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Klamath Falls City

Klamath Falls City Hall is located at 500 Klamath Avenue, Klamath Falls, OR 97601; phone: 541-883-5316.

Klamath Falls as described in 1940 [1]

Linkville, as Klamath Falls was first called, was founded by George Nurse, a sutler from Fort Klamath, who built a cabin on the east bank of Link River at its junction with Lake Ewauna in 1866. Approximately a hundred emigrants had taken up homes in the district by 1867. A log trading post, established by Nurse at the landing of the ferry across Link River, supplied the wants of the scattered settlers. With the Indians confined to the Klamath Reservation and the fear of attack allayed, Linkville became a thriving town, possessing the raw color of most frontier communities. In those early days the Klamath Basin was essentially cattle country; a wild country of rough men. Old time residents still recall many cases of murder and sudden death in gambling and land claim disputes. One big family in the Basin carried on a wholesale business in cattle rustling and other banditry. It was said of them that they were tough and gloried in the fact. In time the entire family was wiped out, most of its members going to their final rest with their boots on.

Security from Indian outbreak was short lived. In 1872 the region was again plunged into conflict. The Modocs refused to remain on the Klamath Reservation and made persistent efforts to return to their former home near Tule Lake. A small band under Chief Keintpoos, better known as Captain Jack, clashed with a body of United States cavalry, routing it and precipitating the bloody Modoc War. Inhabitants of Klamath Falls knew months of terror as the Modoc bands parried thrust after thrust of the Federal troops. However, the soldiers finally overcame the Indians, and Captain Jack and three of his followers were executed.

After the creation of Klamath County in 1882 the city maintained a slow but steady growth. Platted in 1878 in a plan covering forty blocks, it was incorporated in 1889 as Linkville; but this name was changed to the Town of Klamath Falls in 1893. Impetus was given to development when, in 1900, the Klamath Basin Irrigation Project was started by the Federal Government. A few years later a new stimulus came with the building of the first railroad. A branch line was opened by the Southern Pacific from Weed, California, in 1909, as a lumber carrier, and in the mid-1920's the Natron cutoff extension was completed between Klamath Falls and Eugene. From the construction of the first railroad the growth of the city was phenomenal, the population increasing more than six-fold between 1915 and 1930.

The principal recreational events of Klamath Falls are the Klamath Lake Regatta in June and the Buckaroo Days celebration on the weekend nearest the Fourth of July. The First event features yacht, outboard, rowboat, surfboard, and swimming races, and log-cutting and log-bucking contests. The Buckaroo Days festival, commemorating the period when the Klamath Basin was cattle country, presents the usual rodeo events, riding, roping, bulldogging, wild horse racing, and others of frontier significance.

Klamath Falls has a series of hot mineral springs, one of which discharges 800,000 gallons of water daily at a temperature of 200 degrees. These waters, containing soda, lime, magnesia, iron, and sulphuric, muriatic, and silicic acids are effective in diseases arising from impurities of the blood and for various other complaints. Public and private buildings are heated from these natural hot water springs, and two swimming pools are filled with the waters.

  1. Works Progress Administration, Federal Writers' Program, Oregon: End of the Trail, Oregon State Board of Control, American Guide Series, Binford and Mort, Publishers, Portland, 1940.
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