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Canal is the main conduit of irrigation water for
about 180,000 acres of land, including two national
wildlife refuges, in the Klamath Reclamation
canal, constructed in 1906 mostly with horse-drawn
scrapers, can carry up to 1,150 cubic feet of water
per second. The first delivery of water occurred in
1907. The canal is nine miles long and, in most
sections, is 60 feet wide and 8 feet deep.
of the canal is located near the Upper Klamath Lake
outlet for the Link River. The canal winds its way
through the city of the Klamath Falls and the South
Suburbs. One of the city's main bike paths follows
its course from Esplanade Avenue to Homedale Road.
drownings have occurred in the canal, particularly
before a fence was erected along the south bank of
the canal to prevent children from falling into the
Falls' two largest high schools, Klamath Union and
Mazama, are built along its banks, hence the origins
of the name, the Canal Bowl, for the annual football
game played between the two schools.
canal was shut down for much of the 2001 irrigation
season as the government conserved water to protect
endangered suckers and threatened coho salmon. The
headgates of the canal became the site of a
summer-long protest by irrigators and farm
supporters, and was guarded by federal agents from
July 14 until Sept. 12, the day after the terrorist
types of algae found in the Upper Klamath Basin have
Klamath Lake, being shallow and rich in nutrients,
produces massive algae blooms annually. At one time,
algae growth in the lake included several species in
a relative balance. But by the mid-20th Century,
Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA), a type of blue-green
algae, became the dominant algae species,
particularly during summer months. AFA is harvested
by a number of companies and processed as a diet
supplement or health product.
blue-green algae, Microcystis aeruginosa, is also
present in Upper Klamath and Agency lakes. Microcystis produces a toxin as it decays, and has
been known to kill animals that drank water
containing the toxin. Following an unusually large
bloom of microcystis in Agency Lake in 1996, the
Oregon Health Division issued an advisory for people
to avoid contact with water from Agency and Upper
Klamath lakes. No harm to humans or animals was
noted, and the advisory was eventually lifted. The
Oregon Department of Agriculture has adopted a
health standard for blue-green algae food products
that allows no more than 1 part of microcystins per
million parts of AFA.
eggs is the common name given to another type of
blue-green algae, Nostoc pruniforme, found in the
Upper Klamath Basin. The very rare algae grow in
round or oblong colonies up to 10 inches wide. They
can be viewed at Mare's Egg Spring along the
Westside Road, north of Rocky Point.
townsite eight miles north of Klamath Falls was
originally called Melhase after a pioneer family in
the area. In 1912, owners of the Algoma Lumber Co.
purchased the old Campbell sawmill at the site and
renamed the community Algoma.
at the peak of the community's growth, the town had
a population of 400 served by a post office, general
store and three-room schoolhouse. The mill closed in
the early 1940s.
History of Klamath County Oregon, Rachel Applegate
community was founded in 1895 about two and a half
miles east of Klamath Falls, and was reportedly
named after a famous race horse. Although it was
never incorpoated, Altamont had its own post office
and was for many years considered a separate city
from Klamath Falls, appearing as such on highway
school located at 2450 Summers Lane in the south
suburbs of Klamath Falls opened in 1926, with grades
1 through 7. It bears the name of the community that
once had its own post office about two and a half
miles southeast of downtown Klamath Falls. The
school was closed in June 2009 as the result of a
realignment of school district boundaries. The Triad
School, a private Christian school, relocated to the
building in the fall of 2009.
provides daily rail passenger service to Klamath
Falls via the Coast Starlight, a train running
between Seattle and Los Angeles with a diner,
sleeper cars, observation cars and coaches.
northbound Coast Starlight leaves Klamath Falls at
8:25 a.m., while the southbound trains reach town
around 9:30 p.m.
began serving Klamath Falls in May 1971, after
Southern Pacific discontinued its Cascade passenger
Falls' historic, stone-facade railroad depot, 1600
Oak Ave., dates from the 1900s and continues to
serve Amtrak as it did Southern Pacific passenger
trains from the time they first arrived in the city
Applegate Trail was a southern cutoff of the Oregon
Trail that traversed parts of Modoc, Klamath, Lake
and Jackson counties on the route to the Willamette
route was blazed from west to east in 1846 by Jesse
and Lindsay Applegate, pioneers on the original main
trail a few years earlier. The Applegates were
motivated to try another route because they had lost
several close relatives to drowning as a result of a
rafting accident in a rapids on the Columbia River
portion of the route in 1843.
Applegate and his brother plotted a route from Fort
Hall in present-day Idaho through Nevada’s Black
Rock Desert and into Southern Oregon.
the Columbia River was avoided, the Applegate Trail
held its own hardships and dangers - particularly on
the final leg along the Umpqua River and over the
surrounding mountains and forests.
harshness of the trail’s final leg embittered one of
its first travelers, Jesse Thornton, a future
political leader in Oregon. The experience made
Thornton the Applegates’ abiding enemy.
Applegate Trail route crosses Highway 97 at the
Oregon-California border south of Klamath Falls, at
the site of the Francis Landrum Wayside.
The Upper Klamath Basin supports the largest
wintering concentration of bald eagles in the lower
48 states. Up to 1,000 birds gather in the Basin
during winter months, with numbers peaking in
A ponderosa pine tree was flown by helicopter from
Weyerhaeuser Co. lands near Howard Bay to the west
shore of Lake Ewauna on Nov. 30, 1994, to serve as a
perch for eagles. The tree replaced a tripod made of
wooden poles, which had been erected on Dec. 18,
1971, to replace several poplar (cottonwood) trees
that once grew on the lakeshore.
A bald eagle conference was held each February for
25 years at Oregon Institute of Technology. It was
succeeded by the WinterWings bird festival.
Bear Valley National Wildlife Refuge, located about
12 miles southwest of Klamath Falls, was etablished
in 1978 to preserve a section of forest where bald
eagles gather during winter months to roost
overnight. Eagles flying out from the roost may be
viewed from a county road southwest of Worden.
The Baldwin Hotel, 31 Main St., was completed in
1906 as a hardware store with apartments and offices
above it. It was converted to a hotel in 1911.
The building’s foundation is a carved “stairstep”
from solid basalt, a feature that served it well and
possibly saved it from the 1993 earthquakes that
wrecked the nearby courthouse and vintage Stevens
Hotel. The Baldwin’s bricks were manufactured
The hotel was listed on the National Register of
Historic Places in 1973.
The Baldwin Hotel was purchased by Klamath County in
1978, and now serves as a museum, open mainly during
the summer. Group tours may be scheduled at other
times of the year.
Balsiger Ford Building
The Balsiger Ford Building at the corner of Main
Street and Esplanade Avenue was built by Elmer
Balsiger in 1929 as an auto dealership. Elmer
Balsiger's son, Mike Balsiger, sold the building in
It was recognized by the New York Metropolitan
Museum of Art as one of the finest examples of
Egyptian Revival architecture in the United States.
The building served for several years during the
1990s as headquarters for Cell Tech, an algae
marketing company, until the firm moved its
In later years it was renovated as an event facility
and renamed the Egyptian Plaza.
Heavy snow caused the roof over the center section
of the Balsiger building to collapse on Feb. 4,
Bear Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Established in 1978 to protect a major winter night
roost site for bald eagles, the Bear Valley National
Wildlife Refuge is one of six such areas that make
up the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge
complex. In some years, up to 300 eagles have been
seen using the refuge's large stands of old-growth
timber on winter nights.
refuge is located between Keno and Worden. It is the
only national wildlife refuge on which the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service has approved a logging program,
the purpose of which is to protect old-growth pine
The town located 40 miles east of Klamath Falls was
named after J.L. Beatty, a pastor who served the
area and secured a post office for the community in
Bingham worked as a forest ranger and administrator
in Central and Eastern Oregon in the early 1900s. In
an era when rangers were responsible for vast areas
of forest, Bingham's duties included serving as a
fire lookout, fire fighter, trail builder and
He left carvings on
many trees in the central Cascades of Oregon, many
of which survive to this day. He left Central Oregon
to work in Grant County from 1907 until 1932. He
died in California in 1937.
A small park owned by
Klamath County just west of Crescent is named in
Deschutes National Forest fact sheet.
The community located 50 miles east of Klamath Falls
dates to 1883. Its name is taken from the Klamath
Indian world "Blydell," meaning "heaven." Crane
Lumber Co. established a sawmill in Bly in 1931, and
employed as many as 140 people. Later, Weyerhaeuser
Co. operated a stud mill in Bly.
Source: History of Klamath County Oregon, Rachel
Applegate Good, p132.
Nicknamed the "Cloverleaf City" because of its
location the junction of Langell, Yonna and Poe
valleys, the town was founded in 1876 by J.P.
Bonanza Consolidated School opened in 1947,
replacing the town's original school that opened in
1907 and the previous high school that burned down
Brixner Junior High
The school on Homedale Road was dedicated Nov. 27,
1973. It is named for Isabelle (Brixner) Borgman,
who worked as an educator in Klamath County from
1924 to 1967. For the last 27 years of her career
she was supervisor of elementary schools for the
Klamath County School District.
The following buildings and sites in Klamath County
are listed on the National Register of Historic
● Fort Klamath site, established 1863, listed in
● Warren Mills House, 123 High St., built in 1890,
listed in 1993.
● Judge Henry L. Benson house, 137 High St., built
in 1892, listed in 1981.
● Baldwin Hotel, 31 Main St., built in 1905, listed
● Fred Goeller house, 234 Riverside Drive, built in
1905, listed in 1998.
● Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge,
established 1908, listed in 1966.
● Richardson-Ulrich house, 636 Conger Ave., built in
1909, listed in 1988.
● Point Comfort Lodge, 27505 Rocky Point Road, built
in 1911, listed in 1979.
● Blackburn Sanitarium, 1842 Esplanade, built in
1912, listed in 1996.
● Klamath Falls City Hall, 226 S. Fifth St., built
in 1914, listed in 1989.
● Valley Hospital, 405 Pine St., built in 1919,
listed in 1988.
● Crater Lake Lodge, built in 1924, listed in 1981.
● Klamath Falls City Library (now administration
building), 500 Klamath Ave., built in 1926, listed
● Comfort station No. 72, located behind cafeteria
at Rim Village in Crater Lake National Park, built
in 1930, listed in 1988.
● Forest Service work center, Highway 140 at Lake of
the Woods, built in 1930, listed in 1986.
● Oregon Bank Building (Medical-Dental Building),
built in 1930, listed in 1987.
● Sinnott Memorial Building, Crater Lake National
Park, built in 1931, listed in 1988.
● Watchman Lookout Station, Crater Lake National
Park, built in 1932, listed in 1988.
● Comfort station No. 68 (also known as Plaza
comfort station, still in use at Rim Village),
Crater Lake National Park, built 1938, listed in
● Bly Ranger Station, built in 1942, listed in 1981.
● Munson Valley Historic District, 18 buildings at
Crater Lake National Park headquarters, listed in
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management’s Klamath Falls
Resource Area includes 212,000 acres of federal
land, including 51,000 acres west of Highway 97 and
161,000 acres east of the highway.
The Klamath Falls Resource Area is part of the
3.5-million-acre Lakeview BLM District, with
headquarters in Lakeview.
Bureau of Reclamation
The federal agency manages the 240,000-acre Klamath
Reclamation Project, which was established in 1905.
The Klamath Project is part of the agency’s
Mid-Pacific Region based in Sacramento.
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Cascade Timberlands LLC is a forest management
company formed after the bankruptcy of Crown
Pacific, which had acquired extensive timberlands
Central Oregon, including the former 97,000-acre
Gilchrist Timber Co. tree farm.
As of June 2012, Bend-based Cascade Timberlands
owned about 196,000 acres, including the following
- About 58,000
acres of former Gilchrist and Diamond Group lands. (About 43,000 acres
of Gilchrist lands east of Highway 97 were sold to
the state in 2010 to become the Gilchrist State
- About 90,000 acres
of former Crown Zellerbach lands, known informally
as the Mazama tree farm, on either side of Highway 97 and
south of Highway 138.
- About 47,000 acres
in Deschutes County, including the 33,000-acre Bull
Springs block northwest of Bend, and 14,000 acres
Well-known cats in Klamath Falls have included Bob
Coaltrain, a feline that resided at the Southern
Pacific depot in Klamath Falls. He was eventually
forced to leave in June 1995 by order of railroad
Boris the cat, born Feb. 22, 1992, was adopted from
a pet shelter by the Klamath County Library staff in
November 1997. County officials ordered the cat to
be removed, however, after some patrons complained
of allergies to cats. In March 1999, Boris took up
residence at the Herald and News. He retired from
the newspaper in December 2005, moving to the home
of Don and Helen DerMiner, where he lived until his
death in January 2009.
