill post office, located about 1 mile north (according to the topo map) of the historic location of Neverstill. Keep in mind, these map locations can be off by a little bit.

    Notice the notice at the top:

    Historical Features are physical or cultural features that are no longer visible on the landscape. Examples: a dried up lake, a destroyed building, a hill leveled by mining. The term makes no reference to the age, use, or any other aspect of the feature. A ghost town, for example, is not a historical feature if it is still visible.
    It takes a little bit of getting used to this system.

    Class A ghost towns (with little to no remains) get placed in the "locales" section of Historical, and semi ghost tons or class C's get placed in "Locales" in Cultural Features.

    When you get used to it, it's a pretty darned useful website.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    N. California
    Posts
    271

    Default Camp Neverstill

    Not meaning to hijack this thread, but Neverstill was a logging company camp, where the locomotives were serviced. Since it was busy 24/7 it got the name of "neverstill".

    From the book, "Railroads in the Woods" by Labbe and Goe, 4th printing 1970, the camp was on the mainline of the Columbia and Nehalem River RR. This RR left the Columbia River at Kerry and was built South over the hills to the valley of the Nehalem River. While the Kerry interests were the main reason for building the RR, there was at one time as many as ten railroad logging camps of other operators that were served by this mainline RR. The main shops were built across the Nehalem below Birkenfeld and the crews of the small mainline engines were kept so busy that it got the name Camp Neverstill.

    This small mainline was built after 1898 and largely completed by 1914 at a time when all logging in NW Oregon and SW Washinton was by railroad. This was the heydey of the Shay and the other geared locomotives and even mainline locomotives needed help on some grades from geared engines.

    There is a lovely B&W photo of the engine shop building sitting derlict at Neverstill and I guess I should scan it and post here. I do not know when it was taken, but probably around 1950. The building is likely not standing today.

  9. #9
    Tsarevna's Avatar
    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    OR
    Posts
    530

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Not meaning to hijack this thread, but Neverstill was a logging company camp, where the locomotives were serviced. Since it was busy 24/7 it got the name of "neverstill".

    From the book, "Railroads in the Woods" by Labbe and Goe, 4th printing 1970, the camp was on the mainline of the Columbia and Nehalem River RR. This RR left the Columbia River at Kerry and was built South over the hills to the valley of the Nehalem River. While the Kerry interests were the main reason for building the RR, there was at one time as many as ten railroad logging camps of other operators that were served by this mainline RR. The main shops were built across the Nehalem below Birkenfeld and the crews of the small mainline engines were kept so busy that it got the name Camp Neverstill.

    This small mainline was built after 1898 and largely completed by 1914 at a time when all logging in NW Oregon and SW Washinton was by railroad. This was the heydey of the Shay and the other geared locomotives and even mainline locomotives needed help on some grades from geared engines.

    There is a lovely B&W photo of the engine shop building sitting derlict at Neverstill and I guess I should scan it and post here. I do not know when it was taken, but probably around 1950. The building is likely not standing today.
    Very good information Dave.

    Yeah the roundhouse, which you are probably talking about, has gone down. It was left standing as a sort of landmark, but heavy snows in the 1980's sometime collapsed it.
    The little town had a hospital, and from what I can gather, it was turned into a house but later went poof as well. A company man's house was in the vicinity and I'm not sure if it is standing.

    Birkenfeld, right next door to the north, is a ghost town barely clinging to existence in class D status. It still has a general store, which was divided into part cafe part grocery store. There is a bar across the street still operating. Anyway the store owner explained to me, when I was there in March, that he had just let his cook go and times were tough for the store. Birkenfeld used to have a Masonic Hall and other important buildings, including a post office. It's a neat little area to visit, but I didn't have the time to stop and chat. I really should have inquired about Neverstill.

    The Kerry Line was a huge logging network. The real main line for the region. If you want to know more about it, Brian McCamish's website has a wealth of information.

    http://www.brian894x4.com/KerryrailroadPart4.html

    Aside for 1 or 2 farmhouses that could be original, I fear that Neverstill has become a class A.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    N. California
    Posts
    271

    Default

    I was finally able to get may scanner going, so lets see if I can post the image discussed in post above. This structure is a shop building instead of a roundhouse.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Modern Ghost Town in Oregon? Any class C Ghost Towns?
    By wonderflex in forum Directions and Locations of Ghost Towns
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 08-09-2010, 06:49 AM
  2. A little fun with a ghost town that's not a ghost town.
    By dwinslow in forum History of Ghost Towns and Historical Sites
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 09-06-2009, 08:39 PM
  3. Ghost Town, a quarterly publication for lovers of ghost towns, restaraunt/saloon owners
    By Ghosttowns.com in forum History of Ghost Towns and Historical Sites
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-05-2001, 09:49 AM
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-03-2001, 12:35 PM
  5. buy ghost town or building in a town
    By Ghosttowns.com in forum For Sale/Want Ads
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-13-1999, 08:24 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •