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As It Was: KKK Makes Weird Appearance in Port Orford, Ore.

In the spring of 1924, rumors began to fly that a Ku Klux Klan organization was being organized in Curry County, Ore.

On Sunday, April 29, between 8 and 9 p.m., startled residents of Port Orford saw a fire on the hillside above the harbor.  It turned out to be in the shape of a large cross.

Simultaneously, a procession of automobiles appeared from various directions, parking together in close formation.  No attempt was made to avoid publicity or disguise the cars or license numbers from Oregon and adjoining states.

An estimated 100 figures alighted from the cars wearing hoods and robes, saying nothing and in a show of quiet authority gave the eerie appearance of a theatrical mystery.

Speculation was rife as to the object of their appearance. Opinions varied.

The hooded men dispersed as quickly as it they had appeared.  Next morning the dreamlike appearance of the Klan was made real by the outline of the charred cross easily visible from Highway 101 and the main streets of town.

Sources: "Rumor Has It That Klan Is to Be Organized." Curry County Reporter, Mar. 1924; "Port Orford Invaded by Klan Forces." Ibid, May 1924.

Laurel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Humboldt State. Her research efforts as a volunteer for the Curry Historical Society produced numerous newsletter articles and exhibits and earned her a reputation as a seasoned local history buff. Laurel is the author of "Renderings from the Gold Beach Pioneer Cemetery", a 50-page booklet containing a walking tour and snippets about the lives and times of folks buried there. She is also a contributing writer to Oregon Coast Magazine.