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 the Southern Oregon Historical Society at

A collection of As It Was essays is available in a high-quality paperback book at the JPR Store.  Each episode is also available below.



9:26 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Rogue River Fisherman Tackles Monster Salmon

As It Was - Episode 2248 Famous for its runs of big Chinook salmon, the Rogue River draws fisherman from around the world anxious to apply their skills.  On an October evening in 1913 a monster fish put three regional businessmen to the test. Grants Pass banker Sam Baker and local clothier O. L. Ragan went fishing on the Jones Creek riffle after work.  Ragan soon hooked what he later described as a “whale of a fish.” Over 90 minutes, Ragan battled the fish to a draw, and as the day darkened he decided to tie his line to a nearby tree.

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9:25 am
Wed October 2, 2013

California Mill Towns Attract African American Workers in the 1920s

As It Was - Episode 2247 A large number of blacks from the rural South became mill workers in the 1920s in the lumber company towns of McCloud and Weed, Calif. The Long-Bell Lumber Co. bought out Abner Weed’s mill and recruited workers from its mills in Louisiana and Alabama, paying each worker’s $89 train fare to the Northwest. By the mid-1920s, one thousand of the 6,000 residents of Weed were black.

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9:24 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Early Irish Immigrant Plants Cypress Tree in Bandon, Ore.

Episode 2246

A more than 100-year-old Monterey cypress tree known as the Baldwin cypress graces Ocean Drive in Bandon, Ore. The tree got its name from an Irish immigrant, Henry Hewitt Baldwin, who came to the United States from Bandon, Ireland, in 1846. He joined the army in 1849 and after his military service settled in the Coquille Valley.

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2:23 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Smoky Summers Have Been Around A Long Time

As It Water Episode 2245
  In the summer of 2013, forest fires north of the Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley filled the air with smoke. Physical landmarks such as Grizzly Peak and Mount Ashland disappeared in the haze. On especially bad days, people stayed indoors or wore masks outdoors. Some left town to escape the smoke. 
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2:21 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Ashland Buries Malt Whiskey Bottle in Plaza

As It Was Episode 2244
  In the winter of 2012, the City of Ashland commissioned an archaeological survey of the historic downtown plaza as part of its redesign.  The new construction included placing a time capsule at the end of Lithia Park to be opened in 100 years. 
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2:17 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Civilian Conservation Corps comes to Seiad, Calif.

As It Was Episode 2243
The Civilian Conservation Corps came to Seiad, Calif., in 1935. The typical enlistee was 18-years old, unemployed, hungry and with only an eighth-grade education. 
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2:14 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Historic Homes Grace The Streets Of Coos Bay

As It Was Episode 2242
  Many historic homes grace the city of Coos Bay on Oregon’s Southern Coast. 
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2:10 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Welborn Beeson Goes Camping, Surprises Mother

As It Was Episode 2241
  Twenty-four-year-old farmer Welborn Beeson of Talent, Ore., rarely left his mother or his home.  But in mid-September 1860, Beeson and two friends went on a five-day trip that they called an “exploring excursion.” 

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2:08 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Arrival of the First White Woman and Child to Humbug

As It Was Episode 2240
  Gold Mining camps were rough and tumble places with few women in the early stage of the rush to riches in Northern California and Southern Oregon. 

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2:04 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Pioneer Family Faces Tragedy on the Oregon Trail

As It Was Episode 2239
The diary of Lucy Ann Henderson Deady describes a tragic loss of life during her wagon train journey to Oregon in 1846. 
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