“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bonanza in Klamath County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)

Gerber Ranch

Gerber Ranch Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Douglass Halvorsen, January 10, 2015
1. Gerber Ranch Marker
Gerber Ranch was established in this location by
Louis E. Gerber in 1886 and acquired for reservoir in 1923.

Erected 1982 by Klamath County Historical Landmark Commission, Klamath County Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1886.
Location. 42° 12.14′ N, 121° 7.405′ W. Marker is in Bonanza, Oregon, in Klamath County. Marker is on Gerber Dam Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bonanza OR 97623, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 1 other marker is within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Haynesville (approx. 7.3 miles away).
More about this marker. Marker located next to a parking lot and boat launch at Gerber Reservoir
Regarding Gerber Ranch. The Bureau of Land Management provides additional history on Gerber Ranch and reads: Louis Gerber was born in 1854 in Buffalo, New York. His parents were immigrants from Baden-Baden, Germany who had moved to the U.S. in 1837. He moved with his parents via the Isthmus of Panama to Sacramento, California. Louis was raised in a family of meat butchers and had three brothers
Gerber Ranch Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Douglass Halvorsen, January 10, 2015
2. Gerber Ranch Marker
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and one sister. Louis and his brother, John, established a wholesale meat business called “Gerber Brothers” in Sacramento. Louis was a meat buyer for their company and traveled through Northern California and Southern Oregon. In 1886 and 1888 Louis and his brother acquired a total of 840 acres in southern Oregon under the Swamp Act. In 1895, Louis filed for a homestead comprised of 167.77 acres in Horsefly Valley along Miller Creek adjacent to their swamp act lands in southern Oregon. This area is known today as the “Gerber Block.”

It was here Louis slowly began building a ranch, driving cattle from southern Oregon to northern California for shipment by rail to the “Gerber Brothers” slaughterhouse in Sacramento, California. In 1899 Louis married a school teacher from southern Oregon, Ida J. Campbell. They had two sons, one died when he was two years old, the other was Henry Gerber. The homestead in the Gerber Block was maintained by ranch hands, while Louis and Ida lived full time at their home in the town of Klamath Falls, about 45 miles away from the ranch.

There were six other settlers in this township between 1806-1906 (four other homesteaders and two cash entries). In the first half of the 1900s, Louis Gerber and four other ranches in the area were the largest ranching operations in the vicinity of the Gerber Block. Slaughter
Gerber Ranch Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Douglass Halvorsen, January 10, 2015
3. Gerber Ranch Marker
houses from all over came to the Klamath Basin to buy cattle.

By 1915, the Gerber family had purchased 20 abandoned or failed homesteads in the Gerber Block and consolidated these lands under the Gerber Ranch.

The Gerber family continued its main source of income from its family business of raising cattle in the Gerber Block. Other income came from selling butter, selling wild horses to the military during World War I, selling meat and vegetables to the Gerber Dam workers in the 1920s, and timber harvest on their lands. The Great Depression hit in 1929 and, along with the rest of the United States, the Gerber’s felt the economic crunch.

Louis and Ida’s son, Henry, completed a few years of college before returning home to work at the U.S. Bank in Klamath Falls. He decided to travel the world for a year, and while aboard, the Great Depression hit the U.S. economy. Upon his return home, Henry married his high school sweetheart, Mariam. Together they had 3 daughters: Sylvia (Gerber) Bruce, Margaret (Gerber) Cheyne, and Marilyn (Gerber) Livingston. Louis Gerber passed away in 1930 and Henry’s mother tended the family ranching business. In 1933 Henry took over the operations of the family ranch. Henry passed away on January 1, 1974. Today the ranch is held by Henry’s 3 daughters.
Also see . . .  Additional history of Gerber Ranch
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. (Submitted on January 17, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 19, 2018. It was originally submitted on January 17, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. This page has been viewed 211 times since then and 60 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 17, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 22, 2023