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