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.

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History
9:17 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Post Offices Dot Jackson County Countryside

 

In the days before good roads and the first automobiles, delivering mail to small groups of settlers scattered over a wide area was a challenge in Southern Oregon.  Post offices sprung up near sparsely settled rural areas that never grew into full-fledged villages. One of them was the Asbestos Post Office located a half mile east of Evans Creek near where Chapman Creek Road and East Evans Creek Road intersect today.

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History
9:14 am
Thu November 27, 2014

Beckie’s Café Attracts Visitors to Crater Lake

Beckie’s Café, in Union Creek, Ore., is a popular stop for visitors going or returning from Crater Lake on Oregon Route 62.

Edmond and Nettie Beckelhymer, relocating to Southern Oregon from Imperial, Calif., established a restaurant in 1926 at Union Creek on the road to Crater Lake. Ed Beckelhymer, nicknamed “Beckie,” was an auto mechanic and built a service station next door to the restaurant.  His wife, Nettie, cooked at what became known as “Beckie’s Place.”

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History
9:12 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Indians Hunt and Gather Berries on Payne Cliffs near Phoenix, Ore.

The high, sandstone Payne Cliffs overlook the Fern Valley across Interstate 5 from Phoenix, Ore.  Named after a pioneer family, the cliffs are part of the sediment deposited by stream erosion for more than 65 million years.  Prehistoric petrified logs and wood are exposed in the south-facing cliffs that reach 2,575 feet above sea level.

American Indians hunted and gathered berries on the higher elevations for about 12,000 years.

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History
9:11 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Moonshiner’s Booze Christens Klamath Falls Street Car

 

In 1927 Klamath Falls was the center of a serious bootlegging industry during the Prohibition Era.

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History
9:10 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Illinois Valley Miners Write Oregon’s first Mining Code

 

After sailors jumped ship in Crescent City, Calif., they discovered gold inland just south of Cave Junction, Ore., and east of O’Brien in the Illinois Valley.  The mining area became known as Sailor’s Diggings until it grew into the large gold-mining settlement of Waldo, named after William Waldo, the Whig Party candidate for governor of California. 

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History
11:54 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Ross Dollarhide Enters Buckaroo Hall of Fame

 

Born in 1886 in Phoenix, Ore., Ross Dollarhide spent his early years on a ranch at the Siskiyou Mountains summit.  As a young man, he rode alone on horseback and eventually ended up in Harney County.

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History
11:53 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Locomobile Replaces Stage on the Road to the Klamath Hot Springs

 

It made headlines in San Francisco in 1911 when the Klamath Hot Springs Hotel in Beswick, Calif., purchased a seven-passenger Locomobile to replace its horse-drawn stage on the 22-mile road connecting the hotel with the railroad station in Ager, Calif.

The San Francisco Call said the stage had carried fishermen up the Klamath River for 25 years “because of the popularity of the (hot) springs” and nearby streams filled with fat trout. 

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History
11:50 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Hotels Once Attracted Guests to Klamath Hot Springs

“Keeping Travel” was an expression for hosting travelers when Richard Beswick and his wife bought property in the 1860s from homesteader A.M. Johnson along the California-Oregon Stage Road on the southeast bank of the Klamath River. Johnson, who raised cattle, horses, and trapped along the river, maintained good relations with the Indians who hunted and fished on the property. 

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History
11:49 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Master German Gunsmith Moves to Jacksonville, Ore.

A master gunsmith from Bavaria, Germany, John Miller, came to the United States at the age of 20 in 1830.  He found employment in New Jersey for several years, where he married Mary Smith Smutz, who had also emigrated with her family from Baden, Germany. Together, the couple would raise eight children.

After moving to Burlington, Iowa, which was a frontier outfitting town, tales of the West lured the Millers to Jacksonville, Ore.

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History
11:47 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Debbs Potts Builds Pottsville Museum near Merlin, Ore

 

The co-founder of the Southern Oregon Historical Society, Eugene “Debbs” Potts, also built the Historic Pottsville Museum north of Merlin, Ore.  He started work on the museum in 1959 in conjunction with the Oregon Centennial celebrations.

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History
11:52 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Single Redwood Tree Yields Lumber for 36-room Motel

 

Tom Wyllie’s idea was to build an entire motel from a single tree. 

Wyllie fell a curly-grained redwood in 1952 near the Klamath River. Eighteen feet in diameter at the base, the tree yielded 57,000 board feet of lumber.  The huge tree was cut into five logs so big they had to be quartered to haul them to mills, yielding enough lumber, with plenty left over for future additions, to build the 36-room Curly Redwood Lodge in Crescent City, Calif.

