When the news of gold in Griffin Creek reached outside, it was
Thousands of miners and prospectors poured into the Blue Mountains and parts of Idaho. A camp sprang up in the Blue Canyon district a little South of Griffin Creek, and about eight miles to the Southwest of Baker City.
On June 13, 1862, a meeting was called by William H. Packwood, Ed Cranston and George Hall to resolve the platting of the town soon to be called Auburn.
In six months there was a population of 5,000 on one street about a mile long, from Freezeout Gulch to Blue Canyon. Seven hundred cabins were raised within a year and again as many tents, plus three general stores, two hotels, several boardinghouses, three saloons, two blacksmith shops, three livery stables, a school, a portable sawmill, a stout jail, and a Masonic Hall. The preacher was slow to arrive, so there was no church. Now and then a circuit rider preached in the street on Sunday.
The diggings in that vicinity were thereafter called the "Auburn Mines."
The post office was established November 1, 1862, with William F. McCrary as the first postmaster. There were 151 families then, with 314 children. The bulk of the population was male, nearly all white with the exception of a few Chinese. As with all early mining camps, there were women following a trade older than the hills.
This was the first post office in Northeastern Oregon; it was in operation until October 31, 1903.
Auburn was destined to live but a short while. When the easy pickings were gone, so were the white miners. The Chinese inherited Auburn more or less by default, and for a number of years one could hear their chatter in the evenings as they engages in their one great obsession--gambling.
Auburn, the first Baker County Seat and once the second-largest town in Oregon (only Oregon City had more that Auburn's 6,000 residents), has disappeared. All that remains are a few scraps of weather-worn wood.
About seven miles south of Baker City, the Auburn Road turns right off highway 7.
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