Klamath Falls Old Homes and Antiquing

After spending the night at the moderately sketchy America’s Best Value Inn near the north end of town, we got up for another early start. First we headed up into the hills, winding past an old grade school and up a decrepit asphalt single-lane road that terminated at the abandoned radio station. The view from here showed the entire valley, and gives me a better idea of why I can never really get a handle on Klamath Falls, the place looks like it’s made up of patches of different towns, sewn together by multiple connector roads and forced to work at different angles because of lakes and other waterways.

We kept on going up this road, which turns to gravel and eventually turns into a private drive to a big, expensive new home nestled in a small valley. On the way back down the hill we noticed some sort of building at the top of a rise with a little-used two-track branching off from the road we’re on. We parked the car and walked up to a small bluff to a burned out hulk of someone’s little slice of personal craziness. It looks as if someone decided this would be a great place to build a home, so they did. To heck with the fact that they didn’t have permits, property ownership, or building skills. Walls of various types of brick and stone are slapped together, not in a bond pattern, just stacked vertically with a piece of re-bar stuck in the middle. Old wood mingles with new in a burned out mess, you can just feel the insanity oozing from the place.

Wandering back down towards town, we had a great time looking for old houses. Klamath Falls definitely is a town that’s tried many times, and failed almost as often. There is beauty here, and good weather, lakes to fish and float, they have industry and a decent retail district, I just really don’t know why Bend got bigger.

Although some older homes have been restored, most are simply being lived in. Mike said it well, “it’s like the original owners moved in, grew older and their homes grew old with them, became decrepit, and the shell of the house is still standing, sort of reflecting the life of the owner.”

There’s one Victorian beauty on the once-tony Riverside drive that is nearly abandoned. The owner of Little House Antiques said the Goeller Mansion has a reputation for bringing unhappiness to the owners . This site has some interior views taken a few years ago, peeking through the windows, it appears most of what you see in the photos is still there. For a history of the home and its owners, I’ve compiled some information here.

Goeller House

Goeller Carriage House

Beautiful woodwork and original stained glass live precariously in their abandoned state

Next to the Goeller Mansion is what seems to have been called the Baldwin House, and is now housing the Klamath Crisis Center.

Baldwin Home

This whimsical turreted wonder still has a neat frontage, but construction of two rear towers (probably housing an elevator) really messes with its original roofline. The current use of the house is extremely appropriate, given a famous former owner, Maude Baldwin, drowned herself out of desperation and depression. I have a bit more information on the home here.

Maud Baldwin

Massive brick house with original attached greenhouse

Continuing on through the rest of the town, we enjoyed another hour of gawking and making the locals nervous as we stopped and clicked away at old places.

Our first antique store stop was at the quaint and beautiful Little House Antiques, an old brick house right across the road from the lake, the owner Joan Maricle is a very neat lady and her large collection of furniture and other bits are definitely worth the trip.

We also discovered what I believe to be the world’s ugliest BMW

Check out that bitchen' seat.

Speaking of Beemers, our next stop was Airhead Motors and a nice chat with Howard Jones who’s dad was one of the founders of the uber-awesome Collier Museum.

Down the road from moto-goodness is one of the coolest antique stores I’ve seen in a long time. Housed in (and spilling out of) a vintage heavy machinery repair shop, the Antique Warehouse is a guy-friendly place that on initial inspection seems to be a massive jumble but on closer view shows some very savvy categorization. I definitely recommend spending some time here.

A veritable plethora of vintage trinkets

At top left, barbed wire and bits, bottom left ladies clothing, bottom center lampshades, top center wooden boxes, to the right you'll find books mopeds etc. etc...

Looking for union suits in their original box?

Or maybe your own personal fan club?

Or how about an instant beer can collection (with Ebay potential!)?

Cameras to document everything.

A few tools to choose from.

Player piano rolls to keep you entertained.

And some padlocks to keep it all safe.

Like I said, this place has everything.

I breathed a sigh of relief as we left Antique Warehouse only $5 lighter in the wallet, and Mike carrying a very rusty British bike tank.

The rest of the antique stores in town are of the more fluffy “artique and collectible” variety. Although cute and worthy if you like tea towels and scented candles, finding motorcycle memorabilia in these spots would be nearly as tough as finding it at your local WalMart.

Closing in on evening, we decided it was time to head towards home. And crazy thing is, we still need to come back here and visit their great selection of museums sometime. Seems like no matter how much time we take exploring a place, we still need more.


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