The harvester and distributor of the blue-green
algae started in Klamath Falls in 1982. Founders of
the company were Daryl and Marta Kollman. It became
a publicly traded company in 1999 following a merger
with HumaScan, a Pennsylvania-based company that
formerly offered breast disease detection services.
Cell Tech ceased filing reports with the Securities
and Exchange Commission in 2004. The company now operates under the name Simplexity Health.
Named for a Klamath Indian chief who signed the
tribe's 1964 treaty, the town of Chemult was
established in 1929 by Gideon and Nellie Palmer.
Palmer in 1927 had built a store and post office at
the site, next to siding on the Southern Pacific
Today the town serves as the primary Amtrak stop for
Central Oregon, as the passenger line goes northwest
from Chemult into the Wilammette Valley, and south
to Klamath Falls.
Source: Oregon Geographic Names, Lewis McArthur;
Illustrated History of Early Northern Klamath
County, Edward Gray.
The town takes its name from a Klamath Indian,
Chay-lo-quin, who was chief of an Indian village
known as Bosuck Siwas. The Southern Pacific Railroad
reached the townsite in 1911, and a post office was
established in 1912. The first charter for the city
of Chiloquin was adopted on Oct. 12, 1926.
Source: History of Klamath County, by Rachel
Located on the Sprague River, the dam served the
Modoc Point Irrigation District. The dam was
constructed from 1914 to 1918.
The dam was considered an object of contention
because it blocked fish passage on the Sprague
River. Although there was a fish ladder on the dam,
endangered suckers could not navigate its swift
Removal of the dam was completed on Aug. 20, 2008. A
pump station was installed on the Williamson River
to supply water to the Modoc Point Irrigation
District, which formerly received its water from a
diversion at Chiloquin Dam.
A natural lake formerly surrounded by wetlands, the
lake now serves as a principal water control
facility in the Klamath Reclamation Project.
The lake is the source of Lost River, which flows
north from the Lake into Oregon before looping west
and south to enter California again. The river's
terminus is Tule Lake, which lies only a few miles
west of Clear Lake.
An earth-and-rockfill dam 29 feet high and 840 feet
long was constructed between 1908 and 1910, and
raised by 3 feet in 1938. Construction of a new dam
began in 2001, and was completed in 2002.
Ironically, in a watershed often racked by drought,
Reclamation's purpose in constructing a a dam at
Clear Lake was to maximize the evaporation of water
would have flowed down Lost River and filled
Tule Lake. The shrinking of Tule Lake allowed
thousands of acres of lake bottom to be converted to
Some water is released from Clear Lake to provide
irrigation of farmland in the Langell Valley and
Horsefly irrigation districts near Bonanza.
The Clear Lake National Wildlife Refuge, which takes
in all of the lake and shoreline, is one of only two
remaining nesting sites for white pelicans in
The Klamath Cogeneration Plant began generating
power at its full capacity of 500 megawatts on July
21, 2001. The natural gas-fired plant was
constructed by Black & Veatch.
Originally owned by the city of Klamath Falls, the
plant is now owned by Iberdrola Renewables, an
international corporation based in Spain with North
American operations based in Portland. The Klamath
Cogeneration Plant operates under the name Pacific
Klamath Energy Inc.
The term cogeneration signifies that two products -
electricity and steam - are produced. Steam from the
plant is used at the nearby Collins Products plant.
Effluent from the city's wastewater treatment plant
is used as coolant for the cogeneration plant.
Collier State Park
Collier Memorial State Park and Logging Museum is
located about 30 miles north of Klamath Falls on
Highway 97 near Chiloquin.
The logging museum, established in 1948, features an
extensive collection of early logging and milling
equipment and authentic pioneer cabins. It is also
the site of the annual Living History Days in June.
There is no admission fee.
The state park offers picnicking and camping at the
confluence of the Williamson River and Spring Creek.
Both streams are popular for trout fishing.
Alfred and Andrew Collier donated 146 acres of land
in 1945 for creation of the park in memory of their
parents, Charles and Janet Collier. The park has
since been expanded to 856 acres.
The subsidiary of Portland-based Collins Pine Co.
acquired the former Weyerhaeuser Co. facilities in
Klamath Falls on Aug. 31, 1996.
The company closed the plywood plant in October
2000. The plant had opened in 1971. Collins
continues to manufacture hardboard siding and
particle board at the plant.
Collins Pine Co. has been owned by the same family
Columbia Forest Products
The company based in Greensboro, N.C., traces its
roots to the establishment of Klamath Hardwoods in
Klamath Falls in 1957. It now operates several
plants, mostly in the eastern United States. The
plant in Klamath Falls manufactures plywood with an
outside veneer of hardwood. As of 2010, the company
stated it had about 2,000 employees.
Source: company statement.
Conger Elementary School in Klamath Falls is named
for Joseph Conger (1831-1908). The native of Indiana
came to Oregon in 1853, and to Linkville in 1873. He
purchased property on what is now called Conger
Avenue, where he was engaged in raising fruit and
buying furs. He never married.
Money he left to Klamath County School District No.
1 was used to purchase land for an elementary
Conger Elementary School was built in 1929, and has
been expanded several times. A new gymnasium was
opened in 1948.
The school sustained heavy damage in a fire on Jan.
24, 1973. A faulty electrical conduit was determined
to be the cause of the blaze. The school remained
closed until September of that year.
Source: Evening Herald, Feb. 1-2, 1908; Klamath
Falls City Schools district
Consumers Heating Co.
The company opened in 1919 under the name Klamath
Heating Company. It supplied heat to several
businesses in downtown Klamath Falls. Sawdust from
local sawmills – usually referred to as “hog fuel”
-- was burned to generate steam. New and larger
boilers were installed in the fall of 1930. It went
out of service in July 1970. The facility was
purchased by Modoc Lumber Co. for $112,000 and used
to produce steam for lumber kilns, allowing the
sawmill to shut down its wigwam burner.
Source: Evening Herald, June 9, 1919; Oct. 25, 1930.
Formerly a portion of Tule Lake, Coppock Bay was
named after M.L. Coppock, who homesteaded in 1898 on
a penisula between the bay and the lake. Water in
the bay was said to be from 16 to 20 feet deep,
depending on the lake level. The area, generally
located south of Newell in Modoc County, is now used
for growing hay, potatoes and grain.
The community located 90 miles north of Klamath
Falls was established in 1901, and was originally
named Odell after the nearby lake. The lake, in
turn, was named in 1865 after William H. Odell, who
explored the area for a military route.
Since another community in Oregon had already
claimed the name Odell, the Klamath County town was
renamed Crescent, after another nearby lake.
Source: Oregon Geographic Names, by Lewis McArthur.
Crime and criminals
Noble Faulder, a native of New Zealand, was hanged
at the state penitentiary in Salem on Dec. 13, 1912,
for a murder committed at a logging camp near
Chiloquin in August 1911. Faulder had been found
guilty in the murder of the camp cook over a dispute
about a dog.
Two General Motors executives -- Charles Patrick
Culhane and Albert Marston Jones -- were found
murdered at Crater Lake National Park on July 21,
1952. The FBI investigated, but was never able to
solve the crime.
Welfare Commissioner Fred Peterson was shot and
killed by a disgruntled county welfare client on
Jan. 7, 1957, at the Klamath County Courthouse.
Peterson, 76 at the time of the shooting, was
superintendent of schools in Klamath County from
1925 to 1949. Peterson Elementary School is named
for him. Injured in the shooting was Altha Urquhart,
director of the county's welfare program, and County
Commissioner Jerry Rajnus. Charged in the shooting
was Guy E. Cramer. He was committed to a mental
Escaped convict Larry "Brownie" Atkinson died in the
Klamath County Jail while awaiting trial for murder.
Atkinson had been serving a two-year prison for
assault and battery when he escaped from prison in
October 1966. He was named a suspect in the death of
his mother-in-law, who was found murdered in her
cabin near Rocky Point in November 1966. Atkinson
was captured after being wounded during a shootout
with authorities near Kiger Stadium on Nov. 11,
1966. He was found dead in his cell at the county
jail on Jan 3, 1968. An autopsy showed he died of
The biggest mass murder ever to take place in Oregon
occurred in Klamath Falls on July 23, 1977, when
Dewitt Henry shot and killed six people outside the
Uncle Albert restaurant on South Sixth Street near
Madison Street. Killed were Robert David Seater, 26;
Carol Ann Seater, 23; Andrew Walker, 22; Gary Lee
Anderson, 27; James L. Trueman, 25; and Michael G.
Mortenson. Henry, 26 at the time of the killings, was convicted in the murders
on Nov. 9 1979, and sentenced to life in prison. As
of 2011, Henry is being held at the Snake River
Correctional Institution in Ontario.
Four senior-citizen residents of Dorris were found
dead in their homes on March 4, 1982. Daniel Otto
Thamisch of Dorris, after being shot during a
traffic stop in Klamath Falls later that year,
admitted to the killings. As of 2011, Thamisch is
being held at the Kern Valley State Prison in
Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Bret Clodfelter
was shot and killed Sept. 30, 1992, while on duty in
Klamath Falls. Francisco Manzo-Hernandez, 28 at the
convicted in the murder and sentenced to life in
prison in February 1995. As of 2011, he is being
held at the Snake River Correctional Institution in
Crown Pacific Partners
The Portland-based company founded in 1988 acquired
Gilchrist Timber Co., including the sawmill,
timberlands and company-owned town, in September
1991. The company sold off properties connected with
Crown Pacific went bankrupt in 2003.
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The unincorporated community located about 20 miles
east of Klamath Falls was named by William Roberts,
who inhabited the area as early as 1865.
Source: Oregon Geographic Names, by Lewis McArthur.
A series of earthquakes struck the Klamath Basin in
September and December 1993, causing moderate to
severe damage to a number of downtown buildings in
Klamath Falls, including the Klamath County
The first main shock occurred at 8:28 p.m. Sept. 20,
1993, and registered 5.9. A second quake that
evening occurred at 10:45 p.m., and registered 6.0.
A significant aftershock registering 5.1 occurred
Dec. 4, 1993. The temblors' originated from a
medium-depth fault along the west side of Upper
Klamath Lake, about 15 miles west-northwest of
Although the geological record and early settlers'
accounts indicate stronger tremors have occurred in
the state’s past, the 1993 event was the strongest
earthquake observed in Oregon since the advent of
scientific seismic equipment.
Two deaths were attributed to the first shocks on
the evening of Sept. 20, 1993. Overall property
damages were estimated in the millions of dollars.
Earlier reports of earthquakes in Southern Oregon
include an account by Lt. Col. Frank Wheaton,
commander at Fort Klamath, of a temblor that rattled
dishes and disjointed stovepipes on Nov. 22, 1873.
A series of earthquakes occurred near Adel from May
24 to June 24, 1968. The strongest quake registered
5.1, while 13 shocks registered higher than 4.2. One
quake, centered about 5 miles north of Adel with a
magnitude of 4.7, resulted in minor damage to nearly
every home in the town.
An earthquake registering 4.6 occurred about nine
miles south of Tennant, Calif., on Aug. 1, 1978.
A magnitude 3.8 earthquake on April 28, 1999, was
centered about 15.5 miles east-southeast of
Christmas Valley. No damage was reported.
Sources: Earthquakes and Volcanoes, Vol. 24, No. 3,
1993, U.S. Geological Survey; Olaf Hagen, Modoc War
Correspondence and Documents 1865-1878, p. 1,375.
Klamath Falls Elks Lodge No. 1247 built its first
lodge at 305 Main Street around 1910. That building
is now part of the Klamath County Government Center.
The Elks opened a new lodge off West Oregon Avenue
in September 1967. That building was destroyed by a
fire on Nov. 5, 1996.
The Elks Lodge is now quartered at 601 Main St. in a
building that formerly served as a bank. The lodge
purchased the building in June 1999, and after
extensive renovation it opened in June 2000.
Engine No. 2579
Engine No. 2579, a Southern Pacific oil-burning
steam locomotive, has been displayed at Veterans
Park in Klamath Falls since 1957. A dedication
ceremony at the park was held Sept. 28, 1957.
A plan to remove the engine from the park was
abandoned in March 1970.
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Fairhaven Elementary School
The school located at 5400 Highway 66 opened in
January 1929, and consolidated smaller elementary
schools located southwest of Klamath Falls,
including the Plevna School. The school closed in
June 2009. The building was sold in 2012 to a
church, United Family Fellowship.
