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The Trolley
			Linkville Trolley Co. of Klamath Falls, Oregon
			Owned and Operated by Basin transit Service

FIRST, A SHORT HISTORY:

The Beginning


After the excitement of the Modoc Indian War of 1872, 
Klamath Falls lapsed back into its commonplace existence 
as a town of hardy pioneers dependent upon the stock 
raisers of the area for its existence. Around 1900 the Klamath 
Canal Company made enlarged efforts at irrigation for farming 
and the area began to blossom.  Transportation in the area 
was still very basic.  The two main routes in or out of the 
community were tortuous at best.  Once could go by stage or 
boat to Keno, by stage from there to Pokegama where they 
could meet the rail line.  Or one could go by steamer to Laird’s 
Landing on the south end of Lower Klamath Lake and made railroad 
connections near there.

The Klamath Canal Company purchased the Buena Vista 
Addition lying north in the California Avenue area now and 
up along Front Street.  The Klamath Development Company purchased what 
is now the Hot Springs area. Both companies promoted their properties.  
In 1906 the Klamath Development Company applied for authority 
to operate a trolley car from downtown to their property in the Hot Springs area.  The Klamath Canal Company 
countered by also asking for a franchise to operate a trolley car.  Both companies were granted permission.

Using second hand rails salvaged from an abandoned logging railroad in the Pokegama area, that fall the 
tracks were laid and in April of 1907 the first trolley operated in special service from the corner of Main 
Street and Conger Avenue to the upper lake under the operating company of the Klamath Land and 
Transportation Company.  The first public service was on July 11, 1907 and souvenir tickets were sold for 
$1.50 to inaugurate the event.  The trolleys were horse drawn and although plans were made to electrify 
the system and to operate gasoline engine powered cars nothing was ever accomplished to those ends.

The Klamath Development Company, having lost the race to lay rails, instead pushed the paving of roads in 
the Hot Springs area and promoted its development vigorously and in 1911 crowned their triumph with the 
construction of the White Pelican Hotel.  The little horse trolley was hard pressed for customers and 
bedeviled by bad weather and muddy streets.  Finally on May 9, 1911 work started to tear up the trolley 
rails and the City moved to pave the streets.  After only four short and controversial years the original 
trolley era had come to an inglorious end.


The Middle Years


Most of the residents of Klamath Falls are familiar with a 
little red trolley that used to run up and down Main Street 
of Klamath Falls, clanging its bell in friendly greetings.  This 
trolley is a replica of a 1878 Sutter Street Trolley from San 
Francisco and it came about as a result of the creative 
efforts of local citizens Ellis Wilson and Neil Drew from the 
Downtown Merchants Association.  Their enthusiasm brought 
to life an idea that everyone hoped would bring interest to 
the downtown corridor.

The original intention for the trolley was for static display and 
an occasional parade.  It was never expected to be used for 
public transportation.  However, to meet the needs of the 
downtown area and become the center of interest everyone hoped for, 
the trolley had to be restored to an operating condition.  Kids from 
Klamath Lake Employment Training Institute and many other localvolunteers, under the supervision Klamath County 
Museum Director Harry Drew, finally completed the job in 1980.  Even with a lot of volunteer help, the 
restoration bill was about $32,000.  The trolley made its grand public debut in the Fourth of July Parade in 
1980 and in June 1981, the trolley was ready for the street and the “historical tour”.

Through public and private donations the County Museum continued to operate the trolley for the next ten 
years, running between three downtown museums and stopping along Main Street upon request.  During 
off times it was rented to the community for special events at $35.00 an hour.  Ridership for the season 
would range from 500 boardings, ballooning up to as much as 800 during an extra popular season.  Interest 
in the trolley has always been high and it has always been a favorite sight in Klamath Falls.  Unfortunately, 
in 1982, the Downtown Merchants Association determined the concerns regarding the soaring maintenance 
costs, vehicle safety, and the lack of accessibility for persons with disabilities were causes for the vehicle to 
be retired and they withdrew their support.  Funding since then has been an “iffy” and difficult proposition.


Today and Tomorrow


Welcome aboard the New Linkville Trolley of Klamath Falls.  
What you see around you today is what we believe to be 
the finest rubber-tired trolley bus in the world today.  No 
effort has been spared to make this vehicle unique in trying 
to capture the feeling of a turn-of-the-century trolley.  Even 
the name, American Heritage Streetcars, speaks to the fond 
memories of a time gone by.  Other trolley buses have pine 
or maple trim that is stained to look like mahogany.  This 
trolley has authentic Philippine mahogany throughout, just like 
the decks of the finest sailing ships.  Notice the extensive use 
of spiral brass rails.  Other trolleys use plain brass tubes.  The 
seat side panels are customized with the initials of our service, 
LTC, Linkville Trolley Company.  From the leather hand straps to 
the period-looking lights, every attention to detail has been 
made in this handcrafted, custom built trolley just for Klamath Falls.  
All that’s missing are the barbershop quartets, men in straw hats, 
and ladies with parasols.

Despite the beauty and handcrafted workmanship, underneath beats the heart of a modern dynamo.  Powered 
by a Cummins diesel and moved by an automatic transmission, this trolley will go up the steepest hills and easily 
travel at highway speeds.  The best in air conditioning and heating systems assure you year round comfort.  Best 
of all, this trolley is fully accessible to persons with disabilities when the front step turns magically into an 
on-board elevator.  We even have an AM/FM cassette radio with intercom capabilities.  Transportation was never 
this wonderful 100 years ago!  Sit back and enjoy your ride in the new Linkville Trolley!

The Linkville Trolley is being brought to you through the cooperative efforts of the City of Klamath Falls and  
Basin Transit Service Transportation District (BTS), and Senator Mark Hatfield.

For more information regarding the Linkville Trolley Co. please contact Basin Transit Service at 541-883-2877.


				     TROLLEY BUS
				  HISTORICAL TOURS
				July 12 to September 3


Service is provided TUESDAY through SATURDAY starting at the Klamath County Museum, 1451 Main Street.

Depart  		Return to
Museum		Museum

11:10 AM		11:40 AM
11:50 PM		12:20 PM
12:30 PM	 	 1:00 PM
 1:10 PM 	 1:40 PM
 1:50 PM 	 2:20 PM

COST TO RIDE

All rides are $ 1.00 for a round trip ride.  There are no discounts.  Persons may "flag" the trolley down 
anywhere along the trolley route, get off for a visit along the way, and get back on later to complete 
their trip at no extra cost.

This service is provided to the community thanks to the continued generous support of
the City of Klamath Falls, and Basin Transit Service.


SPECIAL TROLLEY SERVICE REQUESTS

In addition to regular public service, the trolley is available for special events and community services. You may download a copy of the request form from this site in the "Downloadables" page.
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