E Clampus Vitus Markers of Southern Oregon and Northern California

*Blog updated 12/24/17*

If you are a fan of historical markers and have traveled throughout the West Coast, particularly in Oregon, California and Nevada, you may have noticed some of them were monumented by an organization under the name ‘E Clampus Vitus,’ more formerly known as the ‘Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus’.  This fraternal organization has a history that goes back to the Civil War and its mission is to preserve the the history of the American West. Many E Clampus Vitus (ECV) local chapters are located across the West Coast. The name ‘E Clampus Vitus’ doesn’t have a legitimate meaning or translation and its followers are known as ‘clampers’. These organizations pay particular attention to those towns, former and present, who had a direct connection to gold mining and many of these towns’ roots are traced back to the Gold Rush days of the mid 1800s. The official first E Clampus Vitus chapter was started in San Francisco in 1931 after the organization had pretty much died out after the Gold Rush days. There are currently around 43 ECV chapters that exist in western states. There is no local chapter in my hometown of Klamath Falls, OR but there are two nearby ECV chapters in Yreka, CA (Humbug Chapter #73) and the Umpqua Joe Chapter #1859 in Grants Pass, OR.

Most of the ECV chapters have an official website although many of them are hard to get to unless you click on one particular chapter website that may have a link to other local chapters. Below is a list of ECV website links that I’ve located that contain pages to other EVC chapters or historical markers:

ECV Gazette

Umpqua Joe 1859 ECV

Trinitarian ECV with links to other ECV chapters

ECV Chapter #1 Yerba Buena (great history of ECV)

ECV San Francisco plaques (map form)

ECV Chapters under ECV Gazette

HMdb.org ECV Database

I have created a Google map of all the ECV historical markers I’ve found within 200 miles of my hometown of Klamath Falls, OR in hopes that visitors to my blog may want to view  and possibly visit them in person (Please click on the map below to view EVC markers). As I come across more EVC markers in my travels, I’ll update them on the ECV map, so come back and visit often!

Klamath County Historical Markers

As a lifetime resident of Klamath County (City of Klamath Falls to be exact) I’ve taken a newfound interest in the local history in recent years, much thanks to a labor-intensive hobby of mine via Waymarking.com. What is Waymarking you might ask? It’s a sub-domain of Geocaching.com (another hobby of mine) and involves visiting particular locations all over the world and marking the GPS coordinates of a particular location, along with a quick writeup on the significance of that location. Waymarking is host to over 1200 categories of every topic of interest imaginable (and growing). Many of the categories include food establishments, businesses and other less appetizing locations that don’t offer anything of value other than to mark a particular establishment and put it on the Waymarking map. Fortunately, Waymarking has evolved greatly over the years since its inception in 2005. Of particular interest to me are the many categories dedicated to historical points of interest. These categories include state historical markers, National Register of Historic Places, WPA Projects, Civilian Conservation Corps, many categories revolved around cemeteries, and my all-time favorite category: U.S. Benchmarks.

Waymarking (and geocaching) has taken me to many places I would not normally visit but because there is some site or location of interest I have discovered either online or in a book, I often plan trips around these points of interest.  I don’t even have to leave my hometown to discover many points of interest. One of those points of interest are the many historical markers that exist all around Klamath County. In particular, I’ve focused my interest on the many historical ‘T’ markers that exist throughout the county. ‘T’ markers are actually two pieces of railroad rail that are cut down to size and have been welded together to form a ‘T’ shape. Mounted on the front of the cross rail is a metal plaque engraved with verbiage to highlight a particular historic event.  Most of the T markers have been painted a bright yellow color, although the yellow has faded on all the markers I’ve encountered. A few years ago I contacted the curator of the Klamath County Museum and inquired about the T markers. He related that there are approximately 80-90 T markers located throughout Klamath County.  This was exciting news to me because in the past few years of traveling around Klamath County, I have discovered around 25 T markers. This doesn’t include the more regular plaque-type markers one finds monumented on a small boulder or similar.

Another type of historical marker found throughout Oregon is known as a ‘Beaver Board’. These markers are painted a dark brown and and stand about seven feet tall and have a silhouette of a beaver painted in white at the top. The verbiage on the marker is also painted white. I have discovered five Beaver Boards throughout Klamath County thus far.

Finally, Klamath County contains a small number of historical markers placed by the Eulalona Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (aka, DAR, a national organization). Most of these DAR markers were placed in the early 1930s and all but two markers survive today.

This interest in historical markers has given me inspiration to share these markers with the general public since no map of Klamath County’s historical markers exist (to my knowledge).

I have created a Google map below of all historical markers that I’ve discovered in Klamath County. I will continually update the map as new markers are discovered, so if you are visiting this blog, be sure to come back for updates!