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  Steamboats on Klamath Lake

Shortly after 1900, transportation was needed between the railroad, in Siskiyou County , and Klamath Falls, Oregon. At this point a railroad followed the McCloud River to Bartle. From that point the "Bartle Fast Freight Road" was constructed to the southwestern corner of Lower Klamath Lake at Laird's Landing in 1905. This was the site of the ranch of Charlie Laird and family. A canal was dredged, and an 80 foot propeller-driven steam boat began service. People and merchandise rode the train to Bartle, took a stage to Laird's Landing and then the steamboat to Klamath Falls.

By 1906, the Weed Lumber Company had completed a railroad to Grass Lake. So the stage line was shifted to that point with daily service each way. In 1903, Abner Weed had built a three story hotel at Grass Lake to accommodate what he hoped would be an influx of tourists, as Grass Lake was full of water. This hotel was used as the stage station and railroad depot for the people changing modes of transportation.

When the railroad to Klamath Falls was completed in 1909, the staging of passengers to Laird's Landing came to an end, as did the need for a steamboat across the lake. The Grass Lake hotel. also fell into disuse and was eventually torn down in the late 1930's or early 1940's. Lairds Landing is gone, as is the vestige of the canal and dock.

from The Siskiyou County Museum and Historical Society
Keith Arnold

View a related image: Str. Klamath, Merrill Landing.

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