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As It Was: Ferry Carries Land Speculators Across Goose Lake in Early 1900s

For a time, shallow Goose Lake had enough water to support a motor ferry promoting land sales in the Klamath Basin east of the Cascade Mountains.

During the lake’s high-water years, from 1908 to 1912, it was 30 miles long and 7 ½ miles wide, with the deepest point measuring 25 feet.  It stretched from Davis Creek, Calif, to Lakeview, Ore.  During this period, the Oregon Valley Land Company encouraged settlement on a large tract of land in the Goose Lake Valley.

Because prospective buyers had to travel 70 miles around the lake, William Brusster Jr. built a ferry for the land company to carry them and cargo from Davis Creek north to Lakeview.  When the ferry, called the “Lakeview,” was ready to launch, the lake level had fallen 18 inches, requiring pontoons to stay afloat in shallow water.  The ferry had two 30-horsepower gas engines and cruised 9 mph on smooth water.

When the railroad reached Lakeview in 1911, it ran the ferry out of business.  The alkaline lake dried up 12 times between 1851 and 2015.  

Sources: Prial, Francis P. The Motor Boat: Devoted to All Types of Power Craft. Vol. 7, University Of Michigan, Motor Boat Publishing Co, 1910, pp. 9-10, https://books.google.com/books?id=Sp8cAQAAMAAJ. Accessed 22 Feb. 2018; "Goose Lake." Modoc Local Agency Formation Commission. MODOC LAFCO, 2014, http://www.modoclafco.org/uploads/1/1/4/5/11454087/adopted_modoc_county_rcd_msr___soi_8.12.14.pdf. Accessed 22 Feb. 2018; Vanderwall, Roberta. "Town of Lakeview." Lakeview, Oregon, 10 June 2008, www.lakevieworegon.org/. Accessed 22 Feb. 2018.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.