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 the Southern Oregon Historical Society at publicrelations@sohs.org.

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

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History
1:00 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Helitankers Help Suppress Oregon Fires

 

For years Oregon’s summer fires have not only destroyed stands of valuable timber, but also damaged the regional economy.  In the 1960's, an average of 414 fires annually were burning 5,660 acres and costing some $243,000 to extinguish.

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History
1:00 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Williams, Ore., Takes Name from Indian War Volunteer

 

Williams, Ore., started as a mining community in 1859.  It was first known as Williamsburg, after nearby Williams Creek.

The creek’s name refers to Captain Robert Williams, who was commander of the Althouse Mounted Volunteers during the Rogue River Indian Wars. The Volunteers was a group of 30 miners and settlers based in rural Josephine County near today’s Cave Junction who joined up on Aug. 24, 1853, with Williams as captain.

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History
1:00 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Fire Rushes through Etna, Calif., in 1896

 

“The cry of fire was sounded at about 1:30 o’clock this morning,” the Scott Valley County Reporter newspaper wrote on March 16, 1896.  “It aroused the slumbering people of the town (of Etna, Calif.), who, half awake and half clad, rushed from all directions on to Main Street to find that Mrs. Mani’s hotel and saloon building was in flames and past all hope of being saved.”

Quickly the flames consumed more wooden buildings, including Emmel Miller’s brick store and the Odd Fellows Hall.

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History
2:24 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Hog Fire of 1987 Scorches 260,000 Acres in Northern California

 There are forest fires … and there are forest fires.  The Hog Fire of 1987 especially comes to mind in Northern California.  

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History
2:24 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Fire of 1871 Destroys Yreka, Calif.

 Yreka, Calif., suffered terribly in what is known as the “great fire of 1871.”  It was the same year as the disastrous Chicago fire, and for residents it became a landmark in time.

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History
2:22 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Woodcutter Works Hard; Cheats Even Harder in Curry County

 Here’s a tall tale from Curry County recounted by Bill Wallace for the Curry Historical Society.  It goes like this:

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History
2:23 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Medford Conservationist Inspires Camp White Wildlife Area

  Camp White spread across 77 square miles in the Agate Desert north of Medford, Ore., during the Second World War.  Torn down after the war, most of the buildings were sold and hauled away, except for those that became the White City Department of Veterans Affairs Domiciliary.

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History
2:22 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Oregon Spotted Frog Stirs Enviornmental Controversy

  Pity the Oregon spotted frog.  Non-native fishes and big bullfrogs are eating them, cattle stomp on their meadows and invasive grasses and other plants cover their former range.  Now they’re becoming the center of controversy as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service moves to list them under the Endangered Species Act.

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History
2:20 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Youth Orchestras Offer Opportunity in Rogue Valley

 Music teachers and Rogue Valley Symphony members joined in 1988 in creating the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon, a place to learn and to play orchestral literature.  Its first concert was in Ashland.

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History
2:20 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Public Radio Series "As It Was" Airs 2,500th Episode

  Twenty-two years ago, the Southern Oregon Historical Society began producing a series of historical stories for the Jefferson Public Radio series titled “As It Was, Tales from the Mythical State of Jefferson.”  Today the program airs its 2,500th episode since the series resumed in 2004. 

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History
2:18 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Government Promotes Depression Area Mining Schools

 Faced with finding jobs for the unemployed in the heart of the depression in 1933 in mineral rich Josephine County, Ore., the state found an answer.  It created a state-sponsored vocational mining school in Grants Pass, where graduates would get a $50 grubstake from the state. Miners, in return, reported their findings to the state’s new Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.  The information helped create detailed mineral maps of Josephine County.

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History
2:18 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Poor Sidewalks Rule Out Free Home Mail Delivery

  Forty-three years after the first post office opened in Klamath Falls, Ore., postmen in 1914 still weren’t making free home mail deliveries.  A Klamath Falls Evening Herald story of Aug. 15, 1914, indicated the lack of free home delivery was due more to the condition of the town than any reluctance of the post office.  The newspaper story says:  “While the receipts of the Klamath Falls postoffice [sic] are more than enough to justify the free delivery of mail, there is not much chance of this service being inaugurated here by Uncle Sam until the sidewalks are connected up and made more thorough throughout the city, according to D.E. Wood, postoffice inspector.  “Wood also claims that all of the houses are not numbered, and says that until this is attended to, the getting of free delivery will be greatly hampered.  He will make his report to the Postoffice Department.  “According to Wood, if the downtown section of town fully complies with the requirements of the department, it is possible that free delivery will be started there, and the outskirts will be provided with mail as they grow and put in the necessary sidewalks, lights and numbers.” .

  Source: "Says We Need Sidewalks." Klamath Falls Evening Herald 15 Aug. 1914: 1. Web. 15 Aug. 2014.

History
2:17 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Death Notices Fill Box in Historical Society Archives

A box inside the archives of the Southern Oregon Historical Society contains hundreds of black bordered funeral notices families sent to friends and relatives in Jacksonville, Ore., from 1862 through the early 1900s.

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History
2:17 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Hayfork, Calif., Figures Prominently through Time

  Hayfork, Calif., is off the beaten path, but with a population of only 2,400 it ranks as the second largest town in Northern California’s Trinity County. Settled in 1851 during the California Gold Rush, it was first known as Kingsbury or Kingsberrys, then South Fork, followed by Hay Town.  It became Hayfork in 1854, its name derived from the hay and food grains produced along the North Fork of the South Fork of the Trinity River.

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History
2:16 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Government Agencies Protect Mountain's Biodiversity

 Eight Dollar Mountain has towered over humans for as long as they have lived in Southern Oregon. Only recently known by its name, the Eight Dollar Mountain is an important landmark for the residents of the Josephine County town of Kerby. 

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History
10:50 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Grants Pass Violinist Stars in Symphonies Movies and on Broadway

  The first line of an article in the Medford, Ore., paper of March 15, 1936 reads, “Appearing as a soloist…with the Medford (Oregon) Junior Symphony is Marcia Van Dyke, 13 year-old Grants Pass Violinist.”

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History
10:49 am
Thu September 11, 2014

1000 Friends of Oregon Watch Over Land-Use Legislation

 Oregon’s environmentally minded Gov. Tom McCall championed bipartisan passage of Oregon’s pioneering land-use legislation in 1973. He called it “the brightest jewel in the Oregon diadem of innovations.”  The next year McCall and other prominent Oregonians founded a private, non-profit association called the 1000 Friends of Oregon to watch over the new program. One of its founders was the editor of the Medford Mail Tribune, Eric Allen Jr.  The vice president of the citizen council was Allen Bateman of Klamath Falls.

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History
10:49 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Modern Grocery Shopping Comes to Medford, Ore.

  Today’s shoppers wheel carts through stores and head for the cash register.  It wasn’t always that way in Southern Oregon.

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History
10:46 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Ashland, Ore., Forensics Lab Director Writes Crime Novels

The man who heads the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Forensic Laboratory in Ashland, Ore, wears two hats. 

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History
10:46 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Stranded Dutchman Dies in Snow Storm on Siskiyou Peak

 Dutchman Peak, west of Mount Ashland, was named for a German immigrant who died on the mountain in about 1870.  A ranger in the Applegate District, Lee Port, recorded his oral history in 1945 of the story.

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