The strange story of Millican began in the 1880s, when George Millican carved out a ranch 25 miles east of Bend. With little else nearby, a small township bearing his name grew up around it. By 1913, Millican’s Post Office was established, making it an official town. The population grew but never climbed above 100 people.
In the 1930s, U.S. Highway 20 cut its own path through the nearby country. Much of the town moved out, interested in the new life that such a road could provide. This dropped Millican’s population to one man: Billy Rahn who ran the Post Office and retired in 1942 when it closed.
After World War II, a businessman named Bill Mellin bought and ran the old gas station, store, and post office. Mellin worked the town alone for forty years, until 1988, when he was murdered by his only employee. The one-man ghost town left no one behind. Mellin’s family was already dead: his children in a car accident and plane crash, and his wife by heart attack. The town’s population dropped to zero again.
Millican is a truly unlucky place. For the past 30 years, several families and businesses have bought and then quickly sold the town again. All had high hopes, but none kept the land for long. If you’ve always wanted to own a ghost town just wait a while, Millican should be up for sale again soon.