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Ghost Town Kirk, Ore., Once Served as Rail Crossroad

The curses of lumbermen, ranchers, and Crater Lake tourists inconvenienced by limited railroad track space in Kirk, Ore., may still linger at the once-busy rail crossroad north of Klamath Falls.

In 1911, Kirk was at the end of a stalled Oregon Eastern Railway project, blocked by financial and legal problems from continuing north.  Kirk wasn't more than a drop-off for summer-grazing livestock until 1916 when the Crater Lake Company announced it would pick up tourists in Kirk and pressured the railroad to build a station.  An open-air shelter and an outhouse were not exactly what they had in mind, however.

By 1917 bountiful timber in the area attracted lumber companies, with at least seven railway tracks circling the village by the early 20’s, each with a railroad spur to Kirk, overwhelming the small outpost. Soon a hundred carloads of logs a day, plus livestock and tourist trains, taxed the few holding and turn-around tracks. An old boxcar was dragged in for a depot. Every day was a study in mayhem, with at least one death, until 1929, when the mills moved on. 

Kirk is a only patch of rubble today.

 

Bowden, Jack. Railroad Logging in the Klamath Country. Hamilton, MT: Oso Publishing Company, 2003. 31-40. Print; Hamell, Rick. "Ghost Town of Kirk Oregon." Pacific Northwest Blog, Travel Photos and History from the Pacific Northwest. N.p., 11 Jan. 2014. Web. 10 Sept. 2015. http://pnwphotoblog.com/ghost-town-of-kirk-oregon/

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.