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.

Siskiyou County and many other areas in northern California and Southern Oregon suffered severely in the winter of 1861-62.  Every river swelled over its banks, taking out bridges and wiping out homesteads. And still the rains continued.

No one knew the exact age of Sargent Sambo, but the aged Indian was coherent when interviewed in 1961 by Northern California newspapers.  He said “Sambo” was his father’s name and “Sargent” came from a soldier, but his Indian name was Ah Kee Ah Humpy.

An unusual increase in voter registration before the 1907 elections in Grants Pass, Ore., alerted the city recorder to possible fraud.

Some soldiers at Fort Klamath in the winter of 1867 relieved their boredom by producing a humble, hand-written newspaper they called The Growler.  One of its stories made national news.

Jefferson Public Radio broadcast an As It Was story last month about ballet dancer Janet Reed Erskine, who was born in Tolo, Ore.  The story’s sources identified her as Odette the swan queen in the first full-length American production of Swan Lake.

When the musical titled “Dr. Doolittle” came out in 1967, few people realized how exceptional it was to include 1,200 trained animals in a single movie.  All the animals were supplied by Roy G. Kabat, whose Animal Actors Co. worked with exotic and domestic animals for movies and television and had a small traveling circus.

The Quinn Martin film company approached Siskiyou County rancher Gary Gragnani in 1977 about filming scenes for the TV movie titled “Standing Tall” on Gragnani’s Shasta Spring Ranch in Edgewood, Calif.

In the 1890’s, Charlie Gilmore and a partner had mined out a pocket of gold on Green Creek.  Gilbert used his earnings to build a hotel, store, and livery stable at what became known as Tigertown, Ore.

Mining along Greenhorn Creek south of Yreka, Calif., was very rich from the 1850’s into the early 1900’s.  It has been estimated that a five-mile stretch produced $11 million worth of gold during that time.

The University of Oregon Extension Division held a contest in 1925 for school children to write history essays about their communities for the monthly journal, The Extension Monitor.

Getting to Modoc County from Scotland in the early 1900’s was more by chance than desire.

A Snow Carnival at the south boundary of Crater Lake attracted thousands in the 1920’s and 30’s.  The Crater Lake Ski Club, Pelican Club and other Klamath community organizations helped sponsor the event.  Activities included snowballing, snow races, toboggan and sleigh rides, barefoot races, sled dog races, ski jumping and a homing pigeon race.

Believed to be the first Anglo-American settler in the future Josephine County, Ore., a man named Bates opened the region’s first rustic tavern in 1851 for the occasional traveler at Graves Creek.

Long before strip malls and supermarkets became prominent, an entrepreneur in Klamath Falls offered one-stop shopping for rural Klamath County customers.

While mining continued into the 1860’s and beyond along the Klamath River, gold bearing quartz wasn’t discovered until the 1870’s in Rocky Gulch and the hills west of Henley in Siskiyou County. The best known of these quartz mines was the Jillson, owned by the Hazel Gold Mining Co.

Applegate Farmer Exposes Fake Zebras

Dec 30, 2016

In 1910, the Barnum and Bailey Circus came to Medford, astounding the town with a herd of exotic zebras.  At least one man refused to be fooled by their beautiful black stripes. 

One rainy night in 1912 the Stratton family’s neighbor in West Medford, Ore., Wells Lounsbury, came to their door with a suitcase.  He said he had walked from Central Point but hadn’t found his family at home.

Arthur Shaw’s love of classical music and his desire to share it with others began while in high school. One day while he and other musicians were practicing by the school auditorium, some athletes came clumping by on cleated shoes, interrupting the music.  Shaw determined to do something about it.

Picard, Calif., doesn’t exist today, but in the late 1800’s, it was a small town in California’s Butte Valley south of Klamath Falls. 

Before she died in 1948 in Talent, Ore., Susan Haines Clayton had become one of, and maybe the last, Union Civil War nurses still alive.