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Early 1900’s Ice Skaters Enjoy Upper Klamath Lake

A century-old picture postcard shows ice skaters standing nearly motionless on Lake Ewauna at Klamath Falls, Ore.  The postcard is part of the Klamath County Museum collection.  Some skaters apparently froze in place so they wouldn’t be blurred in the photograph.

The city created an ice rink that became a popular winter recreation site in the early 1900’s near Moore Park on the shore of Upper Klamath Lake.

On Nov. 20, 1916, a Klamath Falls Evening Herald headline read, “Klamath enjoys first skating (of the season).”  The story noted that it was early for the lake to freeze over and warned, “Ice strong enough to support one’s weight does not extend out far from the shore.”

Skating phased out in the 1970’s because of unpredictable climate and city budget restraints.  Twenty years later, former hockey player Bill Collier tried to restore the rink by spraying a dirt patch with water to create a sheet of ice.  When that failed, he joined other volunteers in forming not-for-profit Klamath Ice Sports, which opened a refrigerated outdoor ice skating facility in 2002 at the Running Y Ranch Resort off Hwy 140 West.

The facility holds an annual figure skating fundraiser every January.

Sources: "Our Story." Bill Collier Community Ice Arena www.klamathicesports.org/about. Accessed 23 Nov. 2016; "Klamath enjoys first skating." The Midge, 23 Nov. 2016, p. 1; "History Snapshot: Klamath enjoys first skating." The Midge, 23 Nov. 2016, p. 1; "Klamath Postcard No. 106 — Lake Ewauna skating." Herald and News, 14 Dec. 2015 [Klamath Falls, Ore.] . Accessed 23 Nov. 2016. www.heraldandnews.com/news/local_news/klamath-postcard-no-lake-ewauna-skating/article_42674fac-5a0d-5cd4-b1ed-ccb4b42eb8ee.html  

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.