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.



8:50 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Popular Priest Shares Whiskey with Waldo, Ore., Miners

Episode 2383

 French-Canadian Priest X.F. Blanchard, may have been about the only man of God that the hard-drinking miners of Waldo were happy to see. 

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8:47 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Electrified Railways Link Medford and Jacksonville

Episode 2382

There was a time when electrified railways ran through downtown Medford and connected Medford with Jacksonville.  Those tracks are long gone today.

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8:42 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Medford Prepares for 61st Annual Pear Blossom Festival

Episode 2381
For 60 years thousands of Southern Oregonians have celebrated the arrival of spring at the annual Pear Blossom Festival in Medford, Ore.

The festival began in 1954 with a 10-float children’s parade featuring a 5-year-old Miss Blossom.

This year’s 61st Pear Blossom Parade will have 150 entries and 4,000 participants.  Organizers anticipate 25,000 to 30,000 spectators will line the parade route on April 12.  Parade marshals have included Sen. John F. Kennedy in 1960 and runner Frank Shorter in 1977.  Shorter, marathon gold medal winner at the 1972 Summer Olympics, led the festival’s first annual mini-marathon.

Other activities will include a baby contest, junior and senior royal pageants, 5-K and 10-mile runs, a street fair and a stamp show.

The street fair will be held Friday and Saturday, April 11 and 12, and the runs will be on Saturday.  This year’s fair will be located in the new Commons Park Blocks in the center of Medford’s downtown business district.

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8:37 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Tiller Gardens Showcase Camellias in April

Episode 2380

On five acres along Elk Creek near Tiller, Ore., a sharp eye can spot more than 50 varieties of camellias, a plant native to Japan, Korea, and China that became popular in the U.S. South in the late 1700s.  French botanist Andre Michaux presented the first imported camellia to South Carolina Gov. Henry Middleton in 1786. That parent plant is still used to propagate others. As the new plant made its way across the United States, Alabama chose the camellia as its state flower. 

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8:34 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Regional Botanical Diversity Includes Canyon Live Oak

Episode 2379
 Southern Oregon and Northern California’s botanical diversity includes the Canyon Live Oak, one of the earliest known oak species to evolve in North America.  Fossil records suggest the resilient and adaptable tree migrated to the region from Mexico. 
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8:17 am
Thu April 3, 2014

John Daggett Develops Black Bear Gold Mine

Episode 2378
  Discovered in 1860, the Black Bear Mine was one of the most important quartz gold mines in Siskiyou County, Calif.  It was located along the Salmon River in the Liberty Mining District, nine miles south of Sawyer’s Bar. 
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8:12 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Ashland Author Writes and Illustrates Children's Books

Episode 2377
 The author P.K. Hallinan stayed awake one night questioning what he wanted to do with his life.  Hallinan, who lives near the Siskiyou Pass in the mountains outside of Ashland, Ore., decided to be a novelist.  He said he wrote two terrible novels that he threw away.
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7:53 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Newspaper Publisher Suggests Dog Shelter Savings

Episode 2376

 The animal shelter in Jackson County, Ore., was handling up to 250 dogs a month in 1961 and running out of space.  The proposed budget contained $7,000 for building a new cement-block, heated structure to house dogs that were being kept only five days. Maxwell Thayer, owner and editor of the Rogue River Times had a better idea.

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10:37 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Miner's Hopes for Rich Strike Continue into His 80s

Episode 2375
 Tiaman Hatcher heard that an old ore-grinding mill near Rogue River was to be sold for back taxes. He was 61 years old and by then had been a miner, farmer, mechanic, road builder, carpenter, and even an oxen driver. 
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10:33 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Donna-Mae Smith Becomes Army's First Military Bugler

Episode 2374
 The first female bugler in the U.S. military, Donna-Mae Smith of Sutherlin, Ore., was inducted into the Bugler’s Hall of Fame in 2009.  Smith began her service in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1942. Eventually rising to the rank of sergeant, Smith played for reveille and kept the Army on schedule with bugle calls at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.

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