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

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.



9:31 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Medford Turns All Out for Baseball between the "Fats" and the "Leans"

Episode 2363
  In June of 1911, the city of Medford held a comically named and well advertised baseball game. For weeks the Medford Sun and Medford Mail Tribune promoted the game between the “Fats” and the “Leans.”  One newspaper declared, “If you're fat you'll get lean and if you're lean you'll get your money's worth.”

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9:09 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Mountain Community of Dudley, Ore., Becomes a Memory

Episode 2361
 Four Spencer brothers moved their families from Pennsylvania to Oregon in 1905 to take advantage of the Homestead Act. The Spencers and other families staked their claims in deep woods atop a 4,000-foot ridge six miles north of Butte Falls, Ore.

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8:52 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Blackstone Audio Grows from Living Room to Large Ashland Complex

Episode 2359
 Blackstone founder Craig Black and his wife, Michelle, started their audio book business in their living room in Medford, Ore., in 1987. They later moved to Ashland and enlisted Oregon Shakespeare Festival actors to narrate books on tape.

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8:45 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Siskiyou Valley Mines Yield Cinnabar, the Primary Ore of Mercury

Episode 2358
 The Barton and Lange Mine operated on the Klamath River in Siskiyou Valley, some four miles west of Oak Bar in the Oak Bar Mining District.  Discovered in 1890 by owners J.A. Barton and company, the mine covered 60 acres at an elevation of 1,855 feet. 

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8:37 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Bureau of Reclamation Rescues Bear Creek Irrigation Crisis

Episode 2357
 Three irrigation districts in Southern Oregon first realized in the 1930s that their infrastructure was deteriorating.  Founded years earlier as private companies, they also realized they couldn’t afford the expense of preserving the orchards and fields of the Rogue Basin.

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8:28 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Robert Vinton Beall Plants Heritage Tree in 1864

Episode 2356

 In 1864, Robert Vinton Beall planted a sapling black walnut tree in the yard of his newly constructed house east of Jacksonville. Today the Beall Black Walnut, an Oregon Heritage Tree and one of the largest of its kind in America, stands sentinel to 150 years of Oregon history, some forged by the Beall family.

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8:17 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Sheriff Tires of Insanity Charade, Drags Wife-Killer to the Gallows

Episode 2355
 A long-time resident of Merlin, Ore., Charles Fiester, was convicted on Oct. 5, 1895, and sentenced to hang for drowning his wife, Nancy, in a shallow pool of water in the presence of his young children.  He had said he tried to drown himself, too. Fiester’s lawyer appealed the case to the Oregon Supreme Court, and the hanging was postponed.

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1:58 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

First-Time Coach Takes Girls to State Championship

Episode 2354
 When he started an after-school program for disadvantaged youths in 1998, Tom Cole of Kids Unlimited never envisioned that one day he would become a successful high school basketball coach. However, he did create boys and girls basketball programs at Kids Unlimited.
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1:56 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Pinehurst School History Dates Back to 1908

Episode 2353
 In 1908, neighbors eager to educate their children in the Green Springs area about 20 miles east of Ashland Ore., worked together to build a one-room schoolhouse along the Emigrant Trail. A path led to a “one-holer” out back.  The school, named after nearby Beaver Creek, had two-seater desks, a wood stove, a water bucket and dipper, and a blackboard.  Soon, it was remodeled to state standards, including an upgraded wood stove.
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2:07 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Women Cross Frozen Lake Afoot to Get Mail

Episode 2352

Homesteaders who staked their claim along the western shore of Upper Klamath Lake often found themselves isolated from society at large for weeks on end – particularly during winter months.

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