Notes on Central Point History
Mr. Isaac Constant reached his home in this county, on Wolf Creek, yesterday, from Oregon. He came by the overland route--packing one horse and riding another. We have not seen him.--Illinois Journal.Four miles farther down the R.R. is Medford, one of the most business places in the valley, considering its age. It is principally settled by people from Atlantic states. It is located 4 miles east of Jacksonville, on the west side of Bear Creek. The land where the town is located is poor and gravelly, except a small part of the south end. Four miles northwesterly is Central Point. Here are a few business places, but the R.R. managers saw fit to pass this Central Point by without giving them a depot, and this has not only injured the old settlers but evidently has injured those who are expending their means in Medford, as the company is now aiding in putting in a switch at Central Point. If they had put this in at the beginning the principal part of those in Medford would have preferred to have went into business at Central Point. But now two towns so near each other will not do as well as one would
Oregon Spectator, Oregon City, December 12, 1850, page 2
A. G. Walling, History of Southern Oregon, 1884, page 525
A. G. Walling, History of Southern Oregon, 1884, page 533
Martin Peterson, "Descriptive Letter of Jackson County," Ashland Tidings, June 12, 1885, page 1
Central Point, May 15, 1887.
Ed. Review: We have a nice little town here now; there is about eight or ten new buildings going up here, we can hear the busy sound of the hammers and saws. Fine weather, everything growing. We have two stores, one drug store, two blacksmith shops, two livery stables, one butcher shop, one tin or hardware store, one hotel and two saloons. S. Gornutt has taken charge of the Central Point Hotel. Please send my paper to Central Point. I will write to you again.
Roseburg Review, May 20, 1887, page 3
G. W. Edward, agent for McDonough & Johnson, paid our town a visit this week. He has purchased 25 carloads of fruit in Rogue River Valley this season.
Central Point can now boast of 116 inhabitants. Your correspondent will endeavor next week to give the value and number of buildings that have been constructed in the past year.
Central Point, with its future prospects, bids fair to become one of the leading cities of Southern Oregon. Four years ago now Central Point was a blank in Jackson County. After our opponent town had started at the present place called Medford, people ridiculed the idea of Central Point ever amounting to anything. But look upon our thriving village today! After all opposition and prejudice she is growing right along; she is ranked with the other leading towns; she will soon score the last point, which will ever bring prosperity, yet it is our indefatigable citizens that have accomplished this result. What town ever struggled under any more disadvantages for its freedom than Central Point? It is true we have a larger scope of country surrounding us than our contemporaries' towns, of which we feel proud, but again we have less facilities with the railroad. All that is needed to complete our prosperity is a depot; with, it, our town would spring forward as the leading manufacturing town of Southern Oregon; without it, in a few years we will come to a standstill. Our citizens should never rest till this one great design is accomplished. Our warehouses are full of grain, ready for shipment. Our merchants are continually receiving large stocks of goods. The passenger train arrives here at 6:30 p.m., going north, and Central Point furnishes her amount of passengers, and in consequence of rain and no depot people are left shivering on a miserable platform to await the coming of the thundering locomotive. They pay just as much for their fare as those who have a cozy depot to comfort their wants, while reading the news in the Democratic Times. A depot would be beneficial to the railroad company as well as to Central Point.
"Central Point Items," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 11, 1887, page 3
THE TOWN OF CENTRAL POINT.
On the 18th of February, 1889, the late legislature incorporated the town of Central Point, in Jackson County, Or., one of the new and rapidly growing towns of Rogue River Valley. The town was so named because of its location being in the very center of the inhabited portion of Jackson County, and the "central point" for a large area of the most fertile and productive portion of that part of the state so often referred to as the "Italy of Oregon." The town has sprung up in response to the demand of a large and populous region for a shipping and trading point nearer than the older towns of Ashland, Jacksonville, Phoenix and Medford. The county roads leading from those towns into this portion of the valley all pass through Central Point, thus rendering it unnecessary for the residents of this region to go to the older towns either for the purpose of business or to reach a good shipping point on the railroad for their produce. The town now has a population approximating five hundred and is making a rapid and most gratifying growth. The best idea of the prospects Central Point has for becoming a city of much commercial importance can be obtained from a brief glance at the extent and character of the country naturally tributary to it. Immediately north and northwest lie several thousand acres of land unsurpassed in fertility for both grain and fruits. On the west lies a large area of hill land that is becoming famous for its productive qualities for fruit and grapes. The lands are exempt from frost and drought, and the products are of superior size and flavor. Here also may be found a large acreage of grain. On the southwest, south and southeast lies a soil of fertile, black loam, unexcelled for general farming purposes in the state. The products of that region find Central Point the cheapest and most convenient point of shipment. A most extensive area of agricultural land lies to the east and northeast, the soil being of a rich, alluvial loam, celebrated for the production of grain and vegetables. Were it necessary to irrigate these lands, it could be easily done, but as yet excellent crops have always been produced by careful cultivation without irrigation. Farther east, just beyond Bear Creek, is a tract of adobe land known as the "Big Sticky" country, because of the adhesive properties of that class of soil. Cultivation of this adobe land is harder than the loam soils, but wonderful crops are produced. The foothills of that region possess those great fruit-producing qualities which are rendering the lands of Jackson County so famous. Here are thousands of acres the home seeker and prospective fruitgrower can obtain at a price but little greater than that charged by the government. Valuable deposits of coal, iron and copper lie in these hills, and ere long will be called upon to yield up their stores of wealth. North of the "Big Sticky," and at a distance of only five miles from Central Point, lies a region known as the "desert." It is now used chiefly as a stock range, but will soon be as productive as the other regions mentioned. Its soil possesses all the elements of fertility, and water is all that is necessary to render it arable. Water may be brought upon this tract from Rogue River and both Little and Big Butte creeks. In a few years irrigating ditches will convert the desert into a valuable farming region. Still farther to the northeast, and distant ten miles from Central Point, lies the Little Butte Creek country, through which flows Little Butte Creek, and on this stream is situated a thrifty little village called Eagle Point. The soil of this country is of loam and adobe, very rich and productive. This country consists of small valleys and rolling hills, and is settled quite extensively. Little Butte Creek, for water facilities, is not surpassed in this country, although but little is used, there being but one grist mill on its banks. Little Butte Creek, from the main valley to its source, is bordered by small valleys and rolling hills, while away from the stream are large belts of timber, consisting of yellow pine, sugar pine, cedar and fir, which for lumbering purposes are very valuable. The upper portion of the Little Butte, as well as the entire Big Butte country, is used principally as a stock range. To view the country north-northeast of Central Point a distance of five miles, Rogue River will be crossed on a free bridge, which cost the county nearly $14,000 to construct, and is located directly opposite the upper Table Rock, from which the country in question takes its name. The Table Rock country embraces a large scope of territory, and a large portion of its soil is exceedingly productive in grain and vegetables. Along the north bank of Rogue River are grown the celebrated watermelons raised by Geo. A. Jackson, from whose farm the Portland market is in great part supplied. This Table Rock country has many natural advantages, which, when fully developed, will cause it to quadruple the present exports. All along the north bank of Rogue River there is a scattering settlement for a distance of fifty miles, until the wonderful cascade and falls are reached. From this place on eastward the country is noted for its wonderful timber and scenery. The famous Crater Lake, which is on the summit of the Cascade Mountains, can only be reached from Rogue River Valley by this route, and Central Point is the nearest point on the railroad to start from in order to reach the lake.
The first board of trustees elected under the charter to administer the affairs of the town government are C. Magruder, chairman, F. W. Hogg, W. C. Leever, C. G. Rippey and J. H. Kincaid. Central Point is building up rapidly, and will soon present that brick and mortar solidity which is a marked characteristic of the new and progressive towns of the West. The question of a branch railroad to Jacksonville is much discussed, and it is probable that if such a road is built it will start from Central Point. Everything indicates a prosperous career for this thriving young town.--[West Shore.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 18, 1889, page 1
CONSTANT.--At his home in Central Point on Friday, January 31, 1890, Isaac Constant, a native of Kentucky; aged 80 years, 9 months and 26 days.
A prince of hospitality, a chief among pioneers in the days when a man was judged by worth alone, is the summary of the life story of Isaac Constant. No man ever came to the valley who more richly deserved the tribute, and none of the pioneers preserved to the day of his death more nearly the habits and customs of early times and the open-handed mode of living of early days than he. There was in his composition that union of all the elements of true manhood, embodying justice, humanity and morality, which made every man his friend, and gave him a place in the affections of even comparative strangers. Coming to the valley in the early fifties, he settled on the donation claim which continued his home until his death. Here, with his faithful wife, who still survives him, he saw four loving daughters and one son grow to years of maturity, and one by one depart from the parental roof to preside over homes of their own. Here he saw the wilderness develop into the garden spot of southern Oregon, through Indian wars and times of sunny peace, through the halcyon days of the stagecoach and the bustling life of the railroad.
One of his first crops was devoted to the cause of humanity. The Indians, after the hard winter of 1852, were reduced to a condition of absolute starvation, and many of them must have perished had not Mr. Constant placed his store of potatoes at their disposal. They never forgot his humanity, and when the Indian war of 1855-6 was raging, he and his family alone, of all the inhabitants of the valley, were allowed to remain unmolested on their ranch, secure from harm because of an act of kindness. [No families in the Bear Creek Valley were harmed in 1855-56.]
Mr. Constant's sense of justice was remarkably keen. A miscreant, having murdered an innocent Indian boy who rendezvoused at Mr. C.'s place, on the desert, was boasting of the deed to him at his ranch gate, when, without a word, he started to run to his cabin, and the fellow taking the hint was out of gunshot before he appeared with his rifle. "If he'd been a little closer, I'd have shot at him," said the old gentleman recently, "so mad was I at the wanton outrage."
Of his children, four daughters, Mrs. W. T. Leever, Mrs. Wm. A. Owen, Mrs. C. Magruder, all residing in the vicinity of the old home, and Mrs. Jesse Robinson of Oakland, California, survive him; an only son, Thos. Constant, having died some years ago.
The funeral was announced for last Sunday, but the great storm and flood, which culminated on that day, cut off access to the family burying ground in Jacksonville Cemetery, so it became necessary to embalm the remains and hold the body at Central Point until such time as the streams subside and the roads become passable.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 6, 1890, page 3
The southern part of Jackson County was now prepared to have a school [at Talent in September 1854], but a teacher was yet to be found. It was learned that a young man from the East had lately arrived at Uncle Isaac Constant's, down toward the mouth of Bear Creek. A committee of one was appointed to go and see the young man, and try to engage him to teach the Wagner Creek school. On arriving at Constant's the committee found that the young man was across Bear Creek, driving four yoke of oxen to a breaking plow, but would be in to dinner soon, and being invited to stay to dinner, the committee accepted and did not have long to wait until the gentleman came in. He at first thought he would accept the proposition of one hundred dollars per month as school teacher rather than drive oxen, but after a private talk with one of Uncle Constant's pretty daughters (of which he had several) the young man declined the offer, and the Wagner Creek committee on teacher had to return and report a failure. Within a few weeks we heard of a wedding at the Constant residence. The couple are still alive and have raised a numerous family of native sons and daughters of Jackson County.
