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.

The police chief had a hunch that a man who showed up in Grants Pass wearing only his underwear four years earlier was connected somehow with the treasure discovered in 1919 under a water tank.

If there is such a thing as foxhole humor, this story records one lonely soldier’s attempt to cheer up his grandmother, Mrs. Albert Allen in Central Point, Ore., who was concerned about keeping up the soldier’s morale.

An 18-year-old editor, Edward Robison, began publishing a newspaper in January 1892 to provide news coverage and reading material for the small town of Talent, Ore.

It’s not known exactly how many people died in the Labor Day weekend fire that swept through the 50-room Houston Hotel in Klamath Falls, Ore., early in the morning of Sept, 6, 1920.  Officials buried at least 14 bodies, making it the deadliest in Klamath Falls history.  The exact number of dead is unknown because some remains were too damaged to be positively identified as human.

An Ashland historian is collecting stories about the early history of Girl Scout Camp Low Echo, opened at the end of World War II on the shore of Southern Oregon’s Lake of the Woods.

One of the first women pilots to get a private pilot's license after World War II, 19-year-old Connie McCoy, lived in Lane County, Ore.

The Rogue Valley International Airport in Medford, Ore., has been international in name only since 2003.

As early as 1931, the Medford Winter Pear Committee was trying to market pears across the United States, including presentations in Detroit and New York.  Stores showed enthusiasm and that fall Washington pear growers joined Oregon in creating the Oregon-Washington Pear Bureau.  Its major goal was to improve the market promotion of winter pear varieties.

Some women came West seeking a husband during the California Gold Rush.

A 1916 article in the Klamath Falls Evening Herald described how tears flowed as people watched the sheriff smash with an axe 168 bottles of “good Wieland’s beer and four kegs of dago red and gin” that drained into Lake Ewauna.

It’s difficult to describe Wes Howard.  He’s been called a curmudgeon, hermit and hoarder. Others say he was sincere, friendly, helpful, charitable and an intelligent, informed and concerned citizen.

Political conflict is not new in America -- or Jackson County, for that matter.

When a horse fatally kicked Breckenridge Wooldridge in the head in 1864, he was buried on William Miller’s property. That marked the first internment in the Missouri Flat pioneer cemetery that today occupies some three acres off North Applegate Road.

Giuseppe “Joe” Mancini was born in Casino, Italy, in 1879.  He became a shoemaker and, after joining the Italian army to serve his mandatory one-year service, left in 1902 for America.  Mancini’s wife, Carolina Cosentino, and their 4-month-old baby boy remained in Italy.

A dapper young man in a green-banded hat worked a clever scheme in Jackson and Josephine counties, taking advantage of 1913 technology.

Recently discovered chrome deposits gained importance as European tank production increased the demand for steel during World War I.  The demand continued to grow when the United States entered the war in 1917, creating job opportunities for miners in Northern California.

Invasive bait fish called the tui chub have returned to Diamond Lake again, most likely brought there by rainbow trout fishermen using live bait fish.

The University of Oregon’s first basketball All-American was Edwin Russell Durno, who was born in 1899 on a farm near Albany, Ore.

In 1893, before there were National Forests to manage public lands, homesteaders could claim timberland.  Near Spikenard, Ore., along East Evans Creek, two men coveted the same piece of property.

It’s hard to imagine having to tote groceries home, especially in winter, in a little red wagon.  But that is what Al Capovilla did every Saturday when his grandmother, Gusippina Bombini, went shopping downtown.