Klamath County Museum’s Photo of the Week for Jan. 31, 2021, shows high school freshmen arriving for the first day of classes in the brand new Mazama School on Jan. 17, 1966. Girls were still wearing skirts to school at the time, while close-cropped hair was in style for boys.
Mazama came about as a result of serious overcrowding at Klamath Union High School. KUHS was so crowded, in fact, that the student body attended classes in two shifts. Upper classmen started class at 7 a.m., while freshmen and sophomores attended classes in the afternoon.
The overcrowding at KU was relieved with the opening of Mazama on Summers Lane. Serving only freshmen from throughout the city when it opened, it was initially known as Mazama Secondary School. According to a Herald and News report, about 550 freshmen poured into Mazama when the school opened in 1966.
Both KU and Mazama were part of the Klamath Union High School district. Elementary and junior high grades in Klamath Falls were operated separately by the Klamath Falls City Schools district.
Numerous changes came to Mazama over the years. Sophomores began going to Mazama in 1973, and the school’s name was changed to Mazama Mid High. Mazama became a regular high school, serving grades 9-12, in 1979.
Yet another change came in 1997, when the City Schools district and the Klamath Union High School district were merged.
Mazama, finally, was transferred from the City Schools district to the Klamath County School District in 2008 as part of a complicated realignment of school boundaries.
We hope we got this story straight. Our thanks to Museum volunteer Mary Nobel for assembling the historical background. Comments and corrections welcome!
– Klamath County Museum