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
2:09 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Conservationist Converts Redwood Tree into Motor Home

 

When a redwood tree 11 feet in diameter fell in 1917 on the Eel River of Humboldt County, the Pacific Lumber Company donated it to vaudeville performer Charles “Birdman” Kellogg.  He built a motor home out of the hollowed tree and traveled the East Coast awaking public sentiment against the depletion of Northern California’s giant redwoods.

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History
2:07 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Vaudeville Entertainer Promotes Forest Conservation

 

Born with a unique larynx, Charles “Birdman” Kellogg could sing like a bird, his voice ranging over 12 octaves.  His extraordinary singing and ability to mimic birds and insects made him an international vaudeville star. 

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History
2:06 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Gold Hill Suspension Bridge Provides Swinging

 

Built in the 1880s, Gold Hill’s suspension bridge crossed the Rogue River from Sixth Street. It had wire-webbed sides and wooden floorboards placed over 2-by-4s.  Cables held the swinging bridge in place by attaching to the Hays home and bedrock on the Gold Hill side and to a tree and the Fleming home on the Echo Mountain side.

An old picture shows the suspension bridge looped low toward the middle of the crossing.  Its planks were wide enough for a light, horse-drawn cart, although no sober person would attempt such a feat.

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History
2:05 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Oregon Singer Earns Nickname as “The Prince of Wails”

It is said that singer Johnnie Ray wrote one of his biggest hits, “The Little White Cloud That Cried,” on the banks of the Umpqua River in Roseburg, Ore. He entertained for a time at the Elks Lodge on Jackson Street.

A double-sided, 78 rpm single of “Cry” and “The Little White Cloud That Cried” launched Ray to stardom in 1951. By March of 1952, three Ray songs were among the top six of the national musical charts, including “Cry,”  “Please Mr. Sun,” and “The Little White Cloud.”

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History
8:55 am
Fri December 5, 2014

The Automobile Creates Demand for Roads and Campgrounds

The invention of the automobile required the building of better roads and highways as the number of cars in America increased from 8,000 in 1900 to 40 million by 1930.  Touring motorists packed food, camping gear and their families in the car and began enjoying the freedom of camping anywhere along the roads.  It didn’t take long for communities to begin offering free auto camps.

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History
8:53 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Future Civil War Heroes Pass Through Fort Jones

As a small, isolated garrison in Northern California’s Scott Valley, Fort Jones opened in October 1852. Within two years it contained nine buildings, seven made of mud-daubed logs and two of roughly shaped boards.

Early officers included Lt. J.C. Bonnycastle and Captains Fitzgerald, Bradley Alden, and Henry Judah.

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History
8:52 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Christmas Storm Stocks Umpqua River with Small-Mouth Bass

 

Small-mouth bass are not native to the Umpqua River that flows through Douglas County, Ore. The unusual story of how they were introduced begins with the Christmas flood of 1964.

After a freeze followed a heavy snow, temperatures suddenly increased by 30 to 40 degrees, melting the snow and leaving the soil frozen and impermeable. A storm moved in and dropped 38 inches of rain where the average rainfall in December is 12 inches. These weather extremes all happened around Christmas time.

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History
8:36 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Promoters Exaggerate Oregon Caves in 1890's

 

The Oregon Caves were discovered in 1874, but didn’t get widespread attention until 1888, when promoters generated exaggerated publicity.

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History
8:27 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Two Cities Resist Evangelist’s Tirades in 1910

An Oregon evangelist with a powerful voice, French E. Oliver, converted thousands of people to local Christian churches during month-long preaching campaigns in 1910. His method backfired in at least two cities.

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History
9:17 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Post Offices Dot Jackson County Countryside

 

In the days before good roads and the first automobiles, delivering mail to small groups of settlers scattered over a wide area was a challenge in Southern Oregon.  Post offices sprung up near sparsely settled rural areas that never grew into full-fledged villages. One of them was the Asbestos Post Office located a half mile east of Evans Creek near where Chapman Creek Road and East Evans Creek Road intersect today.

