Ben Ohmann Photography

Good Ohmanns

Douglas County Adventure

It was Ben's birthday and Father's Day weekend so we decided it was the perfect time for another Ohmann Family Adventure! This time we headed off to Douglas County with about six destinations in mind. Three abandoned towns that we had heard of, and three abandoned schools houses.

Making the videos was kind of a spur of the moment thing, and I just edited it together on my phone, but we hope you enjoy watching our adventures! Don't stop there though, keep reading to check out some of the awesome photos we got on our trip as well!

An adventure in Douglas County Ghost Towns

Our first planned stop of the day was the town of St. Andrews, but along the way we happened upon a train museum.

Of course we  had to stop and check it out and it was super neat. We ended up taking so many pictures we felt like it deserved it's own blog. So to check out some neat old trains and see what we discovered click HERE!

Once we were done checking out the train museum we hit the road again.

Our first stop of the day was the town of St. Andrews.

St. Andrews was a community located in Douglas County WA settled in the late 1890's.  It was around 1890 when Captain James Saint Andrew and his wife Lucy settled in the area and started a post office to serve the area out of their farm house. Andrews who was a Civil War veteran became Douglas Counties 2nd prosecuting attorney. With the coming of the Great Northern Railroad in 1909 the St. Andrews area flourished.  The community had established a hotel, general store, livery stable, black smith shop, and meat market. The St. Andrews area survived for a number of years, but like many communities in the area the loss of income due to major roads bypassing the town ultimately lead to its demise.  

Ghost Towns of Washington

St. Andrews wasn't exactly the "town" we were hoping for, but the couple buildings we did see were really cool. The wind was pretty strong this day and we could hear the boards of the house moving in the wind as we were looking around, which gave this house an extra spooky vibe. We looked around for the cemetery that was supposedly supposed to be there too but we couldn't find it. The website where we heard of the town from had said they last visited in 2011 so maybe in the last 7 years some of the surroundings have changed, also one of the buildings that was supposed to be abadoned had modern cars parked around it and a person came out after we drove around a couple times so maybe it was the Ghost of Saint Andrew. :)

Our next stop was the Highland School House. We don't know much about the history of this school house but it was really neat to look through. It must be a fairly well known spot for local hooligans however, because it was just desecrated with graffiti and even looked like someone had started a fire in one corner of the building. 

The Highland school house dates back to 1905 and closed in 1949

It's sad to see what has become of this cool old building, but the land it sat on and the surrounding area was breathtakingly beautiful!

The next stop on our adventure was the little town of Farmer, Washington.

Farmer was located in Douglas County WA from about 1895 to 1961.  There is very little information in the historical registers describing this once agricultural community. Farmer consisted of a post office, general store, community hall, and service station.  The first Post Master of Farmer was John Morgan.  Today the community hall, cemetery and building ruins are all that remain of Farmer. Ghost Towns Of Washington

Like St. Andrews, the website we found this town on had not visited since 2011, and like St. Andrews we could not find the cemetery that it said was supposed to be around. However, unlike St. Andrews we could at least see the remnants of what looked like a town.

There was no road into the abandoned town of Farmer that we could find, so we got as close as we could near some really cool silos. We all had bug bracelets on, Zenna and I had our hair tied up and we were all wearing jeans and tennis shoes, so we trudged our way through the overgrown weeds to go check it out. Upon closer inspection however, we came to the conclusion that some towns are just meant to be left alone. Not only did we hike our way through some very big weeds, once we got close to the buildings the entire field was full of prickly plants. All the green bushy plants you see near the buildings, ALL prickly. Some almost as tall as me (Jenny). So we didn't get as close, or get to explore the buildings as much as we would have liked but it was still a fun expierence and made for an interesting part of our adventure.

After exploring Farmer, it was about dinner time. We had gotten a later start to the day than we had planned so the lunch we had packed became dinner. We had three more stops on our list for this adventure, but it was getting late and we were about 2 1/2 hours or so from home so we decided to save the other two school houses for another time and hit the road again to find the last town on our list, Alstown.

Alstown was the farthest destination on our map for this adventure so we saved it for last. While it did appear pretty much as the website described when they last visited in 2012, there was a house about "a stone's throw away" as Ben put it, that was clearly not abandoned.  Once we made sure the dogs from this house were done chasing us down the road, we got out and explored the remnants of Alstown.

Alstown was once a branch of the line of the Great Northern Railroad established around 1915, located on Douglas Creek in South Central Douglas County WA. It was named for Albert (Al) Luther Rogers, a civil engineer, merchant, and civic leader in nearby Waterville.  With improved highways and trucking the Alstown branch was abandoned in 1950.  All that remains of Alstown is the grain storage facility and a few long vacant homesteads.  Ghost Towns of Washington

We didn't go inside any of the buildings here either because none of them really seemed safe to explore. Either the floors were covered in rodent droppings or they were swarming with bees or they were overgrown with weeds. We still got some neat pictures however and it was fun to walk around this little ghost town and peek into history.

After Alstown we hopped back on the highway and headed for home. We spotted what looked like more abandoned buildings on the side of the road so we stopped to check those out too. We lucked out and didn't really get rained on our whole trip, but we did get to end the day with a pretty cool rainbow!

All in all it was another great Ohmann Family Adventure! We hope to have lot's more adventures to share with you this summer so stay tuned!

Inland Northwest Rail Museum

It was Ben's birthday and Father's Day weekend so we decided it was the perfect time for another Ohmann Family Adventure! This time we headed off to Douglas County but along the way in Reardan, Washington we happened upon a train museum. We took so many pictures here that we decided it needed it's own blog for you to look through all the cool things they have to offer and maybe even go check it out for youselves!

What first caught our eye was a really cool train engine on the side, so we decided to go look at it. Once we got closer we realized it was a museum so we decided to go take a look. It was $10 per person (5 and under was free) to go through two restored cars inside and 4 cars outside that you can walk through and learn about.

The Dining Car was built in 1914 by the Pullman Co. as a Harriman Std. Full Service Diner, which changed in the 1940's to a lunch counter until 1986.

The street car was the last Spokane Street car.

Car 140 was built built in 1906 for the Washington Water Power Co. Trolley lines of Spokane. After the 1922 merger of NWP Co. and the Spokane Tractor Co. The car ran as Spokane United Railway's #140 until trolley operations stopped in 1936. The car was used as a diner for a bit then donated to the historical society in 1979.

After looking through the two cars inside we heard the "ALL ABOARD!" for the train ride included in our admission.

After our train ride we went through the other train cars they had available outside. One of those trains was the "American Scene".

The American Scene was a Union Pacific sleeping car built in 1941 by the Pullman Company, with four double bedrooms, six roomettes, and six pullman sections. It was donated by Union Pacific in 1987.

Back inside they had a few other neat things to check out.

We probably could have spent a lot more time here looking at things, but we were already late in the day and wanted to get to as many of our planned stops as we could so we got back on the road. This place was super neat to check out though and we hope you all go see it on your own, but until then we hope you enjoy our photos.

Mt. Spokane Adventure

This was one of those days we just needed to get out of the house and do something. So we headed for the hills! Mt. Spokane is pretty close to home so we decided to go walk around up there and explore. We'd been there before, Ben even used to work up there for ski season way back when we were young, but this time it was an adventure! So we hopped in the car and headed to the top of the mountain.

At the very top of Mt. Spokane is the Vista House: 

The Vista House was constructed in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as “an excellent example of the naturalistic design principles that the CCC inherited from the National Park Service” in which “stone and timber structures were meant to emerge from their surroundings as if they were expressions of the site”.
The Vista House was renovated by the State Park in 2002.  The lodge was completely renovated in 2002 and opened to the public.  It is constructed of native granite stone and timber framing.  The great stone fireplace is the center of the structure, beckoning visitors to enjoy a warm drink and put their feet up in front of the fire. www.mtspokane.com/lodges

At the bottom of the vista house is one of the ski chairs so we wandered around there for a minute and Zenna practiced her handstands. Then we went and checked out the South Overlook where they have view finders set up to see several different lake filled valleys around our area. 

Zenna was too short to look through the viewfinders, so she found her own way to get up there. ( I know it looks like Ben isn't helping her, and just walks away lol but as you can see she didn't need help and what you don't hear is she wants to do everything on her own.) 

There was also some cool looking towers, and we even found some snow... All in all it was another great Ohmann family adventure! 

Steptoe/Elberton Adventure

Our first adventure for the year was to Steptoe Butte and the Ghost town of Elberton, Washington. We posted this already on our photography blog. We decided however, that since these adventures don't really have anything to do with our business that we'd start a separate blog just for them. Unless you would like to purchase a photo that you see in any of our blogs then of course we would be more than happy to make that happen for you! :)

So to avoid having to write another blog about the same adventure, but to still include this adventure in our adventure blog, please just follow the link below!