Ancient Lakes
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Volcanoguy
N 43° 07.478 W 121° 03.742
10T E 657615 N 4776477
Two of the four signs at this kiosk at the Silver Lake Ranger Station.
Waymark Code: WM29YH
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 09/29/2007
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 18

This kiosk is located at the Silver Lake Ranger Station in front of the District Office. There are four signs in the kiosk: Ancient Lakes (geology), Christmas Tragedy (History), Local Attractions, and Byway Description

Marker Name: Ancient Lakes
Marker Text: The arid grasslands of Oregon’s Outback hold an ancient secret -- water! Vast areas of this region were once covered by immense lakes and wetlands. During the twilight of the last Ice Age, rain and runoff from melting snow filled the lowlands creating immense, freshwater lakes surrounded by lush vegetation. To the south, pluvial Lake Chewaucan covered 461 square miles at depths of 375 feet. Alkali Lake occupied the valley to the north. These lakes began to dry up as the Pleistocene Era ended concentrating the salts and alkali into ever shrinking ponds. Today, Summer Lake and Lake Abert are the only remnants of Lake Chewaucan. Lake Fort Rock is dry and Alkali Lake holds water in only the wettest months.
Marker Name: Christmas Tragedy
Marker Text: On December 24th, 1894, some 170 people -- nearly the entire population of Silver Lake Valley -- had gathered for a Christmas Eve community program in J.H. Clayton Hall. Beside a Christmas tree decorated with strings of popcorn and paper chains, the local schoolteacher led his students through a series of Christmas songs, plays, and poems.
The festivities turned abruptly to terror when a reveler bumped a hanging kerosene lantern, toppling it and starting a fire. Panicked people rushed to exit doors that swung inward only. Many were trapped as the fire rapidly engulfed the building. By the time the fire was extinguished, 40 souls - eight men, sixteen women, and sixteen children - were dead, and roughly 25 others were injured, some gravely.
While residents and visiting cowboys nursed the injured, resident Ed O’Farrell rode almost 100 miles, exchanging horses at ranches four times along the way, to fetch the closest physician, Dr Daly in Lakeview. Aided by Dr. Thompson, Daly was able to save most of the injured - though three more victims perished in the ensuing weeks.
Incidents such as this ultimately led to the creation of the uniform building code - requiring that doors of public gathering areas had to open outward as a fire escape precaution.

Historic Topic: Geological

Group Responsible for placement: Forest Service

Marker Type: Roadside

Region: Central Oregon

County: Lake

State of Oregon Historical Marker "Beaver Board": Not listed

Web link to additional information: Not listed

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Volcanoguy visited Ancient Lakes 09/30/2007 Volcanoguy visited it

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