Fairview Elementary School
Fairview Elementary School, 1017 Donald St., was
Klamath Falls' third elementary school. It was
constructed on the former site of Sacred Heart
Built in 1920, the original
structure had six classrooms and served students in
grades 1 through 8. Alice Blackford was the first
principal, and J.P. Wells was the first
An auditorium was added to the school in 1928, and a
gymnasium in 1931.
Source: Klamath Falls City Schools district.
The housing development along Old Midland Road was
developed in 1958 to serve military families
connected to Kingsley Field. A contest to name the
development was held in 1959; Don Stastny of Malin
submitted the winning entry of “Falcon Heights.”
Falcon Heights elementary school was dedicated Feb.
3, 1961. The school now serves as the administrative
headquarters for the Klamath County School District.
The development with 290 housing units was idled
when the Air Force closed Kingsley Field in 1979.
SoCO Development obtained the 118-acre property in
1997 and began renovating the homes for sale to
The city of Klamath Falls takes the latter part of
its name from a series of small waterfalls on the
Link River. The falls were more pronounced before a
series of diversions and stream channel alterations
took place between 1877 and 1924.
The Link River's rapids and falls remain impressive
during the spring runoff, particularly when water is
being released from Upper Klamath Lake.
A remnant of the falls can be viewed from the Link
River Trail that runs along the west side of the
The Favell Museum of Western Art and Indian
Artifacts in downtown Klamath Falls features Indian
artifacts, including pottery and baskets, and the
largest collection of miniature firearms in the
world, plus more than 800 works of art by 300
contemporary Western and wildlife artists.
The museum, founded by Gene Favell, opened April 16,
Mr Favell died July 13, 2001.
The museum also houses a gift shop. Regular hours:
9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Admission fee to museum, no fee to gift shop and
gallery. 125 West Main St., at Riverside Drive.
Ferguson Elementary School is named for Twila
Ferguson, a longtime Klamath County school
Click here for a list of major fires that have
occurred in Klamath Falls and Klamath County.
First Baptist Church
First Baptist Church in Klamath Falls traces its
roots to a congregation that first met in Poe Valley
in 1884. The group moved to Klamath Falls in 1900.
First Methodist Church
The church building at the corner of 10th and High
streets was dedicated Dec. 22, 1929. It replaced an
earlier wooden structure.
First National Bank building
The First National Bank building, 601 Main St., was
built in 1930. It is an excellent example of art
deco, eclectic architecture in unglazed terra cotta.
Wells Fargo Bank, which acquired First Interstate
Bank, operated in the building until July 24, 1998.
The Klamath Falls Elks Lodge acquired the building
in June 1999, and opened the structure in June 2000.
First Presbyterian Church
The first church organized in Linkville was First
Presbyterian Church, organized in February 1880. The
congregation dedicated its first building at 219
Pine St. on Nov. 15, 1885.
The congregation in 1919 acquired property at the
corner of Sixth and Pine streets for a new building.
The sanctuary currently in use as of this writing
(May 2007) was built in 1955-56.
Fish and Wildlife Service
The federal agency manages nine national wildlife
refuges in the Klamath Region:
● Bear Valley, 3,424 acres, established 1978.
● Clear Lake, 33,440 acres, est. 1911.
Hart Mountain, 275,000 acres, est. 1936.
Klamath Marsh (also called Klamath Forest), 37,616
acres, est. 1960.
Lower Klamath, 53,598 acres, est. 1908.
Modoc, 7,000 acres, est. 1960.
Sheldon, 575,000 acres, est. 1931.
Tule Lake, 39,116 acres, est. 1928.
● Upper Klamath, 14,947 acres, est. 1928.
The 200-foot-tall flagpole in Dorris, erected in
1996, was believed to be the tallest in America at
the time. The pole has a diameter of 36 inches at
the base and has eight graduated sections, with top
section being 12.75 inches in diameter. Funding for
the project was raised by the Dorris Lions Club.
A 308-foot-tall flagpole erected in 2002 in Laredo,
Texas, holds the distinction of being the tallest
flagpole in America.
The 136-foot-tall flagpole on Front Street in
Merrill was dedicated on March 16, 1984. It
memorializes American prisoners of war and soldiers
missing in action, and their families. The flagpole
project was conceived by the Merrill Lions Club. Ed
O'Neill served as the project chairman. Project
sponsors included the Legion Post No. 84, and the
Tulelake American Legion Auxiliary.
Klamath County's first military outpost was
established in 1860 in the Spencer Creek area west
of Keno. It was formed by a detachment sent from
Fort Umpqua and led by Lt. Lorenzo Lorain. The fort
operated for only a few months, and was named for
Lt. Edward H. Day, who died at Fort Umpqua on Jan.
Source: Herald and News, April 9, 1949.
Established in 1863 during the Civil War for Oregon
volunteer infantry and cavalry units, the fort later
became home to the regular U.S. 1st Cavalry
companies that were the first troops to fight in the
1872-73 Modoc War.
Four Modoc Indians – Captain Jack, Schonchin John,
Black Jim and Boston Charley – were hanged at the
fort on Oct. 3, 1873, for their part in the war and
the killing of the lead government peace
commissioner, Gen. Edward Canby.
The fort was closed in 1889 and the Army abandoned
the property in 1890. The land entered into private
In 1966 Klamath County purchased six acres from the
Zumbrum family, which donated another two acres to
make up a museum park that included much of the
parade grounds and several building sites.
A log cabin constructed on the museum grounds in
1969 was destroyed by fire in 2001. A new building,
fashioned after and built on the site of the
original fort guardhouse, now serves as the
principal museum facility.
The fort site was added to the National Register of
Historic Places on Oct. 7, 1971.
Settlement in the town of Fort Klamath, sometimes
referred to as the "new fort," began it 1885. The
townsite was formally platted in 1902.
Fremont, John C.
John C. Fremont, American explorer, soldier, secret
agent and political activist, first explored Lake
and Klamath counties in 1843.
He visited Klamath County again in May 1846. Coming
north from California, he circled Upper Klamath
Lake. In was on this journey that his party was
attacked by Indians on the southwest shore of Upper
Klamath Lake. Three members of his party were
killed, including a man by the name of Denny, for
whom a nearby creek was named.
Fremont Junior High School
The school, located at 715 High Street, was
constructed in 1925-26, and closed in June 1970,
when Ponderosa Junior High School opened. The
building was sold in February 1972 to First Baptist
Church, which continues to use the structure as its
Source: Klamath Falls City Schools district; Herald
and News, Feb. 1, 1972.
The abundance of snakes in Linkville's early days is
well-known. But few people realize the town's
residents also endured plagues of frogs.
"I have seen these tiny fellows so thick on the
sidewalk it was impossible to walk without crunching
some," Ida Odell wrote in the 1964 edition of
Klamath Echoes. "The late Marie McMillan, whose
mother was the owner of the Lakeside Inn, tells of
carrying a broom with her to sweep a path through
"The paving of Main Street in 1910 and later paving
of Pine Street, closing the Ankeny Canal, ended the
era of watersnakes and frogs."
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A Klamath Falls city ordinance effective Nov. 14,
1973, prohibits having more than two garage sales
per year at any residence. Also, sales must be
limited to three consecutive days. Only one sign may
be posted to advertise the sale, and it must be on
the premises of the sale.
Geothermal energy sources are found and used in
several places in Klamath Country.
Although the geothermal steam found in Klamath Falls
isn't hot enough to turn an electrical generator, it
does help warm a number of important buildings and
facilities in the city, including Oregon Institute
of Technology, the Ross Ragland Theater, Sky Lakes
Medical Center, Klamath Union High School, the YMCA,
First Baptist Church, several downtown government
buildings, and A Canal bridges on Esplanade and Wall
The city uses geothermal steam to heat sidewalks in
several downtown blocks, keeping them snow-free
during winter months. Klamath Falls' swimming pool
on Main Street operates year-round with geothermal
IFA Nurseries uses geothermal energy to produce tree
Dozens of homes likewise have their own geothermal
Gearhart Mountain Wilderness Area
One of the nation's least-used wilderness areas, the
Gearhart is relatively small at 18,000-plus acres.
Located on the Bly Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema
National Forests, it straddles the Klamath-Lake
county line. It can be reached by roads from Bly or
Lakeview. Prominent features include the 8,354-foot
elevation Gearhart Mountain, U-shaped valleys of
Gearhart and Dairy creeks, "The Dome" and Blue Lake,
a popular destination for day hikers and fishermen.
According to McArthur’s Oregon Geographic Names, the
mountain and the school in Bly take their name from
two brothers – James P. and William H. Gearhart –
who ran a livestock operation in the area in the
Located on Miller Creek about 35 miles east of
Klamath Falls, Gerber Reservoir is named after
pioneer rancher Louis Gerber, whose ranch covered
part of the reservoir site.
The reservoir's concrete arch dam was built by the
U.S. Reclamation Service in 1925. At full pool, the
reservoir covers 3,830 acres, and holds 94,300
acre-feet of water.
Gerber Reservoir is one of three water storage
facilities in the Klamath Reclamation Project. The
reservoir provides irrigation water for about 9,550
acres of farmland in the Langell Valley Irrigation
Camping facilities at the reservoir are maintained
by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
The town of Gilchrist was founded and owned by
Gilchrist Timber Co., which began operations in
northern Klamath County in 1939.
The company formed by Frank W. Gilchrist (1903-1956)
owned about 103,000 acres of timber in Central
Oregon, mostly in Klamath County. The company
operated a sawmill in Gilchrist until selling all
its interests in September 1991 to Crown Pacific
Ltd. of Portland. Crown Pacific went bankrupt in
The former Gilchrist sawmill is now owned by
Interfor, based in Vancouver, B.C.
Following the demise of Crown Pacific, a new company
called Cascade Timberlands LLC was formed to take
over the former Gilchrist tree farm. In 2010 Cascade
sold about 43,000 acres of former Gilchrist lands
east of Highway 97 to the state of Oregon to form
the Gilchrist State Forest.
The Klamath Falls Gospel Mission was founded in 1958
by a group of businessmen and clergymen. It has
operated since then at 823 Walnut St., in what was
formerly the First Covenant Church.
The mission's first administrator was John Pederson.
Its current manager is Kent Berry.
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The park located about nine miles north of Klamath
Falls is named for William G. Hagelstein, a
California banker who owned a ranch in the area. He
donated four acres of land that included Barclay
Springs to create the park.
The park was dedicated as Klamath County's first
county-operated park on Sept. 5, 1961.
The Winema National Forest donated 40 acres of land
to the county to enlarge the park. The Oregon
Highway Commission donated several acres of land for
right of way.
The 6,596-foot mountain located 15 miles southwest
of Klamath Falls was named for John Wesley Hamaker,
a land law specialist and surveyor in Klamath County
in the 1880s. John Hamaker and his brother, Joseph,
were involved in land fraud schemes around 1900.
An aviation radar facility is located at the
Source: Oregon Geographic Names.
Harriman, Edward H.
The railroad tycoon who presided over the Southern
Pacific Railroad purchased the Rocky Point Resort in
1907, and vacationed there in August of that year.
He died two years later.
The post office at Rocky Point was named in
Harriman's honor in 1947. The post office closed in
1954. For many years the volunteer fire protection district at
Rocky Point bore his name, and he still serves as
the namesake for the nearby 7,979-foot Mount Harriman on the
Klamath Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema
The Point Comfort Resort currently owns the site
where Harriman Lodge once stood.
Henley School, named for local resident Sophia
Henley, was established in 1909. The first Henley
School building was dismantled in 1951, with one
part being moved to Midland to serve as a community
The Henley Elementary School building was closed in
2006 after asbestos was discovered in the building
during roof repairs. The building was demolished in
2010. Classes have been held in modular units since
the building was closed.
An athletic trail at the Henley complex was named in
memory of Joe Arant, a longtime custodian and sports
booster at Henley High School who died Nov. 10,
2005, in a traffic accident near Halfway, Ore. The
trail was dedicated in memory of Arant in October
Highway 97 is Klamath County’s main north-south
highway, running 119 miles from the California
border to the Deschutes County line 15 miles north
Orignally called The Dalles-California Highway, the
route was designated a state highway in 1917, and a
federal highway in 1925. It replaced an old wagon
trail known as Huntington's Road.
The Dalles-California Highway originally went south
through Henley, Merrill and Malin. From there the
main highway went through Lookout in Modoc County.
A bridge across the Klamath River south of Klamath
Falls was built in 1935-36, and the Weed-Klamath
highway was dedicated in October 1936.
North of Klamath Falls, the highway's original route
went over Old Fort Road to Algoma, then north along
the shore of Upper Klamath Lake to Modoc Point. From
there it veered northwest past Klamath Agency to
Fort Klamath, then up Sand Creek Pass overlooking the Wood River
Valley. A new route near Chiloquin and over Spring
Creek Hill opened in July 1948.
