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 Josephine County Board of Education in 1906 deemed it necessary to offer typing classes in high school after businessmen complained about the poor quality of typewritten correspondence.  Hand-written correspondence, they said, could conceal spelling and punctuation mistakes, but typewritten letters gave them embarrassing prominence. 

It’s been more than a century and a half since the miners of 1849 headed from Shasta to Whiskeytown, Calif., to celebrate the holidays. 

In 1892, a group of Methodists at a camp meeting in Central Point agreed to begin a Chautauqua program in Southern Oregon. Their goal was to hold their first event in July of the following year.

Nomadic Shelters Become Modern Yurts in Oregon Parks

Nov 29, 2016

Beginning in 1994, round, wood-framed shelters called yurts began dotting campsites in Oregon State Parks. Today there are more than 200, complete with heat and electricity.  Felt-covered yurts originated in Mongolia, but the move from nomadic shelter to Oregon campsites involves a U. S. Supreme Court justice and Oregon foresters.

John S. Love, his two brothers and their widowed mother started out with other friends from Pennsylvania to Oregon in April 1853.

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.