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.

The debate continues over the merits of saving or demolishing old buildings. People are overheard insisting, “That old house needs to come down to make room for a parking lot,” or, the opposite, “That 100-year-old home built by our town’s pioneer doctor needs to be saved.”

The strong hands of John Hoerster were tanned and rough with scarred fingers, but those hands were made for fine violins.

Linsy Sisemore remembered plowing his wheat fields in Sams Valley, Ore., during the 1880's.

Harry and David’s first retail store in Medford, Ore., opened on May 5, 1928, as a “five-and-dime” store that also sold fruit.

In the spring of 1893, Jackson County, Ore., earned the sobriquet of “Sucker County” after William Gooch arrived in Jacksonville to promote the Economy Flour Bin as a marvelous invention.  Gooch guaranteed the metal bin with a sifter at the bottom was water, insect and rodent proof.  He didn’t mention foolproof.

Practically every service club and civic organization in Medford, Ore., had been talking for years about providing a live Christmas tree for the city, but none had every done it.  Finally, the Parent Teacher Association undertook the challenge in 1927.

The croaking of the frogs in Emil Britt’s park-like grounds was more than he could stand. They were keeping him awake at night and making him too tired to do his job in 1903 as mayor of Jacksonville, Ore.

Snowy Butte Orchard just south of Central Point, Ore., hired 16 girls in 1900 to pack apples and pears for 11 hours of daily hard work.

The official date for Thanksgiving Day has moved around over the years, but currently falls on the fourth Thursday of November, which is Nov. 26 this year.

A picket line went up in front of the Holly Theater in Medford, Ore., on a Saturday afternoon in late March 1946.

A sealed lead tube containing a document wrapped in oiled silk is buried on Crater Lake’s Wizard Island, lying there undisturbed for 100 years. The Knights of Pythias planted it there when scores of Knights from all over the Northwest and Northern California met on Aug. 18, 1915, to initiate 26 new members. The Knights of Pythias is a fraternal organization that holds members to lofty ideals.

Sheep provided essential wool clothing for early Oregon pioneers, but only the Hudson’s Bay Company had any sheep.  In 1842 Jacob Leese broke the company’s monopoly by driving a flock of 900 sheep from San Francisco to the Willamette Valley. It was quite a trip.

Newspapers called them the “Tarzans of Dark Hollow.”  In April 1937 the two Harris boys, 14-year-old Robert and 10-year-old David, 10 ran away from home and began living off the land behind their home in Dark Hollow, Ore.

In Jack London’s 1912 novel of the Yukon gold rush titled Smoke Bellew, one character, Little Man, shares his hopes for a Rogue Valley future.  Here is an excerpt:

Medford, Ore., had so many people coming to see the wonders of the Rogue Valley that in 1909 hotel rooms filled early every day, and the Southern Pacific Railroad was allowing people to camp on the station grounds.

Trains don’t fly, but one regularly received a green light from the airport control tower in the early 1950’s in Medford, Ore. It happened like this:

Audio Pending...

Riders lampooned the Rogue River Valley Railroad, a 6-mile line joining Medford and Jacksonville Oregon, and its owner Bill Barnum.  What follows is a song from 1909, written to the tune of “It’s Just the Same Old Moon.”

It came out of the sky like a huge dragonfly and skimmed to a halt on the visitor flight line at the Medford, Ore., Airport on June 6, 1932.  Spectators saw with amazement their first Pitcairn Auto-Gyro, a forerunner of the helicopter.

Railroad accidents were common around 1900, but few as amazing as Frank Smith’s fall in 1932 in front of an advancing train on the Rogue River Valley Railroad in Medford, Ore.  Here’s how the Jacksonville Miner newspaper reported it:

As Ashland, Ore., became a railroad center after 1890, women seized on an unusual opportunity to prosper. Inexpensive vacant lots between the town and the railroad offered widows, divorcees and other single women a chance to buy property and rent out homes to itinerant railroad workers and their families.

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