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 mrkrt@ashlandhome.net.

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.

The thousands of people who each year try ascending Mount Shasta might want to consider an early climber’s hair-raising encounter with one of the mountain’s frequent rockfalls.

In July 1930, Ernest Schneider’s favorable first impressions of Illahe swayed him to remain in the remote settlement, despite its inconveniences.  Present-day Illahe remains an hour’s drive from Powers or Gold Beach, Ore.

The Southern Oregon coastal town of Gold Beach remained isolated for more than half a century after its founding in 1863.  Its harbor was considered a hazard to navigation, and Curry County didn’t have a single mile of a main roadway until 1878.

The 400-pound, 117-year-old bell didn’t look very stable in its wood-frame belfry, so Rector Anthony Hutchinson of the Trinity Episcopal Church in Ashland, Ore., sent it by train to Indiana for repair.

A motorist obeying all speed zones can drive nonstop from Portland to Sacramento in 9 hours and 30 minutes.  Coffee, rest area, and lunch breaks might add another hour to the trip.  Compare that with 1860, when the first stage line opened between the two cities, offering a trip of six days and seven hours to cover the 710-mile route.

Emigrating from Iowa with his family by covered wagon in 1859, Hiram Leonard Niles lived in Boise, Idaho, and Sonoma County, Calif., before marrying and settling down in Shasta County.

The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion established several “firsts” during World War II.

For many years, Dr. Charles Pius practiced medicine in Yreka, Calif.

Judge John Grider arrived in Siskiyou County in 1888 to visit his mother in Scott Valley.

It is said that the McCully House in Jacksonville has been haunted by a “friendly, calming” gentleman sitting in a chair.  Some who say they sighted him believe he is the ghost of the original owner of the house, Dr. John McCully.

In 1917, a justice of the peace in Medford, Ore., had second thoughts after sentencing Bert
Rippey of Tolo, Ore., to 25 days in jail or a fine of $100 for selling salmon without a license.

Historian Kay Atwood reports that back in the early 1900s, President Theodore Roosevelt was already familiar with comfort camping.  These days it’s called “glamping,” or glamorous camping.

The Benevolent Order of Elks Lodge facing the corner of Central Avenue and Fifth Street in downtown Medford, Ore., is a good example of Beaux Arts architecture.

In 1852, eight-year-old William J. Bidwell emigrated with his family from Wisconsin to California. They first settled at Horsetown in Shasta County. The father, John Bidwell, mined during the winter of 1852, became a blacksmith and wagon maker, and in 1858 moved the family to a 160-acre farm in western Shasta County.

Grants Pass became a major recreation getaway in the early 20th century thanks to the coming of the railroad, the opening of the Oregon Caves Highway, and the enthusiasm of citizens, primarily the town’s Commercial Club.  The city responded by giving priority to making visitors and residents as comfortable as possible.

An article in the Medford Mail Tribune 100 years ago said a group of 19 climbers known as the “Grizzlies” attempted to name a Siskiyou mountain “Steel” in honor of William Gladstone Steel of Medford, Ore.

Southern Oregon’s Central Point Herald lent support to community promotional schemes in the 1910s.  Nearly every weekly issue offered local verse touting area’s wonders.  Here’s one by regular contributor Charley L. Gant:

Replacing ferries by bridges increased travel and accessibility in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

Here’s a story from the Klamath Falls Evening Herald of Dec. 11, 1913, about a homesteader who had two wives – at the same time.

In 1909, Charles D. Willson obtained the first use-permit from the Crater National Forest and built a small hotel on 10.4 acres at Rocky Point on the northwest shore of Upper Klamath Lake.

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