A Walk to Franklin Ghost Town

Every time we crossed the one lane bridge over the Green River Gorge

we saw the sign nearby.

And we said to ourselves, ‘someday we’ll take the hike in,’ and on a recent sunny day we did!

Now when you hear ‘ghost town’ you might see something like Bodie in your mind’s eye, full of old western style buildings.

But for that you would need to be in dry, sunny California, not the rainy Northwest.

In Franklin – a coal town abandoned over hundred years ago – no buildings remain intact.  But you’ll find scattered foundations, an old cemetery and incredible views from the trail. Come along and I’ll show you.

The walk up the old railroad grade is easy,

and brings you to a fork in the road.

We took the fork to the left which led us to the cemetery,

with views of the Mountain on the way.

As we neared the cemetery we saw an overhead trestle blending in with the trees – which I believe carried water to the town.

Tombstones were scattered about among  blackberry bushes,

and we wandered among them, paying our respects, before heading back for a look at remnants of the town.

If we’d been on a tour we’d have learned about the buildings that once lined the street, the hotel, school, post office, and saloons, as well as the thousand or so folks who once lived here.  In fact, earlier in the spring we’d planned to join a walk led by an historian from nearby Black Diamond Historical Museum.

But a certain pandemic interrupted those plans so on this particular day we were content to use our imagination.

We’ll go back for a tour when the coast is clear.

~ Susanne

24 Comments on “A Walk to Franklin Ghost Town

  1. They didn’t live that long in the town, back in the day. Hard times, and an interesting tour.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Thanks Pete. There was some dark history there with a fire in the mine resulting in many deaths. And as coal mining declined the town faded away to history.

  2. A piece of history in each section of that ghost town. The photos give it a sad and desolate air, like a town abandoned hundreds of years ago. magnificent photos.
    A hug

  3. Enjoyed your post and pictures, especially the ones of the Mountain.

  4. Bummer you didn’t head down the first steep trail. It goes down to a lookout of the falls that is amazing.

    • We saw that trail and it did indeed look steep! We were interested in seeing Franklin this time. Maybe another time.

  5. I don’t know if you are aware of a web site called Find a Grave. It allows people to post photos of gravestones that are taken in various places. I would look and see if these are already posted there. If not, they would be very helpful to genealogists since your photos are so clear.

    • I hadn’t heard of the site before though I see that Franklin Cemetery is listed there. I can check and see what tombstones are included in their photo collection.

  6. Elizabeth is right, someone would probably be thrilled to find those photos if they haven’t already. I
    have used their website to find photos of my ancestors’ gravesites too. And it’s funny, because, being in the middle of California, when you said ghost town that was my first thought, Bodie and all those. What a difference between that and yours up there!

    • I always think of Bodie too and wasn’t sure what I’d find in Franklin. I think I’ll appreciate it more when we go back and take a guided tour and learn more about the town.

  7. Pingback: A Hike to the Waterfall in the Green River Gorge! – Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

    • Thanks Sarah. I remember your post on Cashmere! Franklin was a coal mining town in the woods on the west side (wet side!) of the mountains, so I’m not sure if they’d be similar or not? I guess we’ll never know, though I might be able to find old pictures on the internet if I looked hard enough! 🙂

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