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.

Today’s shoppers wheel carts through stores and head for the cash register.  It wasn’t always that way in Southern Oregon.

In the early 1960s two men decided that Oregon was in need of an outdoor music festival.

When Robert Erway Sr. returned as an adult to the Fall Creek Power House where he played as a 6-year-old, it brought back memories, not all happy ones.

Brownsboro, Ore., rancher Floyd Charley has been described as “the patriarch of 4-H, who like a pebble in the center of a pond, caused a huge ripple effect through Jackson County.”

Crater Lake National Park features a deep blue lake inside the volcanic caldera of Mount Mazama, which blew its top about 7,700 years ago.  The mountain was 12,140 feet high, its summit a mile higher than the surface of the lake today.

In the early 1900s, the Siskiyou National Forest had more than 70 forest lookout stations on Southwest Oregon mountaintops.  Pearsoll Peak is the only one of them to make the National Register of Historic Places.

A sourdough created at least 100 years ago by Scott Valley, Calif., gold miner is still alive and leavening delicious bread and flapjacks.

In 1919, three World War I aviators from Medford, Ore., Seely Hall, Floyd Hart, and Frank Farrell, formed an aviation corporation, the Medford Aeroplane, Co., and sold $100-shares to stockholders.  Their goal was to sell rides to Rogue Valley residents.

The Western writer Zane Grey saw something in Claude Bardon worthy of a main character in a book.

The Brown girls, Jennie, Mary and Emogene, were born in Oregon in the 1860s.  They grew up shifting summer and winter between the family’s two properties, spending winters on a gold claim on Sterling Creek out of Jacksonville, and summers on a large cattle ranch east of Eagle Point.

Eight Illinois Valley women organized the Friday Afternoon Garden Club in 1927, changing the name later to the Illinois Valley Garden Club.

When he was born, Bahamas was weak and not expected to survive.  He was an unremarkable crossed Angus-Jersey steer on a farm two miles upriver from Klamath, Calif.  With bottle feeding and tender care he grew strong, gentle, beloved -- and lived to inspire a community.

Growing up in rural Oregon communities in the early 1900s was a combination of hard farm and ranch work, a few months of school and lots of good times.  For the Charley family in Brownsboro, chores always came first -- and there were plenty of them.

By 1900, the United States had some 210,000 one-room schools, at least 100 of them in Siskiyou County, Calif.

In 1903, William F. Isaacs opened the Toggery on Main Street in Medford, Ore., offering fine clothing, hats and gloves.  A son of Oregon pioneers, Isaacs was an avid fly fisherman and believed in the power of advertising.

For a time, shallow Goose Lake had enough water to support a motor ferry promoting land sales in the Klamath Basin east of the Cascade Mountains.

The first Europeans to explore the Klamath Basin on foot and horseback in the early 1820s were amazed at how the Indigenous people near present-day Klamath Falls, Ore., depended more on canoes than
horses.  When the army, gold miners and settlers arrived by mid-century, they too relied on water travel.

The first woman to become a senator in the Oregon Legislature was Kathryn Clarke in 1915.  She had more than a little help from her cousin, Gov. Oswald West.

During World War II, the United States established civilian-staffed Aircraft Warning Service airplane spotters along the country’s east and west coasts in May 1941.

Roy Parker, a longtime mill operator in Selma, Ore., had a hard time collecting an inheritance because the army believed he had died when his troop ship blew up and killed everyone aboard at the start of World War I.  Parker was listed among the dead even though he had arrived too late to board the ship.