Welborn Beeson, Ashland Tidings, September 16, 1892
Welborn Beeson was the "committee of one"; apparently he's confusing a later incident with hiring Wagner Creek's first teacher. Beeson's visit was in December 1855; William Leever and Elizabeth Constant were married January 1, 1856.
Dec 13th Thursday 1855
I went down to Mr Constance to try to engage a school Teacher. It rained in the after noon.
Diary of Welborn Beeson
Looking east on Pine Street, 1908-1910
Constructing Telephone Line
Edgar Spence, of Ashland, has a crew of men at work this week putting up poles, stringing wires and installing instruments for the new telephone exchange. The present city circuit will extend from the drug store, on lower Pine Street, to the creamery building, on the east line of the townsite. Some friction was caused by the failure of those interested in the line in securing a right of way from the town officials, but the matter was amicably arranged Monday, when the members of the board got together and took some steps to regulate the construction of the line.
Central Point Herald, September 13, 1906, page 1
Water Works Needed.
The Herald has briefly called attention to the needs of city water at different times. But there should be an urgent effort made to get the people and council awake to the necessity of some move being made in this direction.
If I were a merchant or owned property on Main Street, I could not rest until there was some practical move to secure protection from fire by water. Suppose a fire should start at almost any point on Main Street. It would sweep it from end to end in spite of anything that could be done with the means at hand at this time.
We need water not only for our own protection, but rates of insurance would be much lower, property would double in value and prospective investors would be more ready to invest their money.
The town would be greatly beautified by trees, shrubs and flowers, and Central Point could easily be made the most attractive town in Rogue River Valley. It would rapidly gain in population and wealth, and it would not be a great burden on anyone if all will put their shoulder to the wheel and work together for our own interests.
Excerpt, Central Point Herald, January 17, 1907, page 1
[The following composition was written by a 10-year-old Central Point schoolboy. If he isn't a booster now he shows earmarks of growing into one as the years go by. Ed.]
Central Point is the Hub of the famous Rogue River Valley. The products of the valley are swine, cattle, fruit, grain and lumber.
Central Point is the most beautifully located town in Oregon. On the north is the famous Table Rock; on the east is the wonderful Crater Lake; on the west are fine hills covered with timber, and on the south are the Siskiyou Mountains and looming up in the distance is the beautiful snow-covered peak of Mt. Pitt.
Central Point has grown more in the last year than any other town in the valley. It has built a fine $15,000 brick schoolhouse, a creamery, a flour mill and a hotel.
Central Point is on the line of the S.P. railroad. Its citizens are a class of people that would be hard to find elsewhere--all honest. In the summer the people go to the mountains to hunt and fish. In the mountains are deer, grouse, bear and wildcats.
Fruit raising is the chief business around Central Point. Rogue River Valley apples are shipped to all parts of the world. The Snowy Butte and the Plain View orchards, near Central Point, are the leading orchards of the valley.
Wait till another windy day and I will talk again.
Central Point Herald, April 18, 1907, page 3
Central Point depot, circa 1908
Will Ask R. R. Co. for Improvements.
A movement is on foot here to call the attention of Superintendent Fields of the Southern Pacific to the lack of conveniences afforded by his company at the local depot for the accommodation of the traveling public and other patrons of the road. Attention will be called to the urgent need of a telegraph office at this station, as well as the discrimination in the sale of tickets here. Excursion tickets to beach and mountain summer resorts are not on sale here and the best the local agent can do is take the traveler's money and give him an order for the ticket on the agent at Grants Pass or Medford. This is an abominable nuisance to travelers and should be remedied. Another matter that will be brought to the attention of the company is the location of the depot in the middle of the main business street. Grants Pass and Medford depots were formerly in a similar location, but a vigorous protest on the part of the people of those towns forced the company to move them. A petition will be circulated in a day or two for signatures asking these improvements from the company, and in the event of the company officials failing to grant the relief asked for the matter will be at once taken up with the state railroad commission.STREET PAVING BADLY NEEDED
Central Point Herald, July 23, 1908, page 1
SITE FOR WELL IS SELECTED
Work Will Now Be Pushed with the Least Possible Delay
At a special meeting of the town council held Monday evening, a location for the city well and pumping plant for the proposed city water system was decided upon, and an order was made to purchase the ground. The location is the south half of block 34, on Cedar Street between Fifth and Sixth streets. It is about the highest ground in the town and is considered the best location available. The plot of ground is 140x220 feet and, with the adjoining streets, will make possible the construction of tunnels from the bottom of the well 840 feet in length if necessary to secure a sufficient flow of water. The ground was purchased from S. A. Pattison, the price being $250.
The water committee was instructed to advertise for bids for the work without delay, and it is the intention of the mayor and council to push the work with all possible speed.
The present plan is to sink the well to a water-bearing gravel strata and then run tunnels east and west from the bottom, thus opening up a large surface of water-bearing gravel. Plans and specifications of the work will be prepared at once, and no time will be lost in getting the work started.
Central Point Herald, April 22, 1909, page 1
Jacobsen & Bade's Buckeye Ditcher at work in Medford, before its sojourn in Central Point.
WORK BEGINS SOON ON WATER SYSTEM
Contractor Bade Arrives Yesterday Will Start Work Soon
C. B. Bade arrived from Portland yesterday morning expecting to find his big ditching machine here ready to commence excavating for the distributing system of the new water works. The machine was delayed a few days at Medford, however, by a break just as the work there was being completed, requiring a few days to replace the broken part. Two cars of pipe and a car of hydrants and fittings have arrived, and the balance of the material is on the road and due to arrive at any time. Central Point will soon be numbered among Oregon's wet towns in having an abundance of pure water.
Central Point Herald, April 28, 1910, page 6
Pine Street Property Owners Are Anxious for Improvement
The heavy rain Monday night forcibly brought to mind the fact that the wet season is again upon us and also served as a reminder that if Central Point is to become the modern town which its location and surroundings indicate that it can be, it must have better streets and more modern sidewalks. People who build the class of homes which have been going up here the past few months do not enjoy wading through mud in going to and from their homes and places of business, and the only way to escape from such a disagreeable experience is to improve the streets and sidewalks. Steps should be taken at once to prepare for paving Pine Street so that the beginning of the next rainy season a year hence will not find us in the same condition we are now in. It is understood by those who have investigated the matter that a large majority of the Pine Street property owners are heartily in favor of paving, and all that is lacking is for somebody to take the initiative and set the improvement ball rolling.
Central Point Herald, November 10, 1910, page 1
SAWDUST SAVES THE DAY
Street Crossings Now Navigable for Pedestrians.
Acting on the suggestion made in the Herald last Thursday, the street committee of the city council Thursday afternoon instructed the street commissioner to immediately take steps to make the street crossings navigable for pedestrians, and Friday morning a team was put to work hauling planer shavings, which are found to answer the purpose splendidly as a temporary expedient. The present condition of the roads makes it next to impossible to haul gravel or decomposed granite for the purpose, and it is doubtful if either of these materials would give as good satisfaction as the shavings. At least it is now possible to cross the street comparatively dry shod, and everybody is happy in consequence. Many expressions of approval of the action of the councilmen mitigating this nuisance were heard from citizens and taxpayers which it is understood they would have done before had they expected that the season of mud was to be so protracted.
Central Point Herald, December 22, 1910, page 1
SEWER SYSTEM COMING NEXT
Water System Extension, Street Paving Also Billed for this Year.
One of the most important meetings of the town council ever held in Central Point was the special meeting of Monday evening, when the mayor and councilmen met with city engineer Osgood to talk over informally the sewer proposition, as well as an extension to the water system.
In the minds of the city officials, the question of installing a sewer system is no longer a matter of argument but is now resolved to the routine proposition of working out the details and submitting the matter to the voters at the coming town election because of the fact that the charter must be amended to permit further municipal improvements.
The proposed sewer system will in all probability be so constructed as to not only serve as a sanitary sewer, but also to take care of the storm waters which flood our streets with each heavy rain or melting snow.
The matter of extending the water system into the several additions which have not yet been given water service is also receiving attention from the engineer, and it is understood that provision will be made for giving the entire town sewers. This work, together with the paving of Pine Street, will ensure the busiest summer ever known in the history of Central Point.
Excerpt, Central Point Herald, January 26, 1911, page 1
Up to Date or Out of Date?
Speaking of telephone service, does Central Point want to be up-to-date or continue indefinitely in the old, dinky, out-of-date rut? If the town wants to be like other towns and enjoy some of the advantages of modern civilization it will grant the Home Telephone Company a franchise stipulating modern equipment and service and equable rates. If we want to be pikers, for the sake of pleasing a few interested unprogressives, it will build its present Chinese shut-out wall still higher and make it plain that no outside capital, new blood nor progressive spirit need apply.
It is rumored that opposition to modern telephone service exists and that the present homemade, cow county, fence wire system is "good enough." Is it? Isn't Central Point entitled to as good as other towns? Progressive citizens should get busy and stand pat for improvements. It's the only way to build up a town or city. The franchise matter is expected to come up at [the] council meeting next Monday evening.
Central Point Herald, June 1, 1911, page 1
PAVING BONDS WIN TWO TO ONE
Opponents of Progress Make Strong but Losing Fight.
One of the most hotly contested elections ever held in this city was that of Monday when the question of authorizing the council to issue bonds for the purpose of paving the street intersections was submitted to the electors.
Opponents of the measure put up a hard fight but without avail, and the official count showed that the friends of progress had won out by almost two to one, the figures being 93 Yes to 55 No.
For several days it has been known that those who oppose all modern improvements and conveniences would make the fight of their lives against this measure believing that by so doing they could best express their disapproval of the present progressive mayor and council for all their sins (?) connected with water and sewer systems and at the same time put a final quietus to improvements. Much to their disappointment, however, the people in general again failed to "come through" with the votes necessary.
Central Point has in the past been called a mossback town, but as a matter of fact every time any progressive measure has been submitted to the people it has carried by an overwhelming majority.
The result of Monday's contest assures the paving of Pine Street this fall and guarantees needed relief to all citizens from the awful curse of mud with which we were afflicted last winter.
Central Point Herald, August 31, 1911, page 1
Looking east on Pine Street, late 1911-early 1912
PAVING WORK IS COMPLETED
City Now Has Over Half Mile of First-Class Street.
The Clark & Henery Co. finished their Central Point paving contract last Monday morning, and this city may now boast of possessing eleven blocks of as high class street paving as that of any city in the country. The work was done thoroughly and well and in record time, not a moment being wasted by the company and not a protest being filed against the character of work done. The paving now extends from Manzanita Street south on Front Street to Pine, thence east on Pine Street to Tenth Street, considerably more than one-half mile.
Every citizen of the city is indebted to the Clark-Henery Company and to their efficient corps of workmen for the splendid work done, as well as to our city officials, mayor, councilmen, recorder and marshal, for their part in the campaign for a better and more modern city.
