As It Was

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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.

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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.

During the Civil War, the Army sent four cannons to Oregon, one of them to Jacksonville.  It never fired in a war, but figured often at Fourth of July celebrations in Jacksonville, Ore., and the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of Civil War Veterans, took it to their annual encampments.

Fred Colvin bought the Gold Beach Confectionary during Prohibition in 1921, so he sold soft drinks and near-beer, but no alcohol.  But according to his 8-year-old son at the time, Edsel Colvin, Prohibition didn’t stop anybody from buying moonshine.

The Oregonian newspaper reported on June 12, 1867, that Capt. Franklin Burnet Sprague of the 1st Oregon Infantry had announced that land was available in Southern Oregon and Northern California south and east of Klamath Lake.

In 1952, Jacksonville, Ore., celebrated a Gold Rush Jubilee to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of gold in the town.

Rich placer gold discoveries in 1852 attracted miners to an isolated area near the Rogue River some 25 miles northwest of Grants Pass.

Eleanor Halverson was only 9 years old when her mother died on the family’s Klamath River ranch.  The young girl assumed the duties of running the household, including caring for her 5-year-old brother, Charlie.

One of Ashland’s early pioneers, Capt. John McCall, settled in Oregon in 1852 on a mining claim along Jackson Creek in Jackson County.  By 1860 he had purchased an interest in the Ashland Flour Mill, and two years later joined the First Regiment of the Oregon Volunteer Cavalry.

Populism, loosely defined as dissatisfaction with ruling elites, has figured prominently in the nation’s political discourse over the past year, but the idea is nothing new in Southern Oregon.

The arrival of the railroad to the remote Butte Valley of Siskiyou County, Calif., brought a burgeoning population with it.  A box factory opened in 1911, followed soon by several sawmills and moulding mills.  Electricity arrived the same year.

Claudia Spink Lorenz described in the Oregon Historical Quarterly in 1970 how Klamath Falls celebrated the end of World War I.  Twice, to be exact.

In the early days of mapping, between 1907 and 1930, there were plenty of places left to name in the Rogue River National Forest.  Employees had to come up with something to call the remaining streams, gaps and peaks without official names.

Medford, Ore., held its own Grand Prix race on July 3, 1911, just two months after the first-ever Indianapolis 500 race.

A 19-foot-high statue carved from a single alder tree by Russell Beebe of Talent, Ore., greets those who enter the Hannon Library on the Southern Oregon University campus.

In condescending, racially tinged language typical of the times, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in 1897 how the federal agent in charge of the Klamath Indian Reservation, Maj. C.E. Worden, was encouraging Indians to establish homes, raise cattle and grow crops.

Samuel Colver Jr. was one of Southern Oregon’s successful pioneers, an Ohio boy who studied law at Plymouth College in Indiana, excelled in debate, especially with his teachers, but left Ohio to become a Texas Ranger, an Indian Scout, and to serve with Sam Houston in the Battle of San Jacinto.

The first railroad in Northern California got its start in Humboldt County in the 1850s. A tiny flat car  drawn on rails by an old white horse named “Spanking Fury” transported ship passengers and freight several miles from the Arcata town plaza to the end of the wharf.

Better Baby contests were popular at county and state fairs in early 20th century Oregon, reflecting an emerging interest in eugenics, the science of genetics and how it affects social problems.

Medford, Ore., weekenders regarded Butte Falls as a popular camping spot in the early 1900s.

In the First World War, Americans eagerly volunteered to support the troops who had been sent abroad.  People gathered scrap metal for war material, children sold bonds and stamps, and women filled vacant jobs in factories and shipyards.

Eagle Point, Ore., laid claim in the early 1900’s to producing Bosc pears fit for a king.