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.

It may seem that married women from pioneer days had limited opportunities, as most independent businesswomen were either single or widowed.

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union supported many causes for the betterment of the lives of women in the decades before and after 1900. The Medford, Ore., chapter of the WCTU always campaigned for the prohibition of alcoholic beverages, but became especially active in the run up to the 1912 election that gave women the right to vote in Oregon.

Railroad stations generally remain in one place, but the original Ashland depot, built in 1884 when the Oregon and California Railroad reached Ashland from Portland, had an unusually mobile existence.

Sutherlin's Calapooia Free Methodist Church was established in Douglas County, Ore., in the summer of 1918 following revival meetings. The first pastor was the Rev. Ernest Lee; however it was Sylvanus Payne White, a Civil War Veteran, who promoted the idea of its establishment for 20 years.

A photograph in the Medford Mail Tribune of March 16, 1960, shows building contractor Meyers Jones of the Siskiyou Development Co. handing the keys to Merle Van Hoosen, manager of a new roller skating rink.

Shasta, often referred to as “Old Shasta,” faced plenty of petty and violent crime in the 1850’s as it grew into one of the most important gold rush towns in Northern California.

Before the advent of “talkies” in 1927, silent films entertained audiences with dialogue created by gestures, mime or title cards. At the height of the silent movie era, films without sound were shipped to theaters.

When the U.S. Mint asked Gov. Ted Kulongoski to come up with something to serve as an iconic image of the state, he took his wife’s advice.

Many hotels allow pets these days, but that wasn’t the case years ago at the Hotel Medford.  Built in 1911 on West Main Street, the five-story hotel boasted crystal chandeliers, a marble fireplace, and luxurious rooms for its wealthy guests. The manager, Emil Mohr, made no exceptions to his “No Pets” rule.

An investigation of a photograph at the Southern Oregon Historical Society of John L. and Lily Demmer reveals a life’s story shared by many other Eastern European immigrants of their time.

Most historians trace the beginning of Southern Oregon’s Rogue Indian Wars to a massacre of peaceful Indians by white miners and other malcontents.

Miners named Benton and Roades discovered gold in 1893 along the creek running through Harrison Gulch, 50 miles from Redding, Calif.

The town of Linkville sprang up in March 1867 – 150 years ago this month -- when George Nurse established a trading post and hotel on the banks of Link River.  Oregon had already been a state for eight years at the time.

Do horses talk?  How about mules?

Fire lookout stations are a fading legacy of Oregon.  Built in the 1920’s and 30’s, often by the Civilian Conservation Corps, fire lookouts have gradually been replaced by planes, helicopters and surveillance cameras. Many have been torn down or left vacant, while others are being rebuilt as vacation rentals.

The Roxy Theater owners, Gene and Mae Childers, opened for business in 1932 on East Main in Medford, Ore.  The modern and luxurious theater had comfortable, overstuffed seats, the latest RCA sound equipment and a 25-foot neon sign.

The devastating Japanese earthquake of March 11, 2001, killed nearly 20,000 people and hurled an 8 to 10-foot tsunami across the Pacific into Oregon and California ports, causing damage, one death and washing some people out to sea.

A short-lived turn-of-the-century column in the Rogue River Courier, titled “Aunt Josie’s Chat,” provided readers with household hints, advice for raising children, remedies for common annoyances, and detailed recipes for making yeast.

On Oct. 4, 1937, A. R. Mansfield and his wife, Shirley, were working in the garden of their home in Butte Falls, Ore., while their two-year-old daughter, Shirley, was napping.  When a fire broke out in the cottage, flames at the door turned back Mrs. Mansfield, and her mother was unable to gain entrance through a window of the room where the daughter slept.

It has been said that American Indians and grizzly bears shared dominion of the West Coast before the arrival of Euro-American emigrants in the 19th century.