Next year will undoubtedly see more street improvements than the present, for now practically everyone sees and acknowledges the value to the general welfare of such improvements.
Central point Herald, November 9, 1911, page 1
SPUD PARINGS GROW BIG CROP
Pioneer Constant Feeds Hungry Reds, Makes Friends.
Speaking of weather conditions in the commercial club rooms Monday evening, Mayor Leever, a native son of the valley, told of his grandfather, Isaac Constant, who came to the valley with his family in 1852, and secured a donation claim on a portion of which part of this city now stands, and how, in February 1853, he planted his potatoes and garden stuff, even beans and other tender vegetables. These all grew rapidly and were not injured in the least with frost.
Potatoes for the winter had been packed in from Oregon City and were so valuable that the parings were saved and planted. From these potato parings, planted in February, Mr. Constant raised a bountiful crop, having more potatoes than he could use. The following winter, however, a heavy snow fell, and the Rogue River Indians, who had failed to put up their usual amount of food, were starving. Mr. Constant supplied them with spuds from his bountiful supply, and by this means their lives were saved. Two or three years later, during the Indian war, Chief Sam and his followers came down from the upper Rogue River in war paint and trappings intending to massacre all the whites in the country. They camped at Table Rock and while there old Sam remembered the Constant potato episode. "No killum Constant, no killum him neighbors," declared Chief Sam, and he forthwith sent his young daughter, Mary, to tell Mr. Constant that no harm should befall his or his neighbors' families. The girl swam Rogue River in the night and walked to the Constant ranch, where she delivered her welcome message. The Indians continued on down the river to the Galice Creek mines, where they planned to kill all of the miners, but fortunately the miners had been reinforced by soldiers, the Indians were repulsed and scattered. This raid practically ended the war. Mr. Leever states that the story of the big battle at Table Rock, which was said to have taken place at that time when romancers say many Indians threw themselves from the rock and were dashed to death 1000 feet below, is a pure myth. No battle occurred there and no Indians were killed in such a way. However, had it not been for Isaac Constant's potato parings it is difficult to tell what might have happened in this part of the valley during the war.
Central Point Herald, February 15, 1912, page 1 This article was reprinted in the Medford Mail Tribune of February 19, 1912, page 5.
Building New Depot
A crew of carpenters and workmen arrived Tuesday and started the preliminary work of moving the Southern Pacific depot and putting up a new building. It seems at last as through the long-delayed promise of a new station house was about to be filled. A foundation is first to be put in and then the old building will be moved to the new location. Then everything will be ready for the construction of the new depot.
The plans at first outlined promise a building 100 feet long with a spacious freight room, express and baggage room, large waiting rooms and commodious office, but some changes have been made in the original plan and the architect is here today working out a new plan and it is not known exactly what the dimensions of the rooms will now be drawn.
It is expected that it will take eight or ten weeks to complete the work.
Central Point Herald, February 19, 1914, page 1
The S.P. depot was moved out of Pine Street Tuesday and with good luck today will be placed on the new foundation two blocks south of the former location. The building will be used as a freight house when the new depot building is completed. Work on the new structure is to begin at once and will be rushed as fast as possible. So after many promises and long delays Pine Street has at last been cleared of the old depot.
Central Point Herald, March 6, 1914, page 3
ATTENTION WATER USERS
Owing to the very scant supply of water in the city well, we ask all water consumers to be extra careful about wasting any water, and to see that all leaky faucets, toilets and hydrants are promptly fixed.
The scarcity of water also compelled us to shorten the irrigation hours, in order to save any for fire protection, and we trust that everyone will cheerfully cooperate with us in enforcing these regulations, for if they are not complied with, it will be necessary to entirely cut out the use of water for irrigation.
W. A. COWLEY, Mayor.
Central Point Herald, March 18, 1914, page 1
In view of the fact that on many of the streets of our city sweet clover and weeds have grown to such an extent that they seriously interfere with pedestrian travel, besides combining to make adjacent property unsafe and unsightly, I wish to call the public's attention to Article 7, Section 1 of our city charter, which makes the removal of same from the property line to the middle of the streets and alleys compulsory by the owner of the adjoining land, and I trust that the same loyal spirit that prompted an almost universal compliance to a similar suggestion a year ago will actuate the people again this year, and the civic pride of our citizens that is surpassed in no other town in the valley will result in a general cleanup in this matter that will reflect credit on us all.
To aid in this good work, our fire chief, D. C. Grim, and asst. chief, E. E. Scott, are busy every night in burning over some of the many dry areas, and anyone who wants the grass burned near his premises should apply to one of the above-named men, who will fix a time for that purpose.
W. A. COWLEY, Mayor.
Central Point Herald, July 23, 1914, page 1
Gravel It Now
We are strictly opposed to the waste of public funds, but we are most heartily in favor of good roads. Central Point has two gateways, one, the Pacific Highway, which is in fine condition the year around. The other is the depot, and while it is fair in summer, it is surrounded by mud nearly hub deep in winter. We do not suggest paving the street to the depot, but we do believe the voters would back up the council in putting a good coat of gravel from the pavement to the edge of the depot grounds and we will guarantee the railroad will do its part.
Central Point Herald, November 9, 1916, page 3
OUR "COWPATH" ROAD
"Be it far from us to disturb the hilarity of this occasion," as the proverbial Irishman said, but we want to raise our voices in more or less feeble protest in regard to the highway between Central Point and the county seat [Medford].
Why can we not have this wretched piece of road improved? Why should we be compelled to admit that the roughest, crookedest four miles on the whole Pacific Highway between Canada and Mexico lies at our very door, on a perfectly level stretch?
We don't want to be always finding fault, nor do we think just now is the time to be spending extra money on roads, but let's be thinking of it and planning for it and be ready when the proper time does come.
There is no more dangerous curve in Oregon than the one near our high school, and we hope no one will be killed or injured there. We wish no harm to the business places along the present route, but human life and safety is of vastly more importance than mere money-making.
Central Point American, December 31, 1931, page 2
Railroad Company Says Not Enough Business Here
14 Small Stations Between Here and Portland to Close Saturday.
Agents May Lose Situations. Lack of Business Is Reason.
On Saturday, May 14, the local Southern Pacific depot and ticket office will be deserted for the first time in many years. Pursuant to a recent policy the railroad company is closing all small stations where the volume of business will not pay the salary of the agent.
Ever since the railroad was built through this valley Central Point has had an agent here. For years all shipping was by rail and the local station was the shipping place of much produce and livestock. But with the coming of the paved highways and the improvement of truck manufacture the business of the railroad company has steadily dwindled until it has almost reached the vanishing point. The building of the main line from Eugene through the Cascades took away much traffic which formerly came this way.
Besides the freight office and passenger ticket office the local branch of the Western Union will be discontinued. In the future telegrams for Central Point will be sent to Medford and forwarded either by telephone or mail from there. Some messages may be delivered by special messengers.
"The railroad has come to the conclusion it can no longer bear the burden of continuing stations where the income is not sufficient to pay the agent's salary," stated A. S. Rosenbaum, district freight and passenger agent, when interviewed by The American. "We will continue to take care of our Central Point business, and a phone call to Medford will bring a representative to Central Point who will arrange tickets, check baggage and arrange to have any train stop here to take on passengers," said Mr. Rosenbaum.
O. C. Purkeypile, who has been local agent here for a number of years, informs us he has made no definite plans for the future, but hopes, on account of his long service of 33 years, he will be transferred to some other station. He says he has hopes of going to Gold Hill, where he served as agent for several years.
Central Point American, May 12, 1932, page 1
Highway Work Will Start Soon
Word has been received from Leslie M. Scott, chairman of the State Highway Commission, that the commission has definitely decided to build a new cutoff between Central Point and Medford, following the proposed route parallel to the Southern Pacific railroad.
At the hearing held here recently, this route was explained in detail, and although some opposition was made to moving the present highway, the commission was unanimously in favor of following the railroad to a point near the Owen-Oregon property, whence the route turns eastward in a long curve to intersect the present highway near the end of North Riverside Avenue.
Contracts will be let for this construction of the new highway at the regular meeting of the commission, December 14.
The present highway will not be abandoned, but will be turned over to the county and will be maintained by the county court, instead of the state.
Central Point American, November 17, 1932, page 1
CENTRAL PT. BANK TO LIQUIDATE AND CEASE OPERATION
The doors of the Central Point State Bank were closed to business this morning as a result of the meeting last night of the board of directors, at which it was decided to discontinue business and turn the affairs of the bank over to the state superintendent of banks for liquidation.
The decision followed the annual meeting, at which T. P. Tollefson was re-elected president and all other old officers re-elected to carry on. A complete survey of the bank's business brought realization of the necessity to discontinue.
In the statement issued by the board of directors to the depositors, it was explained that Central Point is situated so close to Medford and means of transportation between the two are so convenient, the volume of business transacted by the bank has constantly decreased and has reached the point where the income of the bank is not sufficient to pay the costs of operation.
The board of directors further stated that the bank is in sound financial condition, but it is impossible to collect a great bulk of its loans at the present time, even though the large portion of such loans are well secured by mortgages on real property and other securities.
"The directors considered that it would be to the best interests of the depositors to let the bank be liquidated by the superintendent of banks, and thereby insure that each depositor receive his proportional part of his money at the earliest possible time. In all probability as soon as the assets of the bank can be disposed of, the depositors will receive all, or practically all, of their money," the statement of the board announces.
The directors of the bank are all very well known property owners of the Central Point region: Wm. Bohnert, Elmer Hull, W. C. Leever and W. J. Freeman.
Each year, it was pointed out today in explanation of the need to discontinue business of the bank, Medford has become the business center, patronized by a larger number of farmers and other residents of the northern portion of the country. Construction of the Midway Road [Table Rock Road] a short time ago brought Medford still nearer to the agricultural area neighboring Central Point, and brought a great number of people here to do their banking.
Producers have also been unable to obtain sufficient funds from their farm products to pay loans obtained from the bank, which was dependent for its support upon the agricultural population.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 13, 1933, page 3
In Days of Yore
Last week we promised to start printing items relating to the interesting history of this city. We therefore interviewed one of the oldest residents we could find, W. C. Leever, who was born on a donation land claim just west of town.
Mr. Leever informs us that the town started in , when the Magruder brothers started a store on the hill just south of where W. J. Freeman now lives, although across the road.
This road was then the regular stage road between Phoenix and points north.
The original townsite was donated by three men, Magruder, T. F. Beall [pronounced "bell"] and Haskell Amy. When the railroad was built a depot was erected at the Main or Pine Street crossing, and stores began to appear in that part of town.
* * *
Isaac Constant, grandfather of W. C. Leever, came to Oregon first in 1849, coming to Oregon City where he helped hew the timbers for the first grist mill erected there. The next year he returned to Illinois, but returned to Oregon in 1852. This time he came the southern route [now often called the Applegate Trail] and saw the Rogue River Valley. He and his wife took claims just east of the present city limits of Central Point.
