A stagecoach works its way on a rugged early road that helped connect Jacksonville and the Rogue Valley with Fort Klamath and Crater Lake. Photo courtesy Shaw Historical Library

Shaw journal features Rogue Valley stories

Stories with a Rogue Valley twist are among the many tales in "From Fremont to Kingsley: The Military in the Land of the Lakes," published by the Shaw Historical Library in Klamath Falls.

The Shaw Library is located in the Resource Learning Center at the Oregon Institute of Technology. Founded in 1983, the Shaw is focused on preserving the history in a region that includes southeastern Oregon, far northeastern California and northwestern Nevada.

The journal, the largest since the Shaw began publications in 1986, is "dedicated to the presence of the military and the impacts of conflicts within the land of lakes," according to Larry Powers, the publications editor. Along with Powers, 10 other Klamath Basin authors contributed to the issue, including Steve Kandra, Bill Johnson, Judith Hassen, Ryan Bartholomew, Steve Mark, John Kaiser, Todd Kepple, Niles Reynolds and Jeff LaLande.

LaLande, an archaeologist and historian who lives in Ashland, retired from a 30-year career with the U.S. Forest Service in 2008 and has been an adjunct professor at Southern Oregon University. LaLande has two essays in the journal, one about the little-remembered Jehovah Witness Riot in Klamath Falls in 1942, and a longer story, "Fort Klamath: Diverse Legacies of a Military Outpost."

He notes the fort's location was selected by Lt. Col. Charles Drew of Jacksonville. At the time in 1863, Drew was the commander of the Oregon Volunteer Cavalry at newly established Camp Baker near Medford. A road between Jacksonville and the fort was envisioned as a key supply and trade route.

LaLande traces the history of the fort, including the role it played during the Modoc War, its eventual closure and its transformation into becoming part of the Klamath County Museum system. The graves of four Modoc Indians who were executed by hanging, including Captain Jack, remain one of the fort's attractions.

Along with LaLande's stories, a major portion of the journal focuses on the history of military aviation in the Klamath Basin. A comprehensive photo-essay by Bartholomew, a colonel with the Oregon Air National Guard, tells the history of Kingsley Field, including David Kingsley, an Air Force lieutenant who was killed during a World War II bombing mission over Romania, and how the base has evolved since it was built.

Other stories include how military pensions created after the Modoc War led to benefit programs for veterans; the role of the military in building roads and other infrastructure in the American West; the development of the Klamath Armory as a place for dances, sporting events and other activities; war memorials created in Klamath Falls and neighboring communities; and a perspective of growing up "Boomer" in the Malin-Merrill area during and after the war.

Other World War II-era stories include changes at the Mitchell Monument, the only place in the United States where people were killed because of enemy action, and the Oregon Maneuver, when more than 75,000 Army troops were trained in battle techniques on an area that included most of northern Lake County and portions of Deschutes County.

"We emphasize the need to remember and thank all of those who served and supported our military forces," Powers writes in the introduction. "Every day is Memorial Day."

The journal costs $20 and is available the Owl Bookstore on the OIT campus, Basin Book Trader, 5507 S. Sixth St., Klamath Falls, or by visiting the Shaw website at www.oitedu/shaw. Copies are also expected to be available at the Modoc County Museum in Alturas.

— Reach freelance writer Lee Juillerat at or 541-880-4139. Juillerat is a contributor to the book.


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