Old downtown is full of character. It is embedded in the crown facades of the brickwork on the older buildings constructed over a century ago when Klamath Falls was known as Linkville, a small village named for its proximity to the Link River that connected Klamath Lake to Lake Ewauna (the former location of the elusive “falls” that curious travelers sometimes ask about).
The economy began with timber. As with many early sites near waterways, the town became a hub of commerce. This was a resting and trading place for settlers taking the Applegate Trail to their new Oregon homesteads. With the settlers came agriculture, irrigation and a booming town.
Natural resources shifted and so did the economy. In this century, plank sidewalks have been replaced with concrete ones heated in the winter by the earth’s geothermal radiance. The new economy is a sustainable one, and we are the quiet leaders utilizing this abundant and largely ignored resource. Witnessing Klamath’s potential, many investors embraced the stoic downtown buildings, modernizing the interiors and retaining the outer historical appeal. These visionaries reinvented old spaces for the new economy with retail storefronts and offices for professional services.
These restructured sentinels remind us that we are a community destined to persevere. Our independence is so dear to us, on the 4th of July our people take over Main Street. Similarly, to celebrate how far we’ve come and to exemplify our new prosperity, the shopkeepers keep their doors open late every third Thursday of the month for a street faire of sorts. The Third Thursday Committee facilitates activity along lengths of Main Street and Klamath Avenue by encouraging street performers. The entertainment varies monthly and from block to block. Some businesses host their own entertainment. Roaming visitors may find rock, blues, western, and folk. It’s a party. It’s an open house for downtown to celebrate the redesigned streetscapes, the flowers, the banners, the new businesses and all that is to come. Third Thursday is Klamath.