Museum Self Guided Tour

We would like to thank the Tulelake-Butte Valley Fairgrounds for providing this Self Guided Audio Tour of the Museum. The audio for this tour is available through the NPS APP. It’s like having a ranger by your side to guide your trip, giving you directions and things to see.

This tour begins at the Fairgrounds office located at 800 Main St. The museum is run by the Tulelake-Butte Valley Fairgrounds, so there is an entrance fee. The hour long audio tour guides you through the museum and it's many exhibits.
View of the inside of the museum
View of the inside of the museum

Please enter the museum and walk to the early map of the region on your left. At any time during this tour, we invite you to spend extra time in any area.

As you journey with us for the next hour, you'll experience a glimpse of the histories of the towns of Merrill and Malin in southern Oregon, Tulelake in Butte Valley in California.

By the eighteen hundreds, the principal tribal group of the Tulelake Basin, where the Modoc spending their winters in one of their 20 semipermanent settlements, most a long lost river.

Please continue to the trapping display.

Fur trapping lured whites to this area. The early day trappers come in this area looking for beaver, mostly wood over, and it wasn't used in making gold. They used to make it a fancy top hat that was in place, in those days.

Trapper Peter Skene Ogden wrote of the first contact with the Indians of the Tulelake Basin in December 1826. He described crossing Lost River after the natural bridge was pointed out by friendly Modoc.

The next whites came in 1846 before the war with Mexico. When Capt. John C. Fremont arrived on a surveying and scouting mission for the government. Technically the land was still part of Mexico.

After the Modoc war, the region was open to expanded settlement, farms and ranches began to dot the countryside. Most supply shipped from California to the base and had to follow a twisting road through the mountains to Lairds Landing at the southern end of lower Klamath Lake. Their goods were loaded onto steam boats and barges and hauled north to Linkville. In 1892, Linkville was renamed Klamath Falls to entice people to come to the falls, which following the construction of dams, no longer exist.

Continue to the display of Jesse Carr.

Jesse Carr stage contract through the area brought him into contact with Jesse Applegate then living at Clear Lake. By 1872, the two were in cattle partnership while negotiating for the land around Clear Lake, Carr acquired his first property along the shores of Tulelake. He bought the estates of Henry Miller and William Brothertown, who were killed in the Modoc War. By 1888 Carr owned or controlled most of the land between Tulelake and Clear Lake, approximately seventy five thousand acres.

Locate the display of J. Frank Adams.

After stage driving from Redding to Ashland, Frank met Charlie Crowley, and the two decided to seek their fortunes in the horse and cattle country farther north. They rode into the Butte Creek country and went to work for Dalton and Fairchild in 1872, breaking horses for troops to use in the Modoc War. Adams was 17 and Crowley, 16, but boys were men in those days.

In 1879, Adams settled on a piece of property on the northeast side of Lost River near the northern shore of Tulelake. He raised cattle and horses, including registered Percheron large workhorses used throughout the basin.

Frank Adams, Dan and Clint Van Brimmer were among those who believe that farming in the region needed irrigation. The Van Brimmer's spent four years constructing a canal to bring water east from White Lake to the west and south sides of Lost River. Next, Adams began construction on his own canal on the east side of Lost River. As agreed, Adams tapped into Van Brimmer's canal, running water across Lost River through an eight foot wide wooden flume. It was then channeled into a six mile canal to supply water to farmland on the east side of Lost River north of Tulelake. Adams next constructed a channel between White Lake and Lower Klamath Lake.

Through these efforts, a series of new communities would spring to life. And one of the world's most complex and successful irrigation projects would be developed. W. C. Dalton.

W. C. Dalton arrived in Modoc County January 1st. Nineteen hundred to be foreman of the Carr Ranch, a well-respected and generous man. He was interested in the success of the community of Malin. There he made his home and business, eventually owning and operating the ranch he had come to oversee. The results of his efforts are evident today in the ranch still owned by his family and in the warm and colorful town of Malin.

A lot of good stories. You hear very little that Mr. Dalton. He was strict, he was harsh, but he was fair. And he sold land to people who wanted to Homestead with on the terms that they could pay it off.

Around the end of this hall on your left, find the potato festival and Malin celebrations displays.

In the fall of 1934 the Merrill Service Club set up some small displays and a fenced area on Merrill's front street, charging 25 cents admission. Klamath Basin grown potatoes were the focal point of the event. A modest barbecue was offered in the basement of the Merrill Community Hall. I

n 1936. The tradition of crowning a queen began. And soon, the event included a barbecue, parade, displays, football game and a dance. During the World War two years, the event was scaled back to only include a late harvest dance.

