Services: Forest Service District office, gas, restaurant,
lodging, campgrounds, RV parks, post office, medical clinic, retail
stores, guide service, Karuk Tribe.
Photo courtesy US Forest Service,
- In Karuk, Orleans is Panámniik and roughly translates
as "the flat place."
- Captain Tompkins and Bob Williams explored the Klamath River
in the spring of 1850 and named the place New Orleans Bar. They
wrongly assumed the Klamath River would be navigable nearly all
the way to its source. The town improved as more miners moved into
the area and Orleans prospered, becoming a main supply center. The
historic hotel was also a payroll station for the military post
and a stopping point for pack trains.
- The place name "Red Cap" is for a Tribal leader who always
wore a red woolen headpiece that had been given to him by a miner.
He was friendly to the whites, influential, and of high moral
character. As an example of his justice, one story from 1851
describes the theft of a white man's gun, presumably by someone
from Red Cap's Tribe. To pay back the cost of the $30 gun, Red Cap
imposed an excise tax of 50¢ on all salmon that were sold to
the packers and miners. After the gun was paid for, the oppressive
tax was dropped.
- President Hoover spent much time staying at the local hotel as
did many other famous people. It was suggested to Hoover that
Orleans become the "Western White House."
- For birdwatchers, several pair of Red Shouldered Hawks have
nests in this valley and their song can be easily heard.
Orleans Bridge in 1915
Photo Courtesy Hazel Davis
- The first Orleans Bridge was constructed in 1912.
A discarded cigarette was believed to have caused the
wooden bridge to be destroyed by fire in 1921. Twenty
brave men fought the fire from the burning bridge by
lowering water buckets into the river. Suddenly the
wire cables snapped, dumping the men into the river
where one was killed. The people of Orleans resorted
to crossing the river in canoes again until the bridge
was rebuilt. This historic suspension bridge was the
last of its type to be built in the nation.