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As It Was: Klamath, Calif., Spruces Up for Salmon Anglers

In April 1939, the Crescent City American newspaper noted that Klamath, Calif., was sprucing up to accommodate the welcome return of sports fishermen.

Several years earlier, a succession of poor salmon runs had led California to close commercial and Yurok tribal fisheries on the Klamath River. As salmon numbers increased, happy fishermen began to flock back to the community.

Businesses displayed an array of new signage including the drug store, the grocery front and Vi’s Beauty Nook. Modern décor and a state-of-the-art marquee sign with neon lighting freshened The Klamath Theater. The Wonderland Redwood Park redecorated and repainted its cabins and gas station store. Murphy and Menary’s Three Sevens tavern installed a 49-foot bar, touted as the longest north of San Francisco.

The Klamath Café re-opened after a complete remodel. Management doubled the eatery’s size, making space for additional tables, a music machine, and an efficient soda fountain service.

To inaugurate the upcoming fishing season, Ingvardsen’s ranch held a barn dance into the wee hours, ending with a traditional American Indian dance and prayer for long and healthy lives.

Sources: "News Flashes from Klamath." Reflections of Del Norte County, vol. 14, no. 2, p. 8; Lufkin, Alan, editor. “California's Salmon and Steelhead: The Struggle to Restore an Imperiled Resource.” Berkeley: University of California ess, c1991. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft209nb0qn/ ; "Brush Dance." Yurok Tribe, www.yuroktribe.org/culture/history/brushdance.htm.

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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.