Those humble beginnings fostered the growth of the yearly celebration known as the Klamath Basin Potato Festival.

Celebrations remain a part of the community of Malin.

We had the national so-called celebration and then went into the elementary school in the football field that we have out there now.

In nineteen twenty eight, we had a West Coast conference to select conference here, and they had people come all the way from Chicago. They had to make your own entertainment. They had dances, special events, special occasion, anything that can be celebrated. My dad used to tell me they used to have this the spring festival when the ice would break on the lake, they'd have a celebration for that. They would have all kinds of celebrations. They had the pioneer days, which started in the 30s. Pretty soon, the city started having regular celebrations there, 40 or 50 or 60, a diamond jubilee. And we have a car cruise that has been going for several years to celebrate the Fourth of July. And different groups have put different affairs on, and they're always tied into the park.

Turn to see the Buffalo head.

The Tulelake Butte Valley Fair is an event that symbolizes the pride of the region, where families and friends join together to celebrate, to socialize and to remember.

I have never known better, sharper, more dedicated group of people in my life and that there more have been for the Rotary Club, have you ever had to write. It's always here. And I did listen to her kids in family.

The wind blew and they had an electric cord or something that went into this cover that they had , and it started a fire. So they had to help those poor ladies there. They had their beautiful cakes of white icing and the dust then covered everything. Oh, it was that way. But, you know, we made it. We made it through the fair.

Now, enter the first maze behind you to visit Merrill, Oregon, 10 miles north of here.

In 1891, Nathan and Nancy Merrill purchased one hundred and fifty two acres of land for three thousand dollars. They develop 80 of those acres into a town recruiting businesses. Soon the town flourished, and by 1909, Mel was known as the flower city because of its large flower mill.

A major fire in 1911 destroyed almost an entire block. New buildings soon replaced those lost cinders from Lava Beds were barged across Tulelake and up Lost River. The boats were tied at the town's docks and the cinders were spread on the streets of Merrill.

Another major fire struck in 1920.

Again, the town rebuilt.

By the 1930s, there were improvements to the town's volunteer fire department. But in 1949, the elementary school was lost to fire.

Two railroads by the early 1930s aided Merrill's economic growth. Today, Merrill remains a viable agricultural community. It's one hundred and thirty six foot flagpole memorializes American prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action. It represents a strong, patriotic commitment by the proud citizens of Merrill.

Continue stopping next at the section for Malin.

In 1909, a barren sagebrush covered land on the northeastern shore of Tulelake was shown to the three scouts from the Bohemian Colonization Club.

They saw past the rabbit infested sandy terrain that rimmed the Tule bordered late. Their insight, ambition and determination led the way for early pioneers who followed them to purchase land, grub the sagebrush, build homes and plant crops.

And they had rabbit drys, and that really turned out to be a pretty good thing because Klamath County was paying five cent bounty on jack rabbit ears on a pair of jack rabbit ears. And the first guy they killed over 2000 jackrabbits. Why, Frank Adams, he would loan him equipment, and they only record they kept was just on the back of the barn door. People would write up well such and such got this piece of equipment there that when it was brought back, it be scratched off. Yeah. Farmers way back in the early forties knew with all the ditches and stuff around, was worried about the young kids drowning without a chance to learn to swim. And so the farmers got around and they built the swimming pool at the land. That aside, why cut a tree down, we got all these trees in the park and so started putting lights on in the trees in the park, and first few years they put two or three on and then they were five or six and then people started buying the lights and putting them on. And it got up to where I think this last year, 80 some trees decorated in the park. But we always had a community spirit where the people were helping one another and working together instead of against one another.

And my dad always said my uncle said the same thing. They didn't speak the native tongue at home. They want to be good Americans. They had to learn English. And the children were learning at school, so they had to pass it on to them.

The dances were held in a Malin Broadway hall. And box killing, who also like to dance, was able to get some of the best dance bands. And I especially remember Phil Harris and his dance band. And we danced till 2:30 or 3 in the morning.

Next stop, Butte Valley.

This area of over a hundred and thirty square miles is located in north central Siskiyou County, in a high desert valley surrounded by mountains. Arid lands of sagebrush and blowing sand give way to lush timber, fertile green meadows and crystal clear creeks. Majestic Mt. Shasta towers above the area, creating a spectacular landscape.

Legendary Modoc chief Captain Jack is said to have been born at Jack Springs near the Oklahoma Flats. White men settled the region in the early sixties.

