Luana (Loffer) Corbin

As It Was Contributor

Luana (Loffer) Corbin was born and raised in Jackson County in the Phoenix area.  Her parents owned a farm and fruit orchard, and she spent her childhood in the country.  After graduating from St. Mary’s High School in Medford, Corbin enrolled at Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years.  She considered teaching at a small country school as a wonderful experience that helped her appreciate regional history.  After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.

Children and learning are her passions.  She lives with her husband, Richard, and a black lab, Kelly, on a small farm outside Phoenix.

Jefferson Public Radio broadcast an As It Was story last month about ballet dancer Janet Reed Erskine, who was born in Tolo, Ore.  The story’s sources identified her as Odette the swan queen in the first full-length American production of Swan Lake.

A Snow Carnival at the south boundary of Crater Lake attracted thousands in the 1920’s and 30’s.  The Crater Lake Ski Club, Pelican Club and other Klamath community organizations helped sponsor the event.  Activities included snowballing, snow races, toboggan and sleigh rides, barefoot races, sled dog races, ski jumping and a homing pigeon race.

Arthur Shaw’s love of classical music and his desire to share it with others began while in high school. One day while he and other musicians were practicing by the school auditorium, some athletes came clumping by on cleated shoes, interrupting the music.  Shaw determined to do something about it.

Born in 1916 in Tolo, Ore., Janet Reed Erskine remembered being in a pageant at age six, more interested in her new dress than anything else, until she got in front of the audience.  She loved to perform.

Grants Pass merchants raised enough money in 1907 to bring R. L. Berry to town as a highlight to their “Great Industrial and Irrigation Fair.”  Berry had lived in Grants Pass as a youngster and the city felt honored to welcome back a local boy who had dazzled crowds in Portland as a hot air balloon aeronaut.

On December 7, 1941, the USS Tennessee was berthed on Battleship Row in Pearl Harbor next to the USS West Virginia and the USS Arizona. Seventeen-year-old Boyd Gibson was on the Tennessee getting ready to go on liberty and head to town at 8 a.m.

An 18-year-old editor, Edward Robison, began publishing a newspaper in January 1892 to provide news coverage and reading material for the small town of Talent, Ore.

As early as 1931, the Medford Winter Pear Committee was trying to market pears across the United States, including presentations in Detroit and New York.  Stores showed enthusiasm and that fall Washington pear growers joined Oregon in creating the Oregon-Washington Pear Bureau.  Its major goal was to improve the market promotion of winter pear varieties.

The University of Oregon’s first basketball All-American was Edwin Russell Durno, who was born in 1899 on a farm near Albany, Ore.

In the late 1800’s, Klamath County acquired Old Blue, its first railroad steam locomotive.

The cartoonist who drew the original Donald Duck character for Walt Disney, Carl Barks, was born in 1901 on a farm in Merrill, Ore.  When he was 17, he tried to get a job as a newspaper cartoonist in San Francisco, but failed and returned to Oregon.

Vernon Bookwalter began flying in 1919 with flight certificate No. 82 signed by Orville Wright.

The first person to say he had seen sea serpent tracks in Lake County’s alkaline Lake

For nearly 70 years, hamburger enthusiasts in Medford, Ore., frequented the little stand on the corner of Sixth and Riverside streets known as Dell’s Hamburgers. 

The Rogue Valley has always been known for its agricultural crops.  The farmland around Talent contains many orchards and gardens producing fruits and vegetables sold locally and around the world.

Surprisingly, Al Simpson did not play football when he was in high school in Eureka, Calif. 

As summer progressed in the Rogue Valley in 1903, the pear crop ripened for harvest and orchardists sought packers to ensure safe shipment to customers.  Local women provided most of the seasonal workforce, many working year after year from late summer to late fall alongside other family members and neighbors to assure top quality fruit. 

In 1942, the U.S. Army constructed Camp White Station Hospital as part of its World War II training facilities.  The two-story brick building was one of the largest and best equipped military hospitals in the state.  Compared with the number of military men, the female military nurse’s unit seemed small, but its importance far exceeded its numbers.

Known as the “artesian well” in the early 1900’s, a free-flowing spring ran through an orchard off Colver Road between Phoenix and Talent, Ore.

Outstanding music teachers have been coming to Ashland, Ore., for 28 years for the American Band College summer directors training.  Each year they form a band that offers a public concert at the Ashland High School stadium that accompanies the city’s Fourth of July fireworks show.

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