Medford's water and power station, Eighth and Riverside.
Against the Electric Light.
A. A. Davis was last week granted a franchise for an electric light plant, the power for the generator to be furnished presumably by the flouring mill engine.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 12, 1890, page 2
The London Queen speaks with some interest of the general introduction of electric lights in homes, but draws attention to that singular affliction somewhat similar to a sunstroke which has been known to be produced by a powerful electric light. This, however, is only one reason why electricity is not desirable in the home. The chief objection to it lies in the nature of the light itself. It is too glaring, and all the objections that are urged against gas may be urged against it in the home. It is not a pleasant light to read by. It is mechanical and inartistic for home use, though suitable preeminently for lighting public places, halls, theaters and dry goods stores, where it is desirable to have the strongest light that we can find.--N.Y. Tribune.
Medford Mail, March 10, 1892, page 4 This was a "canned" story in the "patent outsides" of the Mail, and probably not representative of Medford attitudes.
"The moon makes a good light for our town after old Sol has retired for the night," said one of our citizens to another on the street last night. "Yes," said the other, "but the moon is unreliable--she goes out sometimes. We are going to have an electric light system and then the moon won't be in it.
"The Town Talker," Medford Mail, February 24, 1893, page 3
Six Were "Not in It."At the special election held in Medford last Monday upon the question of issuing $40,000 city bonds to be used as a bonus for the water works and electric power and light enterprises projected by C. H. Leadbetter, the town was almost unanimously in favor of bonding, there being only six votes against it in a town of about 275 or 280.
Mayor W. I. Vawter, when in Ashland Wednesday, replying to the question when the bonds are to be issued, said he didn't know anything about that. The election only gave the city council authority to bond the city if in its judgment it is the proper thing to do. The council will now proceed to consider such proposition as may be issued by Mr. Leadbetter and will not issue any bonds until satisfied by assurances or guarantee that the projects to be subsidized are upon a solid basis of success.
It is understood that Mr. Leadbetter proposes to bring to the town a supply of water for drinking and other domestic purposes, as well as for power; that he will supply water for irrigation of lands on both sides of the valley about Medford and Jacksonville, and will establish an electric lighting system in Medford. Water for city purposes is to be supplied free during continuance of his franchise.
Ashland Tidings, April 28, 1893, page 3
Will Have Electric Lights--Perhaps.
Mr. E. C. Sharpe, of Portland, is in Medford this week endeavoring to arrange for putting in an electric light plant in our city. This he will do provided the city will give him a franchise. He asks no bonus but expects, of course, that the city will agree to take a certain number of lights. The matter, so far as Mr. Sharpe is concerned, will be settled today, or so soon as a conference can be had with Mr. Leadbetter and the city council. Mr. Sharpe proposes to put in a plant with a capacity of twenty-five arc and 500 incandescent lights and will have the same in running order by the first of October--if the franchise is granted. The cost of the plant will be near $10,000. The convenience and general usefulness of these lights are known to almost everybody, and we will wager a guess that not a man in Medford is there but what would be in favor of granting the franchise. There is probably nothing which so greatly improves a city and gives it so metropolitan an air as do electric lights.
Medford Mail, July 21, 1893, page 2
Is the city of Medford drawing any nearer to the electric light goal? It is really a pity that we cannot compel those whom the city have subsidized for this purpose to either carry out their contract or throw up all claim to the subsidy and franchise.
Medford Mail, October 20, 1893, page 3
E. C. Sharpe, he who was in Medford a few months ago, and who at that time made an effort to arrange for the putting in of an electric light plant in this city, has been more successful in his endeavors at Roslyn, Washington. Last week the plant was completed, and that town is now at midnight as light as at noonday.
"All the Local News," Medford Mail, October 27, 1893, page 3
Inside of four months Medford is to have electric lights on her streets and in stores and residences. Medford is nothing if not metropolitan.
Medford Mail, May 11, 1894, page 2
We Will Probably Get 'Em.
Almost the first issue of The Mail under its present management, something like eighteen months ago, we printed an item regarding a proposition to put in electric lights in this city. We have been printing these same little items at various times since, but each of the promised projectors were unable to prepare contracts which were just in accord with the desire of the city council, and no action was taken. But the board now has had a proposition submitted to them which they are willing to accept and which seems one wherein we have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
John C. Baird, representing Messrs. Dayton & Hall, electrical men of Portland, was in Medford last week, and after making a canvass of the city he submitted a proposition to the board which is in substance like this: For the privilege of putting up electric wires and poles about the city of Medford for electric light purposes his company agrees to give to the city the free use of two arc lights for two years, to be put up at such points as the board may designate. No subsidy is asked, no franchise need be granted and no contract is asked from the board compelling them to take any number of lights. They may take them or not as they like, but the two are given free. The price asked from individuals for each incandescent light ranges from 75 cents to $1 per month, and the time which they are to run will be from sundown until midnight.
An adjourned meeting of the board will be held next Tuesday evening to enter into a written agreement based upon the above proposition. At the board's last regular meeting the proposition was made verbally by Mr. Baird and to which all members were favorable and voted yes, hence there is little doubt but that they will enter into the agreement. If the written contract is as verbally given and it is signed, the company propose to begin work on the plant within sixty days thereafter.
Medford Mail, May 11, 1894, page 3
ELECTRIC LIGHT ORDINANCE.
An Ordinance Granting to J. C. Baird and His Assigns the Right and Privilege To Erect and Maintain Poles and Wires Used in Connection with, or as a Part of, Electric Light and Power Works in, Upon and Over the Streets, Alleys, Public Parks and Public Grounds of the Town of Medford.
The people of the town of Medford do ordain as follows:
SECTION 1. J. C. Baird and his assigns are hereby granted the right and privilege, and are hereby authorized and allowed to erect and maintain, operate and use, in, upon and over the streets, alleys, public parks and public grounds of said town of Medford, poles and wires used in connection with, or as a part of electric light and power works of said J. C. Baird and his assigns, for the purpose of conducting electricity over said wires.
SECTION 2. J. C Baird and his assigns shall have the right and privilege to, and shall, erect poles and stretch wires so as not to interfere with the free and unobstructed use of the streets for travel, and shall erect the poles at such reasonable points in the streets and on sidewalks, and place the wires at such height, not less than eighteen feet from ground, for main wire, branch wires at reasonable height.
SECTION 3. Whenever it shall become necessary in the erection or repair of said poles or wires by said J. C. Baird or his assigns for him or them to dig into, or in any way, or in any manner, disturb any public street, or any part thereof, he or they shall, without delay, put the street in as good condition as it was before it was broken up, dug up or disturbed, and shall remove all surplus sand, earth or other material
SECTION 4. The above rights and privileges are granted to said J. C. Baird and his assigns, on condition that work on the electric plant shall be commenced within thirty (30) days, and the plant shall be in operation and lights burning within four (4) months from the date of this ordinance.
SECTION 5. The town of Medford shall have the right to use any or all of the poles erected by said J. C. Baird or his assigns, under this ordinance, for a fire alarm telegraph system.
SECTION 6. It shall be unlawful for any person or persons, unless authorized by said J. C. Baird or his assigns, to interfere with, meddle with, injure, impair or remove any of said poles or wires, or any insulator, crossarm, lamps or apparatus used in connection with, or as a part of, said electric light works of said J. C. Baird or his assigns.
SECTION 7. Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of Section 6 of this ordinance shall, upon conviction before the town Recorder, be fined not less than twenty-five dollars, nor more than one hundred dollars, or be imprisoned in the city jail not more than twenty days, at the discretion of the town Recorder.
The above ordinance was passed at an adjourned meeting held this May 14, A.D. 1894, as their names were called: E. W. Starr, aye; J. R. Wilson, aye; G. F. Merriman, aye; D. H. Miller, aye.
G. H. HASKINS, Mayor.Attest, B. S. WEBB, Recorder.
Medford Mail, May 18, 1894, page 3
The contract for the putting in of electric lights at Medford has been entered into with J. C. Baird, and an ordinance granting the franchise was passed at the last meeting of the council. Work is to be commenced within thirty days, and lights are to be in operation within four months.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 21, 1894, page 2
J. C. Baird, the electric light man, writes from Portland stating that he will be in Medford not later than June 4th. He will need to get in and drill immediately thereafter, as his grant from the city council will expire upon the 14th of June unless ground is broken for the construction of the plant. The Mail feels quite positive that Mr. Baird will fill his part of the contract, and that in less than four months from the 14th of June our streets and stores will be lighted with electricity. Mr. Baird writes later that he will be here the 5th of June and will then be ready to negotiate for lights.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, June 1, 1894, page 3
J. C. Baird, the electric light man, arrived in Medford Tuesday morning, accompanied by his partner, C. W. Stratton. The two gentlemen at once began preparations to commence work, and Wednesday morning they began locating the pole line. They already have the machinery ordered, and it will be here as soon as they will be ready to receive it. Before ordering their engine and boiler they are desirous of arriving at the approximate number of lights which will be required. The number they may be able to secure right now will be multiplied by two and the engine and boiler ordered to handle this number. It will be to the interest of all to leave their orders for lights at as early a date as possible. By doing this you will not only assist the company to arrive at a more definite point of calculation, but will as well hasten the operation of the plant. The convenience and direct benefit to be derived from electric lights will, of course, not be fully realized until the plant is in operation, yet many have undoubtedly already decided that they want them, but the number will be greatly augmented when the lights begin to glimmer. It is an enterprise which ought to be encouraged by all live, enthusiastic citizens, and the sooner this encouragement is given the sooner we will get the plant in working shape. The company is styled the Medford Electric Light Company.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, June 8, 1894, page 3
J. C. Baird and C. W. Stratton, the electric light men, have arrived in Medford, and are making preparations to put in their plant.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 11, 1894, page 3
Electric Light Work Progressing.
The work of putting in our electric light plant is progressing finely. About fifty poles are already set, and wires are being put on them. The pole lines will extend from near the public school building on Seventh Street, east to the Bear Creek bridge; from Seventh Street south on C to Twelfth and north on C to Second; from near the school building west three or four blocks, and southwest from the same point as far as the demand for lights make it necessary; south on H to Tenth and north on H two or three blocks and both north and south on D as far as the business houses extend. There will also be branch lines put up in other localities if lights are desired. The company now have over 100 incandescent lights wired in, and the work of placing more is moving ahead rapidly. The company has agreed to put up two arc lights for the streets free of charge, but these, of course, will be insufficient for the city's need and it is probable the board will decide to have several more put up. The site chosen for the location of the plant will probably be on the city's property, near the water tank. [The plant was located on Bear Creek, at Eighth and Riverside.] The lights are expected to be burning in about thirty days. It is the earnest desire of the company that all who contemplate putting in lights should so express themselves within the next eight days, as in about ten days Mr. Baird will leave for Portland to order an engine and boiler for the plant, and by the number of lights required is estimated the size of machinery needed. To make it an object for all to get in with their orders within the eight days time the company has decided to make the rate to them the same as given the original subscribers, which is a little less than the price will be to those who come in later. As to resident lighting the company guarantees to compete with coal oil in price, and in convenience there is no comparison.
----Medford Mail, June 15, 1894, page 2
C. W. Wolters:--"Putting in electric lights? Well, I should say I was. I can save money by doing it and get better service. My coal oil bill averages $6 a month, the year 'round. I get seven incandescent lights for $5.25, and it is lots handier. No lamps to clean and fill and no chimneys to break. I see no reason why this city ought not to support a first-class electric light system. Both Baird and Stratton seem to be very square, honorable men, and I hope success will come their way. Medford is the best city in the Rogue River Valley, and you can say that Wolters said so and he knows what he is talking about."
Messrs. Baird and Stratton, the electric light men, left for Portland Monday evening, to be absent about a week, or thereabout--during which time they will purchase an engine and boiler for their electric light works in this city.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, July 6, 1894, page 3
The city council has awarded the contract for operating the water works and also lighting the streets with electricity to R. A. Proudfoot. Part of the members are opposed to the scheme. This proceeding has caused considerable comment, and there is talk of applying to the circuit court for an injunction to restrain its consummation.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 7, 1898, page 3
Brace Skeel has returned from Grants Pass and has a position with the electric light works.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 24, 1898, page 3
Medford was without lights Saturday and Sunday nights. Mr. Proudfoot has moved his plant to the city water works site.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 28, 1898, page 3
The city is lit with electricity again, and it presents a much improved appearance at night.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 10, 1898, page 3
The electric lights have been running all right this week, thanks to the enterprising proprietor, R. A. Proudfoot, and as well thanks to the merchants who chipped in and paid him for doing it.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 30, 1898, page 7
There will be no street lights for a few weeks. Mr. Proudfoot's contract with the city expired last night, and a new one will not be made at present. The board has under consideration a plan for harnessing up some one of the streams in the adjoining mountains and transmitting power to the city by wire. Should this project seem feasible an electric light plant will undoubtedly be put in by the city and the power for running it and the pumping plant secured as above stated. The undertaking, or at least the preliminary steps leading to a possible undertaking, is commendable, and the council in their efforts on these lines should have the endorsement of all our townspeople. Nothing will advance the town's best interest more than will the securing of cheap power for the town's use and for the use of manufacturing plants which may desire a location here. While this power proposition is being talked of it is to be regretted that an abundant supply of pure mountain water cannot be considered, but the councilmen deem this too expensive a project to consider at this time. Should a desirable site for water power be secured it is barely possible that the council will purchase Mr. Proudfoot's electric light plant, a proposition to sell having been made them by Mr. Proudfoot.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 16, 1900, page 7
The city council has contracted with R. A. Proudfoot to supply the town with street lights for a few weeks until an electric light plant can be purchased. The council has under consideration two sources of power both on Rogue River, one near Tolo and the other near the Bybee Bridge.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 5, 1900, page 3
The town of Medford is now the owner of the electric light plant, having purchased the same last week. For some time the councilmen have been figuring with Mr. Proudfoot for the purchase of the plant, and on Friday of last week they instructed Mayor Howser to call a special meeting of the board to further consider and act upon the proposition. The price paid in warrants was $8400 for the plant complete, including a considerable amount of wire and several poles not now in use and the lots upon which the plant is located. The board also purchased 178 cords of slab wood and 133½ cords of fir wood from Mr. Proudfoot, which wood is now corded near the plant. The price paid for the wood was $794.36 in warrants, making a total outlay for plant and wood on hand of $9194.36. It is not the intention of the board to extend the system or make any material changes. The purchase is made largely as a speculation, it having been shown to the councilmen's satisfaction that the plant was a money earner. There are many opportunities offered for the improvement of the street service which would be appreciated by our townspeople, but it would be better not to reach out too far in this particular direction because of the fact that just so soon as petitions for line extensions are recognized, just so soon will the limit be thrown wide open and the finish of these extensions will not soon be seen. If the plant is a wage earner suppose we allow it to earn a few dollars for the town before we cripple it with extensions and thereby make it a burden. Councilman J. R. Erford has been appointed superintendent, Recorder J. W. Lawton will collect for the use of lights and Ed. Fordyce will be electrician assisted by Robt. Lawton, who is now operating the town's water pumping plant.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 13, 1900, page 7
The town of Medford now owns its own electric light plant, having purchased the same from Mr. Proudfoot last week, paying therefor [illegible]. This includes quite a quantity of wire and poles not now in use besides the lots on which the plant is located, together with several hundred cords of wood. J. R. Erford has been appointed superintendent."Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 16, 1900, page 2
The electric lights went out on Wednesday with a biff and a bang. Three coils of the armature burned out, and there wasn't a thing to do but quit work. New coils have been ordered from Portland, but it will probably be Monday night of next week before the burnout will be repaired and the lights turned on.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 8, 1900, page 6
The electric storm of yesterday created havoc with the telephone and electric light wires in Medford. A telephone pole down near the Bear Creek bridge was shattered, several of the wires running into the central office were burned off and more damage done inside. Lightning struck a wire running into I. A. Webb's residence and burned out one of the lights--burned so badly that the globe came out of the plaster [of] Paris socket. Mrs. Webb and Mrs. Foster, who were in the room at the time, felt the shock and were almost thrown to the floor.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, June 15, 1900, page 6
The boiler of the electric light plant blew up one day last week, and the town has been in blackness for several nights in consequence.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 18, 1900, page 3
No electric lights yet. We had a little glimmer of them last week one night, but the repairs made in Portland on the machinery were not put up right, and the lights flickered out soon after they were started.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 29, 1900, page 7
The city council's trouble with the electric light plant still continues. It's been a long time since we had a glimmer of darkness dispeller from the electric wires, and while it is true that there's a good bit of complaining, it is also true that the accident to the dynamo came along at a very opportune time--if it had to come. The evenings are short, and old Luna's pale face seems not so pale as usual these nights. All in all, the breakdown is a saving directly to the users of lights, but indirectly--through city expense--it's no funny matter. The councilmen, however, are putting forth their best efforts to fix things, but they've quit making promises. It appears that some fool battering was carelessly done to one of the journals of the dynamo when it was in Portland recently being repaired, and it's this battered place that's doing the mischief and heating boxes. Later:--We had lights for two and a half hours Wednesday night, and the probabilities are that we'll get 'em regular hereafter.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 13, 1900, page 7
Ed. Gurnea has been appointed electrician at the electric light plant in Medford. Mr. Gurnea is an experienced electrician, and the city council--and all us people who use lights--are hopeful that everything will move smoothly now and that light will be a regular evening feature. Ed. Fordyce, who was formerly electrician, has taken a position, temporarily, as salesman with J. Beek & Co., hardware dealers.
"Additional Local Items," Medford Mail, July 20, 1900, page 2
Ed. Gurnea, the new electrician at the city electric works, is getting everything in fine running order, and electric lights are now a regular thing. The street lights have not yet been put on, nor will they be for a little while yet, or until such time as the machinery is shaped up so it can handle this extra load without injury to the plant. Mr. Gurnea seemingly understands every detail of the business, and manager Erford is congratulating himself in having secured the services of so competent a man.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 3, 1900, page 7
At a called meeting of the city council held last week it was decided to purchase new machinery to the amount of about $1000 for the electric light plant, but the ordering of the machinery was deferred until a sale of warrants to that amount could be made.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 12, 1900, page 7
Manager Erford, of the city electric light plant, has been experiencing no end of trouble for several days past. The lights haven't been doing a thing but going wrong--and going out. The reason given by Mr. Erford for the breakdowns is that the plant is too heavily loaded. To make it possible to accommodate the increasing patronage the council has purchased another dynamo which is to be worked in conjunction with the one now in use. The purchase of this second dynamo, switchboard and exciter was made at Marysville, Calif. The dynamo is of 520-light capacity and cost $575. This is now here and will be put in position as soon as possible. Mr. Erford wishes us to say to the electric light patrons that he would like to have them use just as few lights as they can possibly get along with until the new plant is installed, which will be within a few days.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 26, 1900, page 7
Manager J. R. Erford, of the Medford Electric Light Company, reports the recently purchased machinery for the plant in splendid working order. He does not anticipate any further trouble with the lights--surely not from want of power and capacity of dynamo. The plant now has a capacity of 1200 lights, which number gives the council an opportunity to furnish all the lights that may be needed for some time.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, December 7, 1900, page 7
Basis of Electric Light Rates.
Following is the supposed basis the electric light plant is run upon:
Commercial lighting, 50 cents per 16-candlepower light until closing time, supposed to be between 8 and 9 o'clock; lights used until 10 o'clock, 60 cents, and those used until 12 o'clock, or during the evening run, 75 cents per light. All lights to be turned off at closing time, except special privilege of two in windows.
Hotels, special rating.
House lighting, 50 cents for one light; 75 cents for two lights; $1 for three lights, and 25 cents additional up to $2, and 20 cents additional from there up; 75 cents for hall light.
Halls and churches, special rating.
The using of house lights is supposed to be until a reasonable bedtime, and no one is entitled to use more lights than he or she pays for on an average. The person who pays for two lights and has four in the house, for instance, can burn any two lights in the house at one time, or any number he pays for, but it is not understood that anyone can use the number he pays for all the time and all the rest in the house additional as he pleases. If he uses more than he pays for at any time he consequently will have to use considerable less at other times. An electroller counts the number of lights it has on it.
The patrons of the electric light plant are expected to live up to their agreements, and not use more lights than are paid for, and to turn them off accordingly. You can thus save the town time, labor and expense.
J. R. ERFORD, Superintendent.
Medford Mail, December 14, 1900, page 7
The city's electric light plant has been enlarged and improved.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 20, 1900, page 2
Medford's new city councilmen have buckled on their business armor, and every one of them is gleaning all the facts and figures possible from the books of the town treasurer and recorder, with a view to formulating plans for future action. It has been found thus early that the town is not a paying proposition--that is, the receipts from the water and light plant, and licenses, are not now paying the current and actual expenses of the town. Either the expenses must be cut down--which cannot easily be accomplished and give efficient services in the water and light plants, or the receipts must be increased. The city council is composed of good, sound-minded and capable business men. Whatever means they adopt cannot be considered other than for the best interests of the town. If they deem it wise to increase the rental price of electric lights, or charge a greater price for city water privileges, it must be accepted as inevitable. The council is securing exact figures on the cost of pumping water, and if it is found that the cost is in excess of the price paid by the several consumers for its use, then the price will be advanced to meet this deficiency, and lay aside a few dollars each year to meet the payment of the water bonds when they become due. There has, for a number of years, been a great amount of water used for which the city has had no pay. This the council proposes to remedy by fixing a new rate and by enforcing all ordinances relative to the use of the water, and making new ordinances in cases when deemed necessary. The same methods will be adopted as regards the electric light plant. It has become absolutely necessary that this be done, and business men and other patrons of this enterprise should not feel that it is an imposition. Every man owning property in the city is interested in the financial welfare of the city--the citizen's and the city's interests are concomitant, and to freely and willingly comply with any reasonable requirement the city council may feel bound to impose for the city's financial interest is an imperative duty we all owe, and cannot avoid without detracting from the commercial welfare of our municipality. The Mail has implicit confidence in the business integrity of our governing body, and feels confident that any extra taxes imposed on the readjustment of the rates in any of the town's sources of revenues will be the result of well-considered forethought.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, January 25, 1901, page 7
The Medford city council is, in strict parlance, "up against the real thing." At the regular session of the board, held on Tuesday evening of this week, some astounding facts were disclosed. Treasurer Strang's report was read, and from it it was learned that the town was about $69,000 in debt, and that during the last two years the town's indebtedness had increased $19,000. This increase was mainly due to the purchase of the electric light plant and the putting in of the sewerage system. The board also found that the electric light plant was $500 in debt; that its operation since the purchase of the plant last April had been $1000 in excess of the income from lights. Five hundred dollars of this deficit had been transferred from the general fund, which leaves the plant, as above stated, $500 in debt. When to this amount is added the six percent interest on the light plant purchase price, it is found that the plant has actually cost the town $1500 during the last ten months. The council also found that the receipts for water rents during the past year had been $1400. The amount paid for wood for the water system during this time was $1800, engineer's salary, $480. Besides these items there are the repairs made and the oil used. The water committee has estimated that the expenditures have been at least $1000 in excess of receipts. Having arrived at the condition of the town's finances the present board of councilmen propose to remedy matters, if this be possible--and it must be made possible if the town hopes to thrive and offer inducements to prospective property purchasers. No definite plans of procedure has been decided upon as yet, nor will they be until the several committees have made a thorough investigation of all detail matters. That the price charged for lights and water will be raised seems inevitable, but the necessary raise has not as yet been decided upon. Both the light plant and the water system must be put upon a basis of self-support or the town will in a few years be irretrievably bankrupt. Since the above was put in type we are informed that over $700 of water rents were collected during the first part of January and after the recorder had closed his books, from which the above report was made. This would bring the water receipts up to very nearly $2200.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 8, 1901, page 7
New Electric Light Rating.
An ordinance fixing the price at which electric lights shall be furnished to the residents of the city of Medford, the time and manner of payment and other matters connected therewith, was passed by the city council Tuesday evening, which provides that all lights furnished by the city shall be uniform in price, as far as practicable. The scale of prices which shall be paid therefore are as follows: For one light, seventy-five cents per month; two lights, $1.40 per month; for the next two lights fifty-five cents each; for each additional light up to ten, fifty cents per month. For more than ten lights a special rating will be made by eh committee on lights. The above rates are for business houses. The rates established for residences and lodge rooms are: For one light, fifty cents per month; for two lights seventy-five cents; for three lights $1; for eight lights $2 and for more than eight lights fifteen cents per month for each light above eight. The rate for hall pendants is seventy-five cents per month, but for residences which use above twelve lights, the hall pendant will be charged fifteen cents per month. Lodge room rates are based on not to exceed three nights' use per week, and a pro-rata increase will be charged for more than three nights' use per week. Churches will be charged two-thirds of lodge room rates. All lamps will be renewed by the city free, on return of the old lamps; if old lamps are not returned five cents each will be charged therefore. The city retains the right to inspect the lights every ninety days, and oftener, if thought necessary, but no charge will be made therefore. All bills for lights shall be paid monthly, on the first of each and every month, when the bill will be presented for payment by the city recorder, one time only. If not paid on presentation of the bill they must be paid at the office of the city recorder, on or before the tenth of every month, or the lights will be disconnected without further notice or demand. When disconnected a charge of fifty cents will be made for reinstatement. The ordinance will take effect and be in force on and after the 1st day of March, 1901.
Medford Mail, February 22, 1901, page 2
Wm. Angle has had the Medford opera house wired, and not less than twenty electric lights, a portion of which will be thirty-two candlepower, will be put in at once.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, March 22, 1901, page 6
The new boiler for the city light and water plant arrived yesterday and will be put in place immediately. While putting it in place next week the electric light plant will be shut down, and we will be without lights for a few nights.
Medford Enquirer, May 11, 1901, page 5
The big new boiler for our water and light plant, which councilman Wilson purchased in California recently, is being put in position. As a consequence the city is without electricity at present.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 16, 1901, page 5
The city has been without electric lights for several days owing to a large number of substantial improvements which are being made at the electric light plant this week. The old boiler is being replaced with a new seventy-horsepower boiler, and the machinery is being thoroughly overhauled and put in first-class condition by competent mechanics. Other improvements are also being made, such as new floors, foundations, etc. It is the intention to have the plant in condition to furnish lights some time this week, although it will be two weeks before the work now in progress at the plant will be completed. --Just as we go to press we learn that the lights will be turned on Sunday evening.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, May 17, 1901, page 7
The electric lights were turned on Sunday night, after being closed down nearly two weeks. A number of substantial improvements have been made at the light plant, and it is said to be in better condition at present than it has ever been before.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, May 24, 1901, page 7
CEDAR POLES WANTED.
The City of Medford wants fifty cedar poles. These poles must be cut from live cedar, must be 30 feet in length, peeled, straight, and must be from six to eight inches in diameter at the small end. From $2.50 to $2.75 will be paid in cash for each pole delivered at the city light plant which answers the foregoing requirements. Any number of poles from one upward may be delivered at any time by any person who can furnish the same, until the required number is received. Cash will be paid on delivery. See either the city recorder, or the mayor, or the electrician at the light plant.
Medford, August 23, 1901.
W. S. CROWELL, Mayor.
Medford Mail, August 30, 1901, page 2
O. S. Snyder was unfortunate in having his finger cut off last week in a very peculiar manner. Himself and Frank Loder, another employee at the electric light plant, were engaged in handling wood for the engines when a large stick of four-foot wood thrown by Loder struck a similar stick in the hands of Snyder, and when the sticks came together the second finger on Snyder's right hand was most unfortunately between them, and the finger was severed at the first joint. The wound was at once dressed by a physician and is healing as rapidly as could be expected.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 25, 1901, page 7
The following resolution was adopted:
Resolved, That all parties in whose building the City of Medford owns the electric wiring are hereby required to pay said city 25 percent of usual cost of such wiring, which is $1.25 per drop. It is further provided that unless such bills are paid within thirty days the city electrician is instructed to disconnect such buildings from the electric light wires.
The gist of this resolution is that all users of electric lights who do not own their wires and drops will be required to pay 25 percent of $1.25 for each drop in use, which amount is 31¼ cents. Multiply 31¼ by the number of drops you have and you will know the amount in gold coin you will be required to pay into the city treasury.
"Meeting of City Council," Medford Mail, February 21, 1902, page 2
Electrician Gurnea has been busily engaged this week in installing electric lights in the M.E. Church--an improvement in the lighting of the church which cannot fail of approval by the congregation.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, March 28, 1902, page 6
Many of our citizens are feeling unkindly towards members of the city council who were instrumental in causing the electric wires connecting Hotel Nash to be cut, and this at a time when Mr. Hamilton, the proprietor, was in Portland. Before leaving for Portland Mr. Hamilton asked Councilman Deuel, chairman of the light and water committee, to permit the lights to remain in the hotel until he returned, and he was given to understand that they would remain undisturbed until that time, but Mr. Ulrich, another member of the council, disregarded the commitments made by Mr. Deuel and on April first by his (Ulrich's) orders the wires were cut, and the hotel was left without means of lighting save by coal oil lamps. It was this act which caused Mr. Deuel to tender his resignation as councilman. Inasmuch as Mr. Ulrich is not a member of the light and water committee, his act seems to have taken on a spirit which could hardly be termed one of fairness and justice. It is hardly the mode of procedure usually adopted by men possessed with a desire to deal fairly, one with another. In view of the further fact that Mr. Hamilton has been a monthly contributor to the city fund to the extent of $27 for a number of years it would seem but right that his wishes be respected, notwithstanding the fact that he had declared his intention to remove the lights. This cutting of the wires grew out of an order made a few weeks ago requiring all owners or renters of buildings to pay for the wiring in said buildings, and the payment of the amount assessed to him was refused by Mr. Hamilton.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 11, 1902, page 7
Capt. J. T. C. Nash has found a receipt from J. C. Baird for $123, which amount was paid Mr. Baird for placing the electric light wires in Hotel Nash--and the city does not, nor never has, owned the wires in this hotel--but a councilman ordered the wires cut just the same. Mr. Hamilton has redress in this matter--he could sue the city for damages--but he will not do it. He realizes that while the city is liable for the acts of a councilman, the citizens and taxpayers are not directly responsible for mistakes they may have made or honors they have undeservedly bestowed, and he does not propose heaping upon them the expense of a law suit.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 18, 1902, page 7
Jack Baird, who was formerly engaged in supplying Medford with electricity, spent yesterday in our city. He is now connected with the Portland Electric Light Co.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 26, 1902, page 1
Wilson's Opera House is rapidly assuming a finished appearance and will soon be ready for the grand opening event, which manager Wilson proposes to give to introduce his opera house to the Medford public. The plastering of the main hall, which is all that will be done for the present, is completed, and the carpenter work will be about finished this week. The painting of the outside of the building is finished, and next week that on the inside will be done. E. L. Gurnea, electrician for the city light station, with his assistant Frank Loder, has been at work this week wiring the building and installing the electric lights. There will be eighteen lights for the ceiling and ten beneath the gallery, all so distributed so that there is no glare in one part of the room and a gloom in another part. There will be twenty-four footlights and ample lights for the rear of the stage and for the dressing rooms, and there will also be two lights for the bandstand on the balcony. The lights for the auditorium will be so connected that every other one, or all of them, can be turned out from the switchboard on the stage, and the footlights can also be shaded down when required.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, July 4, 1902, page 6
Frank Loder, who has been assistant electrician and engineer at the city water and light plant for the past two years, has accepted a position as engineer with Dr. C. R. Ray at the Tolo dam--at $75 per month. He commenced work Wednesday morning. Frank is a cracking good fellow and is quite an adept in engineering and electrical work.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 12, 1902, page 7
Electric Lights and Water.
At the special meeting of the city council on Tuesday evening steps were taken to put the electric light and water system of the city on a meter basis. Ordinances creating a superintendent of light and water, under the general control of the light and water committee of the city council, reducing the salary of the city recorder, and attaching the reduction to that of the city electrician (who is now superintendent of lights and water), together with duties pertaining to his new office formerly performed by the recorder and providing for the abolishment of the present flat-rate system were passed.
The new office of light and water superintendent carries with it the care and control of the city's electric light and water plant, the supervision of all employees in that department and responsibility for their acts, also the making out and collection of bills for light and water, and all other duties pertaining to the running of the plant. His salary is fixed at not more than $80 p er month, and in addition he receives 10 percent of the net income of the plant at the end of the year. By net income is meant what is left after the running expenses of the plant, including salaries of superintendent, employees, fuel, repairs, light and water furnished the city, etc. As the plant has been barely paying expenses so far, the percentage the superintendent will receive will probably be not large, unless he is able by more efficient management to reduce expenses and increase the income.
The most important action taken by the council was the ordinance passed to place the electric system on a meter basis. Hereafter (as soon as the meters arrive) everyone using electric lights must either purchase or rent a meter. A contract has been entered into with the General Electric Co., of San Francisco, to furnish 100 10-light meters. These meters are to cost $11.70 in San Francisco, and will be sold by the city at this price, plus drayage, boxing and freight from that point. The minimum-sized meter is the 10-light. Larger meters will cost more. After the first order is placed an advance of 65 cents per meter will be required. The city will rent meters at the rate of 40 cents per month, requiring the payment of six months' rent on the installation of the meter, together with the installation fee of $2, which fee is also charged for installing meters purchased.
The rate will be raised from 12 cents per 1000 watt-hours to 15 cents, which price is the same as that paid in Ashland, when they have water power for running the plant.
It is expected that the abolishment of the flat rate will stop many leaks in both the electric light and water systems, and by enabling the city to collect for the goods furnished, and giving the consumer what he pays for, will be more satisfactory all around.
Another new feature will be the all-night light services, which is expected to cause many people to use lights who do not now do so under the midnight system.
The council expects to be able to change to the new regime within thirty days and expect to by this means place this department on a paying basis.
Medford Mail, October 3, 1902, page 2
The report of the committee recommending the placing of the electric light service on the meter system and running the lights all night was received, and adopted, and an ordinance passed to that effect, also fixing the rate at 15 cts. per 1000 watt-hours; and providing for installation, selling and renting of meters.
The following additional ordinances were introduced and passed:
Fixing the salary of city recorder at $240 per annum, payable monthly.
Creating the office of superintendent of light and water, to have jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to same, subject to the light and water committee, and fixing his salary at $80 per month and 10 percent of the net proceeds of the light and water plant at the end of the year.
"City Council Proceedings," Medford Mail, October 3, 1902, page 2
Light and Water Notice.
After this date, all light and water bills must be paid ON OR BEFORE THE 10TH DAY of each month, AT THE CITY HALL. No bills will be presented or notices given to consumers FOR YOU KNOW THAT YOU OWE THESE BILLS.
The Superintendent of Light and Water will be found daily at the city hall, from the 1st to the 10th day of each month, to receive payment of your light and water bills. On the 11th day of each month he will commence and turn off all lights and water that have not been paid for. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE TO FAVOR ANYBODY.
If you are shut off for nonpayment, there will be additional charges to pay before you can get any more light or water.
With the increasing population of the city, it has been found impracticable to present every month a bill to every consumer of light and water. Hence this change had become an imperative necessity.
DON'T FORGET when to pay, where to pay and whom to pay, every month.
By order of the city council.
WM. S. CROWELL, Mayor.Medford Mail, October 3, 1902, page 2
October 1, 1902.
In the matter of adopting an all-night electric light system it was decided that such system would be inaugurated November 15th, at which time it is expected that the meters will be installed.
"City Council Proceedings," Medford Mail, October 31, 1902, page 3
The Medford electric light system will commence giving an all-night service on Saturday night, November 15th, and thereafter the lights will burn during all the hours of darkness.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, November 14, 1902, page 6
There is a noticeable improvement in the electric light service since the inauguration of the new system whereby the whole matter is placed under the supervision of one man with power to act in all emergencies. Since assuming the duties of his office Supt. Gurnea has been very busy in bringing the electric light and water systems into businesslike shape. Many leaks existed in the plan under which the business was managed before, and there were lots of loose ends flying around which needed to be taken up. Mr. Gurnea has been stopping these leaks and taking up those loose ends, and he has succeeded remarkably well. He is a thorough business man and a competent engineer and electrician, and the way he is going to work, now that he has the power to act, leads us to predict that within a very short time Medford will have an electric system second to no town of its size in the state, and one of which it may justly be proud.
Sunday evening some new wires put up by the telephone company between the residences of A. A. Davis and L. B. Warner crossed with the town's electric light wires, and the consequent difference of opinion between the two brands of electricity resulted in the burning out of the fuses in several telephones and also in the electric light system. The town was in darkness for some time until the difficulty was found and remedied, which was very promptly done.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 14, 1902, page 7
Tuesday night landlord Hamilton again installed electric lights in his hostelry after having done without them for several months.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, November 21, 1902, page 6
POWER FROM RAY DAM.
At a special meeting of the city council held on Thursday evening of last week to discuss the proposition of securing electric light and power from the Condor Water and Power Co., for city purposes, J. D. Alsup, representing the company, explained the plan upon which it was expected to work.
The company did not wish to purchase the present electric and water system belonging to the city, but did want to sell to the city electricity for lighting and pumping purposes, through a local corporation to be organized among the citizens of the town, to sell this power to the city, and the city in turn to retail lights and water to the consumers, as is done under the present system.
The Condor company simply proposes to sell the electricity at the dam, and it is not their purpose to extend their plant to the amount required to run the wires into Medford, which it is estimated will cost in the neighborhood of $10,000, hence the need of a separate local corporation which would stretch the wires from the dam to Medford and afterward dispose of the current to the city for light and power purposes.
Again a local corporation would give wider scope in the matter of furnishing light and power. Should the Condor company sell to the city direct the electricity could not be disposed of only for use within the corporate limits of the town, whereas the independent corporation could dispose of it to anyone in reach of the wires between here and the dam. It is desired to have as much of the stock as possible taken here, and, if successful negotiations with the city council are concluded, the books will be open for anyone who wishes to take stock.
At the meeting last week, Mr. Alsup was not prepared to state at what price he would be able to furnish the electricity, as he had no data regarding the number of lights furnished by the present plan, the amount of power required to run the pumping station and the probable increase--which was necessary in order to make an estimate on the strength of the current and cost thereof necessary to carry on the work. He stated that if such data were placed in his hands he would be able within a short time to make a rate at which power could be furnished.
Acting Mayor Wilson, on motion of Councilman Pickel, appointed the following committee to secure the required data: Pickel, Willeke, York. As yet the committee has made no report and the matter is still in abeyance.
Medford Mail, August 14, 1903, page 1
OFFER MADE TO MEDFORD.
Electric Company Wants to Sell Power to the City.
MEDFORD, Or., Aug. 14.--(Special.)--At a special meeting of the city council, held last Thursday evening, in order to discuss the proposition of securing electric light and power from the Ray dam, owned by the Condor Water Power Company, located near Tolo, about ten miles from Medford, for city purposes, J. D. Alsup, representing the company, explained the plan upon which it was expected to work.
The company did not wish to purchase the present electric and water system belonging to Medford, but wanted to sell the city electricity for lighting and pumping purposes through a local corporation to be organized among the citizens of the town, to sell this power to the city and the city in turn to retail light and water to the consumers, as is done under the present system.
The Condor Water & Power Company proposes to sell the electricity at the dam, and it is not their purpose to extend their plant to the amount required to run the wires to Medford, which it is estimated will cost in the neighborhood of $10,000, hence the need of a separate local corporation which would stretch the wires from the dam to Medford and afterward dispose of the current to the city for light and power purposes.
A local corporation would give wider scope in the matter of furnishing light and power. Should the Condor Company sell to the city direct the electricity could not be disposed of only for use within the corporate limits of the town, whereas the independent corporation could dispose of it to anyone within reach of the wires between here and the dam. It is desired to have as much of the stock as possible taken here, and it is hoped that successful negotiations with the city council will be concluded.
At the meeting Mr. Alsup was not prepared to state at what price he would be able to furnish the electricity, as he had no data regarding the number of lights furnished by the present plant, the amount of power required to run the pumping station and the probable increase which was necessary in order to make an estimate on the strength of the current and cost necessary to carry on the work. He stated that if such data were placed in his hands he would be able within a short time to make a rate at which power could be furnished.
Acting Mayor Wilson, on motion of Councilman E. B. Pickel, appointed the following committee to secure the required data: Dr. E. B. Pickel, J. U. Willeke, W. T. York. No reports have been made yet, and the matter is still in abeyance.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, August 15, 1903, page 4
Mail Office Devil:--"'Say, I'm goin' to be good, from this on. I was a-chasin' around over at the S.P. depot the other night, when the train came in late, and I tell you it was fierce. I turned the corner of the depot just as No. 16 pulled in, and honest, it was as dark as a stack of black cats. Yes, the lights wuz a-burnin', but, shucks, two little lamps ain't goin' to light that platform, especially when there's a whole lot o' people buttin' around on it. I got in a mixup. There wuz me an' some other fellers in a bunch, and one feller he wuz comin' down one side with the wagon, and another feller, he wuz a-rattlin' along on the other side with a truckload of drummer's trunks 'steen feet high. Besides that der wuz brakies a-flashin' der lanterns around an' fellers a-gittin' off de train, an' all in darkness. If it had been daylight it wouldn't been so bad, but a feller couldn't see which way to go. I got out [of] the wreck finally, but the first ting I did was to butt into a 250-pound drummer, who was carryin' a big grip. That grip struck me 'bout midships, and, say I wuz paralyzed for a minute. I thought that merchant what made de spiel here a week or so ago 'bout the Southern Pacific not a-lightin' its depot was a-talkin' through his millinery, but now I know he wuz dead right. This yer man's town ships more freight dan a whole lots of places what looks bigger on de map an' de census reports, and Mister Harriman could light that depot wid 'lectricity for what he pays for oil to fill lamps, that, when dey is burnin' good, a feller has to strike a match to help 'em out, so's he can see what time it is."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, December 4, 1903, page 1
CITY PLANT SHOULD BE SOLD.
The city council on Friday evening passed a resolution calling a special election to submit to the voters the question of whether or not the mayor and council should be granted authority to sell the light and water plant.
We believe the move is a wise one, and that the citizens of Medford will be doing the right thing to grant the authority asked for by the council.
The notice of election, which appears in another column, specifies the terms and conditions on which the sale is to be made, naming the minimum price--$20,000--and also inserting the proviso that the water furnished shall be fit for domestic use and the rate for consumption shall be established by the city council.
The water and light plant under the city management has barely paid running expenses, if it has done that, and within the next few months extensive repairs will be necessary, involving heavy expenses, which will have to be raised in some other way than from the revenues of the plant. In nearly every case of municipal control of such enterprise as this the expense of conducting the plant has been greater than it would have been under private management. A private individual is not content with merely coming out even, and is ever figuring on how to increase the earning capacity of his business. A municipal corporation is handicapped in various ways, which prevent it achieving this result, and this has always been a great factor in bringing about the failure of municipal ownership of enterprises of this nature.
It is reasonably certain that there will be several bids for the plant. With the future growth of the city in view, corporations engaged in this line of business will perceive the opportunity for building up an extensive patronage and of overcoming the handicaps which now bother the city authorities.
Another point: The sale of the plant at even the minimum price (it is expected more money than that can be had) will result in the reduction of the city debt by that much, in the lowering of the interest charge, also reducing the tax rate and of bringing city warrants to a par value.
We believe that a private corporation, dependent upon the patronage of the people for its revenue, will be bound to give us the best service possible, for the better the service the greater the patronage.
In conclusion we would urge the citizens of Medford to consider the question in all its bearings, and we are satisfied that the result will be an affirmative vote on the proposition of selling the plant.
Medford Mail, March 4, 1904, page 1
The electric lights will be turned off at 12 o'clock each night until further notice. This arrangement will only be for a short time.
J. W. MITCHELL,Medford Mail, March 4, 1904, page 1
Chairman of Light Com.
The Medford council is advertising for bids for supplying 500 cords of four-foot fir wood for the light and power plant.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, April 7, 1904, page 2
POWER AND LIGHT FOR MEDFORD.
This city will soon have electric light and power furnished by the Condor Water & Power Co., of Gold Ray. At a meeting of the city council held Friday evening a proposition was made by the company and accepted and a check for $2500 was deposited by the company's representative, Dr. C. R. Ray, as a guarantee of good faith. Following is the text of the proposal:
The Condor Water & Power Company, an Oregon corporation, makes to the city of Medford the following proposition in the matter of furnishing electricity for light and power for pumping and water purposes.
1.--The said company will furnish unto the city electricity for lighting purposes and all household purposes at the rate of three cents per kilowatt hour and will furnish power for all pumping purposes at the rate of $5 a horsepower per month, twenty-four hour service. All of the power and electricity to be metered out to the city at their central power station and the company to furnish two transformers and two meters.
2.--The city to extend the light and water system whenever a sufficient earning power can be shown to justify said extensions and shall be based upon an income of ten percent net per year on the cost of said extensions.
3.--If the Condor Water & Power Company at its own expense will develop and furnish for the city and the inhabitants thereof water sufficiently pure for domestic use and for drinking purposes, then said company, in that event, is to receive for the power used in pumping three cents per kilowatt hour.
4.--If the city does not make the necessary extensions to its lighting and water system as stated in Section 2 of this proposition, then the said company is to have the right and privilege to make such extensions at its own expense and receive 95 percent of the gross revenue derived from said extensions. At the expiration of ten years, all such extensions made by said company to become the property of the city.
5.--The company is to have the right to employ a representative to solicit business, both for lighting and for water system. In the event that the city makes the extensions in accordance with the second conditions of this proposal then the city is to pay for the service of said representative, but in the event that the extensions are made under the fourth condition of this proposal, then the expenses of said representative are to be paid by the company.
6.--The company is to have a franchise to plant its poles and run its lines through all the streets and alleys of the city, and is to have the right and privilege to sell power to all consumers of power over and above one horsepower per consumer.
7.--Settlement for all power and light used to be made monthly unto the company, and the company to receive its payment in cash or its equivalent.
8.--This proposal is made on the basis of the company receiving from the city a ten-year contract, said company within one day from the acceptance of this proposal to deposit with the city recorder of the city its certificate check, or a good and valid undertaking in the sum of $2,500 for the faithful performance of said contract, and the city to enter into a good and valid contract with the company and pass all ordinances and parts of ordinances necessary to its validity.
9.--Exclusive franchise to be given to said company, so far as it is possible under the laws of the state and the interest of said company to be safeguarded at all times by said council so far as it can be legally done.
CONDOR WATER & POWER CO.,
C. R. Ray, President.
The committee from the city council and Dr. Ray's representatives have been arranging a contract in accordance with the provisions of the above proposal. Just a few minor details remained to be settled at the time the Mail went to press, and no doubt the contract will be signed this week. Work will be commenced at once, and it is expected that within ninety days the electric current from the Ray dam will be supplying our citizens with power and light.
The action of the city council in accepting the above proposition we think is universally approved by the citizens of the town. It will eliminate a big item from the expense account, and is expected to change a deficit in the light and water system to a profit.
Medford Mail, July 22, 1904, page 1
Power for Medford.
MEDFORD, Or., Aug. 15.--(Special.)--The Condor Water & Power Company, located at Tolo, Or., ten miles north of this city, on Rogue River, has purchased the poles and distributed them along the public highway for a distance of ten miles, and contracted for their erection, when the wires are to be strung to conduct the electric current for power for Medford and vicinity.
It is expected that within two weeks actual construction work will have begun, and within 60 days the company expects to able to furnish power, light and water for this city. Extensive improvements are contemplated at the plant, and contracts have been let for the most approved electrical appliances for Medford.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, August 16, 1904, page 4
Power Conducted from Gold Ray.
MEDFORD, Or., Sept. 30.--(Special.)--The Condor Water & Power Company began stringing wires from Gold Ray to Medford several days ago. Connection is complete to Central Point, a small town about five miles north of this city. The company expects to reach Medford in a few days. The city has been putting in new transformers, made necessary by the change in the current, and will have everything in readiness by the time the wires reach Medford.
The Condor Water & Power Company is putting in additional machinery in the powerhouse at Gold Ray, about ten miles north of Medford, which will enable them to generate 1000 more horsepower, doubling the energy.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, October 1, 1904, page 4
H. C. Stoddard, an electrician of ten years' experience, has entered the employ of the Condor Light and Water Company and will make Medford his headquarters. Mr. Stoddard will have charge of the installation of all electric motors put in by this company in the valley, and when installed he will have the superintendency of the lines operated. He is a very pleasant gentleman to meet and is fast making friends both for himself and the company. He is right now soliciting for the sale of power in the several towns of the valley, as well as among the farmers who may need power for irrigating purposes.
"Additional Personal," Medford Mail, August 26, 1904, page 4
The Condor Water and Power Company has arrangements perfected of entirely new generating machinery in their plant at Gold Ray. The machinery, including the water wheels, which was first put in, was intended to generate only sufficient power for operating the several mines owned by the company. No thought was given at that time to generating power for commercial purposes throughout the valley. The demand for power is now found to be greatly in excess of the supply, and the putting in of new and larger machinery is made necessary. When the new machinery is installed the company will be able to generate 4000 horsepower, nearly four times the present capacity of the plant. It is expected that four months' time will be required in making the change, but the installation work will not necessarily interfere with the use of what power the plant is now capable of developing. When the new machinery is in operation a current of 23,000 volts will be brought to Medford, where a substation will be established, from which current will be distributed to various parts of the valley.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 3, 1905, page 5
An ordinance amending the rates charged by the city for electric lights was passed.
This ordinance makes a substantial reduction in the rate to be paid by the consumer of electricity. The rate as fixed by the ordinance is 10 cents per kilowatt for less than 100,000 watt-hours; 9 cents per kilowatt for over 100,000, and 8 cents per kilowatt for over 500,000 watt-hours per month.
"City Council Proceedings," Medford Mail, February 10, 1905, page 4
The Light Question.
During the month of January, supposedly owing to the extra strength of the current furnished by the Condor Power people, the electric meters in the city "ran away with themselves" as a rule, and the consequence was that bills for lights were doubled, tripled and even quadrupled over what they were the month before. When the reading of the meters commenced to come in, Recorder Toft at once became aware that a serious mistake had been made, and when the light customers commenced making remarks about the increase in their bills, he was sure of it.
At the council meeting Tuesday evening measures were taken to remedy the matter, and it was practically left to the discretion of the recorder to adjust the differences, using the December bills as a basis.
Medford Mail, February 10, 1905, page 5
The Mail is not given greatly to throwing bouquets at itself, but feels justified in calling the attention of its readers this week to a few of the improvements that have been made in the way of machinery for the plant during the past year. Four years ago a gasoline engine was installed in this office, which, by the way, was the first gasoline engine installed in Medford, and one of the first in the vicinity of the town. No other newspaper in Southern Oregon at that time used such power. Last May we placed a Simplex typesetting machine in the office, and The Mail was the first newspaper the type of which was set by machinery published in Jackson County. Then a few weeks afterward we installed a folder, the first machine of the kind south of Eugene. This week we have installed an electric motor to take the place of the gasoline engine, and again The Mail leads the procession, this being the first motor installed in the city, and this office being the first institution to use the electricity from the Ray dam for power purposes. From the above it will be seen that The Mail has been keeping abreast of the times, and is endeavoring to give its readers the best possible service. Our efforts in this line we believe are appreciated, and with this assurance encouragement is given for other and further improvements. About that motor we want to say that it works like a charm. There is no pumping up of gasoline, no fooling with exhausted batteries, no turning a wheel until black in the face, no noise of exploding vapor to alarm the neighbors. We simply push the button and Dr. Ray does the rest. It is the steadiest, most satisfactory power we have ever used and fills the bill exactly.
Medford Mail, February 17, 1905, page 4
The Condor Water & Power Co. is stringing wires this week to Hopkins' orchard (formerly the Olwell place) for lighting purposes. It is expected later that power will be put in for pumping purposes. The stringing of the Condor Co.'s electric lines through the valley is but the commencement of a system which will result in every farm being provided with power and light, if the owners so wish, and it will not be long until they will wish it, when they see what their neighbors are doing.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 17, 1905, page 5
By this time next week the steam engines and boilers at the pumping station will likely be out of commission, and the plant will be operated by electricity. After a long delay the big transformers, that have been "on the way" for several months, are in position, and this week the new pump is being connected with the water mains and the motor. Several days will likely be required to do this work, but it is expected to have everything in readiness by the first of next week.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 31, 1905, page 5
The electric light system--leaving out the matter of street lights--in Medford was never in better shape than it is at the present time, and the expense to the city is very much less than heretofore. Everything is kept up in shape and in the best working order. The power house and pumping plant is neat as a pin and kept so all the time. Much of the credit for this state of affairs is due to the unremitting care of Supt. A. C. Gorton and his able assistant, E. W. King. Both are competent electricians and are not afraid to get out on the line and work. They are busy all the time, and are rendering a first-class service.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 21, 1905, page 5
TRANSMISSION OF ELECTRIC POWER.
The Forces of Nature Have Been Chained To Do the Bidding of Man.
Even the forces of nature have been chained to do man's bidding here, and the enthusiast sees the day approaching when by touching an electric button, the grubs can be wound out from the resting places of years on the mountainsides, and the capstan and the cable, run by an electric motor, will indeed clear the ground for the modern farmer, and when even the boulders in the channels of the creeks and rivers will be will be crushed where they lie by electric rock crushers, and the product used to redeem the roads from present conditions to the most modern highways in the West. These mighty forces are now available, and the great Condor Water & Power Company plant, for a very moderate cost, furnishes power on the ground for any purpose needed. Can any other portion of the earth furnish equal advantages to the modern farmer or fruit grower? The mere fact that the dweller in the country can have lights and power for pumping and all other farm uses, equal to the best facilities of dwellers in cities and towns elsewhere, is one of the greatest additions to nature's bounty which the present generation has seen. The extremely light cost at which power and lights are furnished by the company, the extensive area covered by their wire system, the almost incalculable amount of power which they can generate, the divers uses to which it can be applied in a section where the water-bearing gravel lies so closely to the surface, make it apparent that the price of realty situated in a region where climate and scenic surroundings alone attract those who wish to live in one of the most highly favored countries known, that present prices, we say, must generally appreciate in a very few years. One who invests now can rest assured that as he develops his property, the demand for same will increase in a greater proportion than any expenditure that he can possibly make. There are estates which today are simply resting in the beauty in which nature placed them and on which orchards are gradually coming into bearing age where the expenditure of a very small amount of capital in installing lights, waterworks, motors for household and farm uses, will create a veritable paradise, for which those who can afford to invest will be willing to pay a fortune. NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME TO INVEST HERE.
The plant of the Condor Water & Power Co. is situated on Rogue River, some ten miles north of Medford, beneath the shadow of Table Rock. Here for the first time in its history the waters of the Rogue have been successfully controlled. A mighty dam is built across the stream, so solid it will stand for all time. Here are the mighty wheels and dynamos which generate the electric current which furnishes light and power to the whole valley. Medford was the first city to enter into contract with this company. Since then substations have been established at Central Point, Talent and Jacksonville, and Ashland in the extreme southern end of the valley, over twenty miles from the source of supply, is lighted by electricity from this plant.
Besides, lines have been run into Josephine County to the Granite Hill and Greenback mines, and the motive power which moves the machinery of these mines comes from the Condor Water & Power Co.'s plant. The Opp Mine, near Jacksonville, was the first to adopt electric power, to be closely followed by the Oregon Belle.
Forty miles farther up Rogue River, just below the falls of Rogue River, the Condor Company is establishing a second electric plant. Here the water is taken from Rogue River above the falls, carried a mile or more through ditches and then drops over a precipice to the power house 250 feet below. The enormous power this system is capable of generating is almost incalculable, and indications point to the conclusion that the power will be used to operate not only such machinery as is now run by electricity, but electric car lines all over the valley. In Medford, where heretofore gasoline or steam engines were used, electricity is the motive power. Housewives may run their sewing machines, washing machines, etc., by the electric current. The day when the small boy turned the grindstone until his back ached is gone by. A little electric motor will do that work, besides pumping water for household purposes and for the stock, grinding feed and a thousand and one other things. Nowhere in the country is there a community so well equipped with electric power and light.
At Gold Hill, five miles below the Condor Water & Power Co.'s plant, is that of the Gold Hill Canal Co., which while not so extensive as the first named, is still a good-sized plant, and its promoters purpose increasing it as the business justifies. They also furnish power and light for several mines.
Medford Mail, March 9, 1906, page C1
Several Medford citizens are installing electric motors and pumps for irrigating and other purposes. Wires are being strung now on North A Street by the Condor Water & Power Co. to convey the electric current to the motors installed by E. M. Denton, Dr. Goble, R. W. Bullock and Mrs. A. R. Phipps. The three first named will have motors of one horsepower and pumps to match, and will use the power, not only for pumping water for irrigating, but for other purposes as well. Dr. Goble and Mr. Bullock will get their water supply from wells, while Mr. Denton will pump from Bear Creek direct. Mrs. Phipps will have a two-horse motor and will pump water from Bear Creek to irrigate her alfalfa field on the east side of that stream. Over "Nob Hill" way, George Lindley, A. D. Hall and G. Miller are getting ready to install similar plants, for irrigating and power purposes. The idea of "pushing the button and letting Dr. Ray do the rest" is taking fast hold of the people.
Messrs. Karnes & Ritter, the enterprising confectioners and cigar men, have made their new establishment more resplendent and attractive by installing a 2000-candlepower arc light at the entrance. This is an establishment of which every citizen of Medford should be proud. There is nothing so beautiful, so attractive and so imposing in all Southern Oregon as is this place.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 6, 1906, page 5
Since our last issue went to press we have found that our account of the accident which befell Albert Johnson, the electrician, was not correct in every respect. The facts are as follows: Mrs. Etta Bates, who lives at the corner of C and Fourth streets nearby where the accident occurred, was on the second floor of her home at work when she heard the report of the power wires, which had come in contact with the telephone wires and burned off, dropping to the ground. She ran down to the street, intending to telephone to the power house, when Mr. Johnson came along and inquired what the trouble was. Upon being informed by Mrs. Bates as to the nature of the trouble, he walked to the wires, where the ends were lying in a puddle of water, stepped into the water and caught hold of one of the wires with a pair of nippers. The two wires, the water and the body of the man at once formed a circuit. Mr. Johnson was unable to drop the wire and was thrown to the ground, his limbs being distorted and the wire coming in contact with his clothing. Several persons arrived on the scene, but Mrs. Bates was apparently the only one who retained presence of mind. She picked up a stick, remembering that it was a non-conductor of electricity, and managed to beat the wire out of the nippers, escaping contact with the deadly current by a narrow margin. It was a narrow escape for Mr. Johnson, and Mrs. Bates deserves much credit for being instrumental in saving his life.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 22, 1907, page 5
Dr. C. R. Ray, manager for the Condor Water & Power Co., has already commenced "making good" on the light contract into which he recently entered with the city of Medford. Two days after the contract had been signed he had one arc light in position, and ten more are now being installed. The Condor Water & Power Co. assured the people that as soon as some necessary improvements are made they will be furnished with a first-class electric light service equal to any. Dr. Ray is nothing if not a hustler, and he is hustling for business in more ways than one.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 14, 1907, page 5
T. H. Farrar, superintendent of Medford's water and light plant, is having put in a cutoff that will furnish an ample supply of water for city use and afford protection against fire. Bear Creek will furnish a sufficiency of water if it is properly utilized, and when properly filtered will be perfectly pure.
Medford Daily Tribune, October 25, 1907, page 1
MEDFORD BOASTS OF BIGGEST ELECTRIC SIGN
The large electric sign that is suspended over Seventh Street in front of the office of the Condor Water and Power company is the largest electric sign on the Pacific Coast, though but few local people are aware of it.
The sign is a very complicated affair and is worked from two revolving switches in the office that make a noise like a sawmill. They are worked by two one-eighth horsepower motors that flash the light through two miles of wire and 125 circuits to the 400 incandescent lamps in the sign.
The sign itself is ten feet high, 30 feet long and is suspended 40 feet above the street from a half-inch steel cable. It weighs 1000 pounds.
Medford Daily Tribune, November 25, 1907, page 1 There seems to have been no newspaper mention when the sign was installed. It's first mentioned in the Condor ad in the Tribune of August 2, 1907. It was removed sometime early in 1912.
Comfort at Night.
Who likes staying alone at night?
Who is there that does not fear the dark?
There are a number of ladies who quite dread a lone evening in their homes, for they have a horror of the sound of the doorbell lest a burglar or a tramp should be without.
You would hardly like to refuse to open the door to a friend any more than to throw it open and receive the intruder, yet the one is likely to ring the bell in the same way as the other, and the darkness outside gives you no information as to their identity.
Then again--on occasions when you expect guests in the evening, how nice it is to have the cheery porch light burning like a welcome sign above your portal.
Don't hesitate--get a porch light--scare off the cowardly tramp and welcome the friend.
An electric porch light may be switched on from inside the house, so that is a very easy road to comfort at night.
"Wow-wow-wow!" sounded out on the still night air by a pesky "false alarm" critter of a watchdog does not suggest solid comfort to a housewife who is the least bit inclined to be nervous.
The electric porch light is a watchdog that acts in its official capacity--quickly, constantly--without a nap.
An electric porch light will pay you and your family in contentment and in absolute insurance against an unpleasant visit from tramps or other objectionable characters.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 27, 1910, page 2
Every light but electricity gives off smoke, and smoke contains soot, which deposits on your wallpaper, curtains, draperies. Electric light glows in an airtight bulb.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, December 22, 1910, page 7
PROSPECT PLANT ON SOONMEDFORD, Or., Jan. 1.--(Special)--The Rogue River Electric Company, with headquarters at Medford, will start work on its new plant at Prospect early in the spring. H. C. Stoddard, secretary and consulting engineer of the company, is in the East at present consulting with Colonel Frank Ray, the head of the company, concerning the purchase of machinery for the new dam and power plant on the upper Rogue River. The plant at Prospect will be one of the finest and largest of its kind in the West. Hydraulic engineers estimate that over 75,000 horsepower can be taken from the waters of the Rogue River at Prospect. The voltage carried in the wires from this point to the cities in the valley will be 60,000 volts, whereas the present voltage is 20,000.
Rogue River Electric Company Starts Work in Spring.
The plant at Gold Ray. ten miles from Medford, has been found inadequate to supply the needs of the cities and industries in the valley. The Rogue River Electric Company lights all the cities and towns in the valley, which include Grants Pass, Medford and Ashland.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 2, 1911, page 6
Three electric clocks were burned out last night in the city and as many buildings endangered. The Nash and Moore hotels were endangered, as was the Medford National Bank.
"Personal and Local," Medford Mail Tribune, January 19, 1911, page 2
The present dilapidated condition of the roof of the pumping plant was pointed out by [water department superintendent George] Tranna and also the fact that it is at present necessary to hide all tools, as the locks on the doors are useless.
The fact that a steam boiler of the capacity of 60 horsepower, and two pumps, now of no use to the city although in good condition, might be converted into cash, and that a similar disposition could be made of several tons of old hydrants, worth 90 cents per hundred at the foundry, and also a quantity of old brass, was contained in the communication.
"Tranna Asks To Raise Wages," Medford Mail Tribune, February 22, 1911, page 8
DEVELOPS 24,000 H.P.
Colonel Frank Ray States that Estimates Have Been Received
And Contract Will Be Let Shortly for Large Plant.
TO INSTALL THREE UNITS 8000 HORSEPOWER EACH
Fifty-Mile Transmission Line Will Connect Prospect Power Station with Medford.
Col. Frank Ray, controlling owner of the Rogue River Electric Company, who returned from New York this week, states that estimates have been received and contracts will be let in the next few days for the construction of an immense power plant on the Rogue River near Prospect at an approximate cost exceeding a million dollars, which will for many years to come supply all power needed in the Rogue River Valley.
The plant will consist of three units of 8000 horsepower each. The first unit will be installed at once, and the other added as the demand for power justifies it. The transmission lines will be approximately fifty miles in length. The present power plant at Gold Ray will be used for emergency purposes.
Construction of large cement works at Gold Hill is planned, and the extra power to be generated will be needed by these manufacturers. Three different concerns, among them the Portland Cement Company, are figuring on erecting plants, and each will use an immense amount of power, one concern alone needing 2500 horsepower. Then the cities of the valley are constantly calling for more power.
The site of the power plant is a few miles this side of Prospect, where by a short diversion a perpendicular fall of 700 feet is secured.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 5, 1911, page 1
$800,000 PLANT TO RISE
Rogue River Electric Company Lets Contracts for Prospect Work.
MEDFORD, Or., March. 19.--(Special.)--Contracts to the extent of $800,000 have been let for the construction of the new power plant of the Rogue River Electric Company at Prospect, on the Rogue River, where the natural fall of the river can be applied most easily and at small expense.
The machinery contract includes an immense power wheel and three generators capable of generating 80,000 horsepower, a sufficient supply for all possible demands.
By fall part, if not all, of the plant will be in operation, as the present equipment of the other powerhouse at Gold Ray, owned by the same company, is inadequate. The Gold Ray plant will be used as an auxiliary when the new plant is completed.
Morning Oregonian, March 20, 1911, page 5
James McClaugherty, son of J. P. and Mary C. McClaugherty, was born in Guadalupe County, Texas, October 17, 1890. He was baptized in the Methodist Church in his infancy and raised under Christian influence. After the death of his mother in March, 1902, James was tenderly cared for by his older sisters, from whom he imbibed many noble qualities.
At the time of his sudden death he was employed by an electric light company at Medford, Oregon, and while splicing a wire he was instantly killed by the electric current. The company by whom he was employed speak in the highest terms of him as a faithful, trusty hand in business, and also a very exemplary young man, highly esteemed by all who knew him.
The remains were laid to rest in the new cemetery in Hondo last Saturday evening, Rev. M. L. Darby, pastor of the Methodist Church, officiating at the church and grave.
He leaves an invalid father, four brothers and six sisters and a host of relatives and friends to mourn his untimely departure. While our hearts are wounded and bleeding, yet we rejoice in the truth of the scriptures that "he is not dead, but sleepeth," and that "he shall rise at the resurrection of the just" and "we shall meet again never more to part."
D. W. BENNETT,The Hondo Anvil Herald, Hondo, Texas, June 10, 1911, page 2
POWER MEN FORM GIGANTIC MERGER
Siskiyou Company Gets Monopoly in Northern California and Southern Oregon
(Special Dispatch to The Call)
MEDFORD, Ore., Aug. 22.--A deal that gives the Siskiyou Electric Power and Light Company absolute monopoly of the water power resources of northern California and southern Oregon was made today, when the Rogue River Electric Company sold its light and power plants to the Siskiyou company for $3,300,000.
Those concerned deny the merger is the work of the Western Power Company, the so-called power trust, of which Colonel Frank Ray, owner of the Rogue River Electric, is vice president. It is known, however, that the Western Power Company has acquired control of practically all the power plants in northern California, and that its eyes have been on Oregon.
Owning power plants and controlling the power of Rogue River, Klamath River and the Little Shasta River, besides that of smaller streams, the combination is the most gigantic ever made in this part of the state.
When the work now under way is completed this fall a total of 80,000 horsepower at low water can be generated in the immense plant, and 800 miles high tension wire will be built to carry the current. It will be the longest high tension transmission line in the world.
Jesse W. Churchill, president, and J. F. Churchill, vice president of the Siskiyou company, were the officials who met Colonel Ray. With the Churchills are Alex. J. Rosborough, P. Detristan of Paris, representing a wealthy French syndicate.
San Francisco Call, August 23, 1911, page 1
POWER PLANT IS RUSHED
Work Rushed Day and Night on Big Rogue Electric Project.
MEDFORD, Or., Aug. 20.--(Special.)--Working under the glare of scores of incandescent and arc lights, 125 men, laboring on day and night shifts, are pushing construction of the new Prospect power plant that will develop 40,000 horsepower for the coming manufactories and canneries of the Rogue River Valley.
The new plant, which is building at a cost of $500,000, is located on Rogue River, 75 miles from Medford, and the material used must be hauled to Derby on the Pacific & Eastern Railroad, and thence taken by wagon 30 miles over a recently constructed wagon road. Reaching Prospect, it must be let down a canyon to the power plant, a straight drop of more than 500 feet.
To pipe the water from the head canal to the turbines, 700 feet below, the construction company is hauling 1250 feet of four-foot pipe, each section of which weighs from five to seven tons, over the road from Derby to Prospect. The heavy loads are cutting the road up badly.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, August 28, 1911, page 7
Another committee will wait on the Rogue River Electric Company and request the removal of the old Condor Water and Power Company sign over Main Street, which is no longer lighted at night.
"Dog License Is To Be Sought," Medford Mail Tribune, January 9, 1912, page 7
POWER PLANTS OF TWO STATES ARE CONSOLIDATED
Churchills Turn Over to Central Corporation All Plants in Northern California
and Southern Oregon--Part of Ray's Power Trust Scheme.
A consolidation of 24 electric light and power companies controlled by the Siskiyou Light and Power Company, and comprising all power plants and lines from Grants Pass to Dunsmuir and Klamath Falls to Yreka, has been perfected under the name of the California and Oregon Power Company, with a capital stock of $10,000,000.
The new corporation will take over the holdings of the Siskiyou, Rogue River, Klamath, Ashland, Dunsmuir and other concerns, control of which has been secured during the past few months by the Churchill syndicate of Yreka. The directors of the new corporation are J. M. Churchill, president; J. P. Churchill, vice president; Alex J. Rosborough, secretary. Main offices will be at San Francisco with branch offices at Medford, Yreka and Klamath Falls.
The deal was consummated by Col. Frank H. Ray, former owner of the Rogue River Electric Company, and it is currently reported to be a move in his plan of uniting under one corporation or trust all power plans on the coast, from San Diego to Grants Pass.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 7, 1912, page 1
R. A. Proudfoot, a former well-known citizen of Southern Oregon, died at Portland on Wednesday of last week. Proudfoot operated the Medford electric light plant in the early days and sold it to the city when she tried municipal ownership to the electric business. He afterwards engaged in the restaurant business in Portland and accumulated considerable property.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, July 19, 1912, page 2
MEDFORD RATE WAR BEGINS
City Pays Too Much for Electric Lights, Says Mayor Canon.MEDFORD, Or., Dec. 7.--(Special.)--Because Medford, according to a statement of Mayor Canon, is paying a higher rate for electric lights than any city in the state, and because an amendment passed at the last general election gives councils the right to fix the rates, a committee has been appointed to submit a uniform rate to be charged by the Oregon-California Power Company. The committee is composed of Mayor Canon and Councilmen Campbell and Summerville.
Mayor Canon says that the city is now in a position to enforce any demands they make and that an investigation has developed the fact that Medford paid more, he believed, than any town in the state.
Under the city charter the franchise of the electric company is now void. By it the company was to pay 5 percent of their gross receipts, and at the end of five years pay $20,000 in lieu of the 5 percent. The company offered the city a check for $20,000 last fall, and strange to say, the council rejected it. Under these circumstances the matter is still up in the air.
Since September 1 the council and representatives of the company have been arguing back and forth, reaching no definite decision, and the city is now in a position to demand a lower rate, or tax the company for the use of the city streets, unless the matter is put to a vote of the people and they decide differently.
The franchise was granted for 25 years, which was afterwards found to be contrary to law, 10 years being the limit. Five years of this period has elapsed and the period ended wherein the company was to pay the $20,000 instead of the 5 percent rate. A technicality exists now. It may find its way into the court and to the people at the polls.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, December 8, 1912, page 26
ASSERT POWER COMPANY LOST FRANCHISE RIGHTS
Attorney Gus Newbury today filed in the United States district court the city's answer in the case between the California-Oregon Power Company and the city of Medford.
The allegations of defendant's answer are a history of the transactions between the parties with reference to their respective rights; the answer of the defendant city sets up that in 1907 the parties attempted to enter into contractual relations, the Condor Water & Power Company, which was the predecessor in interest of the present electric company, endeavoring to obtain a franchise within the city of Medford for a period of twenty-five years and also endeavored to obtain a lease of the city's lighting plant.
Franchise History in CityAn election was had in 1907, in which it was alleged by the electric company that by resolution of the city council an ordinance was submitted to a vote of the people granting to the electric company a franchise for twenty-five years and instructing the council to enter into a contract with the electric people for the leasing of the city's plant under certain conditions, one of which was that the light company should pay unto the city 5 percent of the gross earnings of the company within the city unless it exercises its operation to purchase the property leased within five years from June 7, 1907, in which event it would be required to pay $20,000 to the city, and thereafter the 5 percent of the gross earnings need not be paid by the electric company to the city.
The company paid the 5 percent of the gross earning down to June 5, 1912, at which time they made a tender of $20,000 for a conveyance of the plant owned by the city, and the city at that time refused to accept the $20,000 because the light company demanded a ratification of the franchise for a period of twenty-five years, which was plainly in violation of the city charter that would permit the city council to grant a franchise for ten years only.
Technical Point RaisedThe allegations of the answer show that after the city had refused to accept the $20,000 in December, 1913, it reconsidered the matter and made a demand on the electric company to make the retender of $20,000 and the city would make a conveyance of the light plant in accordance with the terms of a certain contract. The light company refused to retender the money and now the city alleges that, having refused and failed to keep its tender of $20,000 and having refused to pay the $20,000 to the city for the plant owned by the city, that it has lost its option to purchase and is required to pay to the city 5 percent of the gross earnings of the company from June 5, 1912, down to the present time.
The testimony will probably be taken before a mastery in chancery and by Justices Wolverton and Bean and the argument be had before one or other of the judges in Portland.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 9, 1914, page 2
POWER PLANT RUSHEDGOLD HILL, Or., Dec 24.--(Special.)--Immediately after the holidays the Rogue River Public Service Corporation will increase its construction force of employees at this point to three crews, that the work of installing its first power unit at the plant near this city may be speeded up to completion. The local company has contracted to furnish the major part of the increased load to new patrons, and it is understood that demand has been made by the Beaver Portland Cement Company for service beginning February 1. The cement plant will be completed and in operation early in the new year.
ORDERS FOR SERVICE COMING TO ROGUE RIVER CORPORATION.
Equipment Shipped Sufficient to Provide 1500 Horsepower, Which May Be Increased 2000.
The Public Service Company shipped two cars of water turbines Monday from the supply yard at the Sanders plant, near Grants Pass, to the Gold Hill plant. This new equipment, which will be the muscle of the increased power capacity, consists of three Dowling turbines, with a capacity of upward of 400 horsepower each. They will be used in the new installation for the purpose of caring for electrical power already contracted.
Harness and gears for the new machines have been shipped from the Plamandon works at Chicago. Together with the governors and the turbines, this comprises the new generating equipment.
With this installation completed, the company will have 1500 electrical horsepower developed at the local plant, and it is understood that should the City of Medford award the Public Service Corporation the contract for furnishing electrical current in wholesale quantities for the lighting of Medford, an additional unit of 2000 horsepower will be installed at once.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, December 25, 1914, page 5
According to electrical inspector L. E. Hinman, the H. Weinhard Ice Company's local plant is being completely rewired in metal conduits. This also includes the installation of a 5-h.p. motor to drive the various creamery appliances being installed. Forty-two additional lights are also being wired in on the second floor of the precooling plant. Two old residences have been wired this week as well as one electric range and two electric water heaters installed, three fixture installations and a number of repair jobs.
"Local and Personal," Medford Sun, May 26, 1915, page 2
The Rogue River Public Service Corporation has fielded a bid with the Medford council, says the Tribune, in which it proposes to furnish electricity to Medford for 20 percent less than the prices now being paid the California-Oregon Power Co. for like service.
"Local News," Jacksonville Post, June 5, 1915, page 3
MEDFORD LEADS U.S. IN USE OF ELECTRICITY
From January 1st, 1915 to June 1st, 1915 city electrical inspector Hinman has issued 227 electrical permits and has made a total of 1,144 inspections. This includes inspections of new installations in residences and business buildings, additions to old installations in residences and business buildings, repairs to installations of these classes and reinspections of old wiring.
During the five months just past, the amount of electrical wiring, repairs and apparatus installed in the city for electric light, heat and power purposes has totaled approximately $6405. There are present about 114 electric ranges in use in this city, 100 electric water heaters and 160 electric air heaters.
In proportion to the population Medford has more electric ranges, air and water heaters installed than any other city on the coast, and as far as Mr. Hinman is able to ascertain, in the entire United States.
Medford Sun, June 6, 1915, page 4
MEDFORD IS LOSER IN A LAWSUIT
OVER THE LIGHTING PLANT
Medford & California Power Co. Enabled to Buy Plant for Sum of $20,000.
OFFER REFUSED BY CITY
Company's Bill Against City Was $17,000; It Offered $3000 and Cancellation of the City Debt.
The city of Medford was the loser in a decision handed down by Judge Wolverton in federal court this morning, by the terms of which the Oregon & California Power Company is enabled to purchase the Medford municipal lighting plant, which is now operated under lease, for $20,000.
The company agreed to lease the plant for 25 years, furnish the power and light to the city according to contract, and have the right to purchase the plant at any time within the contract period for $20,000. The city was to have the right to repurchase 20 years after sale to the company.
The people passed an ordinance approving of this contract, the ordinance containing a clause repealing any portions of the charter the might hinder the contract.
The company's bill against the city for light and power grew to be $17,000. It offered the city $3000 cash, with the cancellation of the bill, to purchase the plant.
The city refused the offer, and a charter provision was referred to forbidding the city to enter into contracts for periods longer than 10 years, which, if valid, would have made the 25-year contract void.
Today's decision holds that the 10-year clause of the charter was repealed by the ordinance granting the contract, that the contract was made in good faith by the people of the city with the company, and must be fulfilled.
Oregon Journal, Portland, October 4, 1915, page 8
ELECTRIC ROW SETTLED
Medford and Power Company Come to Agreement After Three Years.
MEDFORD, Or., Nov. 20.--(Special.)--After three years' dispute in which the matter was fought out in the courts in favor of the electric company, the City of Medford and the California-Oregon Power Company finally reached a settlement today whereby the city receives 3 percent of the gross earnings of the company and a reduction of 50 percent in the cost of street lighting.
