Kernan Turner

As It Was Editor & Coordinator

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP.  His assignments included the World Desk in New York City and 27 years as a foreign correspondent and bureau chief, living and working in Mexico and Central America, South America, the Caribbean and the Iberian Peninsula. His final assignment was as chief of Iberian Services in Madrid, Spain. He retired in Ashland, his birthplace,  in 2002, with his wife, Betzabé “Mina” Turner, an Oregon certified court interpreter.  He and his wife are active boosters of Ashland’s Sister City connection with Guanajuato, Mexico.

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History
3:06 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Silver Lake Fire Kills at Least 40 People in 1894

One hundred twenty years ago this month, a Christmas Eve fire in Silver Lake, Ore., killed at least 40 people and seriously injured many more. Silver Lake is on State Route 31 in northern Lake County.

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History
2:45 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Early Southern Oregon Explorers Add Dogs to Their Diet

 

The first explorers of European descent to visit Southern Oregon sometimes turned to Indian dogs for sustenance. When Hudson’s Bay Company trapper Peter Skene Ogden and his party visited Upper Klamath Lake in December 1826, they obtained nine dogs for food from the Klamath Indians. 

Seventeen years later in December 1843 John Charles Fremont and his 39 men reached Klamath Lake on his second exploring expedition in the West. With them was a dog that had wandered wounded into camp one cold and rainy night in mountains above Salt Lake, Utah.

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History
2:45 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Capt. John C. Fremont Visits Klamath Lake in 1843

 

Known as The Pathfinder for his early explorations west of the Mississippi and Missouri river system, Capt. John C. Fremont visited an Indian Village on Southern Oregon’s Klamath Lake on Dec. 11, 1843.

He wrote in his memoirs that the Indians were well adapted to their surroundings.  He described “great quantities of small smoked and dried fish suspended on strings about a lodge.”  They had shoes made of straw or grass and the women wore caps made of tightly woven baskets and adorned their noses with shells.

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History
2:05 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Oregon Singer Earns Nickname as “The Prince of Wails”

It is said that singer Johnnie Ray wrote one of his biggest hits, “The Little White Cloud That Cried,” on the banks of the Umpqua River in Roseburg, Ore. He entertained for a time at the Elks Lodge on Jackson Street.

A double-sided, 78 rpm single of “Cry” and “The Little White Cloud That Cried” launched Ray to stardom in 1951. By March of 1952, three Ray songs were among the top six of the national musical charts, including “Cry,”  “Please Mr. Sun,” and “The Little White Cloud.”

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History
9:17 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Post Offices Dot Jackson County Countryside

 

In the days before good roads and the first automobiles, delivering mail to small groups of settlers scattered over a wide area was a challenge in Southern Oregon.  Post offices sprung up near sparsely settled rural areas that never grew into full-fledged villages. One of them was the Asbestos Post Office located a half mile east of Evans Creek near where Chapman Creek Road and East Evans Creek Road intersect today.

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History
11:53 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Locomobile Replaces Stage on the Road to the Klamath Hot Springs

 

It made headlines in San Francisco in 1911 when the Klamath Hot Springs Hotel in Beswick, Calif., purchased a seven-passenger Locomobile to replace its horse-drawn stage on the 22-mile road connecting the hotel with the railroad station in Ager, Calif.

The San Francisco Call said the stage had carried fishermen up the Klamath River for 25 years “because of the popularity of the (hot) springs” and nearby streams filled with fat trout. 

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History
9:33 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Western Lingo Adopts Spanish Words

 

Many words left behind by early Spanish explorers as they named settlements, bays and rivers along the Pacific Coast, and other words from Mexican cowboy jargon have enriched the Western lingo of Southern Oregon and Northern California.  The word “cowboy” itself comes from vaquero, Spanish for “cowman.”

Who hasn’t heard of a “dude?” The word is derived from the Mexican phrase los dudos, meaning “the doubtful ones;” for example, city slickers who fall off horses.

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History
9:30 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Steam Locomotive Rests Under Shelter in Klamath Falls, Ore.

An example of the early-day rail engines that served Southern Oregon and Northern California, Locomotive No. 2579, rests quietly under shelter in Veterans Memorial Park facing Lake Ewauna in Klamath Falls, Ore.

The Southern Pacific engine once was one of more than 350 small steam locomotives that, it has been written, “carried America from before the Civil War into the 20th Century.”

A marker at the site says No. 2579’s last use was for the revenue service in November 1956, before being donated the following year to the City of Klamath Falls.

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History
10:48 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Steamer Winema Reigns as Queen of Upper Klamath Lake

 

The largest boat ever to sail Upper Klamath Lake north of Klamath Falls, Ore., was the $10,000 Winema, a stern-wheeled steamboat 125 feet long with a 22-foot beam.

