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 publicrelations@sohs.org.

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.

Genre: 

Pages

History
2:41 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Charles Maplesden Recalls His Father’s Blacksmithing Skills

Charles Maplesden was born in 1916, son of blacksmith Charlie Maplesden and his wife, Verna, of Etna, Calif.  The family moved to Greenview where the father opened a blacksmith shop.

Charles recalled that his father was so strong that when shoeing a draft horse he would “hold onto [its] forefoot while it reared up on its hind legs. He wouldn’t let go but held the weight of the horse as it thrashed about…when he let go, the animal seemed glad to stand quietly.”

Read more
History
2:25 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Miners Name Mountain after Their Fleas or Confederates

 

The tallest peak in Josephine County, Ore., is Grayback Mountain at 7,050 feet.

Historians are unsure about the origin of the name, which dates from the mid-19th century.  Some believe Grayback refers to the exposed granite outcroppings near the summit.  Others say that Grayback was a derogatory name for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, a term that appeared often in Jacksonville’s newspapers in the 1860s.  There is some consensus that miners named the mountain after the fleas in their clothing and bedding, which they called graybacks.

Read more
History
2:24 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Horse-Drawn Trolley Serves Klamath Falls

 

Before Klamath Falls had paved streets, the city offered a railway franchise to the first of two companies to lay the track for a horse-drawn trolley along Main Street. The Klamath Land and Transportation Company won the contract, using secondhand rail from an abandoned logging railroad.

Passenger service began on July 4, 1907, with souvenir tickets priced at $1.50.  The tracks soon reached a northern terminus near the Upper Klamath Lake docks.

Read more
History
2:23 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Rogue River Guide Attracts Celebrities

 

After Glen Wooldridge ran the lower Rogue River in 1915 with an Indian friend, he realized it was too treacherous for commercial trips.  Although he regretted it later, he solved that problem in the 1950s by dynamiting rocks at Argo Falls, Grave Creek, Rainey Falls and Blossom Bar, still the riskiest rapid on the Lower Rogue.

Read more
History
11:05 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Ashland, Ore., Couple Brings Science to Children

 

John Javna was a successful writer and his wife, Sharon, was a public defender in Oakland, Calif., when they moved with their two children in 1995 to Ashland, Ore.  John’s self-published book, titled “50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth,” had sold 5 million copies.

They loved the Rogue Valley, but missed taking their children to interactive museums like those in the Bay Area. They started a small science museum in the Ashland Middle School, building exhibits, an experimental lab, and displaying a giant python.

Read more
History
11:03 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Woman Golfer’s Putts Rarely Miss at Any Distance

 

Southern Oregon has produced many outstanding golfers, but it would be hard to find a better one than Helen Thompson Milne.  Born in the San Francisco Bay area in 1920, she moved to Medford at age 2.  She was 27 when she won her first title and proceeded to win seven straight championships, adding three more in the mid -1960s.

Read more
History
11:01 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Tumble-down Fence Amid Pines Marks Location of Mining Town

 

A drive along Carberry Creek in Oregon’s Applegate Valley leads past what was the mining town of Steamboat.  All that remains is a tumble-down fence amid some pines that marks the town’s cemetery.

In 1860 the rugged, remote corner of the Siskiyous was the site of what may have been Oregon’s first arrastra, a primitive ore-crushing mill.

Read more
History
10:59 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Historical Society Owns Harriet Beecher Stowe First Edition

 

Harriet Beecher Stowe is best known for her book titled Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but she and her sister Catherine also wrote another book titled The American Woman's Home. The Southern Oregon Historical Society owns a first edition, published in 1869.  The full text is available online.

Read more
History
10:55 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Modoc Sucker Escapes Threat of Extinction

 

The Modoc sucker, a small fish with fleshy lips that grab insects and worms and scrape algae from stream bottoms, joined the federal endangered species list in 1985. Biologists worried that its survival was threatened by stream bank erosion from cattle grazing and predatory non-native brown trout.

Read more
History
1:00 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Helitankers Help Suppress Oregon Fires

 

For years Oregon’s summer fires have not only destroyed stands of valuable timber, but also damaged the regional economy.  In the 1960's, an average of 414 fires annually were burning 5,660 acres and costing some $243,000 to extinguish.

Read more
History
1:00 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Williams, Ore., Takes Name from Indian War Volunteer

 

Williams, Ore., started as a mining community in 1859.  It was first known as Williamsburg, after nearby Williams Creek.

The creek’s name refers to Captain Robert Williams, who was commander of the Althouse Mounted Volunteers during the Rogue River Indian Wars. The Volunteers was a group of 30 miners and settlers based in rural Josephine County near today’s Cave Junction who joined up on Aug. 24, 1853, with Williams as captain.

Read more
History
1:00 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Fire Rushes through Etna, Calif., in 1896

 

“The cry of fire was sounded at about 1:30 o’clock this morning,” the Scott Valley County Reporter newspaper wrote on March 16, 1896.  “It aroused the slumbering people of the town (of Etna, Calif.), who, half awake and half clad, rushed from all directions on to Main Street to find that Mrs. Mani’s hotel and saloon building was in flames and past all hope of being saved.”

Quickly the flames consumed more wooden buildings, including Emmel Miller’s brick store and the Odd Fellows Hall.

Read more
History
2:24 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Hog Fire of 1987 Scorches 260,000 Acres in Northern California

 There are forest fires … and there are forest fires.  The Hog Fire of 1987 especially comes to mind in Northern California.  

Read more
History
2:24 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Fire of 1871 Destroys Yreka, Calif.

 Yreka, Calif., suffered terribly in what is known as the “great fire of 1871.”  It was the same year as the disastrous Chicago fire, and for residents it became a landmark in time.

Read more
History
2:22 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Woodcutter Works Hard; Cheats Even Harder in Curry County

 Here’s a tall tale from Curry County recounted by Bill Wallace for the Curry Historical Society.  It goes like this:

Read more
History
2:23 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Medford Conservationist Inspires Camp White Wildlife Area

  Camp White spread across 77 square miles in the Agate Desert north of Medford, Ore., during the Second World War.  Torn down after the war, most of the buildings were sold and hauled away, except for those that became the White City Department of Veterans Affairs Domiciliary.

Read more
History
2:22 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Oregon Spotted Frog Stirs Environmental Controversy

  Pity the Oregon spotted frog.  Non-native fishes and big bullfrogs are eating them, cattle stomp on their meadows and invasive grasses and other plants cover their former range.  Now they’re becoming the center of controversy as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service moves to list them under the Endangered Species Act.

Read more
History
2:20 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Youth Orchestras Offer Opportunity in Rogue Valley

 Music teachers and Rogue Valley Symphony members joined in 1988 in creating the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon, a place to learn and to play orchestral literature.  Its first concert was in Ashland.

Read more
History
2:20 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Public Radio Series "As It Was" Airs 2,500th Episode

  Twenty-two years ago, the Southern Oregon Historical Society began producing a series of historical stories for the Jefferson Public Radio series titled “As It Was, Tales from the Mythical State of Jefferson.”  Today the program airs its 2,500th episode since the series resumed in 2004. 

Read more
History
2:18 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Government Promotes Depression Area Mining Schools

 Faced with finding jobs for the unemployed in the heart of the depression in 1933 in mineral rich Josephine County, Ore., the state found an answer.  It created a state-sponsored vocational mining school in Grants Pass, where graduates would get a $50 grubstake from the state. Miners, in return, reported their findings to the state’s new Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.  The information helped create detailed mineral maps of Josephine County.

Read more

Pages