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.

Giuseppe “Joe” Mancini was born in Casino, Italy, in 1879.  He became a shoemaker and, after joining the Italian army to serve his mandatory one-year service, left in 1902 for America.  Mancini’s wife, Carolina Cosentino, and their 4-month-old baby boy remained in Italy.

A dapper young man in a green-banded hat worked a clever scheme in Jackson and Josephine counties, taking advantage of 1913 technology.

Recently discovered chrome deposits gained importance as European tank production increased the demand for steel during World War I.  The demand continued to grow when the United States entered the war in 1917, creating job opportunities for miners in Northern California.

Invasive bait fish called the tui chub have returned to Diamond Lake again, most likely brought there by rainbow trout fishermen using live bait fish.

The University of Oregon’s first basketball All-American was Edwin Russell Durno, who was born in 1899 on a farm near Albany, Ore.

In 1893, before there were National Forests to manage public lands, homesteaders could claim timberland.  Near Spikenard, Ore., along East Evans Creek, two men coveted the same piece of property.

It’s hard to imagine having to tote groceries home, especially in winter, in a little red wagon.  But that is what Al Capovilla did every Saturday when his grandmother, Gusippina Bombini, went shopping downtown.

No one has seen a Franklin’s Bumble Bee since 2006.

Life during World War II, even in rural Siskiyou County, Calif., was filled with sacrifices.  For the Italian immigrants who had settled in the area years before the war, it was especially trying.

Vehicle parking has always been a problem in small towns.  Some motorists in Ashland, Ore., sport bumper stickers lamenting the lack of parking places. The city recently doubled overtime parking fines from $11 to $22.

The Red Special train rolled into Grants Pass one Sunday evening. The engine wasn’t painted red, but everyone knew during the presidential campaign of 1908 that the red bunting draped along its sides meant Socialist candidate Eugene Debs was in town.

Gus Newbury was the Jackson County school superintendent for seven years, followed by a successful law career. In spite of Newbury’s prestige, his friend Court Hall challenged him in the Medford Mail Tribune to a mock spelling match at the Elks Club.

In 1845, Hoy Flournoy emigrated from Missouri to Douglas County and a year later joined a Jesse Applegate survey party that slowly moved south for six months.

Ashland and Guanajuato, Mexico, have developed cultural and people-to-people ties since becoming sister cities 47 years ago.  For thousands of years before that, migratory birds from the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion have connected the two cities by spending their winters in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Oriental.

In the late 1800’s, Klamath County acquired Old Blue, its first railroad steam locomotive.

From its founding in 1915 until it was closed in 2010, the Butte Falls Hatchery raised millions of young salmon and steelhead.  If the Butte Falls School District gets its way, the property will be converted into an outdoor nature lab for its students.

The Rogue River Courier reported on how the city marshal got cold feet during a shooting at the Glendale, Ore., Depot that nearly got four men killed in 1908.

Free mail delivery came to Klamath Falls in September 1916.

The actress Grace Andrews married Conro Fiero in Medford in 1910. When their orchard crop failed in 1914, he found a diplomatic job in Washington, D. C., and she worked as a code-breaker at the State Department.

The Bidwell Mansion State Park covers nearly 20 percent of the city of Chico.  The park brochure says the three-story, 26-room mansion “embodies a great love story—of a man for his land and for his wife, and of the couple’s mutual love for … California.”