Mr. Constant brought with him a few bushels of wheat and some potatoes. He planted four acres of wheat on land near where the old Witte house now stands. He had his wife save the "eyes" when peeling the potatoes and planted them. That fall he harvested nearly 500 bushels of potatoes and after cradling his wheat and tramping it out with horses found he had nearly 400 bushels.
That winter was a severe one, and many people suffered. About 200 Indians were camped for the winter along Bear Creek just east of Mr. Constant's house. They had been unable to catch their usual supply of fish and to prepare other food for the winter, and were starving. Mr. Constant fed them on potatoes and parched wheat.
Later when the Indian trouble started and several families massacred, Chief Sam sent word by his daughter for Mr. Constant to stay quietly at home and fear nothing. No harm came to either him nor his stock.
Central Point American, February 16, 1933, page 1
Historical Lore Abounds in Central Point Vicinity
The following is a clipping handed to us this week by Mrs. W. J. Freeman. It was taken from the old Daily News of Medford, but the author's name is not given. It is so well written and so beautifully expresses the feelings of so many people toward the town of Central Point and its pioneer history that we are more than glad to reprint it.
The clipping follows:
The casual passerby may, in ignorance, dismiss Central Point from his attention with the fleeting thought that here is a nice, quiet little town where people are lucky to have a gorgeous view in whichever direction they may choose to look, but to those who are privileged to become intimate with the place and its environments comes the awareness that there is an ancient authority emanating from the town, which is situated in the heart of one of the most important communities in the state of Oregon.
One learns to enter the neighborhood with a thrill of expectation that something new and delightful will unfold itself, some project in which the partaker is excelling (for people here have the faculty of accomplishing things with thoroughness to the point of excellence) or it may be some unforgettable personality is encountered, or an ancient tale of times gone by is brought to light with a relic gently handled to point the story.
One of the characteristics of that part of the valley taking in Medford, Jacksonville and Central Point is that one can enter the grounds of almost any home and be introduced to one or more of the scenic wonders, such as Table Rock or one of the peaks from the owner's particular point of vantage, each view taking on a different aspect to the sight one has seen before.
Two ladies, sisters, who are held in veneration in Central Point and who lived there as children long before any town existed, are Mrs. Julia A. Owen and Mrs. Margaret Magruder. The grounds of their homes adjoin one another in the east of the town and are located on a part of the original donation claims taken up by their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Constant, in the early '50s.
It was in the year 1850 that Isaac Constant, being told by his doctor that he must seek another climate for his health, left his home in Elkhart, Illinois, and accompanied by a friend, set out on horseback for Oregon where he had been told people were finding it a good place to settle. They journeyed in safety as far as the Willamette Valley unmolested by Indians, and blazing a trail with axes en route, so that they could retrace their steps. Conditions looked promising to the young men, and they returned home to pack up their belongings. The trip each way took six months, and it took them another six months to prepare a suitable outfit for the momentous undertaking. The young people belonged to a family of substantial landowners, and much thought was expended on practical appurtenances to convey to the new home.
Finally all was ready and the party, which consisted of two wagon trains, set out, Mr. Constant joining his train to that of another emigrating family.
All went well for some time, but when approaching the country bordering Utah a band of marauding Indians stampeded the trains, carrying off two white mules, of which Mr. Constant possessed a team of six fine matched creatures. The men of the party pursued the miscreants, and came upon their camping place only to find that they had fled in alarm, leaving juicy portions of fat mule roasting over the fires, while the other mule was dressed and hanging up in a tree in readiness for future consumption. Indian baskets full of ripe berries were left behind in the flight, among other camp articles, and the enraged white men gathered them all together and with the meat fed them to the flames to teach the Indians not to molest other folks' property.
The travelers replaced the mules in the team with two cows, after this being more on their guard, and pretty soon they came to a place where two routes were available. The shorter way wound along under some overhanging cliffs for some distance, while the other road was more circuitous but presented no possibilities of ambush. Mr. Constant, who possessed very sound judgment, thought it would be wise not to take any chance on the shortcut, but his companion was equally determined that there was no risk involved. The result was that the trains parted company here. Mr. Constant piloted his train along on the roundabout route while the other man took his following to meet a dreadful fate, every one of them being massacred by the Indians who were waiting, just as had been suspected.
When the place now known as Central Point was reached, Mr. Constant found a man who had a right and log cabin on the banks of Bear Creek, and wanted to leave because he was afraid of the Indians. Mr. Constant bought his right and proved upon it, and he and his wife each filed on a claim in their own right, as they were allowed to do in those days. This gave them a substantial landholding, and they enjoyed a very prosperous living in the style of the times. The young wife and mother of the family found it hard at first to live in this out-of-the-way place, and every day the children would see her wiping away tears, and she would say, "Your father had to go somewhere for his health, but he needn't have come out here to the ends of the earth." Then, being a good pioneer mother, she proceeded to make the best of things. With soap and candles to make meat to cure and butter to churn, besides the thousand household and garden tasks, there was not much leisure for repining.
There the grass was so rich and tall that it grew up to the animals' heads, and the fine cows of the Longhorn Durham breed, which had been brought out with the herd of hogs, grew fat, and considerable money was made from the butter and other farm projects.
It was no uncommon thing for Mr. Constant to slaughter 35 to 40 hogs on his place, and when the meat was cured to invite his less fortunate neighbors to go into the smokehouse and help themselves. They used to avail themselves of the offer so freely that Mrs. Constant had to protest and tell her husband that she didn't mind his letting people have all the meat they wanted, but she simply wouldn't stand for the hams being carried off.
Mr. Constant gave freely to all, even to the point of self-denial, and perhaps that is why during the period of the Indian unrest in the valley they were unmolested. They were told that the Indians looked upon them as their "tillicums" (cousins). This was because Mr. Constant had fed the Indians when they were starving, and they need have no fear, whatever happened.
Time went on, and the children grew up and married. The eldest sister, who is now 96 years old, is enjoying splendid health and keen faculties at Vacaville, Calif. One of the daughters, Julia A. Constant, married William Addison Owen, a prominent young man of the time who came to California in '49 and was attracted to Jacksonville by the gold rush in '52. Being a college man, he was looked up to in civic affairs and had an active part in the town management. He was sheriff for two terms, and revenue collector, and served as major in the Indian wars. Like his father-in-law he was a kindly, generous man, who could always be depended on to help in time of need. He built one of the three first houses in Central Point, and was mourned by all at the conclusion of a useful life.
Mrs. Owen now lives with her son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Freeman, of the Freeman Implement Company, and at 87 is active and sprightly in mind and body. She still possesses a complete suite of bedroom furniture which came 'round the coast from San Francisco to Crescent City. She is looking forward to a visit with her daughter at their cabin on Union Creek, having a keen appreciation of nature's delights in the solitary places.
She has the satisfaction of seeing her children to the fourth generation happily settled around in the valley filling honored positions and carrying out the tradition of their forefathers. W. J. Freeman has lived in Central Point and carried on a substantial business for the past 36 years. He holds the confidence of his customers, who may be found all the way to Crescent City, and has been identified with the progress of the town since its infancy.
Mrs. Owen lived for part of her life in Jacksonville, and during the smallpox scare moved to Sams Valley. With the exception of three years spent in the Willamette Valley, she has been living in Jackson County since she crossed the plains at the age of ten.
Her sister, Mrs. Margery Magruder, who is 81 years old [born in 1845], enjoys the distinction of having lived within a radius of four miles for the past 77 years, coming to Central Point as a four-year-old tot and never leaving it except for an occasional visit. She married in the town, and her husband had a store there in the '70s. While rheumatic infirmities keep her very much confined to her home, she is a great reader and her hands are always finding occupation making rag rugs and performing light tasks. She knows all the lights and shadows on her beloved hills and has rich memories of bygone days, when one of her pleasures was to climb Table Rock and look down on the valley below. Like most of the oldtimers who are really authorities on the subject, she deprecates the inaccuracy of many of the stories of early times. Her memory travels back to the time when she was a small child and the snow was four feet deep on the level. It quickly melted and caused the floods which took the lives of several people, including a whole family of children who were at home on an island in the river. She remembers in the second year of their coming that her father rebelled at the local high prices, when salt was a dollar a pound and other commodities equally dear. He took a pack train and went up the Willamette Valley, returning with stores of provisions at a more reasonable rate and a little coop containing two chickens and a rooster, the foundation of poultry in Central Point. Mrs. Magruder remembers her father's struggles to start a family orchard. The first attempt failed through an invasion of grasshoppers, the next planting fell prey to an army of caterpillars, commonly called army worms, hairy black creatures which moved along in millions, turning aside for nothing and crossing housetops and streams with equal facility. The third lot of trees were demolished by another grasshopper visit, but the unconquerable spirit of the pioneer enabled him to try yet again and he succeeded in establishing a fine orchard.
One leaves the presence of our beloved pioneer with the feeling that glimpses have been obtained of a vision of the immortal spirit the reflection of which prompted the words "The wilderness and the solitary places shall be glad thereof, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose."
(Editor's note: Mrs. Magruder died at her home in Central Point about two years ago.)
Central Point American, May 24, 1934, page 1 Judging by the reported ages of Mrs. Owen and Magruder, the Daily News article reprinted by the American was written sometime between 1926 and 1928.
Thieves Stage Annual Faber Store Robbery
Three persons are already serving terms in the penitentiary for robbing the E. C. Faber store, and it looks like another is trying to get there too.
Monday night for the 20th time in 25 years a thief or thieves broke in the Faber store and stole about $6 in pennies, nickels and dimes. A side of bacon is believed to be part of the loot and possibly 2 dozen teaspoons.
When the series of robberies began 25 years ago Faber could do little about it. Dogs wouldn't frighten the thieves away, so he got a night watchman to sleep in the building.
This the watchman did, snoring the night lustily away while a prowler entered and made off with considerable merchandise. Then a burglar alarm was installed. It didn't greatly alarm the burglars, who came and went as the caprice moved them, completely ignoring the "alarm."
So a better alarm was built, connecting to all windows and doors. Last night the thief or thieves cut a hole in the roof with a brace and bit, greatly stitching out a square large enough to admit their person.
Mr. Faber plans on next connecting the alarm to the roof.
Friends of the owner are now urging him to appeal to the better side of the thieves' natures, with an appeal something like this:
"To whom it may concern--
"The key is under the door mat. Take it; you are welcome. Please clean the store before you leave, and split some kindling for the next thief who comes along, who may be just as cold and hungry as you are. It will be appreciated if you take only what you need, and don't break things unless it is necessary. Kindly turn out the lights before you go."
The state police are busy on the case today, and hope to apprehend the criminals in a short time and raise the penitentiary record for the store to four victims.--Mail Tribune
Central Point American, July 18, 1935, page 1
JULIA A. OWEN, 94,
PIONEER RESIDENT OF C.P., SUCCUMBS
Julia A. Owen, aged 94 years, 3 months and 20 days, one of the oldest pioneers in Southern Oregon, passed away at the home of her daughter, Mrs. W. J. Freeman, in Central Point, at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 7. She had been a continuous resident of Central Point for 84 years, having come here from the place of her birth when 10 years of age.
Julia A. Owen was born in Elkhart, Sangamon County, Illinois, on September 17, 1841, being the daughter of Isaac and Lucinda Constant, who were destined to become pioneers of Southern Oregon. It was in the year 1850 the father decided to seek a milder climate in which to build a home for his family and in company with a friend started for the Far West on horseback and after six months' travel reached the Willamette Valley, and a little later explored the southern part of the state with a view of selecting a site for the future home of his family. This having been disposed of, he started on the return trip to Illinois, which took another six months' travel.
The details of getting ready for the family journey took about the same time, as it was necessary to provide the necessary camp equipment, food and other items and the necessary tools, seed and such machinery as could be taken with the train, which was to start in the early part of 1852, and was to not only include the Constant family but also a brother of Mrs. Constant, Mr. Merriman and family. Mrs. Merriman and a small child passed away before the journey was completed.
On the way many hardships had to be met and overcome, and on one occasion the Indians stole two mules from a team of six, and before they could be overtaken they had killed the animals and were preparing for a feast on mule meat. They were followed by members of the train and taught the lesson that it would be better not to interfere with the stock and other items of property that belonged to the train.
After the long and strenuous journey the train reached Southern Oregon, and the Constant family occupied the land that had been arranged for by the father on his previous trip, this being the tract lying east of the land occupied later by the city of Central Point. The first labor was the erection of a suitable home for the family which was provided slowly, as building a home at this time was a great undertaking, owing to the scarcity of building material, much of which had to be brought from a distance. The finished residence when completed proved to be well built and is the place known as the Witte place, recently purchased by Mr. Hare of Tillamook.
Grandpa Constant, as he was later called, was a friend to those who were less able to procure a livelihood, and in many cases furnished provisions to many of the people who were sufferers when a cold, hard winter was at hand, and it was he who taught the Indians to piece out their scant rations of corn by using potatoes which he had raised upon his farm, and later when the Indian war was in progress he was told by the Indians to remain upon his farm as none of the Indians would molest him or his family, and they kept their word.
Excerpt, Central Point American, January 9, 1936, page 1
Changes Six Years Have Brought to Central Point
When the present editor of The American came to Central Point in the fall of 1931 to take charge of the paper he found the town in the dumps. There were vacant houses all over the town; many of our people were unable to find steady work and were in immediate danger of losing their homes through mortgage. Taxes were not being paid; the school board was having trouble getting money enough to pay the teachers or the running expenses of the school. The Great Depression was just getting into its stride and things looked mighty blue for the community.
Jackson County was seething with charges and countercharges by L. A. Banks and Earl Fehl, and the cohorts of Henrietta B. Martin were beginning to make their presence felt. All in all, the outlook was none too bright for the building up of a country newspaper.
But with the passing of six years the picture is changed. Today our town is once more on its way up grade. Vacant houses are all filled; taxes are once more being paid, including the delinquency incurred during the word of the Depression; real estate values are once more back to normal, and there is a big demand for more houses to take care of the fast-growing population. The city is gradually paying off its bonded indebtedness and only owes about $32,000 at this time, exclusive of water bonds amounting to $21,500, which are being paid off through water rentals and are not included in the annual budget and tax levy. The school district also is in better shape than it has been for years, having no outstanding protested warrants and handling all their business on a cash basis.
The lineup of the business houses in the town has changed much in these six years. At that time the Nip & Sip service station was located just beyond the high school on the old highway, which then passed through town on Pine Street to the Faber corner and then south past the high school. W. C. Leever was mayor and in active charge of his hardware store. George Marine had just opened his grocery store in the old Merritt building, now occupied by the Damon Cafe. The library was in the small building adjoining the Marine grocery. B. P. Theiss was operating a large general merchandise store on the corner of Pine and Second streets. Jack Lees had his shop in an old building on the corner opposite the Finley Implement Co. Next to this was a small building in which several men used to gather to play billiards, and between this and the service station there was an old dilapidated structure, the lower floor of which was occupied by the Swartz family and the upper floor occasionally rented as living rooms.
Ray Wyatt was in charge of the present Associated station; Verne Pendleton ran the same station he now has but handled Richfield products. His partner, Vince Ritzinger, was operating the old Gateway service station across from Faber's. W. E. Alexander had his hardware and implement house where the library now is. T. P. Tollefson owned the Central Point State Bank in the building now owned by the city and used as a city hall. The store room now occupied by Safeway was vacant. Myrtle Murray was running Myrtle's Coffee Shop in the Isaacson building. The Damon Cafe was in the Rostel brick building on the corner of Pine and Third streets, with the Lewis Meat Market in the same building. Al Hermanson ran a feed store in the old Copco building; Ted Moravia's garage was in the Odd Fellows building now occupied by Faber's Feed Store. Amos Walker operated the old dance hall now being torn down. L. C. Grimes had his battery and electric shop in the Faber building where the Men's Shop now is.
The American was then as now in the rear of the Cowley building on Second Street, and the editor used to look out daily at the old woodshed and weed patch in the rear of the bank. The Southern Pacific had not yet decided our money was not good enough for them and operated a depot and freight house here. Since then they have abandoned the town to the mercies of the truck lines and boarded up the windows of the old depot and transferred the agent to other fields.
When the highway department decided to move the highway off Pine Street and build a new one following the railroad between this city and Medford, much consternation was felt among our businessmen, who feared the move would kill the town entirely. However, their fears would appear to have been unfounded, to judge by the number of cars seen parked on our streets daily. Since that day our cheese factory has been built, besides a planing mill and sawmill and wrecking yard in the north part of town on the highway and another sawmill just outside of the city limits on the south.
All in all, when one comes to look back over the past six years one is impressed with the fact that the town is continuing to grow and prosper. While it is too near the big city to ever become a big business town again, still there is no finer location anywhere for a home town. As a purely residence district this cannot be beat. Lying as it does in the center of the valley, close enough to the city so our people can work there without too great an expense, with one of the best schools in the county, live, active churches and fraternal organizations, we have everything to make life worthwhile.
Central Point American, October 21, 1937, page B3
History of Central Point Schools
By Maxine Moore of Speech Class
I want to tell you something of the history of these schools we are attending. After all, one should know something about the school in which he attends.
The first school district was organized on October third, 1854.
The first grade school that I can get information about was a simple log schoolhouse, of the old-fashioned type, a large one-room building with a foot platform on which sat the teacher's desk, book racks and maps. Around the sides of the building were blackboards. This school was located on the old highway almost in the Howard district. Gilmore's Dairy is on the opposite side of the highway.
From there it was moved out on Beall Lane around the location of the Richardsons' former home. It was also a log structure.
They then moved the school from there to the present school ground. They built a one-room log cabin that was large enough to take care of all grades. After a few years they covered it with white weatherboard.
At the rear of that they built a large two-story structure of white weatherboard. It faced the northwest and had eight rooms with a hall in the center.
In 1908 a large two-story nine-room brick schoolhouse was built. In the basement there were four rooms, and so all together there were thirteen large rooms. These rooms were equipped with four large, double, sunny windows. Each teacher had a large desk in which he kept his papers. This building burned down, and the school board decided to erect another just like it [within the same brick walls]. The first school was built in 1887--that was on this school ground.
The first high school in Central Point was in the upstairs of what is now the present grade school. The eighth grade room was the study hall. It was very crowded. The 4th grade was the laboratory and the present lunch room was the Home Ec. room where they had the sewing machines.
The high school, erected in 1926, has [a] concrete foundation and eight rooms, [a] large auditorium which is used as the study hall, three lavatories, one costume room, a switch room and a stone [sic] room and office. It has softwood floors; all rooms used for study have large windows. The building is equipped with electric lights and city water, has two stairways, with banisters for the freshmen. Two people share the same locker in each of the boys' and girls' division.
We have six teachers and an enrollment of one hundred and fifty-six students, with the expectation of several more after fruit season.
Two of the first graduating classes of the new high school in 1926 and 1927 were John Blackford and Henry Head.
Central Pointer, Central Point High School, October 20, 1938, page 2
W. E. Alexander Retires from Phone Co. OfficeExcerpt, Central Point American, January 16, 1941, page 1
Mr. W. E. Alexander, who has been a member of the Central Point Mutual Telephone Company ever since it was organized in January, 1909, and secretary for 26 years, handed in his resignation yesterday at the annual meeting.
In 1909 there was no telephone line here, only a few pay stations. A meeting was arranged for, and about half a dozen men, among them being W. J. Freeman, Fred Wiley, Oscar Blackford, Jap O'Hara and Dale Beebe, met in the back room of the Freeman building in a harness shop. Mr. Alexander, who had been a member of a mutual company for about three years before he came out here, was called in and asked to give them what information he could on a mutual line. After this meeting Mr. Wiley and Mr. Alexander each bought a share for three dollars apiece.
It was decided to borrow money to purchase a switchboard, and Mr. O'Hara offered to loan them $50 for this purpose, and as Mr. Freeman and Mr.O'Hara were president and secretary of the company they had to sign the note. So Mr. O'Hara went security for his own note, which caused quite a little fun. They rented a building across from this office, which was later destroyed by fire. The company had grown, so it was impossible to keep moving, and a committee was appointed consisting of W. H. Norcross, George Fox, Oscar Blackford, W. J. Freeman and W. E. Alexander to either buy or build a telephone office. They decided to build the present office.
At the present time there are 85 telephones in the Central Point branch and 111 on the rural lines. In the past year the revenue has increased $700 over 1936. Many new phones have been added. If ten more private lines are added a new switchboard will be required. The rate on the rural lines was raised at the meeting Tuesday to $3.00 for the first six months and slightly less, it is thought, for the last six months.
Curfew Law to Go into Effect
At the last meeting of the city council it was decided to put the curfew law into effect once more, beginning Sunday, June 22.
After that date the fire siren will be sounded each evening at 9:00 p.m., after which hour all children under 12 must be off the streets, unless accompanied by their parents.
Central Point American, June 19, 1941, page 1
E. P. Stone Buys Old Depot Here
Mr. E. P. Stone is taking his vacation. Ben Huntington of Jacksonville is taking care of the drug store during his absence. If anyone wishes to get in touch with Mr. Stone, do not hunt up a drug store, as Mr. Stone is not running true to form. Go over on the highway, through the planing mill yard to the depot. Look twice at the workmen there in dirty coveralls and you may be surprised to see it is our local druggist, working tooth and toenails to get the old depot ready to move onto the back of the lot next to the drug store. Mr. Stone recently purchased the depot of Mr. Theodore Glass and decided to cut the building in two and move half onto his lot for a workshop and will tear down the other half and use the material. He expects to have Mr. Lydiard move the building for him when he has it ready.
Central Point American, June 26, 1941, page 1
Opinions Is Asked on Curfew Siren
A number of ladies have asked if anything could be done about the siren blowing every night at nine o'clock. Some of them state that the fire siren is associated with disaster in their minds, and some of them go to bed early and are asleep and it startles them. Others say that no matter how often it blows it always scares them and why can't the bell be rung a few taps instead to serve as a warning for children to be off the streets.
