Tent City Offers Travelers Lodging

Sep 29, 2015

Medford, Ore., had so many people coming to see the wonders of the Rogue Valley that in 1909 hotel rooms filled early every day, and the Southern Pacific Railroad was allowing people to camp on the station grounds.

In 1910, G. F. Cuthbert took up the challenge. He leased land from the Rogue River Valley Railroad between the tracks on Eighth Street and Washington School, where he constructed a modern tent city.  Each tent was on a platform with screened sides and door and canvas sides that rolled up or down. Electric lights illuminated each tent and the surrounding streets. Cuthbert’s furniture store supplied complete furnishings. A restroom building had modern facilities, and porters dressed in white treated the lodgers like guests in Medford’s finest hotels.

The overflow crowds kept the 26 tents filled for most of the spring and summer of 1910. After some confusion about whether the Railroad really owned the land, the office and restroom buildings were moved off Washington School land, and the tent city prospered again in 1911.

But the real estate boom was going bust and in 1912 the entire tent city and all its furnishings went up for sale.

Sources: "Medford Under Canvas." Southern Oregon History Revised. Ed. Ben Truwe. Mar. 20. Web. 19 Aug. 2015. <http://id.mind.net/~truwe/tina/tents.html>.