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.

 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.

 Three irrigation districts in Southern Oregon first realized in the 1930s that their infrastructure was deteriorating.  Founded years earlier as private companies, they also realized they couldn’t afford the expense of preserving the orchards and fields of the Rogue Basin.

 The dreaded disease of poliomyelitis, rushed through Southern Oregon in November 1935.  Also known as infantile paralysis, polio first hit Klamath County with isolated cases in October that led to school closures. 

 On Feb. 12, 1936, former President Herbert Hoover gave a radio address from Portland, Ore., to honor Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. The Lincoln Club of Jackson County urged all members to arrive in time at its banquet in the Medford Hotel to hear the 7 p.m. radio broadcast.

During the Great Depression, movie theaters offered special entertainment in addition to movies. The week of Sept. 8, 1935, featured an opportunity for local girls to compete in a “Dance to the Stars” contest cosponsored by the Medford Mail Tribune at the Craterian Theater in Medford. 

 One of the successful Depression Era Civilian Conservation Corps camps in Southern Oregon was on Roxy Anne Butte in Medford, Ore.  In November 1935 new recruits who had nearly frozen in their tents in Vancouver, Wash., arrived at Roxy Anne’s Camp Prescott.

 It was Friday, Nov. 29, 1940, when Clarence and Alta Walbert left Medford in the fog for Portland, Ore., in a Piper Cub owned by a Medford Flying Club friend. 

 In the summer of 1894, the Eugene Debs’ American Railway Union called on its workers to support striking Pullman Company workers by preventing any train with a Pullman car from running anywhere in America. 

 Blue whales were on the brink of extinction in 1978, when organizations that included Oregonians to Protect Whales and Greenpeace sponsored an Oregon initiative to prevent state and local governments from buying products from whaling nations.

 Blue whales were on the brink of extinction in 1978, when organizations that included Oregonians to Protect Whales and Greenpeace sponsored an Oregon initiative to prevent state and local governments from buying products from whaling nations.

 During World War I, it was hard to find Christmas trimmings and gifts in 1917, especially for a low-paid Forest Service Ranger living 15 miles from the nearest store. That’s how it was for ranger Harold Smith and his wife, Angie.

 In 1883, William and Irene Willits homesteaded nearly 500 acres in the mountains above Elk Creek in Jackson County, Ore. They had both been teachers, but liked the idea of living far from their neighbors.