Midland, Oregon is about 9 miles south of Klamath Falls on Highway 97, and is
the location of the Midland Visitor Center and rest stop. In the early 1900’s a huge stockyard was located where the Visitor Center is now.
Midland had its beginnings with the decision of the California Eastern Railroad,
operating out of Weed, to push north around Mount Shasta, into the Klamath
Basin to Klamath Falls, then eventually into the Willamette Valley.
The first stage was to continue the logging road around the north side of Mt.
Shasta to Grass Lake. This was accomplished by year, 1906. It was now possible
for a daily stage coach connection at Lairds Landing. From Grass Lake over Mt.
Hebron to Macdoel was finished by 1907. At this point, a change of ownership
was at hand, Harriman brought the railroad and it was known as the Southern
Pacific Railroad after that.
Corrals were built and cattle that were usually driven to Grenada were shipped
from Macdoel. Records indicate that 32 cars were loaded out in one day. Plans
were already in effect for Midland.
The road cut through the hill at Dorris and followed the hill with deep cuts and
fills, reaching Ady in December of 1908. At Ady, (on the west side of the
roadbed) docks had been built to accommodate the freight that would be loaded
onto the steamer and taken into Klamath Falls. Freight for places as far away
as Paisley and Lakeview awaited shipping there. The piling for those docks can
still be seen on the west side of the railroad tracks at Ady.
Able Ady had purchased long stretches of land, on the north end of Lower
Klamath Lake, including the area where the railroad tracks were to go. He did
all the surveying and marking for the right of way. Southern Pacific did not
want to pay what Able wanted for the land but decided it would take too long to
go through the courts, so they paid the price.
At Ady, the Klamath Straits had to be bridged. The straits is a natural channel
drain for Lower Lake. In the winter, too much water came down the river, it
would push into the lake and then back out. Over the years, that action cut a
channel about 75 yards wide and 20 feet deep. The Bureau of Reclamation made an
agreement with the railroad to place a concrete structure in the straits to
control the flow of water from the Klamath River. The railroad levy formed a
dike and thereby drained the lake of over flow.
In January, 1909, a large dredge was assembled at Teaters Landing to dig a large
drain on the west side of the roadbed, deep enough for navigation. Two smaller
dredges were placed on the east side. Midland was reached in March of that
Crews of up to 300 men were working on the roadbed and cuts at Texam.
(Roundhouse Hill) J. Frank Adams had already completed the roadbed across Lake
Ewauna in 1907. The first work train reached Klamath Falls May 3, 1909. From
that point on, everything began to fall into place.
At Klamath Falls, the morning of May 20, over 100 people boarded the Steamer
Klamath, to go to Ady by way of Keno, so as to be the first passengers to
arrive in Klamath Falls by train. All of them brought sack lunches and ate them
on the dock and piles of railroad tie. Some of the people walked around the
government experimental station on the south side of the hill where the Flowers
ranch is now. A few minutes after 12 A.M. the train pulled in and was loaded
within 15 minutes. The train was decorated and a band played. Thirty-seven
minutes later, they arrived in Klamath Falls. Work came to a halt that day,
stores, schools and businesses closed the doors. Some 2000 people were on hand
to celebrate the arrival of the first passengers.
Make no mistake about it, this was (and ever will be) the greatest event in the
history of Klamath Falls.
Midland, Oregon, built on the north shores of Lower Klamath Lake, about 1908, is
eight miles south of Klamath Falls, Oregon. Midland was built to be a railroad
shipping point for livestock and other farm products. Corrals, a livestock
loading chute, depot, and section houses for the railroad workers were built.
The land in Midland was covered with sagebrush and thousands of ducks and geese
inhabited the adjacent swampland.
Although the townsite was subdivided into lots and streets planned, the town was
never incorporated. When the railroad arrived in 1908, the town became a boom
town. Before Midland, cattle from Southern Oregon had to be driven to the Yreka
area in Northern California to be loaded on trains. For many cattlemen, Midland
cut the trip in half. And, did Midland grow - two general stores, a hotel with
a saloon, a livery stable, a warehouse for grain and a telephone office that
never was used were built.
Thousands of cattle and sheep were driven to Midland to be shipped by train to
market. Cattle came from Eastern Oregon and Northern California - some as far
away as Paisley and Lakeview, Oregon, and Alturas, California. One time the ZX
Cattle Ranch had three thousand head in Midland waiting to be shipped. Because
it took many days and nights to load the livestock through the single loading
chute, the cattle had to be held and fed on nearby ranches while waiting their
turn to be loaded. A corral one mile east on Spring Lake was also used. The
Harry Witherow corrals and scales were built adjacent to the Southern Pacific
corrals to help handle the livestock. Many a rodeo was held in these large
Grain, hay, and potatoes raised in the Henley, Merrill and Malin areas were also
shipped. Martin Brothers operated the warehouse and bought and sold grain.
