The town of Friend in Wasco County, Oregon, was located at the end of the Great Southern Railroad, a 41-mile line that connected The Dalles to Dufur. The railroad started in 1904 and completely ceased operation in 1936. There is very little left of the physical tracks today—or the town that stood as its terminus.
When the railroad line was abandoned, the town of Friend soon followed. Today it is a ghost town, consisting of an empty schoolhouse, a cemetery, the old general store and post office, and a concrete building in a field whose purpose is unknown.
Some believe this mystery building was the skeleton of a bank that was deserted after the railroad went out of business. It now stands in the empty field like a tombstone. There are a few other mementos surrounding the abandoned town, like a nameless, tilted barn and a rusted tractor. These scattered signs of life create a creepy feeling that people should be there, but they aren’t.
The schoolhouse has the quirky relic of two separate outhouse bathrooms marked “Ladies” and “Gents.” Though in disrepair, it is still open to the public and was recently the site for an indie rock festival. Interestingly, this one-room schoolhouse closely resembles a church, with long rows of windows and a steeple-like entrance.
The post office, which was in operation until 1979, was built on the homestead of George J. Friend, after whom the town was named. He was one of many homesteaders who worked as farmers and loggers in the community. The old cemetery is full of tombstones of the residents who lived and died during the town’s short peak.
Know Before You Go
As of 2023, it's not a ghost town. There's people living there. The schoolhouse mentioned in the article has been refurbished into a church. Barbed wire fences enclose the fields. New structures with cars and trucks parked outside outnumber the ruins. I did not feel comfortable poking around and left after getting a photo of the one ruined building that was easily seen from the road.