Travels with the Original Easyrider®
2016 Edition

Visit the Ghost Town of
Austin, Oregon
Baker County

September 22, 2016

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Austin was named for Minot and Linda Austin, early settlers of the area.
The Austins operated a small store and hotel, Austin House. Austin House
was started as a hotel and stagecoach station by a Mr. Newton. Austin post
office was established in 1888 and closed in 1950.

The tracks of the Sumpter Valley Railway reached Austin in 1905. The railway
was built by Oregon Lumber Company and Austin became an important railroad
logging community. Austin was the hub of the area until Bates, a company
town of the Oregon Lumber Company, was built 1 mile to the west.
Austin was also a supply depot for local mining towns, including Susanville
and Galena. Austin sawmills supplied lumber for places such as Greenhorn
and the Bonanza Mine, higher up in the Blue Mountains. At its height, the
population was about 500 (some estimates say it was high as 5,000) and the
community had three sawmills. The town also had a substantial jail and the
offices of several doctors, lawyers and real estate operators. As the
neighboring mining towns disappeared, however, Austin also went into decline.

By 1997, a newer business called Austin House was the only business remaining
in the Austin area, at Austin Junction where Oregon Route 7 meets U.S. Route
26. Built in 1959, the business is about 2.5 miles from the original
site of Austin and serves as a combination tavern, grocery store, restaurant
and gas station. As of 2002, fewer than 35 people lived within a 5-mile
radius of Austin.

These images were taken with my Nikon D7000 beater camera and 30
year old, $1,000 35mm f/1.4 manual focus lens.

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