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.

Music teachers and Rogue Valley Symphony members joined in 1988 in creating the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon, a place to learn and to play orchestral literature.  Its first concert was in Ashland.

 Faced with finding jobs for the unemployed in the heart of the depression in 1933 in mineral rich Josephine County, Ore., the state found an answer.  It created a state-sponsored vocational mining school in Grants Pass, where graduates would get a $50 grubstake from the state. Miners, in return, reported their findings to the state’s new Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.  The information helped create detailed mineral maps of Josephine County.

  The first line of an article in the Medford, Ore., paper of March 15, 1936 reads, “Appearing as a soloist…with the Medford (Oregon) Junior Symphony is Marcia Van Dyke, 13 year-old Grants Pass Violinist.”

 Like other recently arrived pioneers, Martha and Garrett Maupin looked to Oregon as the Promised Land. But in the 1850s paradise had flaws.  Oregon may have seemed far from the troubles brewing Back East, but as the Civil War neared, feelings raged even in the Far West, and especially in Lane County, a hotbed of North-South rivalry.  A Southern sympathizer, Garrett Maupin armed himself with a gun and a whip for disarming antagonists.  Alcohol-fueled fights erupted on the streets of Eugene City until troops arrived from Vancouver and placed a cannon at the courthouse.

The orchardists of Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley had their men’s club in Medford. The women gathered at the Nash Hotel until they formed their own Colony Club in 1911.  After meeting in several locations the first few years, they purchased a home on Geneva Street in 1928 where some 50 club members still congregate.

  The school at Climax, Ore., on Antelope Creek north of Grizzly Peak had been unable to keep a teacher for a full term for several years. One woman reported the sticky mud was so bad on the trail to school that it weighed down the hem of her skirt and crept up her back to her neck.  

 Highway planners had settled before 1914 on regional routes for the Pacific Highway, later known as U.S. Highway 99, from Portland to Eugene, Ore., and north from the California border through Jackson County. But Douglas County officials had refused to allocate the $15,000 it would take to survey the best route through their county.

 It was a long, lonely drive from Medford, Ore., to the Grand Central Air Terminal in Los Angeles in the early 1930s, but Dorothy Carless didn’t mind. She was going to take flying lessons there!  She told an interviewer, “I think I was born wanting to fly. … I had my first flight as a passenger at the old Medford airfield. I just kept on thinking and thinking about flying.”

During World War II, the editor of the Southern Oregon Fruit Growers League magazine called the Pear-O-Scope, Jeunesse Butler, observed a fruit auction and how fruit was handled on the piers in New York City.

  The seas were peaceful when the gas-powered Osprey schooner left Gold Beach, Ore., on Oct. 31, 1912, under Capt. Gus Johnson of Wedderburn. 

 The Western Meat Company had spent nearly $100,000 in 1914 for 19,000 fat sheep and gathered them in Lakeview, Ore., for shipment to California.  But its plans were stymied by forestry officials’ refusal to let the company drive the sheep through the corridor they had been using for years across the Klamath/Modoc Reservation to the railhead at Klamath Falls. 

 As the last entry in the Fourth of July parade in Ashland, Ore., pulled to a stop in the plaza, children would begin shouting, “There he comes, there he comes!” And, sure enough, there would be Bill Johnson in his sawed-off jeep with the bed filled with cages of writhing rattlesnakes.  From the 1940s into the 1970s, Johnson’s snakes marked the end of the parade.

Before she was a miner, Mrs. Wisenbacker played the role of Miss Pipes in the Anna Held Company’s theatrical performance titled “The Little Duchess.”  But in 1903 she decided to join her father and brother at their Forest Queen Hydraulic Mine near Grants Pass, Ore. 

It was a dangerous drive up Foots Creek between the towns of Rogue River and Gold Hill, Ore., in 1961. A continuous stream of huge dump trucks carried crushed creek rock at the rate of 500 tons an hour, 16 hours a day for construction of Interstate 5.  One accident seriously injured a driver without damage to the truck.

 Small herds of wild horses formed in the Southern Oregon mountains when pioneers let their stock loose to graze.  In 1930, Jim and Ada Bell coveted a small black colt in a wild herd near their Siskiyou Mountain ranch. When he was a two-year-old, they caught him.

 From 1958 until 1963, nine Central Point, Ore., friends ranging in age from 16 to 75 met eight times a year in a Great Decision Discussion group, studying and discussing America’s foreign policy. They were ordinary people who believed individuals could make a difference in the world. At the end of a meeting, each person would cast a ballot that was tallied with thousands of others from across the country and the results sent to the U.S. State Department.

Since 1947, the Grange Co-op grain elevator had been a beacon for miles around Central Point, Ore, but on the night of Oct. 12, 1961, it became a terrifying pillar of flame.

 The animal shelter in Jackson County, Ore., was handling up to 250 dogs a month in 1961 and running out of space.  The proposed budget contained $7,000 for building a new cement-block, heated structure to house dogs that were being kept only five days. Maxwell Thayer, owner and editor of the Rogue River Times had a better idea.

Speed Phillips never made much money, but prospected for gold all his life. Both his grandfathers were “forty-niners” in California, one seeking his fortune as a dairy farmer and the other as a builder.

 Four Spencer brothers moved their families from Pennsylvania to Oregon in 1905 to take advantage of the Homestead Act. The Spencers and other families staked their claims in deep woods atop a 4,000-foot ridge six miles north of Butte Falls, Ore.