The highway's original route through Klamath Falls
entered the city's north end on Biehn Street, turned
east on Oregon Avenue, followed North Ninth Street
to Main, turned east again on South Fifth and Sixth
streets, and south on Washburn Way.
Kit Carson Way, the highway's new north entrance to
Klamath Falls, opened in 1949. That stretch of road,
along with other sections known as the Alameda
Bypass and the Eastside Bypass, were later renamed
Crater Lake Parkway.
The Westside Bypass, stretching from the north end
of town to Main Street, opened in 1959. Completion
of a bridge over Link River in 1963 marked
completion of the bypass on the west side of town.
The farming district at the north end of Yonna
Valley is named after Newton F. Hildebrand, who
served as the first postmaster when the post office
opened in August 1890.
Ralph Hill, who grew up in the Henley community, was
credited with being the first Oregonian to garner
widespread attention as a distance runner – and the
first Klamath resident to gain worldwide name
recognition. As a runner at the University of Oregon
in 1930, he set a national record in the mile with a
time of 4:12.2.
Hill went on to compete in the 5,000-meter run in
the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. Hill placed second
in a race that ended with one of the most
controversial finishes in Olympic history. Near the
end of the race Hill was running closely behind
Finland’s Lauri Leheinen. As Hill attempted to pass,
Leheinen crossed into his path at least three times,
according to newspaper reports.
Judges deliberated for more than an hour before
announcing that the gold medal would go to Leheinen,
and the silver to Hill. Both runners were clocked
with the same time of 14:30, but Leheinen’s chest
broke the tape with Hill behind by only a few
Hill declined to register a protest, saying he did
not think Leheinen’s actions were intentional.
American team officials also declined to protest,
though they made their displeasure clear. “Although
the (Amateur Athletic Union) considers the race was
not fairly run, neither Mr. Hill nor the United
States will protest,” said AAU President Avery
About 1,000 people greeted Hill when he arrived at
the Klamath Falls train station on Aug. 15, 1932.
Even more gathered at the Pelican Theater for a
formal welcoming ceremony.
Hill met Leheinen for a rematch soon afterward at a
post-Olympic meet in Chicago. Leheinen dropped out
early, while Hill placed a close second behind Jan
Kusocinski of Poland in that race on Aug. 18, 1932.
After earning a degree in business administration,
Hill returned to Henley and spent his life farming.
He contracted polio and lost use of his right arm,
but continued working. He died Oct. 17, 1994, at the
age of 85, and is buried at Mt. Laki Cemetery south
of Klamath Falls.
The 6,370-foot mountain located just west of Crater
Lake National Park was an important food-gathering
site for Klamath Indians. An estimated 40,000
gallons of huckleberries were harvested from the
mountain in 1908.
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Immanuel Baptist Church
The church was established Feb. 4, 1915, as the
result of a division from First Baptist Church.
An epidemic of Spanish influenza claimed the lives
of 69 Klamath County residents in 1918, as well as
12 Lake County residents. More than 20 million
people died around the world.
Klamath County Public Health Officer Dr. Warren Hunt
on Oct. 12, 1918, ordered a quarantine on all public
gathering places such as theaters and dance halls to
prevent the spread of the Spanish influenza.
The quarantine lasted for about two months.
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The door and window manufacturer based in Klamath
Falls was founded Nov. 1, 1960, by five partners: Richard L.
"Dick" Wendt, Bill Taylor, Larry Wetter, Garry
Wickersham and John Biehn. The partners purchased
the Caradco plant in the Shippington neighborhood of
Klamath Falls. The main building had at one time
been the home of Pelican Bay Lumber Co.
After starting with just 15 employees, Jeld-Wen saw
phenomenal growth under the leadership of Dick
Wendt. As of 2010 the company had more than 20,000
employees in 150 divisions across the United States
and more than 20 foreign countries, with annual
revenues of more than $3 billion.
The first four letters in Jeld-Wen stand for members
of the Wendt family: Dick's sister Jewel, Dick's
mother Evelyn, Dick's father Lester, and Dick
himself. "Wen" is a shortened form of the family
name Wendt. The origin of the Jeld-Wen name was kept
secret from the public until after Dick Wendt's
death in August 2010. By that time, Dick Wendt's
son, Rod, had become president and CEO of the
In May 2011, it was announced that Onex Corp. of Toronto, Canada,
a 39 percent stake in Jeld-Wen. A subsequent
announcement on Aug. 1, 2011, indicated Onex would
eventually acquire about a 58 percent ownership in
the company. Onex announced completion of the
takeover on Oct. 3, 2011. Philip Orsino became president of Jeld-Wen, while Rod Wendt remained
The Jeld-Wen Foundation, established in 1969, has helped fund several
major Klamath Falls projects, such as the Ross
Ragland Theater and Cultural Center, renovation of
the Ella Redkey Municipal Pool, development of the
Steen Youth Sports Complex, and expansion of the Sky
Lakes Medical Center.
Settlement at the place now known as Keno dates to
1876, when a post office was established at
Whittle's Ferry. The community was later known as
Plevna, although that name later became associated
with an area located between Keno and Klamath Falls.
A new post office was established in 1887, and named
"Keno" after Capt. D.J. Ferree's dog, which in turn
had been named after a popular card game of the
Sources: History of Klamath County Oregon, Rachel
Applegate Good; Oregon Place Names, by Lewis
The baseball stadium on Crest Street served as home
of the Klamath Gems class C professional baseball
team from 1948 through 1951.
The stadium was renamed in 1964 in honor of Estin
Kiger, a local youth sports promoter.
The playing field was named Clem Bradbury Field in
November 2002 in honor of a retired city maintenance
worker who donated many hours maintaining the field.
Kingsley Field is home to the Oregon Air National
Guard's the 173rd Fighter Wing, which is tasked with
training Air Force and Air Guard pilots from across the country
who fly F-15C fighter jets.
The 10,500-foot main runway is the second-longest in
Oregon after Portland International’s, and was
improved in 1996 to handle every aircraft in the
U.S. military’s inventory.
Kingsley Field is a joint-use airfield that serves a
U.S. Forest Service air tanker base as well as
general aviation, commuter and commercial aircraft
that operate out of the Klamath Falls International
Kingsley Field was originally built as a naval air
station during World War II. It was converted into
an Air Force interceptor base in 1954, flying F-86
Sabre jets. The unit switched to F-101Bs Voodoos in
May 1959. An alert
fighter operation established was in December 1959. The
Air Force closed the base in 1979. The Oregon Air National Guard took
over the facilities in October 1981.
On July 3, 1957, the Klamath Falls Municipal Airport
was renamed Kingsley Field in honor of Lt. David Kingsley, a World
War II bombardier on a B-17 who posthumously
received a Medal of Honor for giving his life to
save a fellow crewman during a mission over
Nazi-occupied Romania. Kingsley, a native of
Portland, gave his
parachute to another man, and died when the plane crashed near the village of Suhozem, Bulgaria.
Kit Carson Way
The road constructed in 1948-49 became the new north
highway entrance to Klamath Falls. It was named for
the explorer who accompanied John C. Fremont during
his expeditions through the area in 1843 and 1846.
Kit Carson Park, built by the Kiwanis Club, was
dedicated on Sept. 20, 1962.
The J. Verne Owens bike path on state right of way
beside Kit Carson Way, between Portland Street and
Campus Way, opened May 30, 1973. It was repaved in
The origin of the name Klamath is uncertain.
The word was first used in reference to Indians who
inhabited the Upper Klamath Basin. Its first known
appearance was in a letter written by explorer Peter
Skene Ogden in 1826. However, the name was not used
by the Indians themselves. Rather, they referred to
themselves as “maklaks,” a generic term simply
Klamath Community College
Klamath County voters on May 21, 1996, approved
establishment of a community college district, with
90 percent of electors supporting the new school.
Voters also approved a $3.5 million tax base for the
The school was formally established July 1, 1996,
with Rod Wright as interim president. Wes Channell
served as the college's first regular president,
beginning in August 1997.
The college began offering classes Sept. 25, 1996,
mostly in public school classrooms. An office was
established in space rented from the Assembly of God
Church, 241 S. Williams St.
In July 1999 the college purchased 57 acres of land
at 7390 S. Sixth St., and undertook renovation of
two existing buildings at the site. The college
began holding classes at its interim campus on March
27, 2000. A formal dedication was held April 25,
KCC dedicated two major buildings - the Career
Technical Center and Health Science Building - on
Oct. 9, 2011.
The history of European exploration in what is now
Klamath County dates to August 1825, when Finan
McDonald and Tom McKay left Fort Vancouver on a
trading and trapping expedition to an unknown land
beyond the Umpqua Valley. The trappers were
instructed to cross the mountains of the Willamette
Valley and head east to a legendary lake.
In 1827, Peter Skene Ogden lead the Hudson Bay Fur
Brigade into the Klamath Falls area and camped
beside the Link River. Ogden was in the Klamath
Basin for the purpose of trapping furs and finding
the Indian's "Great River." Ogden and his group of
36 men stayed in the Klamath Basin exploring and
trapping for almost six months.
John C. Fremont led five western expeditions, two of
which traversed country that would become Klamath
and Lake counties. Fremont used the Klamath Trail, a
slave-trading path that connected the area around
The Dalles with the Klamath, Modoc and Pit River
cultures. The Fremont Bridge, which now spans the
Link River, was named after him.
In May 1846, Levi Scott and his son, John, joined a
group of men who were trying to locate an emigrant
road across the Cascades from the Willamette Valley.
Scott co-founded the Scott-Applegate Trail, which
opened the Klamath Basin to hundreds of immigrants
in 1846. One of the first families to use the trail
and settle in the Klamath Basin were the Stearns.
Klamath County was created Oct. 17, 1882, by the
state Legislature, and was partitioned from the
existing Lake County, which in turn had been created
Oct. 24, 1874 from a portion of Jackson County.
Klamath County was named for the Klamath Indians.
Klamath County Government Center
The Klamath County Government Center on Main Street
between North Third and North Fourth streets in
Klamath Falls was opened Sept. 28, 1998, five years
and eight days after severe earthquakes caused the
permanent closure of the Klamath County Courthouse.
The new structure is one of two buildings authorized
by a voter-approved $17 million bond measure to
replace the old courthouse. A new courthouse,
housing offices of the 13th Judicial District of
Oregon and the district attorney's office, opened in
The Klamath County Government Center accommodates
most county government offices. Total construction
costs were $4.5 million with an additional $556,000
spent on land acquisition. Its design incorporated
the historic Elks Lodge, which previously was used
as the courthouse annex. It was built in the early
The general contractor on both new buildings was
Mark Wendt Construction, Klamath Falls.
Klamath County Museum
Housed in the former armory at 1451 Main St. in
Klamath Falls, the museum features exhibits devoted
to area wildlife, Native American heritage, early
exploration and pioneer settlement. It is open from
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday,
The museum, which formerly shared a building with
the Klamath County Library at 126 S. Third St.,
opened in the old armory in February 1970.
Klamath Falls City Hall
The Klamath Falls City Hall at 226 S. Fifth St., was
built in 1914, and added to the National Register of
Historic Places in 1989. It now houses the city's
public works and planning departments.
The city's administrative offices are located in the
former Klamath Falls City Library, at 500 Klamath
Ave. The library building was constructed in 1926,
and was also added to the national register in 1989.
The city and county libraries were merged in July
1969, and located in a new facility at 126 S. Third
Klamath First Bancorp
Klamath First Bancorp,
established in 1934, was the holding company of
Klamath First Federal Savings and Loan, and was at
one time the largest Oregon-based savings and loan
and the second-largest financial institution based
in the state. Its assets reached the $1 billion
milestone in 1998.
The company purchased 25
Oregon branches of Wells Fargo Bank in 1997. At its
peak the company operated 57 branches in Oregon and
two in Washington.
Shareholders of the
company in July 2003 approved a merger of Klamath
First with Spokane-based Sterling Financial Corp.,
which operates banks under the name Sterling Savings
Bank. The merger was completed in January 2004.
Source: Herald and News,
Aug. 16, 1998; Klamath First news release, Dec. 11,
Klamath Lyceum Bureau
Klamath Falls' first association organized for the
purpose of selling subscriptions to a series of
concerts was formed in 1911. Concerts were held in
the Houston Opera House.
The lyceum bureau was succeeded in 1912 by the
Chautauqua Association for Klamath County, and in
1931 by the Community Concert Association.
