Oregon Secretary of State

Agricultural Ghost Towns

An old truck in a field. An agricultural watering machine rests to the left. Storm clouds in the sky.
An old truck in a field on Lawen-Harney Road in Harney County. (Oregon State Archives, 2014) Get a high resolution copy of this image from the Oregon Scenic Images Collection​.
The story of farming ghost towns in Oregon often began with promoters describing the desert as a fertile paradise. Fueled by land grants, the boom usually ended with a very dry bust. Meanwhile, many early ranchers helped feed hungry miners who were following gold rushes around the state. Cattle barons later consolidated countless smaller ranches, thus ​controlling vast stretches of eastern Oregon. And, conflicts arose between cattle and sheep ranchers as the range wars common to the West heated up in Oregon.

Farming the Desert

Dead Ox Flat

Oregon Ranching History

Range Wars