Ghost town of Kirk Oregon (Kirkford)

Name: Kirk (Kirkford)

Class: A4

GPS:Latitude: 42.7473575, Longitude: -121.8294618

Directions: Head north on US-97/The Dalles-California Highway for 35.8 miles, or South from Bend Oregon for 98.3 miles. Turn right onto Kirk Road. It is labeled as National Forest Highway 43. Kirk is to the left one mile. You will cross the Williamson Fork of the Sprague River. The area is barren so you will see a set of two seemingly perfectly straight dirt roads going roughly North-South. The townsite of Kirk was between these two roads.

Description:

Jesse Kirk was not only an ordained Methodist minister, he was a prominent and respected Indian who lived in the area roughly 35 miles north of Klamath Falls, Oregon.The Southern Pacific Company named a station here in his honor when the line was completed in 1912. For many years it was the last stop on the line. Anti-trust lawsuits brought on by the US Government halted further expansion of the line until 1924, with the Cascades line of the route finally completed August 7, 1926. This railroad still exists today and is used by both freight and passenger trains as the main route between California and Oregon.

Kirk Oregon

On September 9th, 1920, the US Post Office opened an office here named Kirkford. Charles W. Simonson was the postmaster. The name was chosen to call attention to the ford across nearby Williamson River. The post office was renamed to just “Kirk” on July 16, 1925. This was done to resolve the unsatisfactory difference in names between “Kirk” and “Kirkford.” Mary J. O’Callaghan took over post master duties of the new post office. It remained in business until May 20, 1948 when it was closed and postal service was moved to Chiloquin.

Kirk Oregon

A view of “Main Street” Kirk a hundred feet from the main road.

The town lingered until the 1950’s before dying off totally. Now days only debris and trash can be found in the area. Metal cans and scrap are all over the place. Main street and another street are both barely recognizable through the trees. While one road still seems to exist it looks like it’s only used to access a fishing hole on the Williamson River.

Kirk Oregon

This is the turn east on to Kirk’s “Main Street”

One of Kirk’s other notable part-time residents was Bill Kitt. He was a cattle driver who ended up owning 80,000 acres of land in Klamath, Lake and Harney Counties. Little is known about him as he was a businessman first, but he is one of three people from Oregon inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame.

More Information:

Bill Kitt: From Trail Driver to Cowboy Hall of Fame by Amy Thompson

Leave a Reply