Klamath Basin History - Klamath Falls, OR
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
N 42° 13.149 W 121° 47.301
10T E 600001 N 4674819
A sign at Veterans Memorial Park in Klamath Falls, OR,
Waymark Code: WMYWM5
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 08/02/2018
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Volcanoguy
Views: 0


The Klamath Reclamation project began in 1906 with the draining of marshlands, which had been remnants of a prehistoric lake, to supply irrigation water to farmers. The main canal, called the “A Canal,“ was first utilized on May 22, I907. Today, the Klamath Basin supports crops such as potatoes, onions, alfalfa, horseradish, and mint, in addition to a strong cattle ranching community.


The Klamath Basin is nestled at the eastern base of the Cascade Mountain Range and is considered high desert at an elevation of 4,090 feet. The Basin encompasses the South Central portion of Oregon and the Northen portion of California with a climate that cycles through four discernible seasons. As autumn's days grow shorter, nighttime temperatures begin to dip into the twenties, warming back up with vivid sunshine during the days. The air echoes with the sounds of migrating birds making their way to winter habitat. Winter brings snow to the area, ranging from a few inches at a time in town to heavy
accumulations in the mountains vital for spring runoff to feed the lakes and rivers that irrigate the Basin, Early bulbs poking through the earth and birds returning to nest signal the beginning of spring. Patches of snow remain in the mountains giving way to a spectrum of green at lower elevations; newborn wildlife accompany their mothers as
they explore their world. Temperatures continue to climb into the 80's making for beautiful summer days. Sparkling lakes and rivers offer recreational opportunities as well as nourish crops and livestock to feed the Basin and beyond. With more than 300 days of sunshine every year, Klamath Falls is considered Oregon's “City of Sunshine."


An important link for west coast military bases, Kingsley Field is located four miles southeast of downtown Klamath Falls. The first military presence in Klamath Falls began in 1942 when the US.
Navy opened the Klamath Falls Naval Air Station. In 1954, the US. Air Force selected Klamath Falls as an ideal site for the establishment
of an all-weather—f1ghter-interceptor-squadron and an aircraft
control and warning squadron. In 1995, the Air National Guard assumed the airport tower control from the Federal Aviation Agency. Today Kingsley Field is home to the 173rd Fighter Wing and proudly
carries on the tradition of training the best fighter pilots in the world. Kingsley Field is a valued and important part of our community
through its support of many families as well as the City owned Klamath Falls Airport which provides daily passenger service for our residents.


Timber companies knew the vast stands of pine timber through the Upper Klamath River Basin would yield enormous amounts of lumber, but the lack of railroad in the region made it impossible to ship the wood to market. When the Southern Pacific finally arrived in 1909, the city’s fortunes began to Change rapidly. Railroad still plays an important role in the Basin from the freight service provided by Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads to daily passenger service by Amtrak.

By 1930, Klamath Falls was a hub for two mil lines and the fastest growing city in Oregon. A sweeping revision of national forest management policies in the l990‘s reduced timber supplies to a small fraction of what they had been. Today only two sawmills remain in Klamath County.


The city and county are named for the Klamath Indians, one of three groups of Native Americans who have inhabited the greater Upper Klamath River Basin region for thousands of years.

The Klamath Indians, Modoc Indians, and the Yahooskin band of Snake River Paiute Indians came together to sign a treaty with the United States in 1864 and today are collectively recognized as the Klamath Tribes. Indians of the region endured long, cold winters but enjoyed abundant food supplies from lakes and wetlands in the region.

Their diet consisted largely of fish, game, roots and seeds.
Today their administrative headquarters are in Chiloquin,
25 miles north of Klamath Falls.
Historic Topic: Modern Age 1900 to date

Group Responsible for placement: City Government

Marker Type: City

Region: Southern Oregon

County: Klamath

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

Web link to additional information: Not listed

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