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 Red Special train rolled into Grants Pass one Sunday evening. The engine wasn’t painted red, but everyone knew during the presidential campaign of 1908 that the red bunting draped along its sides meant Socialist candidate Eugene Debs was in town.

Gus Newbury was the Jackson County school superintendent for seven years, followed by a successful law career. In spite of Newbury’s prestige, his friend Court Hall challenged him in the Medford Mail Tribune to a mock spelling match at the Elks Club.

In 1845, Hoy Flournoy emigrated from Missouri to Douglas County and a year later joined a Jesse Applegate survey party that slowly moved south for six months.

Ashland and Guanajuato, Mexico, have developed cultural and people-to-people ties since becoming sister cities 47 years ago.  For thousands of years before that, migratory birds from the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion have connected the two cities by spending their winters in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Oriental.

In the late 1800’s, Klamath County acquired Old Blue, its first railroad steam locomotive.

From its founding in 1915 until it was closed in 2010, the Butte Falls Hatchery raised millions of young salmon and steelhead.  If the Butte Falls School District gets its way, the property will be converted into an outdoor nature lab for its students.

The Rogue River Courier reported on how the city marshal got cold feet during a shooting at the Glendale, Ore., Depot that nearly got four men killed in 1908.

Free mail delivery came to Klamath Falls in September 1916.

The actress Grace Andrews married Conro Fiero in Medford in 1910. When their orchard crop failed in 1914, he found a diplomatic job in Washington, D. C., and she worked as a code-breaker at the State Department.

The Bidwell Mansion State Park covers nearly 20 percent of the city of Chico.  The park brochure says the three-story, 26-room mansion “embodies a great love story—of a man for his land and for his wife, and of the couple’s mutual love for … California.”

A farmer fed up with boys shooting rabbits from a big Cadillac in front of his property in Grants Pass, Ore., fired at the car and hit Don Belding in the thigh.  Belding was one of nine teenagers in the Cadillac that October evening in 1912.

Althouse Creek in Josephine County was one of the earliest gold mining regions in Southern Oregon.  Mining continued there well into the 20th century. Today’s story is about one of the miners of 1922.

Siskiyou settlers depended heavily on wagon construction and associated foundries.  Louis Fafa built the wagon and furniture factory in Etna, which was expanded in 1877 by F.W. Frantz & Albert Wallis.  In addition to wagons and wheels, the company supplied wood products, including doors, sashes and mouldings.

The federal government’s Works Progress Administration put millions of the Great Depression’s jobless to work on public projects.  Most were unskilled men, but the WPA’s Federal Writers’ Project employed historians, teachers, writers, librarians and other white-collar workers.

As the Southern Oregon Historical Society celebrates 70 years of service to Southern Oregon, it acknowledges the contributions of thousands of volunteers, including Claire Hanley, the society’s president from 1950 until her death in 1963.  Before the society existed, Claire ran the Jacksonville Museum, which provided the society’s first artifacts.

The cartoonist who drew the original Donald Duck character for Walt Disney, Carl Barks, was born in 1901 on a farm in Merrill, Ore.  When he was 17, he tried to get a job as a newspaper cartoonist in San Francisco, but failed and returned to Oregon.

Saloons, card rooms and rowdy folks gave Medford, Oregon’s Front Street a poor reputation in 1911. Fights were common, but guns were rarely used.  When a “deafening report rang out” on the night of June 8, the saloons emptied, windows and doors opened and a crowd gathered to see who had been shot.

The front page headline in the five-cent Klamath Falls Evening Herald on Aug. 5, 1916, declares, “HUCKLEBERRIES ARE PLENTIFUL". The body of the story continues:

Mabel Ramsey wrote this poem about her mother, Amy Dysert, an early pioneer of the mining town of Golden, Ore.

Vernon Bookwalter began flying in 1919 with flight certificate No. 82 signed by Orville Wright.