The largest boat ever to sail Upper Klamath Lake north of Klamath Falls, Ore., was the $10,000 Winema, a 125-foot long stern-wheeled steamboat with a 22-foot beam.
The steamer, known as the Queen of the Lake, offered moonlight excursions with a band for dancing, $1 Sunday cruises and annual school picnics. It carried both passengers and freight early in the 1900s when boats offered a chief mode of transportation in the Klamath country.
John T. Totten and Harry Hansberry built the vessel, attracting 250 spectators to its launching on Feb. 2, 1905. Totten’s son, John David, said there were no formal blueprints for building the steamer, only an Egyptian-carved pine model to guide the boat builders. Joe Moore brought the 7-ton boiler to the lake on a wagon drawn by 10 horses.
By 1919 automobiles and the railroad had replaced water transportation, and the Winema was pulled from the lake. Fire destroyed the beached steamboat in 1927.
The Klamath County Museum displays photographs of the Winema and a brass bell and some pewter ice cream spoons that escaped the fire.
Source: Source: Wynne, Floyd L. “Great Moments in Klamath History.” Chap. 12, pp 171-189. Maverick Publications, Bend, Ore. 2005.