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.

Word of a major gold strike on the Fraser River of Canada in 1857 reached gold camps as far away as the Illinois Valley of Southern Oregon.  Mining had become hard work and Herman Reinhart was ready to move on to richer strikes.

A showman from the Rogue Valley, Don Haynes, twice attracted public attention more than 60 years ago, and then disappeared from public view.

In 1940, two youth gangs engaged in a duel at Gold Beach, Ore.

Celebrating a birthday in the 1960s and 70s in Southern Oregon was always special if you got a pink champagne birthday cake from the Rogue Bakery in Phoenix, Ore.  The shop along South Pacific Highway was owned by Dick and Lillian Hendrix, who had operated bakeries from Alaska to Wyoming.

On Feb. 27, 1940, 2.5 inches of rain fell in six hours in Redding, Calif.  The following day, rising flood waters closed three bridges leading out of town, including the north end of the newly constructed Market Street bridge, the east approach to the Free Bridge, and both approaches to the Diestelhorst Bridge.

During the early 1900s thousands of cattle and sheep grazed on U.S. Forest Service land in the Modoc National Forest.

If Lillian Parson were still manager of the War Eagle Mine in northern Jackson County, as she had been in the 1940s, she’d probably oppose stopping work for a clean-up suggested by the Department of Environmental Quality.  That’s the way she was, too busy to stop working for anything.

Snow-capped, 14,180-foot-high Mount Shasta has always attracted those pursuing the spiritual or the supernatural.  Some seek Bigfoot.  Native Americans consider it a sacred place.  Others believe it is inhabited by Lemurians, ancient, peaceful beings who live inside the mountain in a crystal city called Telos.

In 1924, James Leith opened the first modern auto campground on the Oregon South Coast at Gold Beach.

The success of the Bly, Ore., rodeo encouraged neighboring Lakeview, some 46 miles east of Bly on State Rte. 140, to create its own rodeo.

An original member of the Ashland Highland Kilty Band, Gerald Gunter, had some fond memories of the early days.

Miners and farmers established a school for their children in the 1870s at the juncture of the east and west forks of Forest Creek above Jacksonville.

A well-used bridge across the Illinois River south of Cave Junction near Takilma, Ore., was blown up around the turn of the 20th century by a Josephine county commissioner who unilaterally declared it unsafe.

The old National Guard Armory on Main Street in Klamath Falls, Ore., held hundreds of boxing matches. One claimed the life of a young Native American fighter known throughout the Northwest.

Explorer Jedediah Smith and his travelling companions nearly starved during the first documented land journey of American explorers up the California coast to Oregon in June of 1828.

More than 2,000 mouths chomped down on the world’s largest pear pie at the 1936 Pear and Tomato Festival in Talent, Ore.  Festival-goers consumed it in the evening after admiring it all day as the fair’s central attraction.

A superabundance of “Medford (distilled) spirit” was blamed for several phony searches for illegally caught fish near Grants Pass in 1913.

In 1965, a 22-year-old student, Diane Newell Meyer, joined an anti-war rally at the University of Oregon.  She had written a slogan on an envelope and attached it to her sweater.

Rafters and hikers going down the wild and scenic portion of the Rogue River near the old mining town of Marial pass by a bright red farmhouse with a green lawn and gardens.

Until 1859, foot trails were the only way in and out of Siskiyou County, Calif.  Regional tribes, including the Shasta, Karuk, Modoc, Pit, and Wintu, had forged the trails, with the exception of some opened by the Hudson’s Bay Co.