In 1945, Alfred and Andrew Collier of Klamath Falls gave 146 acres of land to the State of Oregon as a memorial to their parents, Charles Morse Collier and Janet McCornack Collier. Their property today is Collier Momorial Park. Located on Highway 97, 30 miles north of Klamath Falls, Oregon, the park encompasses a day use area along Spring Creek, a 68 space RV and tent park along the Williamson River, and the state's finest logging museum.
The logging museum began in 1947 when the Collier brothers donated a collection of antique logging equipment, some of which is quite rare. Their intent was to show how logging equipment had evolved from the use of oxen and felling axes to modern diesel tractors and trucks. Also spotlighted is the vital role the railroad played in the timber industry.
The park staff is working on a brochure for a self guided tour that will expain the uses and history of many of the exhibits. The tour starts at the blacksmith shed and moves past the horse and ox drawn fresnos that were used to grade road beds for railroads and later trucks. The horse and oxen powered log trucks, stinger tongue highwheels, and slip tongue highwheels give way to the first gasoline powered Caterpillars and the modern logging arch designed to haul larger loads.
The evolution of the steam tractor and locomotive is well represented. One early Baldwin steam locomotive on display was nicknamed "GOP" or "Get Out and Push" because it derailed so often while hauling redwood logs in northwest California. The earliest steam donkey, the Dolbeer Donkey, that used a wanlass type winch and hemp rope to yard logs to a landing is represented, as well its successor.
As the tour progresses, it becomes evident that many unique pieces of equipment were preserved. The steam powered Clyde Track Machine, used for laying railroad track, is one of only two known to be in existance today. The tour passes too many interesting exhibits to list them all here, but the row of cabins in the Pioneer Villiage have been relocated in the park that show increasing sophistication of design are reminders of the difficulty that the early settlers faced.
The tour winds up at the building that houses the steam plant and chain saw exhibit. This building was given to the museum by the Collier family in memory of E. P. McCornack, the uncle of Cap and Andrew Collier. The steam plant is called Stout Abner after Abner Weed, founder of Weed, California. This steam plant ran the Long-Bell Lumber Co.'s mill in Weed from 1917 through 1964.
The camping area at Collier Memorial State Park has 50 full hookpus and 18 tent sites. Nice HOT showers are available.
This campground (and the showers) are not one the closure list.
Watch this spot for further information as available.
Spring Creek bubbles up from underground cold water springs about one mile west of the park. Although the source of the springs is unknown, the constantly cold temperature of around 38 degrees, remarkable clarity, and the unvarying water level lends to speculation that the water flows underground from nearby Crater Lake. The creek is home to a rare species of algae called Mares Eggs. They reportedly are found only in one other tributary to Klamath Lake and in several streams in Siberia. It flows past Forest Service land, private land, and joins the Williamson River in the park at the day use area along Highway 97.
Born to Charles Morse and Janet McCornack Collier on December 14, 1892 in Eugene, Oregon, Alfred D. Collier was among the third generation of Colliers to call Oregon their home. "Cap" as he was known to his family, friends,and colleagues earned his nickname in the U.S. Army when he served as a captain in the engineers during World War I. When he returned from the war, his mother's brother, E.P. McCornack, financed Cap's venture in the lumber business. Cap Collier founded the Swan Lake Lumber Co. east of Klamath Falls. He worked at providing a high quality product to his customers. When a proposed rail line between Klamath Falls and Lakeview failed to materialize, Cap relocated his mill to town. Shortly after the move, the lumber company began specializing in moulding. The quality of his product was so reknowned that he provided moulding for remodeling at the White House.
A man often ahead of his times, Cap Collier saw his role as that of a steward. He believed that the forest was like a giant garden. It was to be cared for, nurtured, managed and then harvested properly when the time came. Logging and the tools of the trade were his life blood. It was to this end that he and his brother, Andrew, dedicated the land for Collier Memorial Park in memory off their parents. It was their way of giving something back to the community and to the state which had given their family so much.
It was Cap Collier who foresaw the need to safeguard the tools vital to the logging industry. Since he has arrived in Klamath Falls in the early days of the 20th century, he had seen logging progress from the days of oxen and horses to steam and railroads to diesel powered Caterpillars and trucks. He wanted future generations to see firsthand how logging had evolved from an often dangerous labor intensive enterprise requiring armies of men to one dominated by machinery.
Until his death in 1988, Cap worked tirelessly to assemble a complete collection of logging equipment in his effort to make the museum one of the finest logging museums in extistence. When he died, his ashes were spread over the park. Some might say that he is still overseeing the logging museum he began 40 years before.
The Friends of Collier Memorial State Park operate a gift shop in the logging museum area, hold events at the park, and promote the park in various ways.
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