Granite was a late 1800s gold mining town that once had 5000 people. Initially settled by miners after the revelation of gold July 4, 1862, the town was initially called Independence and was located about a mile-and-half west-north-west of the present area. It is 15 miles northwest of Sumpter, in the northeastern corner of the county about 45 miles out of Baker City. The name Granite was picked when its mail station was created in 1878, the name Independence effectively being utilized as a part of Polk County, Oregon.
It is sometime said that the town’s founder was a prospector named Jack Long. He is said to have founded the town because his mule got stuck in the mud while carrying a load in July in 1862. Long pulled the mule out of the mud and found gold dust mixed with the with mud. However others have said the town was started by A.G Tabor.
A. G. Tabor, who had staked the first mining claim on Granite Creek (the Independence) and was the main vendor around the local area at the time, served as the first postmaster. The city of Granite was incorporated in 1900 with Grant Thornburg as chairman. At Granite's peak, there were close to nearly 5,000 residents, moostly all miners and about 3,000 of those residents were Chinese. The Chinese would take over or buy mined out claims and mines and work the tailings over. The Chinese would still get quite a bit of gold out of what the others had left behind. The first gold was found on July 4, 1862, and by 1900 Granite had a drug store, two hotels, livery stable, a post office, five saloons and three stores. The gold choked off, the town faded, and today Granite and its dozen or so citizens remain as a monument to the past.
With more than eighty percent of the men in the local area working in the mining business, the suitability of the region's economy essentially broke down when gold mining was made illicit in 1942 by Federal Public Law L-208, under the power of the War Labor Act. The city had a populace of 45 in 1930, 86 in 1940, about 40 in 1950, and only two in 1960. Through the electrical administration there was still power provided by a nearby power plant on Clear Creek, and telegraph and later phone lines were operational in the good 'ol days however they dropped fell out of service and were relinquished after World War II.
As of the 2000 US census, the city had an aggregate populace of 24, up from its populace of 10 in 1990. It is the second-littlest (as per population) consolidated city in Oregon, after close-by Greenhorn, which has a population of zero.