Many changes have occurred in Butte Valley, but the spirit of survival continues. The largest flagpole this side of the Mississippi, towers two hundred feet above the streets, greeting travelers with a show of patriotism.

Butte Valley is a fertile country and lots of different things, potatoes and alfalfa and things like that, and cattle are raised there. It's just a good place to live. I've lived here all my life. Sheepy Creek was named after Indian by the name Sheepy, and he had this property that press doors told him the government was wanting to buy the property and he offered him a dollar for it which Sheepy took. Captain Jack and his Modoc tribe wanted this as a home for their tribe. Captain Jack lived right at a spring at the head of Sheep Creek, and that is called Jack Spring. To this day, prosperous school was established in 1918 and Sheepy Creek.

A lot of your country and Western singers, you know, like Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, all the old country and Western singers, a lot of them would hit the Red Bar, you know, and come there. And it would be a great place, you know, to go and is also a good place to get in a fight. If you want to get in the fight.

Continue walking to the next town.

Some of the most fertile soils in the world were reclaimed after the shallow waters of Tulelake receded. Ten years of redirecting water resulted in 11 homesteading periods. The town of Tulelake has a rich and colorful history from the early boomtown days following the first rounds of homesteading through the World War two years of a Japanese American internment camp and German Italian P.O.W. camp.

It has been molded by veteran homesteaders, farmers, ranchers and merchants who collectively provide for its economy. Instead of giving up when things get tough, the citizens persevere and overcome to preserve an agricultural, rural lifestyle in a land full of history, beauty and wildlife.

I had the greatest life growing up, hunting, fishing, working hard in a family with my dad.

The schools pretty much followed the homesteaded. When a group of homesteaders that moved in, there's no time delay had kids of their own and there was no place for them to go to school. So they built a school or moved one in.

And I had a job right after the interview because Mrs. Jacobini was leaving. So I was the teacher, the principal, the janitor, the art teacher, the music teacher, the PE teacher and every kind of teacher at our school. We had to make do. And when you do that, your kids become creative. And the milk cans were frozen over in the winter time and we had to chop the ice out of the milk cans to get the big dipper in, to get a drink of water. And you'd think the children would have gotten diseases, but they were healthy little rascals. They were never absent simply because they had to work too hard when they stayed home. So they'd rather come to school.

When we got here in 1927, there was no little town of Tulelake. Yeah. Oh, I think the railroad probably was started, gone through and they had a plan for the Tulelake, but we had to go to town of Malin for groceries for the first few years. So they would actually put down a bunch of lumber to hold so their cars could drive through. They would all sink into the ground. So it's probably a lot of lumber up in the main street anyway.

The town of Tulelake was a rip-roaring frontier town of all things. There were seven saloons and Tulelake at that time. This was at the end of the dustbowl days. And migratory labor came in Tulelake in great numbers at harvest time, especially for the potato picking.

Up on the hill. Deer went past us and that touch the heart of the hunter. The church was made up, first of all, homesteaders, but everybody was very, very friendly, the whole area.

And we had lots of community spirit in those days. Everybody got out in helped. And they had dances every Saturday night in the old Legion Hall where we started our school.

Now it's the first maze in turn left into volcanoes and natural wonders.

We invite you to take your time in this area to learn the processes that took place to create this landscape. Notice our spectacular geological formations, except for a few deposits of muddy sediment washed upon the basin floor, almost all the rocks in this region erupted as molten lava.

There are 17 volcanoes in the subduction zone known as the Cascade Range, extending from British Columbia to northern California.

Among them, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier and Mount Shasta are some of the world's best known.

Our own Medicine Lake volcano is the largest in size in the cascade range. The result is a landscape where a great variety of volcanic features can be seen in a relatively small area.

Now enter the next maze on your left.

First, you will notice what is believed to be shaman visions carved into rocks. These have been recreated from actual petroglyphs.

You are invited to visit Petroglyph Point, just southwest of the peninsula and about 10 miles south of Tulelake. Here is one of the largest panels of rock art in the United States.

Next, meet Modoc Indian Ivan Jackson, descendant of Captain Jack.

(Modoc language). Hello, how are you, my friend? My name is Ivan Jackson. The language I just spoke if of the ancient Modoc. Professional from all over the world, came here in the mid eighteen hundreds to study my people. Our real name in the Modoc dialect is (Modoc language) "The people of the ancient time". The language in the Basque country separates the Modoc culture from any other in the world. I welcome you to the world at the age of Modoc. (Modoc language)

Step forward to learn about the Lava Beds.

