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.

When Irish immigrants Patrick and Bridget McGrath Kiernan came across the plains in 1854, Bridget was pregnant with the first of their seven children -- two sons and five daughters. The couple settled close to Gazelle in Northern California’s Siskiyou County.  They raised cattle and ran a butchering business under their O-K brand, named for the original family name, O’Kiernan.

The Rogue River Courier newspaper reported a series of year-end holiday season crimes in Grants Pass in 1911.  Police responded by rounding up 27 hobos lingering near the railroad tracks.  

In November, The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde celebrated the 32nd anniversary of their restored reservation in northwestern Oregon.  Ceremonies included adding Rogue River rocks to an earth and stone monument in an empowerment ceremony.

During contentious times in the early 1990’s, conversations between an environmentalist in the Applegate River watershed and a logger revealed common interests about forest management. They invited others to a series of community meetings to explore how watershed conservation and timber cutting could coexist. 

Accused of "fiendish deviltry" and "dastardly schemes," about 40 people were rounded up and jailed in Klamath Falls during the summer of 1917.  Suspicious fires had burned a flour mill and dairy barn to the ground and dead livestock littered the ranchlands.

Long-distance runner Ralph Hill was the first of many Oregon runners to gain widespread recognition.
He grew up in the farming community of Henley south of Klamath Falls and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1931, where he set a national record in the mile.

The armory building in Klamath Falls celebrated its 80th birthday this year.  Constructed in 1935 at a cost of $180,000, the armory has been the home of the Klamath County Museum since 1970.

In Medford, Ore., in 1923, Nona Dunlap was a single mother, a legal secretary and a suspected bootlegger.

Early pioneer George W. Riddle described in his book titled “History of Early Days in Oregonhow Indians welcomed being given American names, which they called Boston names.

Similar to recent trends, Siskiyou County in Northern California experienced less rain and warmer winters in the 1920's.

Mount Shasta’s snow pack nearly melted away, and its glaciers began to melt, sending water cascading down the sandy, rocky slopes.  Historian Gerald Wetzel says that during the hot summer of 1924, a “damaging flow of water and mud from Konwakaton Glacier and Clear Creek” rumbled down Mud Creek canyon.

The official date for Thanksgiving Day has moved around over the years, but currently falls on the fourth Thursday of November, which is Nov. 26 this year.

Volunteers have been busy since 2013 sprucing up the 156-year-old pioneer Lane Cemetery in the Southern Oregon community of Winchester, once Douglas County’s government seat before it moved to  nearby Roseburg.

During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps, known by its initials as the CCC, built the Glide Ranger Station to house the staff of the northern district of the Umpqua National Forest.

A picket line went up in front of the Holly Theater in Medford, Ore., on a Saturday afternoon in late March 1946.

Ashland once had its own curious and spooky tourist attraction.  It was called Satan’s Sulphur Grotto, a small cave-like space dug into the bank on the east side of Ashland Creek approximately across from the upper duck pond.

One morning in August 2000, retired Air Force Officer Howard Hamer started out from Nevada City, Calif., for a quick flight to Mount Hood, Ore.  Hamer had built his own Lancair 235 aircraft from a kit 10 years earlier.

Quebec-born Peter Skene Ogden, who explored and gathered beaver pelts in Oregon between 1826 and 1827, was more than a fur trader.  The Hudson’s Bay Company sent him as chief trader on several expeditions between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific.  His mission was not only to gather furs, but also to explore and record the rivers and mountains he encountered.  Historian Jeff LaLande calls his contribution to geographic knowledge of “major importance to Oregon history.”

Quebec-born fur trader Peter Skene Ogden led six Hudson’s Bay Company trapping parties from the Rockies to the Pacific.

After establishing his practice in Phoenix, Ore., in 1909, Dr.Theodore Malmgren became over the next 20 years the epitome of a country doctor endearing himself to a wide circle of friends and patients.  But the doctor is remembered more today for the buildings constructed.

The Oregon State Parks Division purchased nearly 2,000 acres from the Joseph N. Hughes Estate in 1971 and turned it into the Cape Blanco State Park.  The park offers tours of the lighthouse and the historic Patrick Hughes house from April through October.  The lighthouse is Oregon’s southernmost, and Cape Blanco, named by a Spanish explorer in 1603, is the state’s most westernmost point.