Due to declining attendance, the Community Concert
Association suspended its programs in 2006, with the
final concert being performed at the Ross Ragland
Theater on May 10 of that year
Classical music continues to be presented under the
Ross Ragland Theater’s Classical Series.
Source: R.E. Teater, Klamath Echoes, No. 5, p. 5;
Herald and News, April 2, 2006.
Klamath Reclamation Project
The project was stablished May 15, 1905, by Interior
Secretary Ethan Hitchcock. Major construction began
in 1906, and the first delivery of water occurred in
The project encompasses about 210,000 acres of
farmland and 30,000 acres in the Tule Lake and Lower
Klamath national wildlife refuges.
Three reservoirs store water for irrigation within
the project. The largest is Upper Klamath Lake, a
natural water body whose outlet is regulated by the
Link River Dam. Water from the lake is the primary
irrigation source for about 180,000 acres in the
Clear Lake in Modoc County, Calif., is also a
natural lake regulated by a dam. Clear Lake is used
primarily as an evaporation basin to hold water that
otherwise would flow through Lost River and fill
Tule Lake. Some water is released from the lake,
however, to irrigate lands near Bonanza in
southeastern Klamath County.
Gerber Reservoir, constructed in 1925, stores water
for about 9,550 acres in Langell Valley.
Leading crops grown by farmers within the Klamath
Project include potatoes, barley, alfalfa, onions
and strawberry plants.
A principal feature of the project is the Lost River
Diversion Channel, which runs eight miles from near
Henley to a point on the Klamath River south of
Klamath Falls. The channel carries water from Lost
River to the Klamath River, allowing managers to
control water levels in Tule Lake.
The diversion channel, built on a level grade, can
also be used to send water in the opposite
direction, from the Klamath River to the Lost River,
to supplement irrigation supplies when needed.
Most of the Klamath Project was shut down for most
of the season in 2001 as the result of severe
drought and requirements for protection of
endangered suckers in Upper Klamath Lake and
threatened coho salmon in the lower Klamath River.
The 2001 shutdown sparked a series of large protests
and rallies by farmers and their supporters,
including a tractor rally in April 20001 and a
bucket brigade on Main Street on May 7, 2001.
Protesters gained access to the A Canal headgates on
July 4, 2001, and used hand tools to open one of the
gates, allowing a small volume of water to enter the
canal. U.S. Rangers occupied the site the following
day, and federal officers protected the headgates
around the clock through the summer while protesters
maintained a camp outside the fence at the headgates.
The protest ended immediately after the terrorist
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Klamath River Compact
The agreement between Oregon, California and the
federal government took effect Sept. 11, 1957, and
established priorities for use of water in the
Klamath River Basin.
The priorities listed were, in order, domestic uses,
irrigation, recreation including fish and wildlife,
industrial uses and hydroelectricity.
A three-member commission meets at least once a year
to oversee implementation of the compact. Oregon and
California each have one representative on the
commission. The third is appointed by the federal
Provisions of the compact have been largely
superseded by management guidelines required under a
biological opinion for protection of endangered
The Klamath Tribes, based in Chiloquin, comprise
three Native American groups, including the Klamaths,
Modocs and Yahooskin band of Snake River Indians.
Key dates in the history of the tribes include the
Oct. 14, 1864, signing of a treaty with the federal
government; the Aug. 13, 1954, termination of the
tribe by the government; and the August 27, 1986,
restoration of federal recognition.
Tribal affairs are managed by an elected 10-member
executive council. Major decisions are made at
general council meetings, which are open to all
The Kla-Mo-Ya Casino, operated by the tribes, opened
on Highway 97 in July 1996. The casino's name is
taken from a portion of the names for the tribes'
three ethnic groups.
Klamath Union High School
The original part of the school was built at 1300
MonClaire St. in 1928. Before then, high school
students attended classes at Klamath County High
School on High Street.
Klamath Wildlife Area
The state-owned area headquartered five miles south
of Klamath Falls, on Miller Island Road, is managed
by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The
area includes 3,400 acres in four areas, including
Miller Island, Gorr Island, Shoalwater Bay and Squaw
Point – later renamed Sesti Tgawaals. The first
state acquisition was in 1951.
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Lake of the Woods
Capt. O.C. Applegate, a prominent figure in Klamath
Basin history, claimed to have given the lake its
name in 1870 when he was overseeing contruction of a
road by the lake.
Covering 1,220 acres on the Klamath Ranger District
of the Fremont-Winema National Forests, the lake is
one of the region's most popular recreation sites.
Two Forest Service campgrounds, a Cub Scout camp and
a Girl Scout camp are located at the lake, as well
as 217 recreational cabin sites and a full-service
Named for pioneer settler and Modoc War veteran
Arthur Langell, the valley lies about 25 miles east
of Klamath Falls. About 16,300 acres of pasture and
hayfields are served by the Langell Valley
Irrigation District, which diverts water from Lost
River and Miller Creek.
Lava Beds National Monument
Sometimes called "The Land of Burnt Out Fires," the
Lava Beds National Monument just south of the
Oregon-California state line is a park known for its
extensive system of lava tube caves, fascinating
geology and human history. There are 436 known caves
within the monument. Some of the more popular caves
include Mushpot, Golden Dome, Sentinel and the
Several areas in the park were important sites
during the Modoc Indian War of 1872-73. The
monument, established in 1925 and covering 106,000
acres, has a public campground.
Three people are known to have died in the Klamath
Falls area from lightning strikes. The include the
Arthur D. Carrick on July 6, 1904.
Elwood Bice on July 29, 1939.
Mrs. Steve Graham on Sept. 29, 1957.
The 1.5-mile-long river runs from Upper Klamath Lake
to Lake Ewauna. It got its name because it connects
the two bodies of water.
Link River is contained entirely in the city limits
of Klamath Falls. The Klamath Indian name for the
river was "Yulalona," which meant to move back and
forth, referring to the fact that during strong
south winds the water was blown back toward Upper
Klamath Lake, leaving the bed of stream partly dry.
The headwater originally flowed over a natural reef
into slack water extending about 3,000 feet
downstream to a second reef. The California-Oregon
Power Company constructed a dam near the lower reef
The first bridge across Link River was constructed
of timber and was erected by Linkville founder
George Nurse. It opened at the river's lower end on
or about July 1, 1869. A steel bridge commissioned
by Klamath County replaced the original bridge in
Later bridges, built in the same spot, were built in
1915 and 1931.
A nature trail along the west side of the river was
opened in 1971. Bird viewing blinds along the river
were constructed in 1972, and wheelchair-accessible
fishing points were added in 1981.
The town of Linkville was founded along the lower
end of the Link River on March 12, 1867, by pioneer
settler George Nurse. The town's name was officially
changed to Klamath Falls on Feb. 6, 1893.
Klamath Falls’ local community theater offers a
five-play season each year. Located in the old
Willard Hotel at 201 Main Street, the intimate
theater provides an opportunity for local thespians
to perform in first-rate productions.
The Linkville Players, formerly known as Klamath
Civic Theater, performed in various venues before
the Linkville Playhouse opened in 1987, including
primarily the basement of the former city library at
500 Klamath Avenue. Plays were occasionally
performed in the Pine Grove Room of the Willard
Hotel, which would later be renovated as a theater.
Seats in the theater were salvaged from the old
Tower Theater, demolished in 1988, and the Pelican
Theater, razed in 1958. Those seats were replaced
with new seats.
Located in Langell Valley in southeastern Klamath
County, the community of Lorella was first named
Haynesville after its founder, L.K. Haynes, who
operated a post office there in 1887. The name was
changed to Lorella in 1894, reportedly after a woman
who lived in the area.
Source: Oregon Geographic Names, by Lewis McArthur.
Lower Klamath Lake
Before being cut off from the Klamath River, Lower
Klamath Lake was at times larger than Upper Klamath
Lake. The Lower Klamath Lake National Wildlife
Refuge was created in 1908, and included 80,000
acres. The refuge was reduced in 1915 to 53,600
A railroad embankment constructed across the west
side of Lower Klamath Lake isolated the lake from
the Klamath River. Gates controlling the flow of
water between the lake and river were closed in
In the ensuing years, the lake's area decreased, and
the peat soil on the lake bottom caught fire and
Lower Klamath Wildlife Refuge
Established August 1908 by President Theodore
Roosevelt as the nation's first waterfowl refuge. It
covers 53,598 acres.
Subdivision occurred and construction began in 1973
by developers Donald and Lynne Kelley. The project
became mired in controversy over construction of
streets, sewer lines and other improvements. As a
result, city manager John Halvorsen was fired by the
city council in May 1975, while Kelley and former
Mayor Robert Veatch were indicted on criminal
charges in 1976.
The city, meanwhile, became liable for $897,000 in
debt for the improvements. After foreclosing on the
161-acre subdivision, the city began selling lots in
February 1976. As of 2010, the city still owns a few
lots within the subdivision.
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The town established by A. Kalina was founded in
1909 in an area settled by a group of
Czechoslovakian families that had emigrated from the
Accounts differ as to how the town was named. Mr.
Kalina was credited with selecting the name, which
in the Czech language means "everything growing
Another story holds that the town was named for a
horseradish variety grown in Czechoslovakia, or for
a town in that country where horseradish is grown.
Source: Herald and News, Jan. 7, 1949, p. 1; Journal
of the Shaw Historical Library, 1986, p. 49.
The U.S. Marine Corps' recuperative barracks in
Klamath Falls operated from 1944 to 1946 to treat
World War II veterans of the Pacific Theater who
were recovering from filariasis.
Located about a mile north of Klamath Falls on Old
Fort Road, the 800-acre site and its buildings
became the first site of Oregon Vocational School
(later Oregon Institute of Technology) after the
Marines abandoned it.
OIT, too, ultimately left the site and all the
buildings were demolished. A monument and small park
now commemorate the barracks location.
The site was developed as the Northridge Estates
subdivision, although sales of lots was ceased after
authorities confirmed reports that the soil in the
area was heavily contaminated by asbestos from the
demolition of barracks buildings.
Maywood Industries opened its Klamath Falls wood
products plant in May 1976. The plant in 1993 became
the home of REACH Inc.
Source: Herald and News, May 6, 1976.
Mazama High School
Named for Mount Mazama, the school on Summers Lane
opened in 1966 as an experimental one-year school
for freshman. The new facility, named Mazama
Secondary School, relieved overcrowding at Klamath
Union High School.
Sophomores joined the freshmen in 1973, and the
school was renamed Mazama Mid High.
Voters on Sept. 19, 1978, approved a bond to change
the school to a four-year facility. Mazama High
School opened September 1979 with 1,086 students.
The roofs of the school's main gymnasium and east
gym collapsed under a heavy snow load on Jan. 28,
1996. A replacement facility opened in May 1997.
Source: Klamath Falls City Schools district.
A log unearthed during excavation of a landfill near
Chemult on May 30, 1991, was dubbed the "Mazama
tree" after scientists determined the tree had grown
before the explosion of Mount Mazama around 5,600
The log is now on exhibit in the Klamath County
Merle West Medical Center
Merle West Medical Center is the former name of Sky
Lakes Medical Center. Originally known as
Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, the hospital
was completed in 1965.
Merle West, a longtime businessman in the area and
benefactor of the hospital, died Dec. 20, 1983.
The hospital formerly owned Plum Ridge Care Center,
a nursing home, and contracts its operation to
Pinnacle Healthcare. In January 2001 Merle West
Medical Center sold Crystal Terrace, a continuing
care retirement community, to Pinnacle.
The town situated 15 miles southeast of Klamath
Falls was named for Nathan Merrill, a pioneer farmer
in the area who filed an 80-acre plat for the townsite
on May 22, 1894.
Sources: Klamath County History, by Rachel Applegate
Good; Klamath County Comprehensive Plan Atlas.
A plat for the townsite of Midland was filed Jan. 5,
1907, and a post office opened in the town on March
17, 1909. Although the town was never incorporated,
it once boasted a hotel and, for a few years after
the railroad arrived in 1908, was the main point for
shipping livestock from the Klamath Basin. Business
declined sharply during the 1920s as railroads
spread to other points in the Basin.
Land for the Midland Community Park was donated by
local residents in the early 1950s. The Midland
Community Park District was established Jan. 6,
Midway Telephone and Telegraph Co.
The company first offered 24-hour telephone service
in Klamath Falls beginning in 1905. "Two rings for
Central, and you can talk with the world any time
day or night," manager O.B. Gates was quoted as
The neighborhood owes its name to William H. Mills,
who on Nov. 1, 1905, acquired an historic ranch east
of Klamath Falls that at one time belonged to George
Nurse. Mills and his wife, Maria, formed the
Enterprise Land and Investment Co., which divided
the ranch into tracts for homes, streets and a
school. An orchard on the ranch had been the chief
source of fresh fruit for the city.