Known as the land of burnt out fires, the Lava Beds national monument occupies over forty six thousand acres on the northeast side of Medicine Lake Volcano. The landscape offers outstanding volcanic terrain and more than four hundred and thirty six lava tube caves. The greatest concentration in North America.

In addition to its geologic features, the monument encompasses Petroglyph Point and the main battlefields of the Modoc War.

Located about 12 miles southwest of here. The monument offers long and short hiking trails through very important geological and historical areas. Interpretive exhibits, lava tube caves and develop trails await your exploration. Further information is available in the museum's gift shop.

Please continue to the immigrant trails display where you will find a map and pages from an immigrant's journal.

It began as an unconnected series of trails used by Native Americans and was expanded in the eighteen twenties and thirties by fur traders. American explorations and westward migration began in the 40s in 1843. The first large wagon train made the five month journey on what was then known as the Oregon Road.

The Applegate family was part of that first large wagon train. Two of their children drowned when a raft overturned on the Columbia River, making the Applegate brothers determined to find a safer route.

The Applegate trail that followed the northern shore of Tulelake was blazed in 1846. It passed by Merrill, then across the southern shore of lower Klamath Lake and on to the Willamette Valley.

That area was settled as a direct result of the the Appalachian Trail. Most days, 10, 12 miles is what they would make per day. And they basically went waterhole to waterholes. For one thing, most people walk. Most people think that they rode the wagons, that the wagons were not the kind of stogel wagons that are portrayed in the movies. These were much smaller wagons. And, you know, the box might be six or eight feet long at the most length, four feet wide. And oftentimes they would carry feed inside those wagons. It would be stacked when they came across grasses. They would cut the grasses and place them inside the wagons. And of course, they had their possessions in there. They used oxen, no horses.

Move on to the display of the Modoc Indian War. You should now be standing in front of Gillems camp.

This was the base camp for the Army during the Modoc War. The stronghold, the Modoc's one half mile square natural fortress of deep crevices and jagged boulders of molten lava is in front of you to the left. The Peace Commission's meeting place tent is to the right.

Modoc in the Tulelake region in the eighteen forties, began objecting to an increasing stream of immigrants. Many pass through, but some stayed, and by the eighteen sixties had ranches or settlements in or near the basin. The Modoc felt crowded and threatened. The settlers feared the Modoc.

Federal officials persuaded the Modoc to leave their land and live with their neighbors, the Klamath Indians.

Though the tribes were similar and related, there was friction, so the Modoc returned to their traditional land on Lost River. Here Modoc leader Captain Jack wanted a reservation.

Instead, settlers pressured the army to move the Modoc back with the Klamath Tribe. On November 29th, 1872, the cavalry from Fort Klamath entered the Modoc camp, ordering them to disarm and return to the reservation.

Words, then shots were exchanged. One soldier was dead and seven wounded. The Modoc headed for the Lava Beds.

At the same time, another band of Modoc, led by sub chief hooker Jim, was attacked. One Modoc was killed, so in their retreat along the north and east shores of Tulelake, the Indians killed every man they met. A total of 14. The Modoc met at the stronghold and waited.

The army gathered strength, finally moving near and set up Gillems camp on January 16th, 1873. The next day, they attacked the stronghold, but because of the rough terrain and dense fog, the attack failed. The army suffered thirty seven casualties. Yet no soldier even saw an Indian.

Modoc lost no one.

The army reinforced while public opinion in the east forced the president to attempt reconciliation. A peace commission consisting of five men under General Canby was formed.

Captain Jack's cousin, Toby Riddle, was married to a white man. She acted as interpreter.

Little progress was made. The army was unable to promise Captain Jack a reservation.

Captain Jack refused to surrender the Indians who killed the settlers. During a council in his stronghold, Hooker Jim and his followers taunted Jack into swearing he would kill Canby. At the next peace meeting, despite warning by Toby Riddle, General Canby and Reverend Thomas were killed, Meacham was shot and half scalped but survived when Toby Riddle yelled that soldiers were coming.

Three days later, the Army attacked again, supported by mortars and howitzers.

After two days of fighting, the Modoc situation was serious. They were cut off from water and harassed by shelling at night. During darkness, the Modoc withdrew and were loose in the Lava Beds.

Pursuit brought more fighting and bloodshed.

Hungry and divided by conflict over leadership, Modoc men, women and children began surrendering in small groups. For nearly five months the Modoc with fewer than 60 fighting men held off in Army 20 times their strength.

It was the most expensive Indian war in the U.S.

It was the only major Indian war in California.

