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.

Working from a studio in room 401 of her father’s hotel in Klamath Falls, Ore., Maud Baldwin processed thousands of glass-plate photographs that today are a historical treasure.

The curses of lumbermen, ranchers, and Crater Lake tourists inconvenienced by limited railroad track space in Kirk, Ore., may still linger at the once-busy rail crossroad north of Klamath Falls.

Many critics of the flamboyant Western dress and extravagant poetry of Joaquin Miller have also recognized his enthusiasm and contribution to Western literature.

A sealed lead tube containing a document wrapped in oiled silk is buried on Crater Lake’s Wizard Island, lying there undisturbed for 100 years. The Knights of Pythias planted it there when scores of Knights from all over the Northwest and Northern California met on Aug. 18, 1915, to initiate 26 new members. The Knights of Pythias is a fraternal organization that holds members to lofty ideals.

Southeastern Oregon rancher, story teller and author Reub [cq] Long was known as the Sage of Fort Rock in Lake County where he lived most of his life. Since his death in 1974 at age 76, his cowboy philosophy has become legendary.

Sheep provided essential wool clothing for early Oregon pioneers, but only the Hudson’s Bay Company had any sheep.  In 1842 Jacob Leese broke the company’s monopoly by driving a flock of 900 sheep from San Francisco to the Willamette Valley. It was quite a trip.

It was June 1911 when a gang of outlaws learned that robbing trains wasn’t a piece of cake. The desperados halted the California Express near Glendale, Ore., by jumping on board in the middle of the night and threatening to shoot everyone.

The 2,573-pound glob of iron known as the Goose Lake meteorite attracts visitors to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. The meteorite is uniquely covered by enigmatic large holes and cavities.

Newspapers called them the “Tarzans of Dark Hollow.”  In April 1937 the two Harris boys, 14-year-old Robert and 10-year-old David, 10 ran away from home and began living off the land behind their home in Dark Hollow, Ore.

Pregnant Woman Makes Trip to Oregon in 1850

Oct 16, 2015

In 1849 Martha and Garrett Maupin had everything ready for their trek across the Oregon Trail. He’d built the lightweight wagon. She’d sewn the wagon’s double cover, made bags to carry food and clothing, and gathered all they needed for the 2,000-mile journey.

In 1867, George Nurse founded Linkville, Ore., named after the river that links the Klamath Lakes.  City boosters got the name changed to Klamath Falls in 1893. A descendent of Nurse, Earl Sheridan, staked a claim on what he believed were inherited mineral rights, pitched a tent, and stood guard with a shotgun. He stayed on the alert through a bout of appendicitis, but quit when his lawyer determined Nurse had deeded the mineral rights to the city.

The writer Melvin R. Adams notes that Goose Lake, Calif., south of Lakeview, Ore., was a welcome sight for pioneers arriving on the Applegate Trail.

While the concept of the mythical State of Jefferson is popular with some today, a similar separation effort in the 1800’s had more nefarious goals.

California Route 96, variously referred to as the Klamath River Highway, the Bigfoot Scene Byway and the Jefferson State Byway, features a number of historic stops.

With gold fever at high pitch in Southwest Oregon, the Josephine County Bank in Grants Pass attracted attention in May 1911 when it displayed several large chunks of gold-laced quartz.

George Gibbs traveled with Indian Agent Col. Reddick McKee on his 1851 expedition to Northwestern California to meet with tribes and explore the region.  Gibbs’ journal describes some of the customs of the Indians of coastal and inland Northern California. Until the account was published in 1853, little was known about the mountainous region.

Indians killed several cattlemen in 1861 as they drove their livestock across Indian lands near Canby in Northeastern California.  The attack was known as the Evans and Bailey Massacre in the 1870’s.

Despite legislative attempts to change its name to Alder Creek, Bully Creek in Southeastern Malheur County still goes by Bully Creek.

In Jacksonville, Ore., many children died in accidents and disease outbreaks in the early days, including diphtheria in 1859 and smallpox 10 years later.  Eight-year-old Mary Bailey was shot when her older sister tried to take a dangerous gun away from her. Mary Angel was 18 months old in 1858 when she fell into a washtub filled with scalding water and died the next morning.

It was 1965 when Lee Hobbs founded the Blackbird Shopping Center as an army surplus store in Medford.  To attract customers, Hobbs built a huge statue of a blackbird in the parking lot.