As It Was: Gold Hill Elects Southern Oregon’s first Female City Councilor

Nov 7, 2017

A popular Gold Hill restaurant owner, Cora Truax, became the first woman to serve on a city council in Southern Oregon and one of the first Oregon women to hold office after their enfranchisement in 1912.

The state’s leading newspapers headlined news of her election victory, from the Medford Mail Tribune and Ashland Tidings to Portland’s Morning Oregonian and the Hood River News, to mention a few.

Truax and her husband, Wesley, owned the Gold Hill Café on Fourth Street across from the railroad tracks, attracting diners to its home-style atmosphere.  Wesley was involved in several other businesses, including real estate and merchandizing.

Oregon passed women’s suffrage in 1912, allowing women the right to vote and hold public office.   Truax, prominent in the suffrage movement prior to being enfranchised, ran for the City Council in 1913.  She managed the restaurant by herself for many years and was known as a keen businesswoman well informed on current events.

Women who had organized before the election to demand public improvements helped propel her to victory, casting half the votes in the election.
 

Sources: Powers, Dennis. Images of America Gold Hill. Charleston, SC, Arcadia Publishing, 2010, pp. 44-45; "Mrs. Truax  First Council Woman in Southern Oregon." Medford Mail Tribune, 10 Apr. 1913, p. 6, https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/history/medfordmail/. Accessed 18 Oct. 2017;  "Women Play Roles." Morning Oregonian, 10 Apr. 1913, p. 3, https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/history/medfordmail/. Accessed 18 Oct. 2017; "Gold Hill Elects Woman for Council." Ashland Tidings, 10 Apr. 1913, p. 4, https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/history/medfordmail/. Accessed 18 Oct. 2017; "Councilwoman is Elected." Hood River News, 16 Apr. 1913, p. 6, https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/history/medfordmail/. Accessed 18 Oct. 2017.

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