Scenic USA - Washington

Govan Schoolhouse

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Govan Schoolhouse - Wilbur, Washington

Photos by Monte Dodge
Monte's Ghost Town Gallery

   Built of wood and most often constructed in haste, America's century old ghost towns may surprise first time visitors with their fragile appearance, yet unexpected durability. Usually found in various stages of deterioration, a few of America's enduring ghost towns sites offer a town full of vacant buildings, such as Bodie SHP, Bannack SHP and Berlin State Park. But the majority consist of a few remnant buildings, bypassed by new highways, railroads, bridges and time.
   Here in eastern Washington, the arrival of the Great Northern Railroad in 1893 brought about significant changes. Govan Schoolhouse - Wilbur, Washington Larger farms, new overseas markets, and steam powered machinery brought about an agriculture boom. Coupled up with hundreds of gold mining operations, small communities seem to pop up and spread throughout this vast section of the Columbia Plateau. Govan, one of Eastern Washington’s small farming communities, once boasted a population of 114. A 1927 fire decimated the small town's business center. Once it was bypassed by a new U.S. Route 2 in 1933, the small town never recovered. By 1967, the closure of the post office marked the official end of Govan, although a few citizens hung on. One of four Govan residents, O. J. Bagly, remembers attending the Govan Schoolhouse. Closed in 1942, sunlight now passes through its wooden siding. Not much remains inside but 50 years of school day memories. Built in 1906, the old red schoolhouse somehow manages to resist the prairie winds, and leaves ghost town hunters with a strong connection to a much older and very different hardworking America.

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