Lynda Demsher

As It Was Contributor

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. During the 1990s and early 2000s she taught high school English in Redding. She lived in Alturas, California for 15 years where she ran the Adult Education program for the Modoc Joint Union High School District until her retirement. She has been an occasional contributor to the Modoc Record, and a volunteer for Modoc's High Plateau Humane Society and the Friends of the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge, among other non-profit organizations in that small community needing someone to do public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography. She moved to Grants Pass in early 2015 to be closer to family and the coast, where she and her husband keep a fishing boat ready for the salmon run.

In December 1917, a Grants Pass woman shattered a glass ceiling, but not in the political sense.

How the desert road stop on Hwy 395 got the name Wagontire remains as unanswered today as it was in 1903 when the Lake County Examiner newspaper told its story.

Described as one of the most daring and spectacular highwaymen in the Pacific Northwest, John Austin Hooper was certainly prolific.

A Rogue River Courier newspaper article from 1913 affords a glimpse of the decline of commercial fishing on the Rogue River.

Moving goods beyond the railroad’s reach between Southern Oregon and California was a dirty and dangerous job requiring sturdy horses and mules.

An Army Corps of Engineers worker at Crater Lake warned in November 1915 that tourists should expect to see lots of bears by spring time.

Here’s a story from the Klamath Falls Evening Herald of Dec. 11, 1913, about a homesteader who had two wives – at the same time.

A well-used bridge across the Illinois River south of Cave Junction near Takilma, Ore., was blown up around the turn of the 20th century by a Josephine county commissioner who unilaterally declared it unsafe.

A superabundance of “Medford (distilled) spirit” was blamed for several phony searches for illegally caught fish near Grants Pass in 1913.

Rich placer gold discoveries in 1852 attracted miners to an isolated area near the Rogue River some 25 miles northwest of Grants Pass.

In the early days of mapping, between 1907 and 1930, there were plenty of places left to name in the Rogue River National Forest.  Employees had to come up with something to call the remaining streams, gaps and peaks without official names.

Better Baby contests were popular at county and state fairs in early 20th century Oregon, reflecting an emerging interest in eugenics, the science of genetics and how it affects social problems.

Amos Earle Voorhies came to Oregon from Michigan looking for work as a journalist in 1891.

Present-day Tokay Heights is a meandering street in the hills of Grants Pass, Ore., between Interstate 5 and Foothill Boulevard.  In 1908, it was a 350-acre tract of land owned by vintner W.B. Sherman, known at the time as the “Grape King.”

They’d been talking for at least 10 years about the need for a free public library before the 11 women appeared before the Grants Pass City Council in May 1913.

Blinded in the prime of life, George Spencer could no longer work as a logger or gold miner.  In 1922, when paralysis of the optic nerve rendered him sightless, he opened a newsstand in a shack on Sixth Street in Grants Pass.

The Golden Drift Dam, constructed a few miles upriver from Grants Pass, Ore., by the Ament family in 1902, was anything but golden.  The concrete structure’s purpose was to provide power and water to the Aments’ Golden Drift mining project as well as irrigation water for farmers.

In 1910, Grants Pass parties sometimes made the front page of the local paper.  They included dances, but more often were organized around a picnic and games aimed at getting young men and women together.

Although they do not appear to have much in common, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Caveman Bridge in Grants Pass share a common characteristic.  Each has been declared a portal to the Redwood Empire, the Golden Gate the southern entrance and the Caveman the northern.

A boy growing up in the mining country of Southern Oregon’s Illinois Valley had plenty of opportunity to get into mischief.  Orval Robertson was no exception.  While his father was busy trying to strike it rich, Robertson, born in 1891, had the run of the mining camps.

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