Excerpt, Central Point American, July 24, 1941, page 1
Divided Opinions on Siren Tests
There seems to be a divided opinion about the air raid warning siren. It has been reported that it was heard out at the administration building at Camp White, and some people here in Central Point did not hear it in their houses. It is stated that it did not have a fair trial as it was in a corner, down at the cheese factory, with a car at the back, making it in a pocket. It is being placed on top of the City Hall today, and it is thought there will be no trouble in hearing it.
Central Point American, March 12, 1942, page 1
Committee Reports Condition of City
The committee finds the following condition on twenty-two streets and two hundred fifty-two dwellings situated thereon:
Yards 161 91
Parking 25 227
Dwellings 145 107
Outbuildings 115 137
The streets running north and south are fair excepting Third Street, which is the best granite street running north and south, and Old Front Street, which is now the Pacific Highway and of course in good condition. First Street is very rough and narrow; Amy Avenue is rough and dusty.
The streets running east and west are in fair condition except Manzanita, which is very rough from Fifth Street to the highway, and Cherry Street, which is rough and narrow its entire length.
All the intersections are in bad condition, and the strip between the parking and roadway in nearly all cases is full of weeds and dry grass. This strip is also filled with rocks, broken bottles, tin cans and debris of various kinds, making the use of a mowing machine difficult if not impossible.
The vacant lots, including those owned by the city as well as those held by individuals, are full of dry grass and weeds. This condition, besides making an unsightly appearance and unfavorable impression on visitors and newcomers, is a definite fire hazard.
The mayor and other city officials urge that all residents will endeavor to clean up weeds and debris along the street near their homes for the public health, safety and attractiveness of the city.
Central Point American, July 23, 1942, page 1
Telephone Company Shows Large Growth Since Early Days
We in Central Point know a great deal about the Central Point Mutual Telephone Company, but in Medford and in districts away from Central Point we find many people who do not know that Central Point owns their own telephone company. So we asked Mr. Alexander, who was secretary and treasurer for the company for many years, to give us a short story on the Central Point Mutual Telephone Company. Mr. Alexander started his story with the saying "From a little acorn a mighty oak is grown." The same is true of the telephone company, which has grown in the last 35 years from a small pay station to its present efficient system. It started its first pay station in what was the old livery barn where the Cowley Bldg. now stands. After several moves a half-dozen businessmen met in the rear end of W. J. Freeman's harness shop and organized what is now Central Point Mutual Telephone Company. The company was opened up in the Noble Building across the alley from the present American office.
Ike Williams and daughter operated the central office several years and then sold out to W. J. Clements of Eagle Point, who operated for one year. At the annual meeting better conveniences and [an] enlarged system was decided on and money borrowed for same. The present building was built, the board was operated one year at a time by Mr. Porter and wife, Roy Jones, O. P. Pankey and Dollie Love. Then Sanford J. Richardson and wife took over and ran the office for four or five years. Our present operator, Mrs. Nan Tharp and husband, have been in charge for the past 5½ years.
Mr. Alexander said that many times he and Mr. Freeman had closed up their business and gone out and worked on the telephone line. Its early history is very interesting. Wire fences were used for lines, but we have not space for it all. The central office was enlarged this year and a twin switchboard with two operators on full time. From a half-dozen phones, it has grown to over two hundred and with many waiting for phones. It has always been a strictly mutual company, everyone being equal, no dividends to declare or money to squabble over. During this time of 39 years the board has tried to furnish patrons telephone service at cost.
There has been no dissension during all this time, which is rather unusual in a mutual company. Mr. Alexander suggests everyone help win the war by using the telephone whenever possible and thereby save tires and gas.
Central Point American, July 30, 1942, page 2
If your memory is good enough you may recall that we used to have a real depot and station agent and could buy tickets on the railroad right here at home. Now all that is gone. Even the stock pens have been dismantled. The planing mill and the Cheney Stud Mill now occupy the ground where the depot and section boss' house stood. And what with a popular dining room in what was once the station agent's home, a restaurant and service station next down the line, a cabin park and the big Grange Coop and all the rest, old Front Street is sure changed.
Arthur E. Powell, "Musings," Central Point American, January 4, 1945, page 1
Again the hand of death has removed one of the pioneer businessmen who helped to lay the foundations of this city. With the passing of W. J. Freeman the city loses one of the men who comprised the business leaders of the community in its earlier history. He founded the implement business with which he was connected until he was compelled to retire some years ago on account of old age. He built the big concrete block building in which his son-in-law, Bob Kincaid, now carries on the same business. He was one of the founders of the Central Point Mutual Telephone Company, and a director and vice-president of the former Central Point State Bank. At one time he owned a huge warehouse between the old railroad depot and the Main Street crossing near where the burner of the planing mill now stands. No man of his time did more to impress his personality upon his community. His wife was a granddaughter of Isaac Constant, one of the first men to take donation land claims in this part of the valley, and the Freeman residence just east of the city is on a portion of that claim.
Arthur E. Powell, "Musings," Central Point American, December 6, 1945, page 1
GROUND BROKEN ON NEW WATER SYSTEM PROJECT
Work started this week on the contract for laying the new connecting water main between this city and Medford. The new line starts at the intersection of the Table Rock Road and the Old Pacific Highway, to which point the Medford water department already has an eight-inch main leading to the airport.
As soon as the connecting main is completed work will start on putting in the new distributing mains throughout the city. It is thought the entire job will take at least three months. This will be a much more tedious job, as new service pipes from the mains to the meters will have to be installed. These will [be] of copper tubing, which will give these pipes a much longer life on account of its imperviousness to rust.
At a recent meeting of the city council it was decided to change the original plan for the distributing system and put in four-inch circulating mains instead of two-inch as now used. This change in plan left the city with a large amount of two-inch iron pipe which had already been purchased. So the council has decided to use a portion of this pipe to put in a special pipe from one of the city wells to the block-square city park in the north part of town for irrigation use. This will solve a long-felt want in securing an adequate supply of water to keep the park in good condition. It will also serve to keep at least one of the wells constantly pumped out and fresh in case of emergency.
Central Point American, March 28, 1946, page 1
When the sewer system in this city was first put in the lower end of the big pipe emptied at the edge of an immense gravel bar beside Bear Creek, and little or no sewage ever reached the creek. But successive floods have carried away that gravel bar, and at present the pipe empties directly into the creek. It has been known by all city officials for several years that SOME DAY this condition would have to cease. And not long ago the state sanitary authorities lost patience and threatened suit to compel the city to build a modern disposal plant.
So the city council got busy and got a revised estimate of the cost of such a plant and started proceedings to call an election to authorize the issuance of the necessary bonds. According to the estimate the plant should cost in the neighborhood of $70,000, so that was the amount of bonds asked for. There was absolutely no interest shown by the voters of the city, as only 88 votes were cast at the election Saturday--85 for and 3 against. But that was enough to carry the bond issue.
Arthur E. Powell, "Musings," Central Point American, August 8, 1946, page 1
Everyone in town who has lived here fifteen years, as we have, will recall that at that time we HAD no graded and granited streets. Fourth Street was then the Pacific Highway from Faber's corner to the south city limits. Second Street was graded and partly granited from Pine Street to the old gym. A few loads of granite had been put in the worst mudholes in other parts of town, while many of the streets in the northern part of the city (and some in the southern part, for that matter) were just summer trails through the high grass, or wandered all over heck from high spot to high spot to keep out of the mud.
* * *In them thar days the city didn't own a single wheeled vehicle, with the exception of a Model T fire truck, which often had to be towed to a fire after all the poor firemen had worn themselves (and the crank handle) out trying to get the darned thing started. The sum total of the street equipment belonging to the city at that time consisted of an old wheelbarrow and two or three shovels and a few stubby picks. And one poor man had to serve as City Marshal, Water Superintendent and Street Commissioner, to give him all his high-sounding titles. Sounds interesting, doesn't it?
Arthur E. Powell, "Musings," Central Point American, February 6, 1947, page 1
We have all noticed that there is quite a bit of building going on in the eastern part of the city, just south of Pine Street. We called attention to an old grape vine just north of a large house there and remarked that this grape vine once grew on a trellis attached to the first store building in Central Point. In fact, the first Central Point post office was in this store. From that store a road crossed diagonally what is now the main city, past the old Amy home (now the Hesselgrave Apartments) and on to connect with the Old Stage Road to Gold Hill.
This was long before the coming of the Oregon & California Railroad (now the Southern Pacific), which coming was bitterly opposed by Mr. Magruder [incorrect--see next entry], who owned the store, and by Mr. Haskell Amy, on account of the fact that the survey for the tracks ran right between his house and barn. The first depot in this city stood almost in the center of the Pine Street crossing, but was later moved farther south to the grounds where the planing mill now stands, and the old crossing by the Amy property abandoned.
Arthur E. Powell, "Musings," Central Point American, February 27, 1947, page 1
Mr. Haskell Amy [was] opposed [to the railroad] on account of the R.R. tracks being laid between his house and barn, which called for two gates to be opened and closed whenever he wished to go to his barn; also Mr. R. V. Beall Sr. opposed it because the R.R. took a small three-cornered piece of his land lying east of the tracks and now the new Highway No. 99. It was less than an acre.
My father, C. Magruder, never opposed the coming of the R.R.; on the contrary, he was very much pleased. Before the R.R. he had to have his supplies hauled from Crescent City, 110 miles away, over rough mtn. roads by wagons, and it would take two weeks to make a trip. He was saved heavy expenses by the coming of the R.R.; also it was an asset to the valley.
His first store was directly north of his old home, now the home of Leslie Bigham [on South 10th near Oak], and was in one corner of the house yard. The store was built in 1869, the house in 1878, and the post office was established in 1872. Back of the store was a path, and on each side of the path were four large grape vines on trellises.
After the railroad was built he moved to the new part of Central Point and was located where the Verne Pendleton gas station is now located [on the southeast corner of Hwy. 99 and Pine]. I think the grape vine you have reference to is the one that grew near a well and was south of the front porch to the store.
Mrs. Lettie L. Gregory
Excerpt, Letter to the Editor, Central Point American, March 6, 1947, page 1
1920 Cleveland Ave.The old town of Central Point was about a half mile north and east of the present center of town. The Magruder brothers, Tine and Hunt, had the only store and I believe the post office. Bill Hayes owned the blacksmith shop. When the railroad came through, it missed the old town. Magruders moved to a new store building near the depot and just across the street from the old hotel, which was run by Fred Fredenburg for many years. Bill Hayes moved his shop to Gold Hill, where he lived for many years.
February 24, 1947
Isaac Constant owned a 640-acre D.L.C. east of town, which reached across Bear Creek. To the north and west of him was the John B. Wrisley farm. Southeast of town, J. W. Olwell planted the first big apple orchard, 160 acres, in that neighborhood. Olwell had formerly owned and run the grist mill in Phoenix. To the south of town was the Cooksey ranch, and to the northwest Haskell Amy had his ranch. It extended almost up to the depot.
