Buncom, Oregon, however, is a REAL ghost town and it's one of only two of its kind in this part of Oregon (the other is Golden). But unlike Golden, Buncom is not even too well known by long time locals, likely because it is located in some forested country that is a eleven miles from Highway 238. That said, Buncom is not exactly isolated. The buildings are located on the private property of Mr. Reeve Hennion (the official "Mayor" of Buncom) who lives in a house nearby and sit upon the shoulder of the crossroads of Sterling Creek Road and Little Applegate Road. Though these are not busy roads, they are paved and a great number of people do live out here, hence a few cars go by every so often.
Despite the fact that Buncom is not well known by even locals, people have lived here for eons. Prior to the 1850's and the coming of American settlers, the Latgawa Indians had a village nearby at the mouth of Sterling Creek. Miners discovered gold here in 1854 and during the Rogue River Indian Wars, the Latgawa who lived on the banks of Sterling Creek were entirely wiped out. Owing to the fact that a good amount of gold was located in the basic vicinity, a number of communities were established, one of which was Buncom, as well as nearby Sterlingville which was believed to be the larger of the two and also had its own cemetery.
Buncom proper is composed of three standing buildings including the Buncom Post Office (which also doubled as a general store), a large cookhouse and a long narrow bunkhouse. The remains of a fourth building are also across the road, but as you traverse the area, one can also see old sheds, barns and cabins in varying states of condition that were also part of Buncom.
The main cluster of buildings mentioned above are maintained by the Buncom Historical Society who has done quite a lot of restoration work to see that they remain for the future. Due to its relative isolation, vandalism is a problem.
In 2003 their society released a book entitled "Buncom: Crossroads Station" and written by Connie Fowler and J.B. Roberts to document the history of this aging ghost town.
Until recently, the society held an annual Buncom Days festival on the grounds that attracted hundreds of attendees, but just like Buncom's occupants, it too is now a thing that belongs to the ages.
Though one is free to visit Buncom, visitors should remember that the site is private property and to follow the cardinal rule of all ghost town enthusiasts - no relic hunting - and to leave only with your memories and some photographs.
Map courtesy of Mapquest. The blue line indicates the Oregon-California border and is roughly between Portland and San Francisco.
Photos of Buncom, Oregon by Kerby Jackson. (Jan. 3rd, 2008)
Buncom, Oregon. You likely expect to see a tumbleweed blowing by in this photo, but we don't have any sagebrush on this side of Oregon, hence we have no tumbleweeds. All in all, there's not a hell of a lot of going on in Buncom these days.
Even the woodpeckers gave up a long time ago.
The remains of a house at Buncom, Oregon. As indicated by the growth of moss on its foundation, it has been gone for decades. Part of the fireplace can be seen on the right.
A side view of Buncom, Oregon.
The false fronted building on the right was originally the post office for Buncom, Oregon. It's the youngest building at Buncom, dates back to about 1910 and also doubled as a general store. Quite a lot of restoration has actually been done to it, including repairs to its roof and front porch. The Buncom Historical Society has done a wonderful job preserving it, as can be seen in the historical photos of this building on their web site.
The "bunk house" at Buncom, Oregon. Note that the rear door is ajar. Someone with no respect for history broke the lock on the door and forced it open. Though I chose not to venture inside, I did poke my head in enough to make sure they had not thrashed the place (fortunately, they hadn't). When we got home, I gave local author and Buncom Historical Society officer Connie Fowler a call to let them know about the door being open and she told me that they were having a constant problem with vandals breaking windows and doing other damage. I suspect the problem would be even worse if Buncom was not located on a relatively well traveled road with houses nearby. A close up of the back door. Note that electricity was put in here at one time. Once Buncom officially expired as a town, these buildings were used as homes by a few hardy folks over the years.
Another view of the backdoor ajar. Is that a lens flare or the ghosts of Buncom's past standing guard?
The "cook house" at Buncom, Oregon. Quite a bit of restoration work has been done here.
Another view of Buncom's post office.
And yet another. Notice the broken window pane that a vandal smashed?
A rather unique looking tree at Buncom (behind the burned out house), likely the result of decades of neglect on what was originally a grafted sapling. I'll bet this guy looks a lot like a headless Wampus or Sasquatch on a full moon night.
Here's a side view of the post office. Note the stove pipe hole.
Yet another unique tree. You can almost imagine a bunch of local boys riding it as a make-believe-horse in an age gone by when there was a bit more going on in Buncom, Oregon.