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Steam Locomotive Rests Under Shelter in Klamath Falls, Ore.

An example of the early-day rail engines that served Southern Oregon and Northern California, Locomotive No. 2579, rests quietly under shelter in Veterans Memorial Park facing Lake Ewauna in Klamath Falls, Ore.

The Southern Pacific engine once was one of more than 350 small steam locomotives that, it has been written, “carried America from before the Civil War into the 20th Century.”

A marker at the site says No. 2579’s last use was for the revenue service in November 1956, before being donated the following year to the City of Klamath Falls.

Marker pictures show the locomotive in 1915 with a full head of steam at Drain, Ore.; On Oct. 15, 1936, in Roseville, Calif., with a large snow plow, perhaps preparing for helper duty at the Donner Pass; and on April 25, 1950, taking a break in Ashland, Ore., where it handled switching and local freight service. Heavier assignments by then had gone to larger steam and diesel locomotives.

Locomotive No. 2579 weighed nearly 400,000 pounds and measured 71 feet long, pretty small compared with modern diesels.

Source: "Oregon Historical Markers/Locomotive 2579." Waymarking.Com. Groundspeak, Inc., 2014. Web. 21 Sept. 2014. .

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.