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.

If you have a writing background and would like to submit an As It Was essay for consideration, email your written piece to mrkrt@ashlandhome.net.

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.

In the early evening of June 15, 1925, Alva Henry noticed a foot-wide gap in the floor boards of the Chetco River Bridge that connected the coastal communities of Harbor and Brookings on U.S. Route 101.

The present-day Tolman Creek Road connects two major traffic arterials in Ashland, Oregon Route 66, also known as Ashland Street, and Oregon Route 99, also known as Siskiyou Boulevard.  At its southern extreme, the road parallels Tolman Creek.

In the early 1900s, Herman Jantzen lived in Windy Valley, a remote, serene place where the wind constantly murmurs through the trees.  It rests at the foot of Snow Camp Mountain on the Oregon South Coast.

Years later, Ethel Porter recollected traveling at three years of age in 1892 with her father to the Altoon quicksilver mine at elevation 6,800 feet in the Northern California Trinity Alps.

In 1922, Pacific Power and Light Company, better known as Copco, was putting up a high voltage line from Prospect to Springfield, Ore. The 125 miles was steep and rugged country--impassible for trucks and mechanical equipment of the time.

Today a modest, one-floor courthouse sits in the center of town in Lakeview, Ore., the Lake County seat of government.

A young soldier in France at the end of the First World War sent a Thanksgiving letter to his family 99 years ago.

In 1923, Miss Mary E. Dickey took her students to see the fair in Sacramento. A group of six adults and nine children set out in September from the Kenyon School in Siskiyou County, Calif., in Mr. Bibbens’   screenside vehicle, an early type of van.

Even in 1854, the American Dream was elusive. A Rogue Valley settler warned in a letter to the editor of the Philadelphia Public Ledger that those intending to emigrate to Oregon would find scarce land available for farming.

When Joseph Voyle died a pauper in Berkeley, Calif., in 1915, his obituary said he was a mystic and philosopher who had studied geology and electricity much of his life.

When pro-slavery Oregon Gov. John Whiteaker stalled after President Lincoln called for volunteers at the outbreak of the Civil War, the president pulled federal troops from the state.

Nearly four decades after completion of the transcontinental railroad, the Upper Klamath River Basin remained virtually untouched by modern commerce at the outset of the 20th century.

Early residents of the Rogue River Canyon faced infrequent and inefficient mail service, relying for decades on miners who volunteered to post letters and pick up the mail when they traveled to town for supplies.

Snow skiing has always been a popular sport in Southern Oregon.

There’s a Western legend about how the “Last Kangaroo Court” in Trinity County, Calif., was held in Hayfork in September 1906 to teach a stranger a lesson.

Frank E. Ross traveled far and wide, but after a lifetime of adventure, returned to his roots in Jackson County, Ore., where he became president of the Southern Oregon Historical Society and served on the Jacksonville Museum board.

In 1903 Bill Warner became the first rural mail carrier for Medford, Ore.  He used a bicycle in the summer or a horse-drawn, two-wheeled cart. When rain turned the roads to mud, Warner carried the mail on horseback.

In December 1917, a Grants Pass woman shattered a glass ceiling, but not in the political sense.

A popular Gold Hill restaurant owner, Cora Truax, became the first woman to serve on a city council in Southern Oregon and one of the first Oregon women to hold office after their enfranchisement in 1912.

In 1928, the automobile editor of the Portland Oregonian heard that the postmaster at remote Agness, Ore., had never been in a car.  In those days, no roads led to Agness, an isolated village 21 miles up the Rogue River from the coastal town of Gold Beach.

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