The subdivision was platted in 1906.
Source: Klamath Echoes, v. 13, p79-82; Abstract of
Title to Darrow Addition and Parts of Mills and
Mills Second Addition.
Mills Elementary School
The original Mills School building, consisting of
four rooms, was built in 1919, facing Orchard
Avenue. Its first principal was Agnes Lageson.
Various additions were made over the years,
including an 801-seat auditorium in 1949. Two
geothermal wells were drilled in 1957, and one more
in 1961. These three wells provide heating for the
A series of earthquakes in 1993 damaged the school's
gymnasium beyond repair. It was replaced with a new
gym that was completed in May 1995.
Mills Elementary is the largest elementary school in
the Klamath Falls City Schools district.
The Mitchell Monument, located about 15 miles east
of Bly on Forest Service Road 34, is the site of the
only combat-related deaths in the continental United
States during World War II.
Elsie Mitchell, the pregnant wife of a Bly pastor,
Rev. Archie Mitchell, and five children in a Sunday
school class were killed May 5, 1945, when a
Japanese balloon bomb exploded while they were on a
picnic outing near the Gearhart Wilderness Area.
Three of the children – Joan Patzke, Dick Patzke and
Edward Engen – were buried in Linkville Cemetery.
Sherman Shoemaker was buried in California. Jay
Gifford was buried in Medford. Elsie
Mitchell was buried in her hometown of Port Angeles,
The monument was dedicated in July 1950.
Modoc Indian War
Captain Jack was a leader of the Modoc Indians
during the 1872-73 Modoc War with the Army and
Klamath area settlers.
The war started when Jack’s band of Modoc Indians,
who never numbered more than 180 (including about 50
warriors), refused to live on the same reservation
lands with the Klamath Indians, and returned to
their homes around the Lost River. Jack was a key
military leader in a campaign that lasted several
months around the Lost River and the Modocs’
stronghold in the Lava Beds to the south.
Jack and his fellow warriors outfought and
frustrated about 1,000 regular Army and volunteer
troops as they tried to force the Indians to
surrender in the Lava Beds’ rugged terrain. Jack and
several other Modoc leaders, attacked a government
peace commission while under a flag of truce,
killing two commissioners -- including commission
leader Gen. Edward Canby and Rev. Thomas – and
Eventually the Modocs were forced to abandon the
stronghold and scatter, though they achieved one
more victory over the Army in an ambush that became
known as the Thomas-Wright Massacre.
The killing of the peace commissioners is believed
to have pushed the government away from its “peace
policy” towards Indians and led to more aggressive
moves by the Army throughout the West.
War deaths on the government side included about 70
soldiers, guides and civilians, while Modoc deaths
were estimated at six.
Six Modocs were convicted and sentenced to death for
the murder of Canby and Thomas. The death sentences
of Slolux and Barncho were commuted. Captain Jack,
Schonchin John, Boston Charley and Black Jim were
hanged at Fort Klamath on Oct. 3, 1873. Their graves
remain marked at the Fort Klamath Museum.
Modoc Lumber Company
The company owned by the Shaw Family of Klamath
Falls operated a sawmill from 1946 until May 1,
1995, in downtown Klamath Falls. The company
continues to own acreage on both sides of Lake
Ewauna. The site of the lumber mill was developed as
Timbermill Shores. A sister company, the J-Spear
Ranch, owns timber and ranch land in Klamath and
Modoc Lumber Co. was founded by Laurence L. Shaw and
J. Royal Shaw. As of this writing in January 2000,
Laurence Shaw's son, Thomas J. Shaw, is president of
the company. Thomas J. Shaw's son, Tom J. Shaw, is
Some of the prettiest, and loftiest, views of the
Klamath Basin are offered from atop the summit of
9,495-foot high Mount McLoughlin.
The highest point in Southern Oregon, the summit can
be reached by a five-mile-long trail on the
mountain's east slope on the Fremont-Winema National
Forests. Although the trailhead is in Klamath
County, the summit is just west of the
Jackson-Klamath county line.
Early Native Americans knew it as "Alwilamchaldist"
and believed it the home of the Acorn Woman while
Klamaths called in "Kesh yainatat," the abode of
"dwarf old woman."
Although sometimes still referred to by its original
name of Mount Pitt, the mountain was renamed for Dr.
John McLoughlin, the head of the Hudson's Bay Co. in
Oregon who is sometimes called the "Father of
Mountain Lakes Bible Camp
The camp, located within Klamath Ranger District
about 30 miles west of Klamath Falls, is operated
under a Forest Service permit by Bible Baptist
Church in Klamath Falls. The first buildings on the
site, including the dining hall and administration
building, were constructed in 1961.
Mountain Lakes Wilderness Area
The Mountain Lakes region in 1930 was one of three
places to receive the Forest Service's new
classification of "primitive area." It was also
among the nation's first official wilderness areas
when the Wilderness Act was passed in 1964.
Geologists believe a giant volcano, perhaps as large
as Mount Shasta, collapsed to create the rugged
basin that now contains more than 100 small lakes.
The largest lake, Harriette, covers about 70 acres.
Besides its striking scenery, the 23,071-acre
Mountain Lakes Wilderness Area is also unique for
its boundary configuration, which is not only
perfectly square but happens to fall precisely on a
36-square-mile township border.
Several large murals have been painted on sides of
downtown Klamath Falls buildings. They include:
The Applegate Trail, between Fourth and Fifth
streets on Klamath Avenue, depicts the Applegate
Trail cutoff of the Oregon Trail. It was painted by
Kingsley Field, South Fifth Street side of the VFW
building, 515 Klamath Ave.; the mural depicts the
story of Medal of Honor recipient Lt. David Kingsley
as well as the history of Kingsley Field, a fighter
base since 1954 for the Air Force and the Oregon Air
National Guard. The mural by artist Chris Young was
done in 1995-96.
The lake steamer Winema, on the northwest corner of
Main Street and Fifth Street, a pioneer
turn-of-the-century steamer that ran on Lake Ewauna
and Upper Klamath Lake. It was moved from Lake
Ewauna to Upper Klamath Lake in 1909 when the first
Southern Pacific train arrived in Klamath Falls. The
mural was painted by Pam Stoehsler.
Arrival of the first Southern Pacific train in
Klamath Falls in 1909, painted in 1999 by Chris
Young at the corner of Main and 11th streets.
The Pelican Theater, which stood at the corner of
Eighth Street and Klamath Avenue from 1929 to 1961.
The mural is located in the 600 block of Klamath
Avenue, a half-block south of the theater's
location. It was painted in June 2000 by Chris
A mountain scene painted in 2010 by Chris Young on
the Elk Apartment building at 1111 Main Street. The
scene, based on a painting by George McMahan, took
the place of an earlier mural depicting Winema, a
Modoc Indian woman who played prominently in local
history. The Winema mural was painted in 2001 by
Michael Jennings, a Paiute Indian from Burns.
A scene featuring a
group of loggers for the Pelican Bay Lumber Co. was
painted in 2010 by Christ Young.
Other murals in the Klamath Falls area include the
A mural depicting Czechoslovakian folk dancers on
the side of the Malin Post Office was completed in
September 1996 by Jack and Shelly Carman.
A Viking mural in the gymnasium at Mazama High
School was completed by Royce Vann in April 1997.
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National Park Service
The agency, a
branch of the U.S. Department of Interior, manages
two parks in the Klamath Basin:
Crater Lake National Park, 183,224 acres, est. May
Lava Beds National Monument, 106,000 acres, est.
Natural gas pipelines
Two major natural gas pipelines run the length of
Klamath County on their route from British Columbia
to Central California. Both were constructed by
Pacific Gas Transmission Co.
A 36-inch-diameter pipeline entered service on Dec.
A 42-inch-diameter "expansion" line began carrying
gas on Nov. 1, 1993.
A gas compression station is located about two miles
southwest of Bonanza.
The Ruby pipeline, running 680 miles from
Malin east to Opal, Wyo., entered service on July
The computer call center operated by NEW Corp. is
located in a building originally opened by Sykes
Enterprises on Nov. 21, 1995.
George Nurse built in 1866 the first buildings on
the townsite of Linkville, the settlement on the
Link River that eventually became Klamath Falls.
A series of financial reverses caused Nurse to leave
Linkville in the 1870s, ultimately resettling on a
ranch near Yreka. It was there he suffered fatal
injuries when he was thrown from a horse.
A monument in Linkville Cemetery commemorates
Nurse’s role in establishing the town of Linkville,
although Nurse was buried in Siskiyou County, Calif.
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Dan O'Brien, a 1984 graduate of Henley High School,
won the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1996
Olympics in Atlanta, Ga. O’Brien grew up in a home
located on Reeder Road, just north of Lost River.
A street running from Highway 97 to the OIT campus
was named Dan O'Brien Way. The street is
approximately 1500 meters long, the distance of the
10th, and final, event of the decathlon.
O’Brien is a three-time world champion, two-time
Goodwill Games champion, and former world record
holder for the decathlon with 8,891 points. He set
his world record in Talence, France, about a month
after the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.
The 8,825 points he scored to win his gold medal is
an Olympic Games record and the fifth highest in
decathlon history. His 8,755 points in 1998 is a
Goodwill Games record.
O'Brien's world record was broken July 4, 1999, by
Tomas Dvorak of the Czech Republic, who scored 8,994
O’Brien was a member of a state championship
football team at Henley and was the first person to
win four events in one Oregon state high school
track and field championship meet.
Old Fort Road
The road leading to the original site of Oregon
Vocational School, now Oregon Institute of
Technology, was the main northbound route leading
out of Klamath Falls in the late 1800s and early
1900s. Cutting between Plum Hills and Hogback
Mountain, the road was used to access Fort Klamath,
Klamath Agency and Crater Lake.
A one-way traffic grid was put into place in
downtown Klamath Falls on Jan. 11, 1970. The first
accident resulting from the new grid occurred at
1:20 p.m. that day.
Oregon Bank Building
The Oregon Bank Building, 905 Main St., stands as
one of Klamath Falls’ two tallest buildings at six
stories tall, and contains the last elevator in
Oregon that requires an operator. It was built in
1930 on the site of the old Central School.
It is also known as the Medical-Dental building. It
is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Oregon, California & Eastern Railroad
Construction of the OC&E Railroad was launched in
1915 by entrepreneur Robert Strahorn. Work began in
Klamath Falls, and stopped in 1929 at Bly, 64 miles
east of Klamath Falls. It was acquired in 1975 by
Weyerhaeuser Co. from Southern Pacific and
The OC&E line was used primarily to haul logs from
Weyerhaeuser lands. The last load of logs traveled
over the railroad in April 1990. The last of the
rolling stock was removed from the line in September
Weyerhaeuser Co. donated the OC&E right of way in
July 1992 to the Oregon Department of Parks and
Recreation, which converted it to a recreation trail
under a "railbanking" program.
Demolition of the railroad began in September 1992.
A four-mile section of the trail was paved in the
suburbs of Klamath Falls in October 1996. Paving was
later extended to Olene, and packed gravel covers
the trail to Sprague River.
Oregon Institute of Technology
Oregon Institute of Technology, situated on the
north end of Klamath Falls, provides high-tech
education in fields ranging from engineering and
laser optics to nursing and vascular imaging.
The institute opened in July 1947 as Oregon
Vocational School and the first classes were held in
a deactivated World War II Marine Corps hospital on
Old Fort Road, three miles northeast of Klamath
Falls. In 1948, the name was changed to Oregon
1960, the school became part of the Oregon State
System of Higher Education. Then-Gov. Mark Hatfield
spoke at a dedication of the site for the new Oregon
Tech campus on Sept. 20, 1962. The new campus opened
in 1964. The name was changed to Oregon Institute of
Technology in 1973.
Our Lady of Snows Catholic Church
Dedicated Oct. 28, 1957 in Gilchrist. Land and
lumber for the church was donated by Gilchrist
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Many white pelicans migrate to the Klamath Basin in
summer months. The pelican (Pelecanus
erythrorhynchos) has been adopted an official
Klamath Falls city symbol as well as the mascot for
Klamath Union High School. The pelican symbol serves
as a logo for many local events and organizations,
including the annual Snowflake Festival.
Pelican Elementary School
Pelican School was built in 1921. The original
structure included four classrooms, a small office
and a library. Major additions were made in 1931-32
A fire heavily damaged the school's gymnasium on May
Pelican Butte, an 8,036-foot mountain 25 miles
northwest of Klamath Falls, has at various times
been proposed as a site for a downhill ski resort.
