As It Was

Classics & News: Mon-Fri • 9:30am & 1pm | News & Information: Mon-Fri • 9:57am

Colorful vignettes dedicated to the regional history of Southern Oregon and Northern California. As It Was is an all volunteer effort -- produced by Raymond Scully and narrated by Shirley Patton in partnership with writers from the Southern Oregon Historical Society.

If you have a writing background and would like to submit an As It Was essay for consideration, email your written piece to

A collection of As It Was essays is available in a high-quality paperback book at the JPR Online Store.  Each episode is also available below.

To make ends meet during the Great Depression of the 1930s, rural families often lived lives similar to their pioneer ancestors, cooking and heating with wood stoves, using kerosene lamps and hauling water.

A small, bustling community emerged at the Wenger Mill as it reached full operation about 1900 at the upper end of Lake Earl, three miles north of Crescent City, Calif.

As young men, Michael Hanley and his brother, John, shared a business shipping goods down the Ohio River to New Orleans.  With the discovery of gold in 1849, they decided to meet in New Orleans, then go West together to make a fortune.  However, the two brothers never met and never spoke again.  Each told a slightly different story about the rift.

Railroad history in Southern Oregon is often thought to have had its beginnings in the 1880s, but the groundwork began nearly 20 years earlier.

James Ivory saw his first movie when he was five at a theater in Klamath Falls, Ore.  Eighty-four years later, he has become the oldest person ever to receive an Oscar at the Academy Awards.

A widower from Maine, Lou Martin, came to the Rogue River Canyon in the late 1920s and lived alone until he died more than 50 years later.  Martin’s wife and baby had died in the flu epidemic in Maine.

Southern Oregon gold miners often gathered after work in saloons to drink and gamble.  Risk takers by nature, the miners couldn’t resist trying to beat the odds.

For nearly a century, Charlie Jensen was known as “Mr. Music” on the Southern Oregon Coast.

On February 27, 1940, more than two inches of rain fell in six hours in Redding, Calif., the storm contributing to seasonal rainfall of more than 42 inches, about twice the normal amount.

Francis Kennedy Hamilton watered circus elephants as a boy and edited Ernest Hemingway’s writing as an adult.

The Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon is well known for its pears, but it also used to produce delicious catsup.

A dispatch about the siege of Skull Bar in 1855 referred to rare Chinese participation in the Rogue River Indian Wars.

The first person buried in the historic Stearns Cemetery on Anderson Creek Road west of Talent, Ore., was Judge Avery P. Stearns.  His nephew, David Stearns, buried the judge in the nephew’s wheat field in 1857.

In 1980, Roseburg, Ore., officials attempted to use enforcement of an ordinance against occult arts to prohibit the opening of a palm-reading shop.

During World War I, men in Klamath Falls, Ore., had to do productive work or risk being arrested for idleness.

Whitewater guide Glen Wooldridge had no equal on the Rogue River, where his witty stories charmed his guests for more than 60 years.  His favorite passengers were women.

George Vaughan grew up in North Bend, Ore., in the roaring 1920s.  From the stories he would tell his kids, he was a man who knew how to have a good time, but sometimes took it a little too far.

In 1906, stage driver Frank Reid was moving in a downpour toward Lakeview, Ore.  Just as he headed downhill into a narrow canyon between steep hills on each side, the Moss Reservoir broke, releasing a torrent of water.

In 1874, Raleigh Scott and his wife, Nettie, came to live on the Southern Oregon Coast, carrying all their possessions on two ponies.  They purchased land in a small valley on the south-facing slope of Rocky Prairie Peak.

In 1908, the Medford Daily Tribune came up with a popularity contest to boost its dwindling circulation, and that of the bi-weekly Southern Oregonian.