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.

In 1913, the Klamath Development Company recruited Russian immigrants to purchase farm land in the Henley-Mount Laki district of Klamath County.  Only about 20 actually settled there. 

In 1868, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors received a petition to establish a school district south of Yreka. The May 5 board minutes stated, “In the matter of application of Perry Cram and others for establishing a new school district, Petition granted.”  The board named G.K. Godfrey as superintendent. 

There was a great demand for horses during the First World War, including many from the Western United States.

Many early Oregon settlers dropped their plows and axes and joined the California gold rush in 1849.  A man named Long established a ferry to avoid a very dangerous crossing of the Rogue River on the way to the gold fields on the old mule packers’ trail through Southern Oregon.

Voting by mail was attempted in Oregon at least as early as 1910 when James Kershaw mailed ballots to Jackson County Clerk W.R. Coleman 12 days before the election with a request to “put them through if you can.”

The Rogue Valley has always been known for its agricultural crops.  The farmland around Talent contains many orchards and gardens producing fruits and vegetables sold locally and around the world.

Nearly 24 years ago, on Sept. 1, 1992, Jefferson Public Radio broadcast its first episode of As It Was, bringing alive the rich history of Southern Oregon and Northern California.

By 1852, mining in the Klamath River region attracted nearly a thousand miners. Most moved on as easy gold played out, but a number settled along the rivers.  One such settlement was Somes Bar at the confluence of the Klamath and Salmon Rivers in Siskiyou County.

Sheepherders spending lonely summers in Southern Oregon turned to a special medium to express themselves.  They affixed their identity to aspen trees by carving everything from their names and hometowns to their yearnings to get away from the sheep and return to their native lands. 

Residents of Sawyers Bar built a Catholic Church of locally produced lumber in 1855 on a sloping bench above the North Fork of the Salmon River.  A six-foot wooden cross that stands in front was the only item that originally distinguished it from the area’s other buildings.

Looking a little green lately?  Constant headache?  Feeling weak?  You may be suffering from Green Sickness, according to a page-four ad in a 1901 edition of the Rogue River Courier

On Tuesday, August 23rd, As It Was, JPR's daily series of audio vignettes on the history of southern Oregon and northern California will reach a significant milestone: 3,000 episodes!

Botanist Lilla Leach literally left her name in the Oregon woods through the discovery of more than 12 new Oregon plant species and two new genera.  She also achieved protection of Oregon myrtle trees near the South Coast town of Brookings.

Even people and programs that celebrate history can make a bit of history themselves. 

So it is with "As It Was," the two-minute regional history program that airs weekdays on JPR (and immediately following the second hour of the Exchange). 

The current series of "As It Was" airs its 3,000th installment next week.  And the people involved still like doing it. 

One of Siskiyou County’s early pioneers was James L. Freaner, who came West after serving as a soldier and reporter during the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. 

About the time when the first Anglo-American settlers and miners were struggling to survive in the wilderness of Southern Oregon and Northern California, Portland was dealing with more urbane issues.

Grants Pass, Ore., Mayor H.L. Gilkey called for some spring cleaning in 1904.  The mayor said in a front-page column in the Rogue River Courier that people were ignoring city ordinances and allowing filth to accumulate on their premises, sidewalks and alleys. He declared it a “public inconvenience and health menace.”

There’s gold in them thar hills! That’s if you believe Buckner W. Trevillian.

History writer Lee Juillerat describes the man behind the creation of Northern California’s Lava Beds National Monument as an eccentric genius and near hermit.

Farmers and ranchers in the Butte Creek Valley east of Eagle Point searched everywhere for sources of irrigation water in the late 1800’s.  They chose Fourmile Creek, a tributary to Upper Klamath Lake on the east side of the Cascade Mountain Range.