Medford, on the other hand, concedes the electric franchise as legal and agrees to pay all back charges for electricity, amounting to several thousand dollars. On this cost bill the company also agreed to deduct nearly $300. A second power company, known as the Rogue River Public Service Corporation, recently applied for a franchise, but with this settlement a second franchise scarcely will be granted.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, November 21, 1915, page B7
EARLY HISTORY OF POWER CO. IS THRILLING
Power Development on the Rogue River Reads Like a Story Book--
First Hydroelectric Dam Established Here Only 25 Years Ago.
By Horace Bromley
The history of electric development in southern Oregon reads like a story book. Though occupying but a relatively short space of the time well within the memory of most local residents today, this development has made gigantic strides, not only keeping abreast of the remarkable growth of this territory, but also anticipating future needs well in advance of the demand. This progress has been due to the foresight and private initiative of a few progressive men of vision.
The history of electric power development in southern Oregon is indeed an interesting story, starting with the installation of the first small hydroelectric plant at Gold Ray in 1903 and ending with the construction of Prospect No. 2, the largest hydroelectric plant in the entire state. When one considers the fact that all of this progress has been made in less than a quarter-century, it stands out as a truly remarkable achievement. The history of this unprecedented growth is a story of numerous little power companies throughout southern Oregon and northern California that became one, the present "Copco" (The California Oregon Power Company). The story follows:
Pioneer Construction DifficultOn Rogue River, just below the present bridge at Gold Ray, Dan Condor owned a mine, which property was bought by Dr. Ray in order to get the power site. A dam--the present Gold Ray Dam--was built in 1903, also the power house, and in 1904 the first electricity was transmitted from this plant. Dr. Ray organized the Condor Water and Power Company to operate this enterprise. It is interesting to note that the original intention was to construct the power plant some three-quarters of a mile further downstream, where a 23-foot head could have been obtained. The original unit consisted of two vertical 50-foot turbines, in what was known as Gold Ray Plant No. 1. A good many difficulties were experienced in the construction of this plant, as is true with practically all of the old pioneer plants. Machinery was transported by rail to a point near the plant on the opposite side of the river and from that point was transported to the plant by barge on the pond formed by the dam. Working conditions were none too good. At the beginning of the job, laborers received $1.50 a day for a 12-hour day, working seven days a week. Later this was raised to $2.00 a day, and finally the hours were cut to 8 hours a day. The town of Tolo was, in those days, a thriving village, having a payroll of some $600 a day, this payroll being supplied mostly by the brick and tile factory, the lumber mill, and the rock quarry being operated by the Rays. It is of interest to note that all of the rock in the Copco general office building in this city [Medford], which was constructed about 1910, was taken from this rock quarry.
Medford Connected in 1904The original unit at Gold Ray soon became inadequate, and in 1905 and 1906 two new generators of 750kw capacity were installed. Lines were built into Medford and Grants Pass and other points. Medford was connected in December 1904; Jacksonville in January 1905; Gold Hill and Grants Pass in June 1905 and Ashland in September 1905. Even with the additional units, it was not long before the Gold Ray plant was overlooked [sic] and it became necessary to build a new plant. The Prospect site was selected and the Prospect Construction Company was incorporated for the purpose of doing this construction work. A temporary plant was installed above the present Prospect plant at approximately the location of the present concrete highway bridge, the purpose of this plant being to supply power for construction purposes. In those days it was a day's trip from Medford to Prospect; one left Medford at 8 o'clock in the morning by rail and traveled 30 miles to Derby over the P&E railroad, reaching Derby at about 11 in the morning. Lunch was served at Derby, and immediately after lunch the stage trip from Derby to Prospect was begun. This was a 22-mile trip and ended at Prospect about 6 in the evening. The stage made two round trips a day from Prospect to Derby, leaving Prospect in the morning and traveling to Derby by way of the road along the north side of the river. The return trip in the afternoon was made by way of the road along the south side of the river.
The present bridge at McLeod was constructed primarily for the purpose of transporting machinery to the Prospect job. All machinery and other equipment for the job was hauled in by team and wagon. The largest piece of machinery, the motor, was transported from Derby to Prospect in a specially constructed wagon, the wheels of which were cut from the reat [sic--heart?] of a tree, 36 feet [sic] in diameter. Each wheel was 14 inches thick and was steel banded. Thirty-two horses were required to pull this wagon, and as the trip was made during the muddiest part of the year, January 1912, the roads were bottomless, and on several occasions the wagon would travel less than half a mile a day. In spite of such inadequate transportation facilities and numerous other heartbreaking handicaps, work was carried on day after day, and the plant was finally completed and put into operation on February 20, 1912. This was the first Prospect plant, which is now known as Prospect No. 1. In connection with the new plant a high tension line was built from Prospect to Gold Ray in 1911. This was the first 60,000-volt line on the Copco system.
All property, franchises and contracts of the Condor organization were transferred to the Rogue River Electric Company in 1907 [sic], which company became a part of Copco at the same time the Siskiyou Electric Power and Light Company did--when the California Oregon Power Company was incorporated. Records give January 1, 1912 as the date of the purchase. From that year until 1915 development of what is known as the Rogue River division included the construction of numerous substations, distribution systems and the purchase of others.
In this connection, it is of interest to note briefly the history of the first electric plant in the town of Glendale. James H. (Jack) Moore owned and operated a small electric generating plant on Windy Creek, about four miles from Glendale, Ore., from which point, under the name of Glendale Light and Power Company, he served the town of Glendale. This plant and distribution system was purchased in June 1914, the old plant dismantled, and Glendale was tied in with the rest of the Copco system and served with current transmitted over line 7 from Gold Ray, this line having been extended from the Greenback Mine through Grave Creek and Wolf Creek during the summer of 1914.
In the foregoing has been listed a major portion of the pioneering work that led to the organization of the California Oregon Power Company--the old company.
Copco No. 1 Built in 1916The reorganization of the financial setup of the company in 1920, the construction of Copco No. 1 dam and generating plant completed in 1916, the raising of this dam and installation of a second unit in 1922; the interconnection contracts made possible through the increased generating capacity of the company, the purchase of the physical properties of the Douglas County Light and Water Company (the Umpqua Division) in 1923--these are among the outstanding factors in the Copco of today. To them, and a vast amount of lesser development, is Copco's present prosperous condition largely due.
From 1923 to 1928 many other important projects have been completed, including the construction of the new East Side plant in Klamath Falls, the building of many miles of high tension transmission lines and distribution lines and the construction of the Copco No. 1 plant on the Klamath River in 1924. This big generating station ranks second in size only to the new Prospect No. 2 plant, being 40,000 electrical horsepower capacity.
Concurrently with the construction of Copco No. 2, line 14, the company's first 110,000-volt line, was constructed from Copco No. 2 to Delta, Cal., a distance of 77½ miles. This line passes over the western slopes of Mount Shasta and thence passes through the upper regions of the Sacramento River canyon.
Prospect No. 2 Completed in 1928The continued increasing demand for service necessitated further generating capacity, and in January 1927 work was commenced on the construction of a large, new hydroelectric project near Prospect, Oregon, the largest hydroelectric power plant in the state of Oregon. This new generating plant, which is located on the north fork of the Rogue River, adjacent to the Crater Lake Highway, was completed in January 1928. The new Prospect project is the largest plant of the entire Copco system, which now comprises a total of 11 different hydroelectric generating stations in southern Oregon and northern California.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 31, 1928, page B6
LARGEST HYDRO ELECTRIC PLANT IN OREGON
COMPLETED PAST YEAR AT PROSPECT ON ROGUE RIVER
During the past year the California-Oregon Power Company completed the largest hydroelectric power plant in this state, at Prospect about 40 miles up the Rogue River from Medford, and it is also the largest in the 11 power plants this company has established in both Oregon and California.
The initial installation consists of two 10,000-kilowatt units, with provision being made for one additional unit of the same size, giving an ultimate development of 48,000 kilowatts. Although but two units have been installed at present, the major part of the general construction is completed for the final development, leaving it only necessary to add the additional unit when needed to take care of the rapidly increasing demand.
The new plant operates under a "head" or "fall" of approximately 600 feet. This means that the total head is nearly four times as high as Niagara Falls and considerably higher than the famous Washington Monument, which is 555 feet in height.
The new plant is what is known as a "stream flow" plant, only the natural flow of the stream being utilized during the ordinary operation. This flow will be diverted by means of a low concrete dam without the necessity of storage, which eliminates the need for backing up a large body of water for reservoir purposes. The dam has been constructed at a suitable site about two miles above the power diversion house, and is about 50 feet in height and 250 feet in length at the crest.
Several large steel radial gates have been installed to act as a bypass for flood waters, similar to the method adopted on the "Copco No. 2" diversion dam. The water is diverted into the intake, which is an integral part of the dam and is then conducted to the forebay by means of a concrete-lined open canal nearly 7000 feet in length. The forebay consists of a large pond, restrained by specially constructed embankments. From the forebay the water is conducted to the edge of the gorge by means of two large wood-stave pipe lines, approximately 3000 feet in length.
An interesting feature is the surge tank, which is constructed of steel and rises to a height of about 130 feet above the base. This is located between the Crater Lake Highway and the gorge, where it is a source of great interest to tourists. One penstock has been provided for each unit.
The power house is an attractive and substantial structure of steel and concrete of a somewhat similar design as the building now in use as the new "Copco No. 2" plant. This new generating station will probably soon become known as one of the many attractions on the famous Crater Lake Highway.
This new power project was one of the biggest construction jobs in the history of Southern Oregon and has meant the expenditure of many thousands of dollars throughout this territory for labor, materials and foodstuffs. From 600 to 1,000 men were employed during the height of construction.
Many Additions to SystemA high-tension transmission line was completed early in 1928 to Copco, California, a distance of 74 miles, tying in with the company's transmission system. This is of tower construction, and copper has been placed on this line for ultimate operation at 130,000 volts, although the line will be operated at only 66,000 volts for the time being.
New Phone LineA new power telephone line was also constructed during the past year from Medford to Copco, California, greatly facilitating the operation of the entire system by providing improved telephone service between all power plants and offices. Many other improvements and betterments were made throughout the system including the construction of a new 100,000-gallon reservoir in the city of Klamath Falls to take care of the rapidly growing residence section. A new garage, shop and pole yard were also built to Klamath Falls, proving of material benefit to the operating and construction activities in the Klamath division which is making a remarkable growth.
A new Copco electric appliance store was formally opened at Malin, Oregon on November 10, 1928, making a total of seven such stores now owned and operated by the company. Copco stores are now located in Roseburg, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls, Chiloquin and Malin, Oregon and Weed and Dunsmuir, California.
Lighting Rates ReducedRate reduction representing a considerable saving to domestic and commercial lighting customers became effective October 1, 1928. These reductions apply to all urban domestic lighting customers and to both urban and rural commercial light customers, affecting approximately 13,000 consumers' bills. In establishing these new and lower rates which are applicable in all communities served, the company followed its usual policy of reducing rates wherever possible for the benefit of its customers and to encourage the greatest possible use of electricity for domestic and commercial purposes.
Line Built to Butte FallsOne of the latest construction jobs of the year 1928 was the high-tension line built from Mansfield to Butte Falls, Oregon, a distance of 44 miles. The construction of this line and a distribution system in the town of Butte Falls gives that community an up-to-date lighting system as well as providing ample power for domestic and commercial uses. The new line also serves Rogue Elk Resort, Casey's Auto Camp and Elk Creek Fish Hatchery and other customers along the Rogue River. A splendid record was made by the Copco construction crew in building this line through rugged and mountainous country in less than sixty days.
Line 7 extending from Grants Pass to Glendale, Oregon has been recently improved and rerouted in several places to improve service to the latter community. A new substation has also been built at Glendale to take care of the needs of the new Glendale Lumber Company mill, which will operate under a connected load of 1500 horsepower. The rebuilding of company lines south to Ashland was also recently completed to render improved service to many rural customers in that vicinity.
Copco Advertising Gets ResultsThe community advertising campaign which is consistently carried on by the California-Oregon Power Company in the interests of the territory served is accomplishing excellent results in attracting new settlers and industries to Southern Oregon. Many direct inquiries have resulted from the company's advertising to magazines and other outside publications in addition to "The Volt Annual." Over 20,000 copies of this attractive booklet were distributed during 1928 to potential settlers all over the United States, as well as some foreign countries, bringing a flood of requests for extra copies and information about "Copcoland, the land of opportunity."
Many Own Copco StockThe fact that the residents of "Copcoland" are actually "partners in progress" with the California-Oregon Power Company is ably demonstrated by the large number of Copco shareholders residing in this territory. Over 1500 own preferred stock to the company and are sharing in its development and progress. Since 1922 several issues of Copco preferred stock have been offered to local customers, and the ready response which they met with indicates the confidence and regard with which the citizens of this territory hold the company and its management.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 31, 1928, page C4
PP&L's Copco Division Is Maintained
from Medford Service Center
From Pacific Power & Light Company's Medford district service center, customer office, the large Lone Pine substation northeast of the city and its power transmission and distribution grids come all of the component parts needed to maintain a modern power facility in the Rogue Valley and throughout Jackson County.
