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Klamath history photo: Algoma

100 years ago

Report from the Upper Lake, reaching here yesterday, shows the narrow margin by which Paul and Louis Wampler, Odessa ranchers and lumbermen, escaped death from exposure when their motor boat was caught in the ice several miles off shore during last week’s cold snap.

Incidentally, the story throws a doubt upon the report that John Erickson and two other trappers were the men in the boat observed through glasses by men at Rocky Point and other places on the west short of the lake. It may be that Erickson and party were frozen in with their houseboat, which is moored near Thomas creek, it is said, and it was the Wampler brothers in the boat under observation.

Anyway, the Wampler brothers’ experience in the ice makes a thrilling narrative. Their engine failed after the fall of darkness, leaving them helpless, and as the surface of the lake froze they were quickly imprisoned. They said that the cold wave descended so rapidly that it seemed as if the water froze instantly.

Ingenuity and presence of mind saved the ranchers. They tore up the long seats and fashioned skis, and as the ice thickened they found it would bear their weight and thus they escaped safely to shore.

Persons along the shore of the lake heard the engine missing and then it stopped altogether, and next morning were able to see a boat in the lake, believed now to have been the Wamplers’ craft, though so far away that some thought it was a log or mass of floating tule. The men, however, had escaped.

The boat is still in the ice, says the report, and will probably remain until the spring breakup.

— Evening Herald, Dec. 5, 1919

50 years ago

Sharpen your blades, you Klamath Falls skating enthusiasts. Ice is forming well at the Moore Park rink.

Director Al Hausotter, city parks and recreation director, said he has tentatively scheduled ice-skating for Wednesday, 7 to 9 p.m.

“If the weather keeps up,” he qualified, referring to the recent freezing nights.

Hausotter has promised better skating this year at the rink, having found a special clay to mix with soil and overlay the old rink slurry-seal. Park workers have in the past had difficulty getting the rink to hold water so it would form into a smooth surface.

The rink last year offered only 19 skating days, Hausotter has informed. There should have been 40.

— Herald and News, Dec. 2, 1969

25 years ago

Chariot races resume for the winter season beginning Sunday at the track off Highway 97 between Dorris and Macdoel.

Races will be held Sundays at 1 p.m. through Feb. 26, except for Jan. 28 and Feb. 5 when members of the Cal-Ore Chariot Racing Association will be racing out of town.

A highlight for the coming season will be a New Year’s Weekend “Two Day, Tri-State Invitational” featuring the local club, plus chariot racers from Nevada and Utah. About 13 races will be held each day.

Chariot horse races will be held on a quarter-mile-long track off Highway 97, eight miles south of Dorris and 28 miles south of Klamath Falls. “Chariot racing” signs are posted along the highway.

The 10 Macdoel races prepare local racers for the annual World Championships in March in Ogden, Utah. About eight Klamath Basin teams will participate in the local races. In addition to the featured chariot races, weekend events may also include mule and saddle-horse races.

— Herald and News, Dec. 2, 1994

10 years ago

Antique firearms connected to the history of the Klamath Basin will be on display from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday during the Klamath County Museum’s Second Annual Heritage Gun Show, according to a news release.

Among the firearms being exhibited will be two handguns that were carried by Miles Jackson, better known to local residents years ago as Rattlesnake Pete. During the 1940s and 1950s, he was frequently seen in downtown Klamath Falls wearing western garb and a gun belt carrying two pistols. He occasionally fired the guns for fun, entertaining locals and startling visitors.

Also on display will be three guns that were used in the Modoc War of 1872-73, including a Springfield rifle that belonged to Arthur Langell, after whose family Langell Valley was named. The gun was presented to Langell by Gen. E.R.S. Canby, a veteran of the Civil War and commander of Army troops in the Northwest during the Modoc War. Canby was later murdered during a peace conference with Modoc leaders in the Lava Beds.

A .36-caliber Colt revolver recovered from the Lava Beds will be another firearm on display. It was donated to the museum in 1956 and stolen the following year. After being missing for almost 50 years, it was returned to the museum in March 2006.

Another of the museum’s more unusual weapons is a World War I German Mauser 13 mm anti-tank gun. Weighing 26 pounds, it required two men to operate.

— Herald and News, Dec. 3, 2009