The steamer, known as the Queen of the Lake, offered moonlight excursions with a band for dancing, $1 Sunday cruises and annual school picnics.  It carried both passengers and freight early in the 1900s when boats offered a chief mode of transportation in the Klamath country.

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History
2:24 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Horse-Drawn Trolley Serves Klamath Falls

 

Before Klamath Falls had paved streets, the city offered a railway franchise to the first of two companies to lay the track for a horse-drawn trolley along Main Street. The Klamath Land and Transportation Company won the contract, using secondhand rail from an abandoned logging railroad.

Passenger service began on July 4, 1907, with souvenir tickets priced at $1.50.  The tracks soon reached a northern terminus near the Upper Klamath Lake docks.

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History
10:55 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Modoc Sucker Escapes Threat of Extinction

 

The Modoc sucker, a small fish with fleshy lips that grab insects and worms and scrape algae from stream bottoms, joined the federal endangered species list in 1985. Biologists worried that its survival was threatened by stream bank erosion from cattle grazing and predatory non-native brown trout.

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History
2:22 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Woodcutter Works Hard; Cheats Even Harder in Curry County

 Here’s a tall tale from Curry County recounted by Bill Wallace for the Curry Historical Society.  It goes like this:

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History
2:22 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Oregon Spotted Frog Stirs Environmental Controversy

  Pity the Oregon spotted frog.  Non-native fishes and big bullfrogs are eating them, cattle stomp on their meadows and invasive grasses and other plants cover their former range.  Now they’re becoming the center of controversy as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service moves to list them under the Endangered Species Act.

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History
2:20 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Public Radio Series "As It Was" Airs 2,500th Episode

  Twenty-two years ago, the Southern Oregon Historical Society began producing a series of historical stories for the Jefferson Public Radio series titled “As It Was, Tales from the Mythical State of Jefferson.”  Today the program airs its 2,500th episode since the series resumed in 2004. 

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History
2:18 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Poor Sidewalks Rule Out Free Home Mail Delivery

  Forty-three years after the first post office opened in Klamath Falls, Ore., postmen in 1914 still weren’t making free home mail deliveries.  A Klamath Falls Evening Herald story of Aug. 15, 1914, indicated the lack of free home delivery was due more to the condition of the town than any reluctance of the post office.  The newspaper story says:  “While the receipts of the Klamath Falls postoffice [sic] are more than enough to justify the free delivery of mail, there is not much chance of this service being inaugurated here by Uncle Sam until the sidewalks are connected up and made more thorough throughout the city, according to D.E. Wood, postoffice inspector.  “Wood also claims that all of the houses are not numbered, and says that until this is attended to, the getting of free delivery will be greatly hampered.  He will make his report to the Postoffice Department.  “According to Wood, if the downtown section of town fully complies with the requirements of the department, it is possible that free delivery will be started there, and the outskirts will be provided with mail as they grow and put in the necessary sidewalks, lights and numbers.” .

  Source: "Says We Need Sidewalks." Klamath Falls Evening Herald 15 Aug. 1914: 1. Web. 15 Aug. 2014.

History
11:07 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Deer, Not Cows, Jumps Over the Moon in Evans Valley

 Southern Oregonians bothered by pesky deer grazing on their rose and tomato blossoms, not to mention other young plants, might consider getting a guard cow.  Or maybe three or four cows.

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History
11:05 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Traveling Salesman Runs into Pack of Trouble in Gold Hill, Ore.

Audio Pending...
 Traveling sewing machine salesman, H. W. Fountain, must have rued the day he met a girl in Gold Beach, Ore., in 1896. Another admirer, Grant Baxter, threatened to shoot Fountain if he visited her again.

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History
3:10 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Exhausted Pioneer Asks Applegate for Tobacco

 In the spring of 1861, Missouri farmer Floyd Farrar and his wife, Wilmoth (Banta) Farrar, headed West with their infant children, Martha Octavia and John Henry.

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History
7:55 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Linkville, Ore., Fights to Retain County Seat Status

 There was a time when people in Linkville, the precursor to Klamath Falls, had to journey more than 100 miles over the Cascades to reach the county seat in Jacksonville, Ore.  The town of Linkville, population 250, was in Jackson County until Feb. 1, 1875, when the eastern portion of the county became Lake County.  
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History
11:31 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Mighty Wurlitzer Awakens at Egyptian Theater in Coos Bay, Ore.

 The Mighty Wurlitzer awakened at the grand reopening of the 89-year-old Egyptian Theater, which had been closed since 2005.

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