NAME: Bridal Veil
COUNTY: Multnomah
CLIMATE: Windy, rainy all seasons but summer
COMMENTS: Right off Hwy 84. Good place to buy stamps and get the coveted postmark, while the post office still exists. A picturesque waterfall nearby.
REMAINS: Post office (open,) church, cemetery, bed & breakfast lodge. Status of Palmer's site is unknown.

Like most western Oregon ghost towns, Bridal Veil is a lumber ghost. Located in the Columbia River Gorge, the town receives many visitors to it�s nearby waterfall recreation area. Thanks to it�s post office, it clings to existence. The region near the town has always been remarkable, geographically, with the giant rocks �The Pillars of Hercules� standing nearby in the river gorge, along with cascading waterfalls. Tales say that the namesake of the area comes from a passenger aboard a sternwheeler on the Columbia river. The passenger remarked about the waterfall on Larch Mountain, and how it resembled a �delicate, misty bride�s veil.�


The town began in the 1880�s with the construction of one of Oregon�s first paper mills on Bridal Veil Creek. A small number of residences existed to house workers and their families. Later, Bridal Veil Falls Lumbering Company (BLFLCo.) decided to log Larch Mountain, in the Columbia River Gorge, a windy canyon separating Oregon from Washington. In 1886 BLFLCo. began construction of mill buildings and residences to the east of the paper mill. Called �Bride�s Veil� since the time of the pioneers, the town name officially became Bridal Veil when the railroad station and post office were opened. Another town, called Palmer, (apparently also owned by BLFLCo.,) was situated higher up on the mountain, approx. 1 � miles up from Bridal Veil. Lumberjacks would haul the raw logs first to Palmer, where they were run through the sawmill there. Next they sent the rough-cut lumber down an impressive two-mile long wooden water flume to Bridal Veil. The planing mill by the railroad tracks at Bridal Veil finished the lumber, and thus the towns depended upon each other economically.


In 1902, a deadly fire at Palmer took two lives and resulted in a second Palmer being built a half mile higher up the mountain. By 1936 the timber was running out, and another fire claimed the planing mill, marking the end of BLFLCo.�s operations. In 1937 the entire town, mill buildings included, was sold to a company that produced wooden cheese boxes for Kraft Food Co. (The wooden boxes are now antique collectables.) Bridal Veil Lumber & Box Company ceased operations in 1960, and with that, Bridal Veil�s near 75-year run as a company mill town was over.


Bridal Veil had, at one time, many residential and industrial buildings. The original 1800�s post office moved in the 1930�s, into a tiny building that once was a mill toolshed. At 10�-14�, it�s one of the country�s smallest post offices. Every so often, the federal government tries to close down the office, but public outcry stays them. When mail is sent from Bridal Veil, the name of the town appears on the postmark. For many years a trend has existed for wedding invitations to be passed through here for just that reason. Each wedding season the post office hand-stamps stacks of invitations that can number into the hundreds of thousands.


Apart from the post office, the town once had a grand, two-story school, a church, cemetery and many other various buildings. The cemetery�s last burial was in 1934, and many graves attest to historic smallpox and diphtheria outbreaks in times past. In 1990, the (ironically-named) Trust for Public Land acquired the town site. The Crown Point Country Historical Society fought to save the town buildings for a decade, in hopes of creating a lumber mill museum. They lost, and in 2001 the mill houses and buildings were razed. What remains today is the cemetery, the church, the post office, and Bridal Veil Lodge. The lodge operates today as a bed and breakfast inn. It was one of the original mill worker�s homes, and perhaps the only dwelling left. The land it sits on was purchased in 1895 from the BLFLCo., and is now owned by the great-granddaughter of the original owner. The lodge and cemetery are �safe,� being privately owned at present, but the Trust for Public Land still owns the church and post office land, and so they may be considered endangered. As of 2006, the trust was attempting to sell the town site land to the U.S. Forest Service. -Submitted 9/9/2008. Submitted by: Kathryn S. Davidson