Close inspection of the tombstones in the cemetery located next to the church in the Josephine County ghost town of Golden reveals that none of them have legible markings on them. It’s impossible to know who is buried there. That’s because no one is.
The church was built in 1892 by the Rev. William Ruble, leader of a group known as the Campbellites. Although the congregations that used the church have been gone for a long time, the original old building still stands, completely restored on the inside with glass windows and a modern stove pipe. Visitors are welcome to go inside.
The tombstones only date back to the 1950s when the television western, “Gunsmoke,” came to Golden to film an episode. The popular black-and-white, half-hour show starred James Arness as Matt Dillon, the fictional marshal of Dodge City. The episode being filmed in Golden required a cemetery for part of the action, so the producers built one and placed wooden headstones as props.
With time, the fake headstones have fit right into the allure of the authentic ghost town of Golden.
Sources: Jackson, Kerby. "History and Photos of Golden, Oregon Ghost town." Kerby Jackson, 2008, kerbyjackson.galicemining.x10.mx/oregon-ghost-frontier./golden-oregon.htm. Accessed 13 Jan. 2018; "List of Gunsmoke television episodes." Wikipedia, Wikipedia, 21 Dec. 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Gunsmoke_television_episode. Accessed 13 Jan. 2018; "Golden, Oregon." Hidden Gem Adventures, 1 Dec. 2014. Accessed 15 Jan. 2018. https://hiddengemadventures.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/golden-oregon