It was the only Indian war in which a general officer was killed.

Continue on to view murals representing local landscapes.

Enjoy the wildlife, waterfowl and natural beauty of this region. Clear Lake, Tulelake, Lower Klamath Lake and Mece Lake host the more than 400 species of wildlife.

I realize that we live in one of the finest places on the planet, and one of the reasons for me is the abundance of wildlife that exist here, and also this beautiful symbiotic relationship between the farmers, ranchers and the wildlife as being caretakers of the wildlife, if you will. But this is the heart of the Pacific Highway, and it's the greatest highway we have in the entire United States. And autumn here it is a sight to see with millions of geese and ducks. Just to be in a swirl of geese, snow geese, cacklers, Canada geese and ducks and Springer odd animals. One of the finest sounds and sites that you can ever experience in a lifetime. Many times growing up and even recently, I've seen the sun literally darkened down here by geese, thousands upon thousands of them.

Now, exit and turn left into the reclamation section.

Established May 15th, nineteen oh five by the Reclamation Service, the Klamath project encompasses about two hundred and ten thousand acres of farmland and thirty thousand acres in the Tulelake and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuges.

Included in the system are the Frank Adams Canal and then Brimmer Ditch, purchased by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1906.

This was the twelfth reclamation project in the United States, but the largest of its time. Purposes included reclaiming land, storing and diverting water for irrigation and controlling flooding.

The first water flowed to project lands on May 16th, 1907, while the Klamath Reclamation Project is very complex, its system is one of the most efficient in the world.

The project initially cost the government fourteen point seven million dollars. That cost has been repaid by the users through their annual operation and maintenance bill. The economic benefits of the project continue to far exceed its original expense.

Continue on to the World War One display.

Our troops were sent to France to join the allied forces against Germany after the United States entered the war in 1917. The Selective Services Act passed that same year, increased our military from 200,000 to almost four million.

My dad was drafted into the Army and left on a ship to France. He was on the ship for 14 days. He was on guard duty. The full time is on. He never took his clothes off.

And it was a trench warfare and the machine guns, everybody in the trench, and then somebody came along and developed a tank or could run over trenches on that jury. Warfare's evolve. commanding general Marine Corps with my dad's regimental commander. He's had a statement, that is Smedley Butler. And I always loved it. And it just they got us surrounded again. The poor bastards.

The World War one years of 1914 through 1918 impacted our region as they led to the creation of a veteran's preference for homesteading.

He returned to New York City and saw the Statue of Liberty, and he thought it was the greatest thing. He was glad to be home.

Continue to the CCC camp.

Formed in March 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, was one of the first of President Roosevelt's New Deal programs. It was a federal public works project to provide needed jobs.

The CCC operated under the Army's control, camp commanders had disciplinary powers and corpsman were required to address superiors as sir.

By September 1935, over 500,000 young men had lived in CCC camps. In all, nearly three million participated in the CCC. The discipline and experience gained soon proved helpful in World War Two.

Locally, the CCC was very active, instructing most infrastructures that the Lava Beds National Monument and Tulelake National Wildlife Refuge.

Now see the P.O.W. camp displayed behind you.

During World War Two, the CCC camp on Hill Road, west of Tulelake was used to house prisoners of war. In May 1944 the first P.O.W.s to arrive were Italian. In June, German prisoners replaced them.

The purpose of the camp was to provide workers to relieve the farm labor shortage.

As the first P.O.W.s proved successful in their work, more were ordered with the number peeking at one thousand in September 1945. Tents on a vacant lot in Tulelake were also used to house them.

We couldn't get help, and of course, they set the high school down and all the high school kids at work, and then we worked with German prisoners over there from the hill there to grab some Mexicans come in. There was another CCC camp down at Gillems camp on the edge, a little bit national monument and the tore this camp down and was one of their functions. And they were trucked back and forth to the camp there on the west side. And they took all the nails out of the board and bent them in a triangle so that if any vehicle tire ran over, it really popped up, and if you didn't get your front tire, you got your rear tire. This provided a tremendous problem over these German prisoners who would scatter these nails out of these truck.

My mother was the crew boss at the time, and so my grandmother would be cooking lunch and there was never a single thing left.

The last three hundred and eight prisoners departed the camp November 1945.

Directly in front of you is our tribute to local war veterans.

To our courageous men and women in uniform, past, present and future. Thank you. To you we owe our freedom.

Now turn to your left and enter the third and final maze.

Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy. The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

They were serious. They had air raid wardens. Every block, they had blackouts, they had anti-aircraft guns. Everything had come under ration, you had to have stamps for meat, for sugar, coffee, gasoline, clothes. I think we could buy one pair of shoes per year.

Step over to Paul Christie.

You have to go back to the time places, circumstances. These things happened. That after Pearl Harbor, people on the West Coast particularly were terrified Japanese was going to attack. People don't realize this, but our intelligence lost the Japanese fleet and they didn't know where they had gone, it was sometime around the Battle of Midway. And they thought the Japanese were headed for the West Coast. Gave us p38 lightnings and sent us down the Orange County Airport. Only five of us. We were defensive Southern California, and we will fly out from there. And every day we expected to see the state, the whole Japanese fleet out. We were six weeks out of flight school. We were flying airplanes we didn't know anything about. And to this day, I don't know if we had any ammunition.

They were just building the hangars there because it was a B-24s. For some of them, we put tail turrets and some we had sideturrets and come to this and that and put a lot of oxygen lines. And we did everything on the planes.

Our base had nothing but B-17 flying fortresses. Most of them had 13 guns to those 50 caliber. I was over there twenty seven months. When I came home I got to see my son for the first time.

Move on to Hank Christianson.

They shipped us out a few at a time on different ships, and I went on a converted freighter and by the way, over there, they were terrible storms. Ship, you know, real strongly to the right. And I have steel hill plates on my shoes, so I slept on the deck. Well, and it was I was going under the lights and I was on my back. I reached up and caught the lifeline on my hands that hung over the side of the ship. So I slowly worked my way down and waited to the lul of the storm and reached around the stanchion with one hand and got a hold the cable on the other side and reached up, got a hold of the station and slowly inch by inch pulled myself back up on the ship and I laid there. I had my arms around the cable on one side of that, my legs are all over on the other side. And I debated about whether trying to lay there all night until there was help in the morning. And then I thought, well, it was cold too, February, if a wave hit get me hypothermia, would I have to do something? So I decided to try to crawl on my hands and knees up to the hole. When we got back to the States, I took a roll call and they found that they were short eight people.

Herman Bell speaks of Bird Fairclough.

He first went to Africa and he told me, walk most of the way around the shoreline of Africa, then to Sicily and from Sicily he want to Anzio. And he laid on that beach for 63 days without a bath or anything. And then he went further into Italy and was sent up on a hill to clean out some nest gunners up there. And Finally was shot through the arm and he went down into one of those cellar like things. And I just they just shot in there with their machine guns and the bullets were going everywhere. But then he said they didn't hit him with had his helmet on and held up pretty bad. And they said the next morning somebody said, anybody in there better come out because we're going to blow it up. And he said it was an American's voice. And he said, boy, don't I'm in here. And so they came in and got him and took him down and had his arm treated. And they said they were going to shipping out. And I said, no way, you're going to ship me out. He said, I know every one of those places, I'm going back up. So he cleaned out several places up there. So that made it safer. And he went a lot of medals and he earned every one of them.

Paul Christie speaks of Al Kongslie.

North African campaign al Kongslie landed with the troops to the south of Casablanca when the ships landed there and you marched all the way across North Africa to Tunisia. And even he fought for ground support for Patton. His orders and now as one of the troops that ambushed the German Hakone. And I was came in as ground support for Al and went all the way through the African campaign, And Cicilia came around and was in the Landingham DayDay and all of the war always Hartmut. Hitler and Tojo had to be stopped

Dud Lemke.

We had a cause because we knew the person we were fighting what his intent was.

Continue to the mural of fourteen hundred and fifty two buildings.

Stand briefly in the footsteps. You are atop the peninsula overlooking the Tulelake Relocation Center at Newell, located just eight miles south of here.

Step over to the wooden cross.

This is a part of the original wooden cross placed on top of the peninsula or Castle Rock in 1942 by Japanese Americans who signed their names to the wooden plaque.

In 1943 the camp became a segregation's center. Its population peaked in September 1944 at eighteen thousand six hundred interned Japanese Americans.

The notice came back in two weeks that you have to leave. Then reality set in that we have to all leave. And that's all we had averaged two weeks time to actually dispose of our personal property, whatever it may be. And then fall into camp, but going to camp was OK. But then again, this is what you can take what you can carry. That it, no more. Tulelake the camp itself is kind of unique. When 1943 July, all the directors got together and decided that Tulelake would be a segregation center because there were more dissidents at Tulelake. And then the camp itself is one and a quarter mile square and had twenty eight guard towers around us. The farm had eleven guard towers around us. In total thirty two miles of fence actually in the fence from Tulelake to Klamath Falls, which is encompassed over 100 miles of barbed wire was strung around us. Eighteen thousand eight hundred inmates. But with twelve hundred full time soldiers on standby.