The concept was most recently pursued by Pelican
Butte Corp., a subsidiary of Jeld-Wen, Inc. The
company's plans were abandoned after a policy
setting aside most roadless areas on Forest Service
land was enacted by the Clinton administration in
Pelican Butte is located on the Klamath Ranger
District of the Fremont-Winema National Forests.
Peterson Elementary School
Peterson Elementary School in the south suburbs of
Klamath Falls was named in honor of Fred Peterson,
superintendent of Klamath County Schools from 1925
The school opened in 1949. Additions to the facility
were made in 1953 and 1972.
The valley located about 10 miles east of Klamath
Falls was named for James M. Poe, who lived in the
area during the Modoc War. Poe later moved to
The name has been used in the past for a sawmill
town, a logging camp and a lumber company, all of
which were located in the southwestern corner of
Klamath County. The sawmill town was destroyed in
The name of the post office in the sawmill town,
located on the Klamath River in Siskiyou County, was
changed from Pokegama to Klamathon on June 4, 1897.
The origin of the name has never been determined
with certainty. The name is now used to refer to the
general area south of Highway 66 and north of the
Klamath River in southwestern Klamath County.
Ponderosa Junior High
The junior high school located at 2554 Main St.
opened in 1970. Jerry Killingsworth was the first
principal. The school replaced Fremont as the city’s
junior high achool.
An elementary school, built in 1957, was located at
the site before the junior high opened. That school
housed grades 1-4.
Ponderosa Junior High School is heated by geothermal
About 10 years after the school opened, it was
discovered that a seismic fault ran beneath the
school's athletic field and the rear of the school
building. In the fall of 1990 it was determined that
music rooms, industrial arts rooms and the cafeteria
at the rear of the school needed to be replaced.
A replacement wing on the southeast side of the
building was completed in September 1991.
Potatoes have been grown in the Klamath Basin since
settlement by white people.
Joe Obed Short was credited with being first person
to grow potatoes commercially in Klamath County, in
the 1890s. Known as "Potato Short," he marketed his
crop locally since there was no way to export crops
from the Basin at that time.
C.A. Henderson, agricultural agent in Klamath
County, helped organize an association of growers in
1923, and the first crop of potatoes to be shipped
from by rail from the Klamath Basin was in 1924.
By 1944, potatoes were being grown on 27,000 acres
in the Basin. The crop remains a leading farm
commodity in the area. Most of the crop is sold as
fresh produce to grocery chains and institutions
along the West Coast, though some potatoes are grown
under contract for Frito-Lay.
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The first railroad to enter Klamath County was the
Klamath Lake Railroad, which came up the Klamath
River Canyon to Fall Creek in Siskiyou County, then
climbed up the side of the canyon to reach Pokegama
in 1903. Though plans called for extending the line
to Klamath Falls, the railroad never made it. The
railroad was shut down in 1913.
The Southern Pacific was the first railroad to reach
Klamath Falls, with the first passenger train
arriving May 20, 1909. The SP completed its Cascade
line over the so-called Natron Cutoff between
Klamath Falls and Eugene in 1926, with the first
passenger train traveling that route on Aug. 19,
1926. Once the Natron Cutoff entered service it
immediately became the Southern Pacific’s main line
up the West Coast, replacing the Siskiyou line that
had been built in the 1880s.
The Southern Pacific completed the Modoc Line on
July 13, 1929, establishing a more direct line
between Klamath Falls and the interior of the
country by way of Alturas, Calif.
The Southern Pacific merged with the Union Pacific
Railroad on Sept. 11, 1996.
The Great Northern Railroad entered Klamath County
from the north, reaching Klamath Falls on May 11,
1928. The Great Northern obtained trackage rights to
use the Southern Pacific line from Chemult to
Klamath Falls. The Great Northern completed a line
south from Klamath Falls into northern California,
by way of Bieber, on Sept. 10, 1931.
The Great Northern Railroad was one of four
railroads that merged on March 2, 1970, to form the
Burlington Northern Railroad. The Burlington
Northern merged with the Santa Fe Railroad on Sept.
Several lumber companies operated their own local
railroads in the Klamath Basin. They included
Kesterson, Pelican Bay, Ewauna Box, Algoma, Lamm,
Chiloquin, Modoc, Forest, Shaw Bertram, Crater Lake,
Gilchrist and Weyerhaeuser companies.
Klamath Falls, with two major railroad lines and
numerous company-owned logging railroads in the
area, became one of the biggest rail hubs in the
state of Oregon prior to World War II. Both the SP
and GN maintained large and active switch yards in
Klamath for many years. However, as equipment became
increasingly automated and rail operations more
centralized, both railroads have scaled back their
workforces in Klamath Falls.
See separate entry on the Oregon,
California and Eastern Railroad.
Rehabilitation, Employment and Community Housing
(REACH) Inc. was established in 1987 to provide job
opportunities for developmentally disabled citizens
in Klamath County.
Klamath County Commissioners Ragnar "Swede" Carlson
and Don Kenyon, both Republicans, were recalled in
election held May 26, 1970. Commissioner Scott
Warren was not subject to the recall election.
Then-Gov. Tom McCall appointed George Flitcraft to
replace Kenyon. Ellen Clark was appointed to replace
Carlson, and became the first woman to serve as a
commissioner in Klamath County.
Klamath County School Board members Dave Jensen, Don
Renie and Mark Slezak were recalled Nov. 29, 1993.
Klamath County Commissioners Dave Henzel and Clif
McMillan were recalled July 16, 1996.
Riverside Elementary School
Riverside School opened on Thanksgiving of 1910,
with Edna Adams as its first principal. Known
originally as West Side School, it was built on land
donated by the Moore brothers.
The school closed at the end of the 2002-03 school
year. The school building housed Link River High
School from 2008 to 2011, until that program was
relocated to the Lucille O'Neill center.
Roosevelt Elementary School
Roosevelt School was built in 1929, and originally
housed grades 1 through 7.
The school is heated by geothermal energy.
Roosevelt has maintained a tradition of taking a
photo of the finishing class each year and posting
it in the school's main hall.
Ross Ragland Theater
The Ross Ragland Theater, named for a local civic
leader and supporter of performing arts, opened
March 30, 1989, in the former Esquire movie theater.
"The Music Man," featuring all local talent, was the
first production in the renovated theater.
The 1,000-seat Esquire Theater was built in 1940. It
was purchased in the 1980s by the Ladies Community
Lounge League, which turned ownership over to the
city of Klamath Falls. Renovation of the theater
into a performing arts center began in December
The $2.5 million renovation was funded primarily by
grants from the Jeld-Wen Foundation, the Fred Meyer
Charitable Trust, the Weyerhaeuser Co. Foundation,
Columbia Plywood Corp., Modoc Lumber Co., and the
Oregon Arts Commission.
The fully-rigged theater seats 790, and has a stage
measuring 40 feet by 60 feet.
The $2-million, 10,000-square-foot Cultural Center
was constructed in 1998.
Ross Ragland was active in many community
organizations in Klamath Falls. He died Nov. 6,
1986, at the age of 70.
Running Y Ranch
The Running Y Ranch Resort comprises two large
ranches – the Running Y Ranch formerly known as the
Geary Ranch, and the Skillet Handle Ranch formerly
known as the Hunt Ranch.
Four Geary brothers began acquiring lands around
1918. The Geary Ranch included about 7,000 acres
when it was sold in July 1966 to Ruth Teasdel.
In December 1974 the Geary Ranch, having been
renamed the Running Y Ranch, was purchased by Double
D Land Company. Roy Disney, nephew of Walt Disney,
was the managing partner of the family-owned
Double D Land Co. also acquired the adjacent
2,700-acre Skillet Handle Ranch at the same time.
Jeld-Wen Inc. acquired the combined properties on
April 8, 1994, and began development of the Running
Y Ranch Resort. The resort opened in 1997 and
includes a golf course designed by Arnold Palmer.
Jeld-Wen sold the resort in November 2010 to
Northview Hotel Group and Oaktree Capital
Management. The resort announced Feb. 1, 2012, that
it would operate under the Holiday Inn Resort brand.
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Sacred Heart Catholic Church
The first priest to serve Catholic parishoners in
Klamath County was Father Heinrich. He arrived in
September 1904. The church was named Sacred Heart
Catholic Church when the church's second priest,
Father S.J. Feusi, arrived on June 30, 1905, which
was the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Sacred Heart’s first building was blessed on Nov. 1,
1905, at the site where Fairview Elementary School
now stands. The current church building was
completed in October 1929.
Sacred Heart Academy was established in 1917. Its
high school closed in 1988, and the elementary grade
school closed in 1993.
Other parishes were established in Klamath County as
follows: Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Chiloquin,
1928; Holy Cross in Merrill, 1938, renamed St.
Augustine in 1940; Holy Cross in Tulelake, 1948; St.
Pius X in 1957.
The Klamath Basin Senior Center at 2045 Arthur St.
was formally opened Aug. 16, 1981.
Shasta Elementary School
The school at 1951 Madison St. was built in 1968,
replacing another building that burned in 1967. The
gymnasium from the earlier building remains at the
site, and is used for storage. The first school was
built in 1935.
Shaw Historical Library
The library on the second floor of the Oregon
Institute of Technology Library was established in
1983 when Laurence L. and Dorothy Shaw donated their
private collection of materials.
The library's reading rooms are open to the public.
Its collection includes many rare books,
manuscripts, maps, photos and diaries that are
useful for research on the "Land of Lakes,"
referring generally to Southern Oregon, Northern
California and Northern Nevada.
Laurence L. Shaw died Feb. 26, 1998, at the age of
89. Dorothy (Jensen) Shaw died Dec. 27, 1996, at the
age of 90.
Sky Lakes Wilderness Area
Designated in the Oregon Wilderness Act of 1984, the
Sky Lakes Wilderness Area comprises 116,300 acres.
The area's landscape is marked by two extinct
volcanoes, Mount McLoughlin and Devil's Peak.
More than 200 lakes are found within the wilderness,
which also includes a 35-mile segment of the Pacific
SOCO Development Inc.
The agency was established in 1992 to serve
residents in need of housing assistance. SOCO stands
for South-Central Oregon.
South Sixth Street
When a new road was surveyed in 1906 to connect the
small town of Klamath Falls with Altamont and other
points east, it was designed as an extension of
Sixth Street. Although none of the other numbered
streets extends beyond the railroad yard, the
designation of South Sixth was retained for the road
all the way to the Lakeview-Merrill Junction.
It was widened to four lanes between the Southern
Pacific Railroad Yard and Altamont Drive in 1946.
The widened road, with a center turn lane, was
officially opened on Dec. 14, 1946. The event was
marked with a daylong celebration and speeches by
local and state officials.
Source: Herald and News, Dec. 13, 1946.
The Bill Scholtes Klamath Sportsmans Park is located
off Highway 66 about 14 miles west of Klamath Falls
and features facilities for a wide variety of
outdoor activities, including: shooting ranges for
rifle, pistol and shotgun; an archery range; a 4X4
obstacle and drag course; motorcycle/ATV courses; a
radio-controlled aircraft field; a picnic area and
campground; and a boat launch and fishing area.
Established around 1985 on land owned by Pacific
Power, the park is now owned by Klamath County and
managed by the Klamath Sportsmans Park Association.
The river that originates in the Gearthart Mountain
area and flows into the Williamson River near
Chiloquin was named for Capt. F.B. Sprague,
commander at Fort Klamath in 1866.
The town of the same name was platted in 1923, and
grew up around a sawmill, planing mill and box
Source: Klamath Country History, 1984, Klamath
County Historical Society; Klamath County History,
1941, Rachel Applegate Good, editor.
Stearns Elementary School
The school at 3641 Crest St. in the south suburbs of
Klamath Falls was built in 1959, and named in honor
of Orson A. Stearns (1843-1926), an early settler
and prominent citizen in the area.
A native of Illinois, Stearns emigrated to Oregon on
the Applegate trail, and became Klamath County's
first homesteader in 1867.
The community on the southwest side of Klamath Falls
takes its name from two men who played a role in its
Fred G. Stewart owned 637 acres in the area from
1910 until he died in 1925. His widow married D.H.
Lenox, and the couple subdivided the land in
Lots were sold during the Depression era for about
$125 each. The area north of the Klamath
Falls-Ashland Highway was called Stewart, while
across the highway was Lenox.
The community was annexed into the city of Klamath
Falls, by order of the state, on July 1, 1981, in
order to provide sewer service in the area.
Source: Klamath Country History, 1984, Klamath
County Historical Society.
Following is a list of some streets in Klamath
Falls, and how they were named:
Applegate Avenue – Named for Klamath pioneer Capt.
Oliver Cromwell Applegate.
