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2-06 Looking Back

The road to Merrill is seen about a mile north of Henley in this photo from the early 1900s. The view is to the south, with Stukel Mountain seen in the background at far left. This road eventually became state Highway 39.

100 years ago

Further indications of probabilities of oil in this section have recently manifested at the Hannon ranch, three miles south of the city.

Located on this property is a well 428 feet deep, drilled by the owner, P.E. Hannon of this city, when he first purchased the ranch about ten years ago. The water struck at this depth has always carried oil indications, pronounced at times to impart to any food cooked in it a distinct coal oil flavor. At first it was thought someone had accidentally put coal oil in the well, but after the indications continued for months and gas in quantities to burn would at times vent in the pump, the conclusion was that oil seepage was responsible.

After the ranch was rented to John Cabler, the evidence of oil became so strong that he decided to abandon the well and sink a new one. The present tenant, Gus Sutherland, decided he would try to use the well for stock but couldn’t get any water. After pumping for nearly half an hour, a yellowish, frothy fluid flowed.

Mr. Sutherland decided to see if it would burn and was not a little surprised when it burst into flames when he touched it with a match.

Yesterday a representative of The Herald visited the well to secure proof of the stories that were making the rounds.

The same difficulty in getting the water through the pump was experienced, and when it finally came it seemed as if there was gas pressure forcing it through. The fluid burned readily when a match was applied and flames nearly two feet high were observed.

The Evening Herald, February 7, 1921

50 years ago

Freight trains somehow seem to select the most inaccessible sites to derail.

The Southern Pacific train which had 39 cars jump the tracks Sunday evening in an area about 25 miles west of Chemult.

The derailment area is covered in deep snow, which made it difficult to get non-track equipment to the site. In this case it was firefighting equipment, which was needed to douse the flames from eight cars which had caught fire when a tank car loaded with methanol broke open and ignited.

Work crews came by rail but also drove along Highway 58 and turned off near Odell Butte onto a road covered with snow and ice. The road had to be opened first.

The snow banks along that road were so high that no one could slide off the road.

Boxcars, other freight cars and tank cars were intermeshed in total destruction. Sets of wheels had been thrown all over the place.

One boxcar was still burning and the remains of the tank car are still buried.

Southern Pacific spokesman said it is believed a faulty wheel-set caused the accident.

The Herald and News, February 9, 1971

25 years ago

Workers have put up about 10 beams to shore up the damaged area of the Klamath Mall roof that collapsed Sunday.

Alan Barnes, director of building safety for Klamath County, said Wednesday that portions of the mall that are deemed safe will be reopened.

The county’s uniform building weight capacity is 30 pounds per square foot.

The roof was originally built to handle 20 pounds per square foot. Due to past snow and earthquake damage, some areas of the roof have a capacity of less than 10 pounds per square foot, engineers and building officials say.

The mall has been closed since early Sunday, when a 50-foot-long laminated beam in the roof at the J.C. Penny end of the mall collapsed.

The Herald and News, February 8, 1996

10 years ago

Jose Rodriguez was at a Klamath Falls baseball field fielding fly balls two years ago when he saw a silver glint in the grass.

He knelt to investigate in dirt and found a state high school championship baseball ring from 1991. It was covered in dirt and had some scratches.

Rodriguez this week reunited the ring with its owner, 1992 Henley graduate Damian Cochran.

The ring disappeared during an informal game of home run derby on the Babe Ruth field at Summers Lane.

Cochran, up to bat, puts the then-new ring in his pocket. Wearing it would have inhibited his swing.

The ring was missing at the end of the game and Cochran and his friends searched the field for it.

“I even went and rented a metal detector the next day and still couldn’t find it,” said Cochran. “After a couple of days, I wrote it off.”

Eighteen years later, Rodriguez, a Henley High student, stepped onto the same field. The ring winked at him from the grass. He dug it out.

The Herald and News, February 9, 2011