In looking over some old papers recently, I saw the signature of Jesse Hinkle attached to the deed for a lot in the Central Point Cemetery where my parents are buried. Also the signature of James Gay as clerk of the Central Point School District on a warrant issued to J. C. Barnard in 1901, which my mother bought from Mr. Barnard when the district did not have the money to pay Barnard for his services as principal of the school. Fifty dollars is the amount of the warrant for a month's pay as principal of the Central Point school. My mother died soon after, and the warrant was never cashed.
A Mr. Neff raised tobacco on a commercial scale on the Bear Creek bottom. I used to help pick the worms from it. He paid me fifteen cents a day. Neff was a typical Kentuckian, and he knew how to raise and cure tobacco. He chewed and smoked his own.
My brother, several years older than I, hunted ducks on the present site of Medford. All there was there were potholes and chaparral brush. I first saw Medford when there was one store, a blacksmith shop, and post office.
A. O. Freel
Letter to the Editor, Central Point American, March 6, 1947, page 6
March 9, 1947
Dear Mr. Powell:
In recent issues of the American there has been quite a bit about the early history of Central Point. Some of the statements are at variance with my own recollections and knowledge of railroad days, and I feel constrained to offer my dime's worth in the discussion you have instigated.
The greater part of the present townsite of Central Point is in the east portion of a tract of land originally jointly owned by Thomas F. Beall and R. V. Beall Sr., my father. The east boundary was a short distance east of the Grange Hall, and the tract extended west to the old Leever place on the west foothills. Thomas F. Beall was the senior member of the partnership that was known over the valley as Beall Brothers. Each had individual holdings as well as partnership property. When the railroad right-of-way men began their negotiations it was found that they wanted a very long and wide tract for side tracks, spurs and warehouse sites similar to that they later acquired in what is now Medford. At first they wanted an outright donation from the different land holders, claiming that the company would promote the townsite and thus greatly enhance the value of the surrounding property. Haskell Amy and Tom Beall, who were the key men of the situation, held out for what they considered a fair valuation, and on that point they and the company representatives deadlocked. The company thereupon threw their influence towards Medford. Haskell Amy and Tom Beall were both obstinate and determined men: Most of the early pioneers were; they had to be for their job of the winning of the West. After sixty years I do not attempt to either justify or condemn. I do know that Tom Beall was not opposed to a railroad in itself, for it is mentioned in Bancroft's History of Oregon that Beall Brothers contributed to the fund for the first survey for a railroad through Southern Oregon. As it were, Central Point already had a post office, but Medford started from scratch with only one little red farmhouse owned by the Phipps family opposite what is now Merrick's Auto Camp [site of today's Red Lion].
A previous "communication" states that a triangular piece of land owned by my father and lopped off by the survey was a cause of dissension. As a matter of fact, the land was not in Central Point but on Beall Lane, and was more than an acre and not less as the writer states. To my positive knowledge there was not any trouble about it, and this is attested to by the fact that my father permitted the company to establish their construction camp in the orchard between his house and the right-of-way. The camp was maintained during the construction of that section of the road between Seven Oaks and Medford. The year was 1884, not 1882. The laborers, several hundred of them, were Chinese, and the teamsters Americans. The teamsters fed their horses and mules in the two large barns that still exist. The Chinese were inveterate gamblers, and I well remember watching their games of dominoes and fan-tan. They were, however, exceptionally honest, and I have no recollection of any sneak thievery. With a pick and shovel they could make the dirt fly to the extent that it would give a present-day union man nervous prostration to have watched them. Charles Strang, who two years later became my brother-in-law, was timekeeper for the entire crew. In recent years he was known as the pioneer druggist of Medford. With the coming of the rails one of the first locomotive engineers was [Dennis] "Mac" McCarthy, and one of the first conductors "Pappy" Jameson. On their invitation with my parents and sister I rode on the first train between Central Point and Phoenix. Railroad regulations were very lax in those days, and even after the road reached Ashland, "Mac," when not pulling cars, would sometimes leave his engine with the fireman at Beall crossing and walk over to the house for a glass of cider or buttermilk and a short visit. I still have his framed portrait which he gave to my father. He was later given the regular passenger run between Grants Pass and Ashland and known as one of the most reliable engineers on the road.
All of the "oldtimers" previously mentioned in your paper I knew either personally or by repute.
R. Vinton Beall.
Letter to the Editor, Central Point American, March 13, 1947, page 5
Old Paper Tells of Early School History
(Editor's note: The following article is taken from the files of the Medford Mail Tribune of October 28, 1924, and is reprinted to show how the local school has grown since then. The new gymnasium mentioned is now the grade school gym.)
CENTRAL POINT DISTRICT 6
The date on which this district, known as Manzanita district, was organized was October 3, 1854, and it has remained true to number all through the years since. In that first year 1 quarter of school was taught in its first schoolhouse, with 12 pupils in attendance, though there were 33 reported as of school age. Martin Angel was clerk. By 1857, when W. T. Leever was clerk, two quarters were held for 38 scholars. W. H. Merriman was the next clerk, serving until 1871, when W. I. Stanley succeeded him, to be followed in turn by J. B. Wrisley, who again turned matters over to W. T. Leever. Next R. F. Maury served until 1882.
Just where the schoolhouse stood and who held sway in those first years we cannot report, nor when the district's name was changed. Central Point needs a historian to glean such facts before it is too late.
At the present time the Central Point school is the third largest school in the county. The system consists of a grade school employing six teachers and a high school of five teachers. The enrollment is approximately 300 pupils.
A new gymnasium with a standard size basketball floor has been completed and will be equipped and ready for use soon.
The high school is standard in every respect.
Central Point American, March 13, 1947, page 3
A lot of people think we ought to have numbers on all the houses in town. The last few times the firemen have been called out they have had a hard time finding the fire. Also a while back there was an ambulance called that never did find where to go. Street signs and house numbers will make a big help in finding where to go.
Central Point American, March 25, 1948, page 1
Air Target Set for Mock Bombing
The military "target" set as the point of attack for planes the U.S. Army Reserve Training Unit planes that will "bomb" Central Point on Saturday afternoon is set for the military and veterans headquarters positions that will be in place on the large vacant property opposite the Woodman Hall.
Permission for the use of the property was given by the Lippert Theatres to the military affairs committee. Military vehicles only will be permitted on the property, and both machine guns and a heavy gun emplacement will be "sandbagged" on the space. Civilians may inspect the machine guns and the "heavy gun" during certain periods, but otherwise must remain off the property because of possible danger of accident to civilians during the one-hour period of mock war, and preparation for it.
Central Point American, September 23, 1948, page 1
4:15 to 5 P.M.--SIMULATED AIR ATTACK ON CENTRAL POINT. Air "enemy" will be planes and personnel from U.S. Air Reserve Training Units. Ground troops from Oregon National Guard. Smoke grenades and sound effects will be used to make ground affairs realistic. Explanations made by experienced service men of Air Corps and Navy Service over loud-speaking systems, civilians and Marine Corps.
Excerpt, "Program, Veterans Day, Central Point," Central Point American, September 23, 1948, page 1
VETERANS DAY CELEBRATION IS VERY SUCCESSFUL
Central Point streets took on a very festive appearance Saturday when hundreds of citizens and visitors turned out for the celebration of Veterans Day put on by the local post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Pine Street was closed to traffic from Second Street to Fifth Street, and flags lined the sidewalks.
The thrill of the day came late in the afternoon with a simulated air attack on the city by planes of the U.S. Air Reserve Training Units. On account of the gasoline shortage only three planes took part in this part of the program. The approach of the "enemy" planes was announced by the blowing of the air warning sirens at the city hall, followed by the firing of serial bombs representing anti-aircraft fire. The planes came in from the west, flying at house-top level, dropping smoke bombs along the street (which had been cleared to prevent accidents) as they passed. Three times the planes returned to the attack, the last time dipping their wings to indicate the show was over. The last plane to appear came in from in back of the fire hall and crossed the street diagonally above the post office, dropping a flour bomb as it passed. This bomb gave the crowd a better idea of what is meant by precision bombing, as it hit the pavement within six feet of the muzzle of the heavy artillery piece being demonstrated by the National Guard in the center of the street at that point. Had it been a real bomb that gun certainly would have been put out of action, with most, if not all, the crew killed.
The celebration closed with a grand VFW ball in the Legion Hall, which was well attended.
Excerpt, Central Point American, September 30, 1948, page 1
NEW BRIDGE TO CARRY NAME OF VALLEY PIONEERYesterday the county court [of commissioners] passed a resolution fixing a name for the new cement bridge across Bear Creek on the Central Point market road east of this city. The huge structure will hereafter be known as the "Isaac Constant Bridge" in honor of the man who first took up a donation land claim on the land upon which the bridge stands in 1852. This is in accordance with the present custom of the court in naming major county bridges in honor of some pioneer who lived in the vicinity in the early days of the county's history.
The name of this bridge is particularly appropriate on account of the fact that both roads leading to the new bridge from the east city limits of Central Point and from the Hamrick Road, as well as the bridge itself, are upon land once a part of the Constant claim.
Isaac Constant was born in Clark County, Kentucky on April 5, 1809. In 1812 his parents started for Illinois, but stopped for several years in Ohio, finally settling in Sangamon County, Illinois, in 1820. Here Isaac grew to manhood on a farm and was married in 1833 to Lucinda Merriman. To this union eight children were born, two dying in infancy in Illinois.
In 1849, having been told by his physician to seek a milder climate, he, with a friend, set out on horseback for the Oregon Country. On arriving safely in Oregon City the two young men spent some months looking over the country, coming as far south as the Rogue River Valley, where he was especially struck with farming possibilities of the Bear Creek basin. Both men then returned to Illinois to get their families.
Setting out from Independence, Mo., with a large wagon train, the Constants spent a hazardous summer crossing the plains and arrived in Jackson County late in the fall of 1852. Here he took up a donation land claim lying east of what was later to become the city of Central Point. He later acquired a tract of land west of the county road and now included in the present city limits (known as the Constant Tract).
Of the six children who came to the valley in 1852 with their parents, all but one grew to maturity on the old home place, were married and lived in the county many years, in fact all but one died in this county. These children were:
Lavina J., who married Dr. Jesse Robinson and moved to California. She and her husband had five children, all of whom are now deceased.
Elizabeth, married to W. T. Leever, bore twelve children, two of whom died in infancy. Best known of these children probably was W. C. (Con) Leever, former county commissioner and longtime mayor of this city, who passed away in August 1936. Others of the family still living include: Carlos Leever, San Francisco; Ada Damon, John Day, Ore.; Lucinda Guy, Portland; Nellie McGee, San Francisco; and Elizabeth Mayer, Modesto, Calf.
William T., married to Jessie Bledsoe. Of their three children one is deceased. Of the others, Wm. C. now lives in Portland and Mrs. Julia Kincaid in Tacoma.
Julia A. was married to Wm. A. Owen, who served as an early-day sheriff of this county. Of their five children, three are deceased and one, Mrs. Mabel Hall, lives in Oakland, Calif., and Wm. C., who will be remembered as a genial clerk in various stores in this city, is now living in Cornelius, Ore.
