Where We Live: The ghost town that is Bridal Veil

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There are dozens of ghost towns in Oregon, but one town that died decades ago is still known all over the world.

Geri Canzler is a resident of Bridal Veil, September 2018. (KOIN)

At the western edge of the Columbia River Gorge, there’s a waterfall shaped like a bride’s veil. There was once a town surrounding Bridal Veil Falls established in 1888 to harvest the abundant trees on Larch Mountain.

Resident Geri Canzler lives near where Bridal Veil Falls Lumbering Company once stood.

“This was a huge building where the lumber would dry,” Canzler said. “Hundreds of people worked for this mill.”

It produced lumber, which was shipped by railroad to the coast and then around the world.

Men who worked at Bridal Veil Lumbering Company. (Courtesy: Tom Cowling)

After the turn of the century, Bridal Veil had several hundred residents.

“And it was a grand place,” Canzler told KOIN 6 News. “It had hotels and restaurants, and all those kinds of things in those days.”

However, concerns about the environment and clearcutting in the Gorge killed the lumber business — and Bridal Veil. 

The mill stopped operating in 1988. Then, most of the homes were demolished.

A unique postmark from the Bridal Veil Post Office. People from all over the world send their wedding invitations to the post office to get the stamp, September 2018. (KOIN)

While much of a Bridal Veil is a ghost town, there are a few structures still there. A cemetery remains, the final resting place for early residents, and a tiny post office serving the 50 or so people who live around the town now. It’s where wedding invitations come from all over the world just for the unique Bridal Veil postmark.

Canzler, who worked at the post office for many years, is determined to preserve it, and the memory of Bridal Veil.

“To me, this was the most wonderful place on Earth,” she said. “There will never be another place like this — ever.”

The federal government owns most of Bridal Veil and Bridal Veil Falls is a state park.

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