Latitude / Longitude:
45°0′11″N 120°45′11″W / 45.00306°N 120.75306°W / 45.00306
3,343 ft (1,019 m)
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
Shaniko (/'”æn”ko”/, SHAN-i-koh) is a city located in Wasco County, Oregon, United States, on U.S. Route 97 and about 8 miles (13 km) north of Antelope. The population was 36 at the 2010 census. Shaniko is in Wasco County, in north-central Oregon, at the intersection of U.S. Route 97 and Oregon Route 218. The city is 69 miles (111 km) north of Redmond and 131 miles (211 km) east of Portland. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.50 square miles (1.29 km2), all of it land.
The city is at an elevation of 3,343 feet (1,019 m). On the high plateau on which Shaniko was built, the soil is thin and the vegetation sparse, consisting mainly of sagebrush, bunchgrass, and occasional junipers. Many peaks of the Cascade Range, including Hood, Jefferson, Adams, St. Helens and Rainier, are visible from the city. The first European Americans came to the Shaniko area after the discovery of gold in Canyon City, Oregon, in 1862. The route to Canyon City started at the early settlement of The Dalles, 190 miles (310 km) away. Camps were made wherever water could be found. One camp, which became the farming community of Bakeoven, was closely associated with the future town of Shaniko, while another camp, Cross Hollow, was within the present Shaniko city limits. 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. Following this road, homesteaders began claiming land in Central Oregon that had been fairly inaccessible.
By 1911, the Oregon–Washington Railroad and Navigation Company, another Union Pacific subsidiary, began using an alternate route linking Portland to Bend by way of the Deschutes River canyon. The new line, advertised as the “direct, quick and natural route”, diverted traffic from the Columbia Southern, and Shaniko begin to decline. Passenger service to Shaniko ended in the early 1930s, and the entire line was shut down by 1966. By 1982 Shaniko was nearly a ghost town.
The residents of Shaniko voted to incorporate Shaniko and elected a mayor, F. T. Hurlbert, and other city officials on January 1, 1902. It was Wasco County’s fifth largest city, boasting the largest wool warehouse in the state, from which 4 million pounds (1.8 kt) (2,000 tons) were marketed in 1901. It was surrounded by cattle ranches, which produced livestock for shipment that filled 400 railroad cars that year.