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.

Many early-day logging companies around the world used a curious looking piece of equipment called a “Walking Dudley,” described as a power car on rails.

Snow removal at Crater Lake in the 1930’s created pals of Harry “Happy” Fuller and a snowplow machine he named Betsy.

Gold and Timber have played an important role about 25 miles northwest of Grants Pass and three miles downstream from Galice. The location was once the small logging and sawmill camp of Yankville.

During the 1940’s and 50’s Mario Lanza became the most famous operatic tenor of the time.  Lanza admired tenor Enrico Caruso, and in 1951, he played the role of Caruso in the movie titled “The Great Caruso.”

One afternoon in 1905, renowned opera singer Ed Andrews, musical director Charles Hazelrigg and members of his Andrews Opera troupe arrived without fanfare at the Medford, Ore., train station. 
Having traveled by train through the Rogue Valley frequently, they had decided to close their opera company and move to Medford.

When Germany threatened to invade England in the summer of 1940, the British government created the Children’s Overseas Reception Board that sent children to safety in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and the United States.

A photograph in the Medford Mail Tribune of March 16, 1960, shows building contractor Meyers Jones of the Siskiyou Development Co. handing the keys to Merle Van Hoosen, manager of a new roller skating rink.

Before the advent of “talkies” in 1927, silent films entertained audiences with dialogue created by gestures, mime or title cards. At the height of the silent movie era, films without sound were shipped to theaters.

In 1937, a 23-year-old native of Medford, Ore., Robert G. Emmens, joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and five years later co-piloted one of the 16 B-25 bombers in the famous Doolittle Raid on Japan during World War II.

Lake County completed work in 1909 on a new three-story courthouse designed by architect Charles Henry Burggraf.  The main tower contained a clock and chimes built in 1908 by the McShane Bell and Foundry Co.

Music lovers in Medford were entertained in 1902 by an enterprising businessman, H. S. Coss, whose Piano House store offered a series of musicals featuring local men and women performing vocal selections and piano pieces.

A small parcel of land facing California Street in Jacksonville, Ore., has played a major role in the town’s history.

For 11 years, skiers participated in the Crater Lake Wilderness Race.  Twenty-four competed in the first, 42.6-mile course in 1927 that followed the Crater Lake highway from Fort Klamath to Crater Lake Lodge and back with a 2,200-foot elevation change.

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.