Conger Avenue – Both the street and the school are
named after Linkville resident Joseph Conger
(1831-1908), who lived in the area and left money to
the Klamath County School District.
Darrow Avenue – Named for Sacramento resident and
banker A.L. Darrow, organizer and president of
Klamath Corp., which acquired the Mills Addition
from Enterprise Land and Investment Co.
Division Street – So named because it formed the
dividing line between the Mills Addition and the
East Main – Formerly called Stukel Street, after
Stephen Stukel, a prominent rancher who acquired
several ranch properties in the area that would
become the Mills Addition. Merchants in the
developing Mills Addition asked for the name of the
street to be changed in anticipation of business
development along the traffic artery leading to
downtown Klamath Falls.
Eberlein Avenue – Named after pioneer Klamath
resident Charles Wood Eberlein.
Joe Wright Road – Named for Josiah C. Wright, who
settled on the road just west of Washburn Way in
Martin Street – Named after Alex "Uncle Jerry"
Martin, pioneer freighter, merchant and banker.
Montelius Street – Named for Walter M. Montelius, a
prominent businessman in Klamath Falls who died in
Owens Street – Named for Ben S. Owens, a city
councilor who represented the Mill District at one
Reclamation Avenue – The U.S. Reclamation Service
(later renamed the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation) at
one time planned to build its Klamath Basin
headquarters office on the street, although the
plans were not carried out.
Union Street – As opposed to Division Street, Union
Street was so named because it connected the Mills
and Darrow additions.
Wantland Avenue – Named for C.E. Wantland, a
Denver-based general sales agent for the Union
Pacific and Southern Pacific land departments. He
visited Klamath Falls several times, and predicted
the town would become one of the largest inland
cities of the Pacific Coast states.
Washburn Way – Named for George E. Washburn, a civil
engineer from San Francisco who assisted in the
platting of subdivisions in the Mills Addition.
White Avenue – Frank Ira White owned land in the
Mills Addition and directed the platting of
properties in the Mills, Mills Second and Darrow
Source: Evening Herald, April 22, 1939; Joe H.
Wright; Herald and News, Oct. 3, 1967.
The 6,525-foot mountain located 10 miles southeast
of Klamath Falls was named for Stephen Stukel, a
pioneer settler in the area. Bureau of Land
Management lands on the mountain, including the
summit, can be accessed from a primitive road that
begins at a gravel pit off Hill Road on the west
side of the mountain.
The company that manufactures ready-to-assemble
furniture made of particle board was established May
Specimens of Oregon’s official state gem can found
on Bureau of Land Management land about 20 miles
north of Plush in the Warner Valley.
Sunstones can be found on the surface or by digging.
Their color varies from the most common clear
variety, to less common apricot and red, with green
sunstones the most rare at this site.
Experiments with sugarbeets in the Klamath Basin
began as early as 1905. Construction of a sugarbeet
factory in Klamath Falls was proposed in 1907, but
it never materialized.
Limited commercial production occurred in the 1930s,
and was resumed for about 12 years in 1988, with
acreage reaching 9,000 in the late 1990s.
Supreme Court, U.S.
The following cases affecting the Klamath Basin have
been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court:
U.S. Supreme Court rules in May 1913 that
homesteaders in reclamation projects must pay
U.S. Supreme Court in April 1938 upholds ruling
awarding Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin tribe $7.3
million in land dispute dating to 1906.
U.S. v. Adair, 1984 -- Lower courts ruled the
Klamath Tribes are entitled to water rights that
protect treaty resources of hunting, fishing and
gathering. Supreme Court declines to consider an
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife v. Klamath
Tribe, 1985 -- Supreme Court ruled tribal members do
not have hunting and gathering rights on a parcel of
private timberland known as the Long Bell tract
northeast of Chiloquin.
U.S. v. Oregon Department of Water Resources, 1995
-- Court declined to hear petition from federal
government and Klamath Tribes, which claimed not to
be subject to the state's water adjudication
Bennett v. Spear, March 19, 1997 -- Court rules
unanimously in favor of Lost River irrigators who
sought to sue U.S. government under Endangered
Species Act in case stemming from Bureau of
Reclamation implementing of drought management plan
Klamath Basin Water Users Association v. Bureau of
Indian Affairs, March 5, 2001 -- Court rules
unanimously that irrigators are entitled to review
correspondence between the federal government and
irrigation tribes related to water issues.
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Landline telephone service in Klamath Falls is
provided by CenturyLink.
The city's previous landline telephone provider,
Qwest, was merged with CenturyLink on April 1, 2011.
Telephone companies serving the region have
undergone numerous mergers and divisions since
telephone service was first established.
had previously been known as US West, and before the
breakup of AT&T had been known as Pacific Northwest
The historic Topsy Grade was a road that ran
southwest from Keno on the southern side of the
Klamath River. The first road was built by H.C.
Tichnor in 1875. It gained brief status as a state
highway in the 1920s, before the Greensprings
Highway was completed in 1924. Remnants of the road
that passed by the Frain Ranch may be still be
traveled by high-clearance vehicles.
Notable trees in Klamath Falls include the
A elm tree that grew at
Klamath Union High School was a third-generation
descendant of another tree under which Gen. George
Washington stood as he took command of the
Continental Army on July 2, 1775. A marker at the
tree was placed by the Daughters of the American
Revolution. The tree died in 2001, and was cut down
Ponderosa pine trees along the Kit Carson Way
section of the Alameda Bypass were planted in the
early 1950s by Stella Myers (1876-1968), who operated a
nursery and greenhouse on Lakeshore Drive.
Trees of various other species along Kit Carson Way,
including pin oak and maple, were planted in 1995
with funds from a $20,000 grant obtained by the
Klamath 2002 Image Committee. Bob Laver and John
Hicks coordinated the project, which included
in-kind matching contribution of labor and equipment
from the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Dozens of ponderosa pine trees at the YMCA were
donated by Weyerhaeuser Co. Allen Garrett, an
employee of Weyerhaeuser, arranged the donation.
Volunteeers planted the seedlings along the Alameda
Bypass in the mid-1970s.
A large pin oak standing beside the Boy Scout office
at 1819 Manzanita St. was transplanted from the
Klamath Falls post office on April 1, 1961. Nearly
50 people were involved in transplanting the tree
that had been growing at the post office for about
See list of "Outstanding
Local Trees" compiled by the Klamath Tree
Tulelake Internment Center
The internment camp for Japanese Americans at the
community of Newell operated from May 27, 1942 to
March 20, 1946. At its peak, the camp housed 18,789
people. A riot on Nov. 1, 1943, was sparked by
accusations made against Caucasians for allegedly
stealing food from the camp's warehouse.
A small portion of the internment center that
remains in public ownership was designated as part
of the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument
in December 2008. The designation also included Camp
Tulelake, a compound on Hill Road west of Tulelake
established by the Civilian Conservation Corps that
was used as a German prisoner of war camp.
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Upper Klamath Canoe Trail
As its name implies, the trail is located on Upper
Klamath Lake. Most people leave from the Rocky Point
boat launch or resort, but access is also available
from Malone Springs the boat launch. The canoe trail
has four segments that offer views of marshes,
mountains, forests and, seasonally, a variety of
waterfowl and birds. The trail covers 9.5 miles.
The veterans memorial monument at the Klamath County
Courthouse was built in 1954 at a cost of $5,352. It
replaced an earlier monument built of plywood in
The stone monument measures 4 feet wide by 8 feet
long and 24 feet high. The shaft is built of rock
quarried near Montague, Calif.
A bronze plaque on the shaft bears the names of
Klamath County men who died in wars, including 17 in
World War I, 185 in World War II and 20 in the
The new memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day, May
Source: Herald and News, May 27, 1954; May 26, 1963.
The timber company began buying timberland in
Klamath County in September 1905. Eventually its
Southern Oregon tree farm grew to 600,000 acres in
Klamath, Lake, Jackson and Siskiyou counties.
The Weyerhaeuser sawmill in Klamath Falls, built in
1928-29, was billed as the largest pine mill in the
world at the time. About 320 workers were laid off
when the mill closed May 29, 1992.
Weyerhaeuser sold its timberlands in August 1996 to
A plywood mill built in 1971, a hardboard siding
factory built in 1954, and particle board plant
built in 1971 were sold in 1996 to Collins Products.
The park on Hope Street was dedicated in August
1948. Park and adjoining street were named after
Harry L. Wiard, 1881-1970.
The history of development on the Williamson River
Delta begins primarily with activities carried out
by Tulana Farms.
Tulana Farms was among the largest agricultural
enterprises ever established in the Klamath Basin.
The corporation formed as a partnership in 1935
between Dave Liskey, Dan Liskey, Ben Henzel and Dick
Henzel. In its early years the partnership focused
on farmlands leased on the Lower Klamath National
Wildlife Refuge. The business was re-organized as a
corporation in January 1947, and in 1948 the
corporation acquired land at the mouth of the
Williamson River. Tulana Farms carried out extensive
diking and draining of wetlands at the mouth of the
river to covert the lands to agricultural uses.
In December 1976 the original corporation sold its
interests, which by that time included about 34,000
In July 1996 the 4,800-acre property on Williamson
River, then owned by Len Garrison, was sold to The
Nature Conservancy. Wetland restoration, carried out
in phases, began in 1997. Among the most notable
restoration projects was the use of explosives in
October 2007 to breach dikes that had been built by
Tulana Farms some 60 years earlier. Goals of the
restoration project include improvement of rearing
habitat for endangered suckers.
Winema, better known as Toby Riddle in her day, was
the Modoc Indian wife of a settler named Frank
Riddle. She and her husband served as interpreters
for the government's peace commission during the
Modoc War of 1872-73. Her warnings that the Modocs
might try to kill the commission members went
unheeded, resulting in the deaths of Gen. Edward
Canby and the Rev. Eleazar Thomas.
Toby Riddle was born sometime around 1842, and was
the niece of Captain Jack, the best known of the
Modoc leaders. Frank Riddle was a miner in Yreka
when he purchased Toby from her father at age 12.
The two later married and settled along the Lost
Years after the war, she and Frank were part of a
speaking tour led by former Oregon Indian
Superintendent Alfred B. Meacham, a peace
commissioner who was wounded, but survived the
attack. On the tour, Meacham gave Toby the name
Winema, which means “Little Woman Chief.” She died
Many local features and institutions were named for
Winema, including the Winema National Forest, the
Winema Hotel, and the steamboat Winema, launched in
Launched Jan. 28, 1905, the Winema was considered the "queen" of Upper
Klamath Lake. The steamship was
125 feet long and 22 feet wide, with three decks.
It hauled both passengers and freight between
landings at Agency, Eagle Ridge, Klamath Falls,
Odessa, Rocky Point and others. Commodities often
hauled by the Winema and other steamships included
hay, livestock and logs.
The steamship entered drydock in 1919, and was
destroyed by fire in 1927.
Source: Klamath Echoes, No. 2, p. 38-44.
Winnemucca to the Sea
A transportation corridor dubbed the Winnemucca to
the Sea Highway was promoted for many years in the
1950s by communities along the route that terminated
in Crescent City, Calif. The route, which includes
Highway 140 through Klamath County, was dedicated in
ceremonies at Doherty Slide in Lake County on Sept.
Wood River wetland
The 3,200-acre property, formerly known as the Wood
River Ranch, was acquired by the Bureau of Land
Management in 1993-94 at a cost of $2.7 million.
The wayside community along Highway 97 located 13
miles south of Klamath Falls is named for William S.
Worden, who purchased property in the area and laid
out a townsite. Worden was later elected county
judge of Klamath County, serving from 1910 to 1913.
A post office at Worden opened Oct. 31, 1910, and
the Hudson Lumber Co. operated at the town. The
Tulana Farms elevator complex on the west side of
the highway were built in 1946, and the
million-bushel granary on the east side of the
highway was added in 1954.
Source: Oregon Geographic Names; Klamath Country
History, 1984, Klamath County Historical Society.
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Yadenite is a term used by rockhounders in Klamath
Falls in reference to a type of opalite found on
hillsides on the north side of town.
The local occurrence of opalite was so named in
honor of John C. Yaden, who helped organize the
Klamath Mineral Society in Klamath Falls.
The Klamath County Family YMCA was organized in
1947. Its headquarters for the first year were in
the Balsiger used car lot. The organization then
moved to the National Guard Armory for three years,
and then to the former Fluhrer's Bakery building at
722 Pine St.
The YMCA broke ground in 1969 on a new $545,000
facility at 1221 S. Alameda Ave. It formally opened
in January 1971. The old bakery building was
demolished later that year.
Source: Herald and News, Jan. 15, 1971, p. 12.
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