Mabel Ghost Town

Chelsea Norene---

    I’ve always considered Oregon the final Frontier - the culmination of Westward expansion and the place where the west was once wild. Having this vision of Oregon has also lead me to form my own ideas of what an Oregon Ghost Town would be like - deserted streets, old factories or mills, run down houses and buildings, all the creepy good stuff. Listed as one of Oregon’s "Ghost Towns," I thought Mabel would be an interesting place to visit on a foggy autumn day (or perhaps a winter night).

Upon our arrival, Amy and I discovered that Mabel is in fact covered in a blanket of heavy fog during the fall season, which I had hoped would add to the “deserted” feeling of the town. Established in 1890, it was the third largest town in Oregon, and was home to a single double-room school building, in which all students attended. Originally, most of the town’s revenue and livelihood stemmed from a sawmill located on the Shotgun Creek - its ruins still stand today.  In the 1940's the school was converted into a community grange hall for the local farmers to meet and exchange/sell goods. Since the farming community has died off in that area in recent years, the grange is now home to weekly yoga classes and is available to rent for special occasions...not very deserted, now is it?

When we reached the grange, we were lucky enough to encounter an older local woman who gave us a tour and brief history of the building (next best thing to talking walls, I suppose). Much of the interior decor is still true to the original architecture of the time - heavy wood paneling, old-fashioned wood stoves, and a classic piano - really a beautiful structure. The woman also entertained us with tales of the town, including stories of the local hoarder, who lives on grange grounds because his house is full of old junk, and the history of incest associated with the creepy! Felt like the makings of a low-budget b-list horror film - very Wrong Turn-esque.

   Located along the Mohawk river, you can wander along the bank and enjoy the beautiful forest surrounding the town - perfect if you‘re like me and love a good outdoor photo opportunity. After we explored the riverside, we drove back towards Eugene and stopped at a covered bridge - another lovely spot for photography if that's up your alley! Keep in mind that this is a functioning bridge - people DO drive over it. Don’t want to get caught in the headlights like Amy and i did!      
   Overall, I’d say that if history/culture and photo-ops are things that spark your interest, I think this would be an adventure for you - easily accessible and free to the public, it's an interesting aspect of Lane County to explore!

*If you visit Mabel, tell us about it on Facebook!

Ratings: (1-5)

Physical difficulty: 1
Cost: 1  
Transportation: 3