Malin from the Air Looking Southwest Across the Tule Lake Basin
In 1907, a group of local business men incorporated the Lakeside Land Company.
They purchased 6,500 acres of land, much of which was under receding Tule Lake.
140 acres were set aside for the townsite that would become Malin.
Life is Quiet Nestled in the Northeast Corner of the Tule Lake Basin
Malin, Oregon is nine miles northeast of Tulelake. This view is looking northeast
towards Malin and Bryant Mountain behind it. In 1909, scouts from the Czech
Colonization Club in Nebraska surveyed western federal irrigation projects.
They decided the Klamath Project was the best location for a new Czech Colony.
Malin was named after a Bohemia farming community.
And it is said 65 Bohemian Families settled Malin on September 30, 1909
Malin is at an elevation of 4,062 feet and once was underwater when Tule Lake was
at high water. The 2010 census population was 805 people. Malin was incorporated
in 1922. Malin has deep roots and a strong rural community spirit. One account
states that the name comes from Malin, Kunta Hora, Czechoslovakia because a
horseradish grown there was found in the new settlement.
Rural America Continues a Relationship With The Arts
When one lives away from the big city there isn’t as much available entertainment.
It is not uncommon for households to have a piano or other musical instruments to
entertain with. Rural America needs to entertain itself and the arts are alive
and well. The Center of Malin has a public display of its culture, economy and history.
The tractor and cattle mural was painted by Ken Dolan in 1999.
Part of This Malin Park Monument Reads
“They received a charter to form a national fraternal lodge named Z.C.B.J No. 222.
In english it is Western Bohemian Fraternal Association. In 1910 they built the
Bohemian Hall for meetings, czech school and dances. Also, sokol ( calisthenics )
was practiced not only for body-building and competition but as a welcome
recreation. The early farmers suffered great losses to their crops due to heavy
frosts, wind storms and destruction by jack rabbits. They had trouble irrigating
the land as the sandy soil washed away so easily. The great determination of the
people helped them overcome the hardships and they saw their dream come true as the
sagebrush-covered lands turned in to a valley of beautiful fields and comfortable
farm homes surrounding their attractive town of Malin”
What Better Place To Be On a Hot Summer day?
Centerpiece of Malin Community Park, the Olympic size 94’ x 56’ swimming pool was built
in 1948. Shuttle buses bring kids from Tulelake, Merrill, Dorris and Bonanza. During hot
weather 200 to 400 people use the pool daily.
Small Towns Like Malin Don’t Need No Stinking Stop Lights
Malin students attend Malin Elementary School and Lost River Junior and Senior High
School. Visitors come to Malin for many reasons including the Oregon State Babe Ruth
baseball tournament and the Malin Park Cruise.
Malin Has Known Its Share Of Ebbs And Flows
The United States government passed the 1902 Reclamation Act to create irrigation
projects across the west. In 1905 The Klamath Reclamation Project was approved
and Tule Lake would change along with settlements along its northern shores.
A variety of grains, including wheat, rye, and barley were the first crops. And
then came the mighty potato and farming in the Tule Lake Basin would change.
Life in Malin Has Changed Over the Years But Its Spirit Hasn’t
A 1941 account reported Malin had eight gas stations, two general merchandise stores,
one variety store, one drug store, one bakery, two beer gardens, one hotel, one shoe
shop, two garages, a lumberyard, a cheese factory, and a blacksmith shop, a
considerable number of businesses considering Malin’s population of 535.
It Takes people to Raise A Village Into A Town
Above we see Malin with a snow capped Mt. Bryant in the backdrop and a typical summer
farming scene. Here is a list of names that played important roles in Malin’s
history: Jesse Carr, J. Frank Adams, Jessie Steele, W.C. Dalton, Jan Rosicky,
Vaclav Vostrcil, J.A. Sobotka, Frank Zumpfe, Jim Worlow, Mike Stastny, John Reber,
George McCullum, Vaclav Kalina, Loveness brothers and many more who used hard labor
and keen business sense to have the surrounding land support the town. And of course
there were women and family supporting all the names listed above.