What I would be doing if I was back home, you know, comparing it to camp. And it was really the first time that I had been exposed to so many Japanese people from all over and everywhere there were all blackheads and I'm going I don't know how I would tell my friends apart.

What the produce we raised all the quality produce we pack four million pounds a year out of the warehouse, out the siding there, and talk to the other camp people that said they received some from Tulelake, but a lot of it was sent out on the road. So the destination unknown. And one day they were just dumping barrels of fish, to different mess halls, Every mess hall got two barrels of fish. Then they went back and looked at the balance. This fish must be pretty old. They look at the barrel packed in 1934 by WP labor. The Army quartermaster would say what we're eating. They said, we're getting fresh fish. And that's how the Chronicle put it up there, and they said, we've been pampered. Ladies will go out there and spend all day long just digging for seashells in this nice seashells, and they'll make beads and birds and different ornaments out of it. Meantime, the men folks will sit out there, be smoking, playing cards, and they see all these seagulls coming there. They were catch these birds draw these stars and stripes and so forth. And so who could do the best designed birds. In the meantime, the birds would go back to the coastline and the game wardens says, where are these birds coming from, where all the insignias and painting on the bottom and birds and finally traced it back to Tulelake and the game warden put a stop there, painted the seagulls because they're protected birds.

The camp remained in operation longer than any other war relocation center closing March 20th, 1946.

Next, locate the pickle jar display.

As Tulelake receded in 1917, farm units for homesteading were made available after World War Two. The last groups of homesteaders were drawn in lotteries from 1946 to 1949.

The pickle jar became the choice for homestead lotteries after the fish bowl became too small. The 1946 drawing held at the armory in Klamath Falls included one thousand three hundred and five names typed on the slips of paper, put into capsules and placed into this three gallon pickle jar. Only 86 names were drawn.

This pickle jar was filled for the last time in 1949 in the American Legion Hall in Tulelake. Eighty six out of five thousand names were drawn.

With these drawings they had to have drawings for them because there were so many more applications than there was plots of land available. In the halls was always full. There is always there full of people who are sitting in a desk, people, a lot of them on the edge of the seat, hoping that their name would be the next one drawn out. But the ones that were there, why, they let out a good yell. The tension was there and everybody was just waiting to because they knew it was an opportunity there. They were getting an opportunity for new life in a new community. And it was really something to see.

When we got down there where we had guys that came next to us were navy. 'Course we were all army men, two Navy.

The morning afterYes we went to move out on our site, when it snowed, and when I got out there close to it, I put the car in second gear and opened it wide open and headed out. And when I hit the yellow post-it, mark my land the phone to the right of it out on the land, And where it got stuck, that was home.

We spent some time in the tent. The wind blew and mercifully that spring and that poor old tent, what kind of rock and it wasn't real, real comfortable. The dirt came in, of course, and we had our grain stored, our seed grain stored in the tent so it wouldn't get wet.

Move on to the Korean War display.

Members of our community served under the command of General MacArthur to help protect South Korea from conquest by North Korea, when war broke out in 1950.

When I got to Korea, they put us in some high walled camps for a while. Then they were building the Quonset hut barracks after a fashion. We were being woken up at night, sometimes with the small aircraft flying over the runway, dropping hand grenades, which they call bed check Charlie. I never did figure out why they didn't go after that guy, but they just let him do it night after night, probably a couple of nights every week.

Between August 5th, 1964, and April 30th, 1975, three point four million military personnel served in the Vietnam War.

The minute that door opened and you started walking towards the tarmac, the heat was just beyond anything, I'd and I'm a Phenix, Arizona boy, and this was a heat like I've never experienced, the humidity was up 105 percent, was probably 108 degrees, and it was eight o'clock at night.

I think there was one period of over three months that we weren't without any fresh meat or fresh vegetables. A typical breakfast was one spoonful of eggs. What are sort of green dehydrate would have been reconstituted out of powdered eggs at one spoonful of square dehydrated potatoes and possibly two little small Vienna sausages and one piece of bread without any butter or jam.

Rarely ever did you get to see the bad guy because his whole mission in life was to just Pick at you and run. They said we lost the war. We didn't lose the war. We fought it the best way we could. We were just as proud and dedicated to our own brothers as they were. We were just dealt a different kind of card.

The official end of America's direct involvement in Vietnam was April 30th, 1975.

