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.

When the U.S. Mint asked Gov. Ted Kulongoski to come up with something to serve as an iconic image of the state, he took his wife’s advice.

Most historians trace the beginning of Southern Oregon’s Rogue Indian Wars to a massacre of peaceful Indians by white miners and other malcontents.

Do horses talk?  How about mules?

It has been said that American Indians and grizzly bears shared dominion of the West Coast before the arrival of Euro-American emigrants in the 19th century.

Indigenous people have gathered berries and medicinal plants, hunted, fished and socialized since time immemorial on Huckleberry Mountain just west of present-day Crater Lake National Park.

Factory equipment left over from an unprofitable Rogue Valley sugar factory in the mid-1900's ended up in the South American country of Uruguay.

One day during the Rogue River War of 1855-56, Henry Chapman and two of his Ashland, Ore., neighbors went hunting for hostile Indians in the nearby hills.  Instead, Chapman tangled with a grizzly bear.  His sister, Victoria Mickelson, told the Oregon Journal in 1924 how it happened.

It was a bumper huckleberry year in 1908 in the Cascade Forest Reserve just west of Southern Oregon’s  Crater Lake National Park.

Actress Edna Skinner and her friend Jean Fish retired in the 1970’s in Coos Bay, Ore, where Skinner built a 6,000-square-foot, boat-shaped house designed by Fish.  The Coos Bay newspaper, The World, has described the house as “one of the South Coast’s architectural marvels.”

A century-old picture postcard shows ice skaters standing nearly motionless on Lake Ewauna at Klamath Falls, Ore.  The postcard is part of the Klamath County Museum collection.  Some skaters apparently froze in place so they wouldn’t be blurred in the photograph.

Sixty-nine years ago Dennis Bambauer learned he was an ethnic Japanese when he was whisked by armed military police from his Los Angeles orphanage to the Manzanar Japanese Internment camp in Southern California. It was the spring of 1942, a few months after Pearl Harbor, and the government forced all West Coast Japanese and Japanese-Americans into detention camps to avoid espionage or other collaboration with the enemy.

The Medford Mail Tribune reflected the town’s excitement in describing the dedication of the first municipally owned airfield in Oregon on Sept. 6, 1920.  The newspaper article’s first sentence said, “Beautiful in its sentiment, spectacular in its thrill-features and record-breaking locally in its immense assemblage of humanity and autos, the dedication of Medford's army aviation field and the christening of it as Newell Barber Field yesterday afternoon was successful beyond the most sanguine expectations.”

It’s been more than a century and a half since the miners of 1849 headed from Shasta to Whiskeytown, Calif., to celebrate the holidays. 

It’s not known exactly how many people died in the Labor Day weekend fire that swept through the 50-room Houston Hotel in Klamath Falls, Ore., early in the morning of Sept, 6, 1920.  Officials buried at least 14 bodies, making it the deadliest in Klamath Falls history.  The exact number of dead is unknown because some remains were too damaged to be positively identified as human.

An Ashland historian is collecting stories about the early history of Girl Scout Camp Low Echo, opened at the end of World War II on the shore of Southern Oregon’s Lake of the Woods.

The Rogue Valley International Airport in Medford, Ore., has been international in name only since 2003.

A 1916 article in the Klamath Falls Evening Herald described how tears flowed as people watched the sheriff smash with an axe 168 bottles of “good Wieland’s beer and four kegs of dago red and gin” that drained into Lake Ewauna.

When a horse fatally kicked Breckenridge Wooldridge in the head in 1864, he was buried on William Miller’s property. That marked the first internment in the Missouri Flat pioneer cemetery that today occupies some three acres off North Applegate Road.

Invasive bait fish called the tui chub have returned to Diamond Lake again, most likely brought there by rainbow trout fishermen using live bait fish.

No one has seen a Franklin’s Bumble Bee since 2006.

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