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History
11:50 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Hersey House Takes Name from Early Ashland, Ore., Settlers

 

Hersey Street in Ashland, Ore., is named for a Michigan family that liked Ashland so much they never left.  They even convinced their grandparents to move across the country to live there too.

James Hersey was born in Michigan in 1876.  At 21, he married Carrie and they had a daughter, Violet.  The young farm family stayed in Michigan for another 10 years before moving West.

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History
11:47 am
Wed November 12, 2014

River Hogs Die Trying to Clear Log Jams

 

The log drivers on the Klamath River had one of the most dangerous jobs in the logging industry as they herded thousands of logs down the Klamath River to the sawmill in Klamathon near today’s Hilt, Calif.

Known as river hogs, the drivers dressed in wool to keep warm, from underwear to shirts and pants, and wore caulked boots with 42 spikes in the soles. 

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History
11:48 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Veterans Form Medford-based Scottish Bagpipe Band

In 1931 a group of WWI veterans and the American Legion formed the Scottish Bagpipe Band, based in Medford, Ore.  For a short time they were called the Elks Kilty Band, but in 1978 they became the Siskiyou Highland Pipes and Drums.  Today they perform under the name of the Southern Oregon Scottish Bagpipe Band.

Band members have varied cultural backgrounds and the band has played a blend of multi-cultural music ever since Pipe Major Roland Kari introduced Latin rhythms into some Scottish Bagpipe tunes.

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History
11:46 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Oregonians Answer the Call of Duty during World War II

 

The World War II draft called thousands of Oregonians into the armed forces, many of them with backgrounds similar to Dick Rone of the Nonpareil neighborhood east of Sutherlin.

Born on Dec. 23, 1908, Rone attended school in Nonpareil and worked at the Bonanza and Nonpareil mercury mines, where he earned about $4 a day with a half hour for lunch, time enough, he said, to eat two or three sandwiches and an apple.

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History
10:45 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Extreme Weather in 1889 Strikes Klamath River

The summer of 1889 was especially dry in Beswick and the Butte Valley along the Klamath River.

Wells and springs ran dry and the hay crop was poor.  The extreme weather was followed in November by a storm that left three feet of snow on the ground.  That was followed by a blinding blizzard that dropped an additional three feet of snow.

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History
10:44 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Boys Watch Jacksonville, Ore., Hot Air Balloon Burst

Ruby and Lyle Downing watched a hot air balloon burst on July 4, sometime before 1909, in Jacksonville, Ore.  Sixty years later Lyle described the incident in writing.

“We were on hand to see all the preparations,” he wrote. “A long trench, about 15 feet long and at least two feet wide had been dug. A fire was started in this covered trench-like pit. Something in the way of fuel was added that sent up a black smoke. The balloon had been placed over one end of this covered pit. This was how the balloon was filled with hot air. The balloon filled and started to rise…

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History
10:43 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Johnson Family Reopens Riddle Sawmill

 

Lumberman Don R. Johnson and his wife, JoAnne Johnson, settled in Riddle, Ore., in 1951, where they built a sawmill that still stands. Soon they built a plant that produced glue-laminated beams up to five feet deep and 96 feet long.

Further expansion in Oregon included the Umpqua Lumber Co., Prairie Wood Products in Prairie City and Grant Western Lumber Co. in John Day. The Johnsons also operated cattle ranches for 40 years in Eastern Oregon. 

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History
10:42 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Water-Shooting Device Cools Rogue River Rafters

 

In the late 1980s, three young rafting enthusiasts, Medford financial planner Bill Bednar, Grants Pass banker Dorian Corliss and Medford banker Michael Neyt, were taken by surprise while enjoying a Northern California raft trip.

The trio spotted someone using a crude device resembling a “homemade syringe” that shot a long stream of water.  Seeing the potential for fun, Corliss built a four-foot-long, telescoping “tube within a tube” capable of producing long, strong streams of water.

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History
10:41 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Adams Station Caters to Wagon Road Travelers

 

When travelers glanced back as they left Adams Station in Del Norte County, Calif., they were likely to see Mary Adams waving goodbye.

As early as the 1880s, Adams was catering to the needs of stage travelers on the old Grants Pass to Crescent City wagon road. She had first homesteaded 20 acres along the Smith River near

Gasquet, then paid for another 100 acres. She and neighbor Peter Peacock married and ran Adams Station for more than 50 years.

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