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.

Factory equipment left over from an unprofitable Rogue Valley sugar factory in the mid-1900's ended up in the South American country of Uruguay.

The Rogue River Courier reported in June 1911 that a proud mother had just learned that her son had won a prestigious art award.  The newspaper said the New York Art Association had awarded the son, Ralph Stackpole, first prize in a contest and it presciently predicted a “brilliant career.”

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.

The U.S. Congress in 1984 approved designation of the Sky Lakes Wilderness Area high in the Southern Oregon Cascades.

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.

Discovered in the 1890's by Harvey Bowerman of Maine, the King Solomon Mine, located at the head of Matthews Creek on the South Salmon River, became one of Northern California’s major producers.

Ivan Hathaway Jones grew up in Oregon listening to his grandfather tell stories in the German style known as Munchhausen, that takes its name from the exaggerated adventures of a fictional 18th century German nobleman, Baron Munchausen.

One day during the Rogue River War of 1855-56, Henry Chapman and two of his Ashland, Ore., neighbors went hunting for hostile Indians in the nearby hills.  Instead, Chapman tangled with a grizzly bear.  His sister, Victoria Mickelson, told the Oregon Journal in 1924 how it happened.

Like many other gold rush communities in Northern California, Yreka had a substantial Chinese community complete with gaming houses, shops, washhouses, butcher shops, opium dens, a hotel, and a Joss House.  Though the Chinese faced prejudice and discrimination throughout the region, sometimes the whole community came together, particularly during the annual Chinese New Year celebration.

During the U.S. Bicentennial Year of 1976, the founder of Pioneer Village in Jacksonville, Ore., George McUne, organized a Bicentennial Applegate Trail Wagon Train to recreate a piece of Western history.

Grants Pass was once known in Southern Oregon as The Land of the Flaming Tokay, largely through the efforts of a timber and land dealer, W.B. Sherman.

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.

It was a bumper huckleberry year in 1908 in the Cascade Forest Reserve just west of Southern Oregon’s  Crater Lake National Park.

In 1921, unruly sheepherders derisively known as the “wild Irishmen” led their flocks into the newly added lava beds section of the Modoc National Forest, often without permits.  The forest rangers responsible for removing the prohibited sheep did not carry firearms and relied on persuasion to get the herders to cooperate.

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

Actress Edna Skinner and her friend Jean Fish retired in the 1970’s in Coos Bay, Ore, where Skinner built a 6,000-square-foot, boat-shaped house designed by Fish.  The Coos Bay newspaper, The World, has described the house as “one of the South Coast’s architectural marvels.”

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.

Professor Launches Rogue Valley Symphony in 1967

Jan 26, 2017

On Nov. 16, 1967, the Medford Mid High School auditorium rang with the music of Schubert, Bach, Bizet and Tchaikovsky, performed by the brand-new Rogue Valley Symphony.

Lake of the Woods Attracts Vacationers since 1920’s

Jan 25, 2017

Lake of the Woods in Klamath County, Ore., has been a popular vacation spot since the U.S. Forest Service opened a campground there in 1920.

Diaries, journals, and letters provide a glimpse into the realities of life among the early miners and settlers.  Hiram G. Ferris came West at age 24 in 1846 and settled in Yreka, Calif.  His letter home on Dec. 29, 1850, read like this: