Southern Oregon Ghost Towns
By Rebecca Scott | 10/28/2019 | Museums & History, Things to Do


Did you see a shadow move behind you, hear an unexplained creaking or get an eerie feeling that sends shivers down your spine?

Then you’re in a ghost town! 

Southern Oregon has a handful of ghost towns, rich with history, stories and creepy fun.

 Visit these local ghost towns to learn about Oregon’s interesting past, and maybe see a spirit or two.

Buncom, Jackson County

An abandoned mid-19th century mining town, Buncom is one of Oregon’s best-preserved ghost towns. It was founded in 1851 by Chinese miners after gold was discovered in Jacksonville and Sterling Creek. In addition to gold, the mines contained silver, chromite and cinnabar. 

In its heyday, Buncom had a saloon and general store, and a post office was added in 1896. Besides gold miners, Buncom attracted farmers, ranchers and loggers.

Only three buildings from the past still survive. The bunkhouse, post office and cookhouse are protected and preserved by the Buncom Historical Society, which organizes an annual event — Buncom Day (the last Saturday in May) — for fundraising effort

Golden, Josephine County

Now completely abandoned, Golden is a true Oregon ghost town. The city was established during the 1840s gold rush and began as a mining camp on Coyote Creek. It developed into a town around 1890; a hub that served people working in more remote places nearby.

At its peak, more than 150 people called Golden home. There was a church, post office, orchard and general store. However, it did not have any saloons.

Golden sits in peaceful woodlands and has its own historic district — the Golden State Heritage Site. You can explore the four remaining structures: a residence, shed, church and the building that housed the store and post office. 

Sterlingville - Sterling Cemetery, Jackson County

4.2 miles from Buncom, Sterlingville Cemetery isn’t haunted, but this graveyard is all that remains of the gold mining township of Sterlingville.

Stop at the aluminum gate on the dirt road and enter the cemetery through the side gate. A sign displays how a 1,200-person town grew after miners James Sterling and Aaron Davis located a gold strike in 1854.

As miners arrived, stores opened: a saloon, bakery, boarding house and warehouse. Today, Sterlingville is overgrown with trees and brush, with no trace of where it once stood, except for the cemetery.

To get to Sterlingville Cemetery, go south toward Jacksonville. Take Oregon Street (Highway 238) west and turn left on Cady Road. Follow Cady Road for 1.8 miles and turn right onto Sterling Creek Road. Go 6.3 miles. You’ll see a dirt road to the left with an old wooden sign stating “Sterlingville Cemetery 1863.”

Visit these classic Southern Oregon ghost towns and learn more about our region’s fascinating and spooky history. Plan your trip at

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