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 Civilian Conservation Corps was also known as “Roosevelt’s Tree Army” for its work in the nation’s forests, including fighting forest fires and planting 9 billion trees over nine years beginning in 1933.  President Roosevelt put Depression era youth to work in every U.S. state and territory.

Public schools across the country began introducing hands-on agriculture as a supplement to the academic curriculum around 1900.  Oregon mandated that agriculture be taught in upper grades.

Irish settlers came to Lake County, Ore., in the second half of the 1800’s, many fleeing the great potato famine that over 50 years drained Ireland of half its population.  It wasn’t long until Lake County became known regionally as “Little Ireland.”

Donald Meamber never forgot the time baseball great Babe Ruth visited Yreka and its grade school.  Meamber, who grew up in and around Yreka during the 1920’s and 30’s, was in the fifth grade at the time.

Back in the days when a bridegroom was expected to have at least $1,000 in the bank and a job that paid $100 a month, Bill Bowerman was coaching at Franklin High in Portland in l934.  He loved Barbara in Los Angeles, but he was earning only $80 a month and saving for medical school.

The Klamath Falls Evening Herald reported 100 years ago how a doctor saved a woman bitten by a rabid coyote by treating her with blood from intentionally rabies-infected rabbits.

In 1958, Mrs. Una Inch retired after 25 years as assistant superintendent of schools for Jackson County, Ore.  She treasured her retirement cake that featured a little red school house surrounded by a fully equipped playground.  It was baked by Johnny Wilson of Central Point, who had been a special education student in a program Inch started.

Long Mountain School District 37 was one of the earliest in Southern Oregon, formed on Dec. 17, 1865, out of the western portion of Eagle Point.

Southern Oregon has wrestled with caring for the homeless for a long time.

A Ku Klux Klan kleagle called on the Ashland Weekly Tidings on March 22, 1922, to refute reports the Klan had anything to do with a “necktie party” the previous week at Table Rock.

Lost gold mine legends haunt the West, among them the story of the Lost Cabin Mine in Northern California.  The story starts with three men, Messieurs Benedict, Cox and “Young Compton,” at the headwaters of the Trinity River in the summer of 1850.

Schools have always had a concern about the clothing students wear, some sending boys home for not having a belt on their trousers and reprimanding girls for wearing short skirts.

A jailbreak one early April morning in 1911 was a case of naked ambition.

Located on the Klamath River, the remote community of Happy Camp has never been easy to get to. Today it’s a long drive from Yreka down crooked State Route 96.  In the early 1900’s, it was more complicated. Summer travel was fairly easy, but winter travel was another story.

The First World War had been over for nearly a year, but anti-German sentiment was still strong in Southern Oregon.  Louis Neidermeyer, a prosperous farmer from Nebraska whose parents were German, came under attack from the American Legion Post 15 of Medford.

The Klamath Falls Commercial Club, reminding everyone in 1916 that it was Letter-Writing Week, urged correspondence that would attract Easterners to Oregon.  Club President Fred E. Fleet said nearly all Oregon’s cities were participating in the campaign “to induce visits by Eastern tourists during the coming season.”

Her parents paid tuition of $9 a year for Eula Benson Foley, born in Central Point in 1906, to attend the two-room Howard Grade School in Medford.

The debate continues over the merits of saving or demolishing old buildings. People are overheard insisting, “That old house needs to come down to make room for a parking lot,” or, the opposite, “That 100-year-old home built by our town’s pioneer doctor needs to be saved.”

By 1906, doctors were warning women about the liver-mashing hazards of tight corsets.  Trend-setting models in Paris began calling them "instruments of torture" and promoted the "bouncing health" of a woman's unconfined body.  Alternative undergarments and cures soon arrived.

A medical missionary’s son, Dan Bulkley, was born in Thailand and schooled in India and California.