Fall Comes To Malin, Soon The Harvest Will Be Completed
Malin Park, 36 wonderful acres dedicated to community, is a wonderful place to
celebrate seasonal colors. Fall can also be seen in the trees that keep the farms
surrounding Malin cool in the summer.
To Spend Time in Malin Is to Understand Rural America and Farming
The top view is from the Peninsula just west of Newell, California. The two bottom scenes
are from the hill in Malin with the water towers. Farming is a large part of the Malin
economy. Malin is also important energy center. The “Malin Substation”, an electrical
substation owned by PG&E, PacifiCorp, and BPA, forms the northern end of Path 66, a
major north-south power transmission corridor. Near Malin is the Malin interconnect,
where the Tuscarora, Gas Transmission Northwest and Pacific Gas & Electric gas
pipelines currently connect, as will the Ruby Pipeline currently under construction.
Barns and Houses, Work and Play, Food and Shelter, People and Malin –
Telephone lines arrived in 1915. 1922 was a big year for Malin. It was incorporated
as a city, electricity was hooked up and the town had a new water-sewer system.
Electricity help start new business such as a cheese factory and a lumber mill.
Malin was turning 20th century.
What Speaks More About Rural America than Dogs and Horses?
During the mid and late 1930’s the Malin Cheese Factory, 650,00 pounds annually, and
turkey farming, 41,000 turkeys in 1937, were major economic engines. Malin’s Great
Northern railway station shipped local products including potatoes, 1086 train cars
one year, and lumber. The Loveness Mill in the 1950’s had a capacity of 65,000 board
feet feet per shift and 80 some full-time employees.
Malin, Oregon: Where Oregon and California Are Spoken
In truth, many languages are spoken in Malin. From the beginning exercise and
entertainment was part of Malin’s social fabric. In 1924, Vaclav Kalina moved
an abandoned Klamath County school building to the middle of town and turned
it into a recreational hall. Here, popular dances were held and movies shown.
Over the years Kalina built a new theater and enlarged and modernized the dance
hall. Malin was famous for the big bands that came to town. It was common for
folks from Klamath Falls to come for an evening of dancing. It was a wonderful
era that came to an end with the coming of television. Today, if one listens
they may hear the Dorsey Brothers and Lawrence Welk floating on a moonlit breeze.
Cropland and pasture habitat are found mostly at the lower elevations (4,100-4,200) within the central and southern portions of the Upper Klamath Basin watershed. This category includes diverse areas within the Upper Klamath and Tule Lake Basins such as towns, smaller communities, rural residential areas, farms and ranches. The wildlife associated with these habitats have adapted to living close to human development and activities.
Merrill, Oregon is at the northwest corner of the Tule Lake Basin and a mile north of the California border. Oregon Route 39, and the fabled Lost River, run through it. Like all of the Tule Lake Basin communities, and most of rural America, Merrill has a rich agricultural history. Merrill is the oldest city in the Tule Lake Basin.
Tulelake, California is a young city. It sits on land in Siskiyou County, just south of the Oregon border, that was reclaimed from Tule Lake by the Klamath Reclamation Project which diverted water down the Klamath River. Tulelake is on Highway 139 which connects Bend and Klamath Falls, Oregon along with Alturas and Reno, California. Some thousand people live in Tulelake at an elevation of 4,066 feet above sea level. This is rural American farmland and wildlife refuge. This is big sky country.
Newell, California was born out of the War Relocation Authority’s Japanese-American Internment and later Segregation Center. This would become a city that housed as many as 18,000 internees. A substantial infrastructure was in place with the camp closure in May 1946: five deep wells, red cinder roads, many surplus buildings, water, sewer, electricity, Southern Pacific Railroad lines and Highway 139. A concept was raised of creating a township to serve the new Veteran Homesteaders. Five years later, June 1951, lots in Newell were for sale.
Music and Song are one of many Farmland traditions.
Robert Ganey wrote and sings a delightful ditty about living on America’s fields
and productive soil. Video was shot on Tule Lake Basin farm land, home to Merrill,
Malin, Tuelake and Newell, and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
©2013 Robert Ganey and Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.
Malin history in this post used information-research complied by Ryan Bartholomew.
Photos on this page were taken between 2003 and 2006.
©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.