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History
9:14 am
Thu November 27, 2014

Beckie’s Café Attracts Visitors to Crater Lake

Beckie’s Café, in Union Creek, Ore., is a popular stop for visitors going or returning from Crater Lake on Oregon Route 62.

Edmond and Nettie Beckelhymer, relocating to Southern Oregon from Imperial, Calif., established a restaurant in 1926 at Union Creek on the road to Crater Lake. Ed Beckelhymer, nicknamed “Beckie,” was an auto mechanic and built a service station next door to the restaurant.  His wife, Nettie, cooked at what became known as “Beckie’s Place.”

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History
9:12 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Indians Hunt and Gather Berries on Payne Cliffs near Phoenix, Ore.

The high, sandstone Payne Cliffs overlook the Fern Valley across Interstate 5 from Phoenix, Ore.  Named after a pioneer family, the cliffs are part of the sediment deposited by stream erosion for more than 65 million years.  Prehistoric petrified logs and wood are exposed in the south-facing cliffs that reach 2,575 feet above sea level.

American Indians hunted and gathered berries on the higher elevations for about 12,000 years.

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History
9:11 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Moonshiner’s Booze Christens Klamath Falls Street Car

 

In 1927 Klamath Falls was the center of a serious bootlegging industry during the Prohibition Era.

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History
9:10 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Illinois Valley Miners Write Oregon’s first Mining Code

 

After sailors jumped ship in Crescent City, Calif., they discovered gold inland just south of Cave Junction, Ore., and east of O’Brien in the Illinois Valley.  The mining area became known as Sailor’s Diggings until it grew into the large gold-mining settlement of Waldo, named after William Waldo, the Whig Party candidate for governor of California. 

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History
11:54 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Ross Dollarhide Enters Buckaroo Hall of Fame

 

Born in 1886 in Phoenix, Ore., Ross Dollarhide spent his early years on a ranch at the Siskiyou Mountains summit.  As a young man, he rode alone on horseback and eventually ended up in Harney County.

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History
11:53 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Locomobile Replaces Stage on the Road to the Klamath Hot Springs

 

It made headlines in San Francisco in 1911 when the Klamath Hot Springs Hotel in Beswick, Calif., purchased a seven-passenger Locomobile to replace its horse-drawn stage on the 22-mile road connecting the hotel with the railroad station in Ager, Calif.

The San Francisco Call said the stage had carried fishermen up the Klamath River for 25 years “because of the popularity of the (hot) springs” and nearby streams filled with fat trout. 

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History
11:50 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Hotels Once Attracted Guests to Klamath Hot Springs

“Keeping Travel” was an expression for hosting travelers when Richard Beswick and his wife bought property in the 1860s from homesteader A.M. Johnson along the California-Oregon Stage Road on the southeast bank of the Klamath River. Johnson, who raised cattle, horses, and trapped along the river, maintained good relations with the Indians who hunted and fished on the property. 

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History
11:49 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Master German Gunsmith Moves to Jacksonville, Ore.

A master gunsmith from Bavaria, Germany, John Miller, came to the United States at the age of 20 in 1830.  He found employment in New Jersey for several years, where he married Mary Smith Smutz, who had also emigrated with her family from Baden, Germany. Together, the couple would raise eight children.

After moving to Burlington, Iowa, which was a frontier outfitting town, tales of the West lured the Millers to Jacksonville, Ore.

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History
11:47 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Debbs Potts Builds Pottsville Museum near Merlin, Ore

 

The co-founder of the Southern Oregon Historical Society, Eugene “Debbs” Potts, also built the Historic Pottsville Museum north of Merlin, Ore.  He started work on the museum in 1959 in conjunction with the Oregon Centennial celebrations.

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History
11:52 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Single Redwood Tree Yields Lumber for 36-room Motel

 

Tom Wyllie’s idea was to build an entire motel from a single tree. 

Wyllie fell a curly-grained redwood in 1952 near the Klamath River. Eighteen feet in diameter at the base, the tree yielded 57,000 board feet of lumber.  The huge tree was cut into five logs so big they had to be quartered to haul them to mills, yielding enough lumber, with plenty left over for future additions, to build the 36-room Curly Redwood Lodge in Crescent City, Calif.

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