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

A collection of As It Was essays is available in a high-quality paperback book at the JPR Online Store.  Each episode is also available below.

The Klamath Falls Evening Herald reported 100 years ago how a doctor saved a woman bitten by a rabid coyote by treating her with blood from intentionally rabies-infected rabbits.

Oregon was the last state photographer Dorothea Lange visited in the 1930s as a field investigator for the Farm Security Administration.  She was assigned to document the problems of the Great Depression in the Pacific Northwest. 

The Southern Oregon Sled Dog Club staged races in Lakeview, the Castle Lakes Nordic Center, McCloud, and Sterling Creek Meadows.  The club also put volunteer time and energy into organizing the Diamond Lake Sled Dog Race.

One file of newspaper articles at the Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library in Medford, Ore., is labeled “Romance,” an ironic misnomer as the folder contains stories of murder and suicide resulting from bad love affairs. 

In the summer of 1932, America's already famous author and sportsman, Zane Grey, made his first camp along the North Umpqua River in Douglas County, Ore.  His guide on the river was Joe DeBernardi, a resident of the little community downstream known as Glide.  Among the party accompanying him were his son, Romer Grey, and Romer's motion picture cameramen.

In 1871, Willis White and two companions responded to a San Francisco newspaper ad that read, “Wanted, River-Drivers Rogue River.”

Before the massive migration of settlers to the Far West, the acorn was an important winter staple in the diet of native peoples and wildlife in Southwestern Oregon.

Descendants of the Modoc Indians, who were torn from their ancestral lands at the end of the 1872-73 Modoc War and shipped to Oklahoma, want to return to the Tulelake region of Northern California.

On a warm sunny day in July, 1858, all was ready for the wedding of Miss Wagner and Mr. Pursely in Phoenix, Ore.  The Justice of the Peace had provided all the appropriate preliminaries before the 60 guests.  Miss Wagner stood before the groom in her best dress.  Pursely was a little tipsy from alcoholic fortification.

The Trinity River was known to trappers of the Hudson’s Bay Company as they passed through Northern California, but these early explorers apparently never gave it a name.

Present-day Merlin, Ore., has been called the “Gateway to the Wild and Scenic Rogue River” for its proximity to fishing and rafting.  The unincorporated town is next to U.S. Interstate 5 about six miles northwest of Grants Pass.

In the early gold-mining days, prospectors had difficulty finding women to marry.  The men far outnumbered the available women, so casual dating was not an option. 

In December 1892, Capt. Nicholas Lorentzen, his daughter, Lena, and father-in-law were among the passengers aboard the barge Majestic, on a return trip from Vancouver, British Columbia.

When the Houston Opera House in Klamath Falls began showing “moving pictures” in 1909, it advertised, “Ten cents to everybody, ten cents for any seat in the house.  Go when you like and stay as long as you like.”  It featured a “new moving picture machine” called the Edison Projecting Kinetoscope.

The first woman lighthouse keeper in Oregon, Mabel Hatch Bretherton, got her first lighthouse job after her husband, Bernard Bretherton, died in 1903.

One of the first settlers in Klamath, Calif., M.G. Tucker, constructed a building in the village center on high ground just 100 yards from the Klamath River. The Tucker House served several purposes, as a store, restaurant, and hotel, but also as the post office, a dance hall on Saturday nights, and the freight depot for cargo deposited on a large, nearby rock formation.

Two invaders crept into Oregon in the mid-1800s, playing never-ending havoc with the landscape.

In the early 20th century, the North Umpqua River drew anglers to Douglas County, Ore.  They fished for Chinook and Coho salmon, as well as sea-run cutthroat trout.  Summer fishing camps were established, leading to a storied angling history.

The Civil War had been over for a year when inebriated supporters of opposing sides in the conflict clashed on Christmas Day in Roseburg, Ore.  The brawl left two dead and several injured in what became known statewide as the “Champagne Riot of 1866.”

Ethel Porter moved when she was seven in 1896 with her family to the Altoon Quicksilver Mine in Northern California. Her father’s job was hauling wood to the mine using teams of six and eight horses.