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Klondike Kate to visit Jefferson County Historical Society ice cream social

by: Submitted Photo - Klondike Kate

June 4, 2003 --
   The Jefferson County Historical Society will host an old-fashioned ice cream social Sunday, June 8 at 1:30 p.m., at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds picnic pavilion, with a visit from Klondike Kate.
   The event is in conjunction with their annual meeting and Historical Society members, friends and the general public are invited to attend the afternoon function.
   Ice cream, toppings, and drinks will be supplied by the Board of Directors. A $5 donation for the refreshments will be accepted toward the repairs and maintenance of the homestead, school house, and machine shed.
   The program includes a tour of the old homestead, school and machine sheds, update on the plans and location of the new museum, and a historical presentation by Joan Massey as "Klondike Kate -- Queen of the Yukon."
   Massey, an interpreter and presenter of living history, lives in Bend where she is a frequent visitor in schools, historical gatherings, and The High Desert Museum where she portrays historical figures.
   As a history teacher, she researches a period and uses the information to develop a lively and informative presentation in the history of the west for a variety of audiences.
   Kathaline Eloise Rockwell was crowned Queen of the Yukon and became Klondike Kate - a promiscuous redheaded beauty who went to the Klondike in Alaska during the gold rush of 1898. She made the excruciating climb across Chilkoot Pass to Dawson with a fairly respectable troupe of dancers.
   Known for dancing and entertainment, she earned money to buy her own bar and dance hall. Her tremulous love life and history is portrayed in a book, and became a movie in the 1940s.
   She moved to Bend broke and broken-hearted. Homesteading in the desert near Brothers, she grubbed sagebrush and hauled rocks for four years before her claim was final. She managed to do this dressed in her ballroom gowns and high heels.
   She became a fixture in her adopted town of Bend, a beloved icon running a cafe and providing the public institutions with food. Eventually she retired in Sweet Home leaving behind a life filled with numerous proposals, relationships, and marriages. Klondike Kate died peacefully in her sleep in 1957.
   For information contact the Jefferson County Historical Society by calling 475-3808 or Elaine Henderson, 475-2306.