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 mrkrt@ashlandhome.net.

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.

Minneapolis banker Delroy Getchell arrived in Medford, Ore., on a sparkling day in January 1909, seeking a mild climate for retirement.  He liked the looks of the place.

Francis Gustavus Swedenburg settled in Ashland in the early 1900s and became a leading citizen by founding the city’s first hospital and becoming its chief surgeon.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, many people throughout the world sought ultralight aircraft as an affordable way to fly.  Lightweight and slow-flying, they were subject to fewer regulations than other airplanes.

Charles Nentzel was a year old in 1833 when his family immigrated to America from Bavaria.  He grew up in New York, assisted his father as a blacksmith, and became a jeweler’s apprentice.

William Bybee of Jacksonville, Ore., was a popular, respected citizen.  Married with a wife and children, he owned a house and had twice served as sheriff.  The community was shocked when on March 27, 1886, he was accused of murdering his nephew Thomas Bybee.

During Prohibition in 1925, a group of Curry County Circuit Court jurors decided to corroborate the evidence during the trial of Mormon Brown, a small-dairy farmer recognized for producing consistent batches of fine, clear, white-lightning liquor.

In 1916, more than 200 Rogue Valley, Ore., residents motored 30 miles on Hwy 62 from Medford to Trail for the grand opening of the Rogue Elk Hotel.

In July of 1918, suspicion fell on enemy sympathizers as the cause of a raging forest fire between Pistol River and Brookings, Ore.

Fire has always been a threat to lumber mills, especially in the days before modern firefighting equipment was close at hand.

Effie Hillsboro was only 17 when she married Wes Birdseye and moved to a hand-hewn log house near Gold Hill, Ore., in 1898.  Wes died young, leaving Effie with three boys to raise, a mortgage, and back taxes.  Told a “mere woman” could never make a go of it, Effie responded by saying, “This place belongs to me and my boys, and we are going to keep it.”

The Medford Rogues minor league baseball team had a banner year in 2017, winning the championship of the Great Western League. Although the Rogues only started playing in 2013, Medford minor league baseball originated in 1948 with the Medford Nuggets, an affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Moving goods beyond the railroad’s reach between Southern Oregon and California was a dirty and dangerous job requiring sturdy horses and mules.

In 1913, the Oregon Immigration Bureau and Oregon Agricultural College published a book describing a typical farmer in each of several regions in the state.  For Southern Oregon’s small farm, they chose to highlight a 13-acre place with a pear orchard and garden area.

A previous episode of As It Was described how an assistant surveyor had narrowly dodged a giant falling boulder while climbing a steep snowfield on the slopes of Mount Shasta.

The Tom Mix Circus came to Medford, Ore., on May 5, 1936, for a one-night stand.  A series of incidents made it memorable.

The thousands of people who each year try ascending Mount Shasta might want to consider an early climber’s hair-raising encounter with one of the mountain’s frequent rockfalls.

In July 1930, Ernest Schneider’s favorable first impressions of Illahe swayed him to remain in the remote settlement, despite its inconveniences.  Present-day Illahe remains an hour’s drive from Powers or Gold Beach, Ore.

The Southern Oregon coastal town of Gold Beach remained isolated for more than half a century after its founding in 1863.  Its harbor was considered a hazard to navigation, and Curry County didn’t have a single mile of a main roadway until 1878.

The 400-pound, 117-year-old bell didn’t look very stable in its wood-frame belfry, so Rector Anthony Hutchinson of the Trinity Episcopal Church in Ashland, Ore., sent it by train to Indiana for repair.

A motorist obeying all speed zones can drive nonstop from Portland to Sacramento in 9 hours and 30 minutes.  Coffee, rest area, and lunch breaks might add another hour to the trip.  Compare that with 1860, when the first stage line opened between the two cities, offering a trip of six days and seven hours to cover the 710-mile route.

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