The Midland Hotel and saloon was a busy place, feeding the men and selling
whisky to forty or fifty cowboys and sheepmen. Many of them stayed several days
waiting their turn to load. Drunken cowboys and fights were a common sight. The
Hotel only had nine rooms, most of which were occupied by cattle buyers,
station agents and other people. The cowboys usually slept outside somewhere.
From 1919 to 1925 Mrs. C. R. Patterson operated the hotel; Jim Shaw was the
livestock inspector. Midland School was built in 1909 so twenty to thirty
children could learn their ABC's in the two room schoolhouse. In 1927 H.
Largent started bussing the children from Miller Island to Midland to school
and taking the high school kids by Spring Lake and on to high school in Klamath
Falls. In 1933 Midland grade school was closed and children were bussed to
Midland was a prosperous town until about 1927 or '28. The railroads were built
north and east and farm products and livestock that had been shipped from
Midland were loaded at other shipping points. Midland died. The only business
was the store and post office operated by Edna Travers, shipping the grain and
livestock raised locally, and the making and marketing of bootleg whiskey that
was produced locally or imported from Northern California. There was a good
market for selling whiskey to the hundreds of loggers working in the woods and
mills around Klamath Falls. Because of the prohibition laws, the only source of
supply was from the many stills located in Southern Oregon and Northern
California. The Great Depression was on. Many farmers and other people made
their living making and selling whiskey. Midland had its share of stills and
much of the whiskey coming from California was stored on nearby ranches or in
the tall sagebrush of the area. Later it would be picked up and sold when
needed. The wholesale price was about $4 a gallon and retail, $2 a pint.
The last use of the Midland Hotel was as a speakeasy or drinking parlor. The
federal agents raided the hotel and broke everything inside - tables, chairs,
dishes, windows, etc. The hotel was sold and torn down. Soon after prohibition
laws were repealed, Cal- Ore night club was built north of Don-is, California,
on Highway 97. Many people from Klamath Falls went there for entertainment. The
road between Midland and Cal-Ore became a death-trap. Many people were drowned
in the deep irrigation ditch at the edge of the narrow graveled road. Many cars
wrecked at the sharp corner when the homebound people arrived at Midland. One
New Year's Eve four people drowned in the ditch, two were killed near the State
Line and seven cars wrecked at Midland. Almost every Saturday night, half
drowned, almost frozen, or injured people would be brought to the Midland
Store. Mrs. Travel would take care of them and send them on their way home. In
a couple years, Highway 97 would be oiled, widened and go through Midland
eliminating the sharp curve. Midland Grange was organized in 1931, held
meetings at the Midland School with Burnett as master. The grange became the
social center of Midland and many dances, box socials were held. In 1933, the
Midland School was closed. The Grange acquired the Miller High School and is
still holding meetings there in their new hall.
Between 1928 and World War II most of the buildings were destroyed or moved. The
depot moved one mile south on Henzel Brothers Ranch and the section house - one
and one-half mile south on Lower Klamath Road.
After World War II, Midland started to recover. The community-minded people
decided that a town needed a park and community hall. Land in the center of
town was donated by Ed Travers, George Andrieu, O'Conner family and James
Flowers. Thousands of hours of volunteer work has built a beautiful park and
hall. Visit if you are in the area. Inside the hall are many interesting
pictures of old Midland.
Electricity finally came to Midland. The power company wanted $1500 to bring
power. The people couldn't afford the cost and used gasoline and kerosene
light. A. H. Patterson, a public spirited farmer, found that if he installed an
irrigation pump on the farm, electricity would come to Midland. Because of him,
Midland then had lights and running water.
For years after the herds of cattle stopped coming to Midland, large bands of
sheep were shipped to market. Some of the sheepman were O'Keefe, MacCartey,
Cox, O'Conner, Dolan, Fitzgerald, Quinlin and many others.
In the 1950's and 60's many people decided that Midland was the best place to
live. Midland was reborn. This time it became a residential community. Several
hundred people live there. The Old Midland Store burned down and was rebuilt, a
service station and cafe is north of and across the road. Cheyne Brothers have
a large potato cellar and ship thousands of sacks of potatoes every year.
The cowboys are gone. The thousands of ducks and geese that lived there have
vanished. The Midland tourist rest center is where Witherow corrals used to be.
The Oregon State Gas Commission operates the adjacent swamp land west of
Midland as a public hunting area for hundreds of hunters to hunt the few
remaining Travers ducks and geese. Most of the roads in Midland that used to
be, dust in the summer and deep mud in the winter,are now paved or graveled.
Nothing of old Midland remains. Try to imagine what old Midland used to be -
the sage brush covered with cattle and the sky filled with ducks and geese. — Verland L. Huff, with the assistance of Winston Patterson, George FLowers, and