Margery E. married Constantine Magruder, who owned and operated the first store and the first post office in this part of the county. It was located just off East Pine Street, and the old Magruder home is now occupied by Mr.and Mrs. Les Bigham. Of the seven Magruder children three are dead and of the others Mrs. Mary Coker lives in Vallejo, Calif.; Lettie L. Gregory in Central Point; Ray L. Magruder in Red Bluff, Calif.; and Vernon Magruder in Portland, Ore.
Eliza Alice Constant died at the age of fourteen years.
Of the 32 grandchildren in the Isaac Constant family only one, Mrs. Lettie L. Gregory, still lives in Central Point. There are also four great-grandchildren living in the vicinity: Lysle L. Gregory, Leonard Freeman, Mrs. Lola Kincaid, all of Central Point, and Earl Leever, of Medford. Mrs. Kincaid has the distinction of living upon the donation land claim formerly owned by her great-grandfather and within sight of his old home. Mrs. Gregory also lives on land formerly owned by her grandfather near the high school.
The old Isaac Constant house still stands on the east side of the old county road which separated the Constant farm from the city of Central Point (now known as the Freeman Road) and is owned and occupied by the [W. S.] Hare family.
Work is progressing rapidly on the new road connecting with the new bridge, and it is expected to be open for travel within a few days. However, the new road cannot be paved this fall, but will be well graveled for the present.
Central Point American, October 21, 1948, page 1
We hear lots of grumbling on the part of people who have come to this city in recent years who complain that "it's all the fault of the city council" (or perhaps the fault of former city councils) that our city is not keeping up with the procession in the matter of street improvements, better street lighting, and what have you. It seems to the writer that such complaining is all wet and shows the ignorance of whoever is doing the complaining. To our mind what is needed is a study of the history of this city, from its founding to the present time. Space will not permit us to give more than a very brief outline of such history, but even a little insight into the past may help.
* * *We shall not go into the days from the first laying out of the townsite way back in the '80s. Let us start with what happened to the town when the "Big Boom" hit the Rogue River Valley in the early years of this century, to wit: from 1905 to 1911. Let us remember that Medford itself grew during those years from a village of perhaps 1800 people to a city of 10,000. Literally miles of street improvements in the way of paving, curbs and sidewalks were put in, and of course charged against abutting property. Any purchaser of a lot in that city then (and now, for that matter) had to include such cost in figuring the cost of his new property. (By the way, along with the rest, was the matter of water mains, sewers, etc., which also had to be paid for.)
* * *The natural result of all this was that whenever someone who felt he couldn't afford so much outlay came along he was informed that he had better go down to Central Point where he could find cheaper lots. This city had been bitten with the boom bug also and had put in a new water system, a sewer system and had paved Pine Street for almost its whole length and had also charged that expense against the abutting property. We had gone in debt some $165,000 to pay for what little we did do. But what little we had done wasn't a drop in the bucket compared with Medford's outlay, so land was still cheaper here than there. Thus our city became a sort of working man's subdivision of the big town--and still is.
* * *When the boom fizzled out ( as booms have a habit of doing) our town--and the city council of that day--found itself in a rather difficult situation. Hundreds of people were out of work and had to move away. Literally hundreds of lots and even houses had to go to the county for taxes. Some of the lots here were taken over by the city from the county to protect the lien the city had against them. The whole country just sorta drifted along, hoping for better things which never came. Wages--if you were fortunate enough to have a job--were low. There were only a few really solvent taxpayers in town--and they had all they could do to pay the taxes required to pay off that awful debt. No city administration even dared to think of raising the tax load enough to put in any more city improvements.
* * *And so the years went by. Every city council spent many weary hours trying to think up some way to make the debt payments and at the same time make the many improvements asked for by the citizens of the town. It was a most thankless job--and still is, for the matter of that. They're cussed if they do and cussed if they don't. Small cities of our class just don't have money enough to do all the things the people seem to think they want. Today we can be thankful that the men of old who managed the affairs of the city did as well as they did to keep the city solvent.
* * *Since the coming of the war and Camp White our city has had many new problems. Our population has increased rapidly; new industries such as the planing mill, the railroad ties business, the stud mill, and others, have all brought new problems. Our streets have had to bear much heavier traffic, parking is becoming a problem, and the cost of operating the city's business has more than doubled.
* * *So the city council of today is faced with enough serious problems without being perpetually bothered with demands and petitions. And we are told that some crazy folks are even writing anonymous letters to the mayor! The place for such communications is the wastebasket or the kitchen stove. If the writer hasn't the guts to sign his or her letters they should be ignored, not worried over.
* * *So, after all is said and done, Central Point isn't so bad a place in which to live. We have good schools, good churches, live civic organizations, and our people, while not wealthy, are the salt of the earth. Here we have good neighbors, good friends and a cheerful way of life not often found in larger cities. Let's be thankful for the blessings we have, and quit worrying.
Arthur E. Powell, "Musings," Central Point American, April 21, 1949, page 1
In your "Ramblin' 'Round the Point" I read that you would like to know how Central Point received its name.
My father, Constantine Magruder, came to the Bear Creek Valley (now known as the Rogue River Valley) in 1868, seeking a location for a general merchandise store. The valley was a wilderness of oak and pine trees, also manzanita and chaparral brush. The only town at that time was Jacksonville, a mining town and in the southwestern part of the valley along the foothills. [Ashland, Talent and Phoenix were already in existence as well.]
He decided to locate as near as possible in the central portion of the valley, so gave it the name "CENTRAL POINT."
In 1872 the first post office was in my father's store and was known as the Central Point Post Office.
(Mrs.) Lettie L. Gregory
"More on Central Point's Name," Central Point American, April 23, 1953, page 1
Logs Fly, Railway Station Shattered
As Train and Truck Collide Friday
In a single spectacular minute last Friday afternoon, Central Point lost its railroad depot, a load of three-foot logs was reduced to near matchwood, a diesel railroad engine was damaged an estimated $10,000 and a logging truck was reduced to twisted metal.
Miraculously, the only injury was suffered by the train engineer, Martin Tasanady, who received a slight cut on his cheek.
The collision occurred at 4:52 p.m. Friday, December 3, at the Southern Pacific railway crossing on Pine Street where the log truck driven by Arthur St. Germain of Central Point became stalled.
The small 10x12-foot building used as a depot was demolished by flying logs.
Wednesday a Southern Pacific crew was busy cleaning up the accident scene in preparation for a new depot to be erected today. A portable building was to be used as the station.
Excerpt, Central Point American, December 9, 1954, page 1
Fourth Graders Describe Town for Portlanders
The letter published below was written by a member of the fourth grade class at Central Point Elementary School in answer to a letter from a fourth grade student at Portland seeking information about Central Point.
The material was collected, organized and written by the class to help the Portland group learn something about the city of Central Point. The letter published below was written by Clifford Pinkham.
Dear Douglas Butler:
The mayor of Central Point gave your letter to the principal of our school, Mr. Meyer. Our principal asked our class to write a reply giving you information about our town.
First, we will tell you about the history of Central Point.
Central Point was so named because it was the center of the inhabited part of Jackson County at that time. The town got started because a shipping and trading center was needed. This small town was founded about 1862. Its post office was established in April 1872. The town was incorporated by an act of Oregon state legislature February 18, 1889.
Central Point has grown from a population of 500 in 1889 to a present population of 1909.
This town is 1292 feet above sea level.
There are five churches and an elementary school with an enrollment of 934 students. This includes the junior high school. There is a new consolidated high school. There are several fine food stores, variety and department stores and a new bank within the city center.
Central Point has one newspaper published every Thursday. It is called the Central Point American.
Two doctors have established practices and they are Dr. Alvin Roberts and Dr. Wayne Roberts.
The town has grown [as an] industrial center since 1889. There is a cheese factory and a fruit loading equipment factory. State game department manufactures fish screen and wheels. There is a chicken hatchery. This is the home of the Grange Co-op Supply. It is a shipping center for fruits and grains.
As special points of interest, we like to point out that a visitor to our community would enjoy seeing the fruit orchards when in full bloom or when loaded with fruit.
One could easily drive to Crater Lake, to the Pacific Ocean or enjoy the Lake of the Woods from this part of the Rogue Valley.
Roxy Ann is a high mountain peak that many residents appreciate. Mt. McLoughlin is snow-capped part of the year.
The Oregon Shakespearean Festival is held at Ashland, which is only a short distance from Central Point.
Central Point American, February 17, 1955, page 3
CP Mutual Phone Company to End Service Saturday
Nearly a half century of service to Central Point and surrounding area will end at 11 p.m. Saturday, April 1, when the Central Point Mutual Telephone Company will step into the shadows to make way for dial telephone service through the facilities of Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co.
Since 1908, when the independent company was formally established in Central Point, the locally owned firm has supplied telephone service to the town and surrounding area.
Hand-cranked telephones and the cheery voices of operators will be a thing of the past for local residents after 11 p.m. Saturday. New dial telephones will take the place of the old-style instruments.
Around 1900Telephone service originated in Central Point around the turn of the century, according to best available information. The first telephone "office" was located in the grocery store operated by I. C. Robnett on the north side of Pine Street at Second Street. Two private lines, one from Table Rock Road and one from Willow Springs Road, came into the store.
One phone was in the dry goods department, and the other was in the grocery store. Clerks acted as messenger boys when residents in the two areas wanted to contact each other, as they took the message over one phone and then trotted to the other phone to call the party and repeat the information.
Cranfill & Robnett's Store, circa 1910
The next step in the growth of local telephone service was the establishment of a simple switchboard in the livery stable and hotel of I. F. Williams on the southeast corner of Second and Pine. Private lines again came into this board.
Formed in 1909From best available information, Central Point Mutual Telephone Co. was started in 1908. The first switchboard was purchased January 16, 1909, to be installed by L. A. Newton. The Western Electric board could service 30 lines and cost $160, paid for in gold coin. I. F. Williams was hired to operate the office and to maintain lines.
Until September 10, 1946, private lines were serviced through the switchboard located in Central Point. Maintenance of the office and lines was awarded on a contract. On September 10, 1946, owners of affiliated lines voted to consolidate with the company. Articles of incorporation were filed November 10, 1951.
Building in 1923On February 19, directors of the local firm, L. L. Norcross, B. F. Peart, George Fox, W. E. Alexander and W. J. Freeman, contracted with Freeman, Wiley & Co. to construct a 28x30 office and residence building on the present Second Street location.
This building was completed April 1, 1923, at a cost of $2630.54.
The 50x55 lot was purchased on this same date. The storage lot, just south of the office building, was purchased during February 1943.
In December 1954, 602 telephones were being serviced by the local firm. Membership in the company was by purchase of a share of stock. The area served by the company today includes Central Point, Table Rock, part of Old Stage Road, Beall Lane, Old Pacific Highway and to the top of Blackwell Hill.
Manager Ekdahl will begin after April 2 to remove old telephone instruments. He will issue credit clips for the old units. The credit rate will be $3.00 for wooden phones and $21.00 for plastic units.
Central Point American, March 31, 1955, page 1
Last revised August 21, 2017