Step over to the farming and ranching display.

Just as the United States is a melting pot of people from all parts of the world, so is this region. Sharing of education's travel experiences, agricultural knowledge and skills have created these diverse communities.

Where have you found Nettles growing? You knew it was the finest soil. And as you know, we have lots of wild metals in this country, and it was also an indicator of water.

I had my first job when I was seven and Ray was nine. We delivered papers in the morning and milk in the afternoon and we got along fine. But I always wanted to ever do was be a cowboy.

The tractors gradually came in and replaced the horses in our area has a beautiful soil. Some of the best soil actually in the world.

You should now be standing in front of our current issues. This concludes the indoor segment of your audio tour. Feel free to visit the theater and research room behind you and spend time in the current issues section. When you are ready, return to the gift shop by using the straight aisle on your left.

Welcome back to the gift shop. Please proceed through the door to your right marked outdoor displays. Walk straight ahead to the tall guard tower.

The guard tower to see the pictures is straight up and down there. One of the 1943 after segregation, the one with the spread footing was the original old guard tower when the original camp was built. The guard towers, when you look at it, there's a flat door. As the guard goes up the towers, they get up the trapdoor. Then when they shut that, once they get up, shut the trap door and there's a hatch and lock it. So no one from the bottom comes from the same trap door. The soldiers protect themselves from people intruding from the bottom up. But still, the guard towers were outside of the fence. There's no way we can get through the guard tower anyway. That's how they were all built.

Now walk to the large black tar paper building.

Peer into the two windows, closest the museum building to see a Japanese American family. This is the living space they were given during their time at the Tulelake camp.

The barracks for Tule Lake and other camps all had staggered 20 by 100 barracks. Tule Lake average barracks were five units apiece, 20 by 20 for five people. 20 by 16, it was four for four people.

So as far as that privacy and the girls didn't have any doors on the stalls there. And in fact, it was open for a while until they start putting separations between the bowls so that we had some privacy and then we would have our friends, hey, I got to go. You be my screen. You know, the dust and the sandstone is just terrible. You know, we'd open the window and then, of course, the flooring was too solid. So every time the sandstorm here comes in Rosharon and close the window and then but then the sand would come up between the wood on the floor and then all the sand would be on the blanket and table, what have you.

Now move to the next window. Inside, you will see bachelor living quarters.

So the bachelors were living in the twenty by sixteen, four bachelors that moved in. They didn't know each other, so if they couldn't get along with each other, they had a hard time. I know they would ask me to sneak some material in there that will get a 16 foot by six foot rope will put a wall in between them. So the only eight foot by twenty two people was just a narrow slit like. Some people really was ingenious how they made the prove what they did. They would go to the canteen and buy rice and take the mess. They have the cook for them, but they could very well put it in the barracks or what they did. They cook the whole the floor and they put the little basement like a mini basement barracks and put two or three barrels down there and put the rice down there and start fermenting the rice and put the lid on it so nobody can see it. That can smell like the smell of the outside. But still there were there out of sight, out of mind type of deal. And eventually they'll make the sake.

Continue to the third window. A homestead Yesers wife prepares a meal.

After the camp closed in 1946, many barracks were cut in half and hauled to newly allotted homesteads. This barrack is that half sized.

Barracks became homes for veterans trying to earn the right to own the land. The battle to keep dirt and cold out of the shack like buildings was a challenge for the homesteaders, just as it had been for the Japanese Americans who preceded them.

Continue to the last window.

Little by little, improvements were made to the buildings to make them more comfortable. Today, as you travel through the basin, you may notice remodeled barracks in use as homes.

This barracks had moved in. It was vertex inside and underneath the floor and had boards just for the one by twelve, for the boards on the floor. I covered it with tarpaper and put the tongue and groove and down and had a better floor.

I think it was a lot harder on wives than it was on the man in general. And we'd get out, you know, work. wives are in the barracks with little kids. When we got our barracks, they were given to us. And they were 100 hundred feet long, and we had to saw by my hand. They cut the electricity off the cap and then jack them up. Our house movers to move on our homesteads.

I find that I did a lot of things like my mother did when we were young kids because we had no electricity when I was real young.

This concludes the tour of our Museum of Local History.

We invite you to continue viewing the outdoor displays within this fenced area.

Thank you for your interest in our history. Your generous donations and support will help us continue to share the rich history of our basin. Please come again.

Last updated: January 27, 2024

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 1240
Tulelake, CA 96134


(530) 664 4015
or call (530) 667 8113 for the Lava Beds National Monument Visitor Center between October to May.

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