Alice Mullaly

As It Was Contributor

Alice Mullaly was raised in the same Central Point home where she lives today with her husband, Larry. A graduate of Crater High School, Oregon State, and Stanford universities, she taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York.; Mill Valley, California, and at Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. She retired from Southern Oregon University where she trained new mathematics teachers. Mullaly’s husband was also a teacher as are her two daughters. Her husband is a Southern Pacific Railroad historian, and both of them enjoy hunting for “the story” in primary sources. Alice’s mother was an early member of the Southern Oregon Historical Society, and Alice has been an SOHS volunteer for nearly 30 years. She enjoys the puzzles people bring to the Research Library, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.

Minneapolis banker Delroy Getchell arrived in Medford, Ore., on a sparkling day in January 1909, seeking a mild climate for retirement.  He liked the looks of the place.

In 1913, the Oregon Immigration Bureau and Oregon Agricultural College published a book describing a typical farmer in each of several regions in the state.  For Southern Oregon’s small farm, they chose to highlight a 13-acre place with a pear orchard and garden area.

The Tom Mix Circus came to Medford, Ore., on May 5, 1936, for a one-night stand.  A series of incidents made it memorable.

Southern Oregon’s Central Point Herald lent support to community promotional schemes in the 1910s.  Nearly every weekly issue offered local verse touting area’s wonders.  Here’s one by regular contributor Charley L. Gant:

Word of a major gold strike on the Fraser River of Canada in 1857 reached gold camps as far away as the Illinois Valley of Southern Oregon.  Mining had become hard work and Herman Reinhart was ready to move on to richer strikes.

If Lillian Parson were still manager of the War Eagle Mine in northern Jackson County, as she had been in the 1940s, she’d probably oppose stopping work for a clean-up suggested by the Department of Environmental Quality.  That’s the way she was, too busy to stop working for anything.

More than 2,000 mouths chomped down on the world’s largest pear pie at the 1936 Pear and Tomato Festival in Talent, Ore.  Festival-goers consumed it in the evening after admiring it all day as the fair’s central attraction.

During the Civil War, the Army sent four cannons to Oregon, one of them to Jacksonville.  It never fired in a war, but figured often at Fourth of July celebrations in Jacksonville, Ore., and the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of Civil War Veterans, took it to their annual encampments.

Claudia Spink Lorenz described in the Oregon Historical Quarterly in 1970 how Klamath Falls celebrated the end of World War I.  Twice, to be exact.

Rogue Valley craft beer dates to pioneer days.  One of the first brewers was Viet Schutz of Jacksonville, Ore.  Over the years, many others have brewed their own suds.

In 1876, a small party started out on horseback to see that magnificent lake high in the Cascades some were beginning to call Crater Lake.

Jacksonville, Ore., hosted a music festival long before The Britt Festival began in the 1960’s.  In 1889, more than 2,500 [twenty-five hundred] people attended the town’s band festival. All-day bands played on the balcony of the U.S. Hotel to crowds below in the street.

A significant measles outbreak in 1917 at Lincoln Elementary School in Medford, Ore., serves as a reminder that before vaccinations were available, outbreaks were common in the Rogue Valley.

It was common for newspapers in the early 1900’s to print personal news items from outlying communities.  Today those briefs chronicle contemporary daily life.  For example, here are some items from the Medford Mail in November 1908 about Stringtown, a community strung along the tracks near present-day Phoenix, Ore.

To match this year’s Medford Pear Blossom theme of “Our Valley – Our Heritage,” the grand marshal will be the Southern Oregon Historical Society.  Founded just a few years apart more than 60 years ago, both the parade and the society are dedicated to preserving and telling the story of the valley’s common heritage.

In 1935, Raymond Ritter of the Pinnacle Packing Co. proposed that the Jackson County, Ore., Chamber of Commerce promote Rogue Valley pears by creating a Pear Blossom Festival similar to the apple festival in Wenatchee, Wash.

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union supported many causes for the betterment of the lives of women in the decades before and after 1900. The Medford, Ore., chapter of the WCTU always campaigned for the prohibition of alcoholic beverages, but became especially active in the run up to the 1912 election that gave women the right to vote in Oregon.

An investigation of a photograph at the Southern Oregon Historical Society of John L. and Lily Demmer reveals a life’s story shared by many other Eastern European immigrants of their time.

On Oct. 4, 1937, A. R. Mansfield and his wife, Shirley, were working in the garden of their home in Butte Falls, Ore., while their two-year-old daughter, Shirley, was napping.  When a fire broke out in the cottage, flames at the door turned back Mrs. Mansfield, and her mother was unable to gain entrance through a window of the room where the daughter slept.

In 1910, The National Forest Ranger at Odessa, on Klamath Lake’s Pelican Bay, was W. F. Neff.  Most rangers were more isolated, but Neff had regular launch service and telephone lines. His wife was the postmaster and the area social organizer.

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