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

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.



8:21 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Indian Weavers Use Fire to Grow New Bear Grass

Episode 2399

Southern Oregon and Northern California Indians wove tawny colored baskets out of bear grass, a member of the lily family still used by weavers today.  It resembles grass, but has a thick underground stem with shoots and roots that were eaten by various tribes and black bears that wallow in the dense clumps.

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8:18 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Chinese Operate Successful Gold Mines in Siskiyou County

Episode 2398
 Chinese mining companies were rare and their workers often persecuted during the California gold rush, but a number of operations were successful in Siskiyou County. During the late 1800s along the Klamath River, Chinese worked for white miners or ran their own mining companies. 
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10:33 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Tragedy Stalks Christina Bruck, from Indian Slayings to Murder

Episode 2397
 Christina Bruck was born in Germany in 1823, married John Geisel at the age of 20 and moved to Southern Oregon’s Curry County, where they had five children over the next 13 years.
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10:10 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Ashland Protects Watershed Despite Early Opposition

Episode 2396
 For more than 120 years, the Ashland, Ore., City Council has protected the city’s water supply in the 14,000-acre Ashland Creek watershed despite early opposition from private and commercial interests.  

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9:58 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Iowa Slough Once Known as Dead Man's Slough

Episode 2395

 Iowa Slough is about 15 minutes by boat from the mouth of the Coquille River in Oregon and about half way between the towns of Coquille and Bandon.  Years ago it was called Dead Man’s Slough, taking its name from two miners who were killed by Indians.

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9:54 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Spirituous Drink Leads to Tragic Death between Friends

Episode 2394
  Two good friends who shared a house in Jacksonville, Ore., William Casterline and Samuel Mooney, had an alcohol-fueled argument on Dec. 3, 1859, that ended tragically while drinking with two other men.  When the argument heated up, Mooney stormed angrily out of the cabin.  Equally inflamed, Casterline grabbed his rifle and fired out the open door.  The bullet hit Mooney between the eyes and he fell dead on the ground outside. Casterline was known as a good shot when he was a mounted volunteer in Captain O’Neal’s Company E in the Indian Wars of 1856.  
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10:23 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Trail Leads to Mysterious Stone Woman of Crater Lake

Episode 2393
 Reports of a sculptured stone woman began filtering into Crater Lake National Park headquarters during the winter and spring of 1917. Workers located the figure on the lake’s rim, about a mile and a half from the lodge.  The nearly full relief of a nude figure was chiseled out of a lava boulder, its legs bent and one arm over its head as if shielding against danger. The news media reported the discovery with headlines such as “Mummy Woman found in woods” and “Ancient figure of woman discovered.”   
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9:46 am
Wed April 23, 2014

SOU Herbarium Rediscovers Donated Plant Collection

Episode 2392
 The Southern Oregon University Herbarium was long neglected when botanist Frank Callahan offered in 2012 to clean and organize its collection of nearly 24,000 specimens.
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9:44 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Railroad Baron Throws Axe at Medford Mayor

Episode 2391
 By 1908 W.S. Barnum, president of the Rogue River Valley Railroad, had made a fortune providing public transportation in the valley.  
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9:33 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Barns and Watering Troughs Serve as 1880s Billboards

Episode 2390
 Barns and watering troughs served as billboards in the 1880s, proof that advertising was as much a part of life in those days as railroading and road building.
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