Shaniko, Oregon

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Shaniko is a city located in Wasco County, Oregon, United States, on U.S. Route 97 and about eight miles (13 km) north of Antelope. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 26—a virtual ghost town whose preservation is being spearheaded by investments from Robert B. Pamplin, Jr., a businessman and owner of the Portland Tribune and Columbia Empire Farms.[citation needed]



The first European Americans came to the Shaniko area after the discovery of gold in Canyon City, Oregon, in 1862.[3] The route to Canyon City started at the early settlement of The Dalles, 190 miles (310 km) away.[3] Camps were made wherever water could be found.[3] One camp, which became the farming community of Bakeoven, was closely associated with the future town of Shaniko, while another camp, Cross Hollow, was located in the present Shaniko city limits.[3] In 1867, following complaints of hostile Indians and fear of robbery of those transporting gold, the State of Oregon received a grant from the United States government to build a military wagon road from The Dalles to Fort Boise, Idaho.[3] Following this road, homesteaders began claiming land in Central Oregon that was previously fairly inaccessible.[3]

One of these settlers was August Scherneckau, who came to the area after the Civil War,[4] in 1874.[3] The spelling of the town's name reflects local pronunciation of Scherneckau's name.[4] The town was originally called Cross Hollows, and a post office by that name was established in May 1879 with Scherneckau as postmaster.[4] Cross Hollows post office closed in 1887, and Shaniko post office opened in 1900.[4]

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