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Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Friend Ghost Town
The short-lived railroad town in central Oregon has been
abandoned since the 1930s.
The town of Friend in Wasco County, Oregon, was located at the end of the Great Southern Railroad, a 41-mile line that connected The Dalles to Dufur. The railroad started in 1904 and then completely ceased operation in 1936. There is very little left of the physical tracks today—or the town that stood as its terminus.
When the railroad line was abandoned, the town of Friend soon followed. Today it is a ghost town, consisting of an empty schoolhouse, a cemetery, the old general store and post office, and a concrete building in a field whose purpose is unknown.
Some believe this mystery building was the skeleton of a bank that was deserted after the railroad went out of business. It now stands in the empty field like a tombstone. There are a few other mementos surrounding the abandoned town, like a nameless, tilted barn and a rusted tractor. These scattered signs of life create a creeping feeling that people should be here, but they aren’t.
The schoolhouse has the quirky relic of two separate outhouse bathrooms marked “Ladies” and “Gents.” Though in disrepair, it is still open to the public and was recently the site to an indie rock festival. Interestingly, this one-room schoolhouse closely resembles a church, with long rows of windows, and a steeple-like entrance.
The post office, which ran up until 1979, was built on the homestead of George J. Friend, after whom the town was named. He was one of many homesteaders who worked as farmers and loggers in the community. The old cemetery is full of tombstones of these residents who lived and died during the town’s short peak.