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.



11:32 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Umpqua Bank Celebrates 60th Anniversary

Episode 2304
  Newspaper advertisements throughout the West Coast trumpeted this year, “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.”  It was Umpqua Bank’s way of celebrating its 60th anniversary.
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11:23 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Two Men Build Lonely Ranch south of Klamath Lake

Episode 2302
 As a boy in 1853, Orsen Stearns was one of the first pioneers to settle near today’s Phoenix, Ore.   Thirteen years later he started his own ranch south of Klamath Lake, in an area he had explored as a soldier at Fort Klamath.
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11:19 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Dam Eases Passage of Salmon Headed Up the North Umpqua River

Episode 2301

Salmon and steelhead are finding it easier to reach habitat above the Soda Springs Dam in the North Umpqua River following federal approval of the dam’s operating license.

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11:13 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Gold Miner Turns to Ranching and Politics

Episode 2300

Like so many others of his time, Robert Milton Martin sought gold when he headed West in 1849 from his home in Tennessee.  He worked the California gold fields before joining Siskiyou County’s gold rush.

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11:09 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Early Christmas Shopping Has Its Advocates

Episode 2299

Early Christmas advertising in Southern Oregon and Northern California is nothing new; it has been around since the late 1800s when some ads popped up even before Halloween. It got a boost in 1903 when the socialist co-founder of the NAACP, Florence Kelley, wrote a widely published essay advocating early shopping in support of her crusade for child labor laws and an eight-hour workday.

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11:04 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Only the Name Persists of Persists, Ore.

Episode 2298
 In 1883, William and Irene Willits homesteaded nearly 500 acres in the mountains above Elk Creek in Jackson County, Ore. They had both been teachers, but liked the idea of living far from their neighbors.
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10:53 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Dwight Safford's Luck Runs Out in Crescent City Saloon

Episode 2297
 Luck ran out in August 1898 for 25-year-old Dwight Safford of Klamath, Calif.  After selling a load of fish in Crescent City, Safford headed to the Willow Saloon, where he was a frequent customer and gambler.
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10:44 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Canby's Cross Commemorates Fallen General

Episode 2296
 Three miles south of the town of Tulelake, Calif., a large cross in the Lava Beds National Monument commemorates Edward R. S. Canby, the only general killed during the Indian Wars. 
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10:37 am
Mon December 9, 2013

James Abrams Explores Rugged Salmon River Country

Episode 2295
 Two of the hardiest miners in Siskiyou County were brothers James and Frank Abrams, but it was James who was among the first white men to enter the upper reaches of the Salmon River in 1849.
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10:21 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Roseburg Politician Avoids Conviction in Oregon Land Frauds Scandal

Episode 2294
 Roseburg, Ore., attorney Binger Hermann emigrated in 1850 from Baltimore to Oregon, where he became a state senator, tax collector, judge advocate in the Oregon militia, and by 1884, Oregon’s sole representative in the U.S. Congress.
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