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.



10:28 am
Thu March 27, 2014

The Fall of Gold Ray Dam Cleans Section of Rogue River

Episode 2373
 Built in 1904 by brothers Dr. C.R. Ray and Col. Frank H. Ray, the hydroelectric Gold Ray Dam near the town of Gold Hill in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley provided power for nearly 70 years. When outside power grids and huge land-generator complexes reduced the need for the dam’s electricity, operations ceased in 1972 and the dam, powerhouse and 27 acres were donated to Jackson County, Ore.
Read more
10:21 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Speed Phillips Tells Tall Tales about His Prospecting Days

Epsiode 2372

Speed Phillips never made much money, but prospected for gold all his life. Both his grandfathers were “forty-niners” in California, one seeking his fortune as a dairy farmer and the other as a builder.

Read more
10:17 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Radical Speaker Attracts Northern California Workers and Socialists

Episode 2371
 One of his generation’s most radical union leaders, Utah-born William “Big Bill” Hayward filled the halls with Socialists and workers for a series of speeches in March 1909 in the towns of Eureka, Fortuna and Arcata, Calif.  

Read more
10:13 am
Mon March 24, 2014

University of Oregon Accepts Josephine County Botanist's Collection

Episode 2370

 One of Josephine County’s early distinguished citizens was Abraham Lincoln Savage.  Born in 1864 on his parents homestead, Lincoln explored the land now known as Savage Creek for plants growing in the area.  In 1896 he graduated from Southern Oregon Normal School as valedictorian of his class with a degree in Scientific Didactics, the equivalent of today’s bachelor of education.

Read more
10:08 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Most Rare Port Orford Cedar Ends Up in Japan

Episode 2369
 Port Orford cedar grows only in a small geographic area in coastal Northern California and Southern Oregon that includes Port Orford, Ore., home of the Memorial Day Port Orford Cedar Festival.
Read more
10:00 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Douglas County Honors Lumberman

Episode 2368
 Was a young man, Milt Herbert saw an opportunity during the post-World War II housing boom to go into the lumber business by starting a sawmill in 1945 in Eugene, Ore.  Herbert and some partners operated the portable sawmill for a few years, and in 1948 he headed to Northern California to search for cheaper timber.  
Read more
9:57 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Investigation Identifies White Substance on Curry County Ranch as Borax

Episode 2367
 In 1862 John and Emma Creswell started the Lone Ranch near Brookings, Ore., where they raised sheep and cattle and cut timber. Builders used a chalky white substance found on their land near the ocean as chalk, and housewives used it as silver polish.

Read more
9:51 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Drunken Hired Hand Falls Off Horse, Sleeps in Ditch

Episode 2366

Sam Cherry was a hired man who worked for a number of ranches in the Shasta Valley east of Yreka, Calif.  Originally from the Ozarks, he moved to Siskiyou County from Oregon in 1930.

Read more
9:46 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Stage Takes Three Days to Reach Oregon Coast from Grants Pass

Episode 2365
 In the early 1900s, Gladys Miller Payne of Jackson County, Ore., often traveled to the Northern California Coast.  The trip took three days and seven fresh teams of horses from her Evans Creek home.  First, she went to Grants Pass, where she boarded the Concord stage pulled by four horses following roughly the course of today’s U.S. Hwy 199.  
Read more
9:41 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Alert Pacific Highway Motorist Assists Police in Capturing Mail Thieves

Episode 2364
 George Barnum stopped for coffee in the wee hours of March 7, 1922, in Dunsmuir, Calif., on his way home to Medford, Ore., from San Francisco.  At the restaurant, a police officer told Barnum that robbers had stolen a mail pouch up the road at Weed, and the government was offering a $5,000 reward for their capture.  Barnum hadn’t passed any southbound cars that morning as he drove north on the Pacific Highway that followed the old Siskiyou Trail.
Read more