Todd Kepple

As It Was Contributor

Todd Kepple has been a Klamath Basin resident since 1990. He was a reporter and editor the for the Herald and News from 1990 to 2005, and has been manager of the Klamath County Museum since 2005. He enjoys volunteering at Crater Lake National Park, the OC&E Woods Line State Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also a founding member of the Klamath Tree League.

Nearly four decades after completion of the transcontinental railroad, the Upper Klamath River Basin remained virtually untouched by modern commerce at the outset of the 20th century.

In 1948, Klamath Falls began work on a popular new four-lane highway on the city’s north side to reduce heavy traffic that wound along narrow streets in residential neighborhoods along Biehn and North Ninth streets.

Fire has always been a threat to lumber mills, especially in the days before modern firefighting equipment was close at hand.

As America prepared to enter World War I, military recruiters scoured the West for lumber workers to support the war effort in Europe.

The old National Guard Armory on Main Street in Klamath Falls, Ore., held hundreds of boxing matches. One claimed the life of a young Native American fighter known throughout the Northwest.

It was expensive in the 1800’s for the federal government to feed soldiers at remote outposts such as Fort Klamath in Southern Oregon.

Members of the Klamath Tribes gathered along the banks of the Sprague River near Chiloquin, Ore., in March 1990 to revive the nearly lost tradition of the First Sucker Ceremony.

Most small communities in Southern Oregon-Northern California’s mythical State of Jefferson, had their rough edges during Prohibition.  The Klamath County logging town of Bly was no exception.

The town of Linkville sprang up in March 1867 – 150 years ago this month -- when George Nurse established a trading post and hotel on the banks of Link River.  Oregon had already been a state for eight years at the time.

Some soldiers at Fort Klamath in the winter of 1867 relieved their boredom by producing a humble, hand-written newspaper they called The Growler.  One of its stories made national news.

Long before strip malls and supermarkets became prominent, an entrepreneur in Klamath Falls offered one-stop shopping for rural Klamath County customers.

Over the years, Klamath County has had its share of difficulties keeping criminals safely confined.  The county’s first jail, made of sandstone blocks in 1899, was easily compromised. Located behind the courthouse in Klamath Falls, Ore., it became known derisively as the county’s cracker-box jail.

Free mail delivery came to Klamath Falls in September 1916.

Farmers and ranchers in the Butte Creek Valley east of Eagle Point searched everywhere for sources of irrigation water in the late 1800’s.  They chose Fourmile Creek, a tributary to Upper Klamath Lake on the east side of the Cascade Mountain Range.

Sugarman’s Corner is the name of a new pocket park established on Main Street in Klamath Falls earlier this year.  It honors a Jewish clothing merchant, Kiva Sugarman, who came to Klamath Falls in 1906 when horses and wagons outnumbered automobiles in the downtown district.

Ranchers in the Wood River Valley of Klamath County, Ore., learned in the early 1900’s that it didn’t pay to keep cattle there through snow-bound winters, although Fort Klamath’s nearby grasslands were prized for summer fattening.

 

Excitement was high in Klamath Falls in May 1965 at the opening of an expanded auto race track at the old Klamath Speedway.  A new grandstand offered seating to 5,000 spectators.

Merrill was a tiny town in southern Klamath County when the prohibition movement was gaining momentum across the country in the early 1900's.

 

A trip from Klamath Falls to Keno, Ore., for a pair of basketball games turned out to be an ordeal of humiliation and survival for a group of boys in the winter of 1915.

 

A century or more ago few activities offered more thrills on a winter night than sledding, or “coasting” as it was known at the time.

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