Located at Grape Street and Barnett Road is PP&L's service center with its array of warehouses, garages and offices where materials, supplies and vehicular equipment are dispatched to the company's construction, maintenance and repair projects.
It is a beehive of activity morning and evening as crews head out onto their jobs throughout the county and return at the end of the day.
Keeping the crews supplied with all the essentials is Reuel Rians, general storekeeper for the warehouse which services PP&L's Southern Oregon and Northern California operation.
Task Starts EarlyHis task starts early in the morning when the fleet of company trucks is ready to be located with the tools, materials and equipment needed to carry the crews through an entire day. He is assisted by a 10-man staff.
The average inventory value of stock on hand at any one time is about $500,000, excluding transformers and meters, Rians said.
Much of this equipment goes into the improvement and expansion of PP&L's Jackson County transmission and distribution systems.
Another building at the service center houses PP&L's Medford district operating headquarters, from where radio-dispatched trucks, men and equipment are kept busy as part of the company's job of providing electric service for customers regardless of the time of day or night.
Ten crews under the direction of Dale Jefferson, district line superintendent, are always ready to perform their tasks.
Jefferson, his assistant, Bill Walker, and John Ness, district line extension supervisor, oversee the construction of new distribution facilities as well as improvements and maintenance work on existing facilities in the Medford area.
PP&L's 11 experienced foremen and more than 50 linemen, groundmen, equipment operators and other personnel perform the construction projects and also carry forward operating and preventive maintenance work such as trimming trees, checking insulators and routine repairs that help keep power interruptions to a minimum when they occur in severe weather.
Making the maintenance and operating crews' job a little easier are:
Eldon Wimer, service dispatcher, and Ray Van Liew maintain radio contact with the crews and answer customer calls if electrical trouble occurs in the district.
Meter Tester ForemanJohn Luttrell, meter tester foreman, maintains the accuracy of metering in customer homes.
Otto Kannaso, senior field estimator, and his four assistants design new construction projects for the enlargement of the capacity of present facilities.
Waldo Tucker and three mechanics keep a fleet of vehicles in top operating condition.
Jim Wilson is district lineman for the Trail, Shady Cove and Prospect areas, and Art Johnson is district lineman at Ashland.
Bob Beveridge and Don Gordon are responsible for the shortwave radios located in company vehicles and the service center. The radios provide quick communication so that requests will not be delayed.
Construction HeadquartersNext door to the Medford service center is the company's Copco division construction headquarters, headed by Marvin Cooley. His 77-man department, which includes nine line crews, is responsible for all heavy construction throughout the Copco division and Southern Central division.
The men clear right-of-way and construct company transmission lines, build all substations and handle major reconductoring projects on the company's high-voltage circuits.
The crews assist in repairing lines and equipment damaged in storms and are often assigned to augment the various company districts when assistance is needed.
Cooley's principal assistants are Murray Winbolt and Joe Rutter.
Working along with the Medford district personnel and the Copco division construction department is a separate component, the power department headed by Bob Beadnell, West Oregon division power superintendent, and Terry Hercher, assistant area power superintendent for Medford.
Key Power CenterMedford's Lone Pine substation is the key center for PP&L's power system serving Southern Oregon. A well-developed transmission grid makes power available here from many sources, and an extensive distribution network provides for the steadily growing use of electricity.
Leo Taylor, area dispatcher, and four other men operate the control center on a 24-hour basis.
Heavy-duty transmission lines radiating from Medford make available for use here not only the output of nearby power plants on the Rogue River, but also the seven plants on the Klamath River and eight others on the North Umpqua.
Keeping pace with increasing load growth throughout the area requires a great deal of planning to maintain the 60,000-volt transmission loop which provides alternate power delivery routes around the county.
Sales DepartmentAnother group which keeps the Medford service crews busy serving new electrical load is the sales department headed by Jim Beck, district sales manager.
Beck and his five Medford salesmen, Jay Elliott, Monty Wray, Roger Hall, Everett Kastner and Larry May, prepare and suggest lighting layouts, heating system estimates, air conditioning applications and industrial applications for new equipment. Andrew Schmidt, agricultural sales specialist, assists farmers with irrigation system estimates and electrical equipment problems.
These men also are working on ways to get the most efficient usages of existing customer equipment.
The customer office at 216 W. Main St. is the site for most of the coordination needed to combine the efforts of the Pacific Power employees who maintain these facilities into an efficient working plan, noted C. P. (Ted) Davenport, district manager.
Don Ross, district office manager, supervises some 20 employees who attend to the needs of the customers. New service connections, transfers, disconnections and collections and customer inquiries are handled by this department.
Included in this group is Dick Sakraida, meter reader foreman, who with five assistants walks and drives hundreds of miles every month to record data from company meters.
"Their job is an important one for PP&L and its Medford district customers because regular and accurate reading of meters is the basis for the customers' billing," said Ross.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 6, 1967, page C2
Past 11 Years Notable for Power Company
Plant Investments Increase About 400 Percent
(Editor's Note: No single business enterprise is as familiar to residents of Southern Oregon and Northern California as the California-Oregon Power Company. The history of electric power generation in this area is now about 60 years old, and much of it is associated with Copco and its predecessor companies. The following Centennial feature describes Copco, and its early and more recent history.)
-----The past 11 years have been notable ones for the California-Oregon Power Company.
Total plant investments have increased by approximately 400 percent since 1947. The system had a hydrogenerating capacity of 98,960 kilowatts in 1947 and a capacity of 367,000 kilowatts at the end of 1958. Revenues from sales totaled $7,655,053 in 1947, and $22,733.827 in 1957.
Average annual usage by Copco residential customers in the 12-month period ending Nov. 30, 1958 was 8,674 kilowatt-hours, the highest of any private utility in the nation.
Although the history of the California-Oregon Power Company probably begins in 1902, when the Siskiyou Power and Light Company was organized in Yreka, Calif., it has its roots in a number of earlier, pioneer companies. For example, the 36-kilowatt plant constructed in 1891 on the Shasta River by James Quinn provided the people of Yreka with their first electric lights.
Early in Century
Early in this century, the Siskiyou Power and Light Company built a plant on a tributary of the Klamath River. Power from that plant provided limited lighting service to the towns of Ft. Jones, Greenview and Etna, Calif. The Siskiyou Power and Light Company later acquired the business of its competitors and became the sole supplier of electricity to the above-mentioned towns and to Yreka by 1912.
Meanwhile, in Oregon, the Klamath Falls Light and Water Company, with H. V. Gates president and general manager, purchased a plant on the west side of the Link River known as the West Side Plant, which had served the people of Klamath Falls with electricity since 1894. In 1905, the original East Side Plant was built to meet increasing demands.
Also in Oregon, but across the mountains in the Rogue River Valley, Colonel Frank Ray and his brother Dr. C. R. Ray in 1903 formed the Condor Electric Company and built a dam and hydroelectric plant near Gold Hill.
This project, known as the Gold Ray Dam, supplied electric power to the then-thriving community of Tolo, and later to Medford, Grants Pass, Jacksonville and Ashland.
More Power Needed
In 1911, additional power was needed and a plant was built at Prospect. During this time, a plant has been in operation in Ashland since 1889. This plant and the distribution system was purchased by the Siskiyou Power and Light Company in 1903. In 1905 it was dismantled and an agreement entered into to purchase power from the Rogue River Electric Company, the successor to the Condor Electric Company.
While the Rogue River Electric Company and the Klamath Falls Light and Water Company were growing, the Siskiyou Power and Light Company had become the sole distributors of electricity in the towns of Dunsmuir, Weed, Montague and Ashland.
In 1912, the Siskiyou Power and Light Company under O. G. Steele, general superintendent, bought control of the Rogue River Valley and Klamath Falls companies. The Klamath Falls company was then under the management of C. S. Moore.
The three companies were later merged and in 1912 became the California-Oregon Power Company, with its headquarters in San Francisco. In 1915, the City of Ashland acquired ownership of its distribution and contracted to purchase power from the California-Oregon Power Company.
During the next two years, the new company purchased the electric plants in the towns of Mt. Shasta and Edgewood, Calif., and in Glendale, Ore. This period saw the building of the Copco No. 1 plant on the Klamath River in California, and the beginning of the company's transmission system.
In 1920 the company was reorganized and renamed the California-Oregon Power Company. In 1921 the company's operating headquarters were moved from San Francisco to Medford.
During 1924 and 1925 two plants were built, a new East Side Plant in Klamath Falls and Copco No. 2 on the Klamath River three miles below Copco No. 1.
Acquires Common Stock
In 1926, Standard Gas and Electric Company, one of the nation's foremost public utility holding companies, acquired ownership of the California-Oregon Power Company through purchase of its outstanding common stock. This company owned and operated the Copco system for more than 20 years.
In June, 1947, in compliance with the provisions of the Public Utility Act of 1935, Standard Gas and Electric Company disposed of its interest in Copco to an investment banking group, which in turn made a public offering of the acquired shares of stock.
In the early 1930s, three more plants were built on the Rogue River, Prospect Nos. 2, 3 and 4. The later Depression years, however, marked the end of this building program until World War II.
Further north, the town of Roseburg had had electric power since about 1890 supplied by the Roseburg Water Company, which had a plant on the South Umpqua.
In 1903, the Roseburg Water Company was acquired by the Douglas Electric and Water Company, and in 1904 the Douglas Electric and Water Company merged with a company which had a power plant and dam at Winchester on the North Umpqua, and the Umpqua Water and Light Company was formed.
Following several more quick changes of possession, the power plants and equipment were sold in 1912 to the Douglas County Light and Water Company. They, in turn, sold it to the California-Oregon Power Company in 1923.
With the system came the towns of Roseburg, Winchester, Canyonville, Riddle and Myrtle Creek. In the last three towns, the company only wholesaled power to the towns' own distribution systems, which later were acquired in full by the company.
The advent of World War II brought about quick and drastic changes. Overnight the nation moved from a free economy to a controlled, restricted and rationed one. Production of civilian peacetime goods was interrupted and the nation placed on a wartime basis. Unemployment vanished and labor shortages became the problem. Power demands quickened as war needs increased and people moved into this area.
The company adequately met all wartime needs and with the termination of hostilities it quickly adjusted its operations and programming to a peacetime basis.
Immediately following the surrender of Japan in mid-1945, Copco set in motion a program of rehabilitation and plant expansion. It had already acquired the electric properties of California Public Service serving the area in and around Alturas, Calif. and Lakeview, Ore. in late 1944; and in June, 1945, it acquired the electric property of Public Utilities California Corporation serving Crescent City and portions of Del Norte County in California,.
In 1945, applications were made for licenses to build the Toketee Falls plant on the North Umpqua River. This plant was completed in 1949, and subsequently seven additional plants were constructed in the North Umpqua development, the last one, Lemolo No. 2, going into service in 1956.
The postwar construction program was temporarily concluded with the addition of a plant at Eagle Point in 1957 and the completion of Big Bend on the upper Klamath River in Oregon late in 1958. While no additional plant construction is anticipated in 1959, programming is so advanced that any one of several projects is capable for early completion.
Investment in Plants
During the period from Jan. 1, 1946 through 1957, Copco invested $154,500,000 in plants and facilities in order to provide full and adequate service and meet the needs of its growing service area. Number of customers has increased from 39,599 to 89,138 on Nov. 30, 1958.
The company derives 100 percent of its retail revenues from sales of electricity to 72 communities and adjacent rural areas in Klamath, Jackson, Josephine, Lake and Douglas counties in Oregon, and in Siskiyou, Modoc, Del Norte, Trinity and Shasta counties in California. The economy of the territory of about 50,000 square miles with a population estimated at 250,000, consists of lumbering, farming, the raising of livestock and fruit and mining.
Since World War II days, Copco has grown in size and usefulness. Today it is a strong, independent electric company with a fine, modern plant, a highly capable organization and a sound capital structure. Not only has Copco the capability, the resources and the skills to supply the needs of its growing service area, but it is able, over its transmission network, to deliver large blocks of power to distant areas to the north and the south, as evidenced by sales during the past year to the Hanna Nickel Smelting Company, the Reynolds Metals Company, the Portland General Electric Company, the Eugene Water and Electric Board and to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
Copco is a California corporation, and with more than 80 percent of its stockholders and all of its officers and directors residents of the three Pacific Coast states, it is truly a western company owned and operated by western people.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 26, 1969, page 14
Electric Service in Jackson County Started in Ashland in 1889
Editor's Note: The following account of early-day electric service in Jackson County was written a few days ago by Seth M. Bullis, 79, a power company veteran, historian, and well-known civic leader who recently was named as Medford's Senior Citizen for 1964.
By SETH M. BULLIS
On Jan. 1, 1889, a weekly newspaper in the county carried this item:
"Ashland Plaza was lighted for the first time last Friday by a 1200-candlepower arc light suspended in one of the upper doorways of the Ashland Flouring Mills.
"The light was a bright surprise to most of our citizens. It is of the same power as the arc lights, which will be furnished by the electric company, and it was supplied with electricity by a small dynamo constructed by Mr. Tuttle, the electrician of the company, during his residence at Chico, Calif."
Thus did the marvel of electricity come to Jackson County.
The news article went on to describe the small dynamo, or electric generator:
"The dynamo is just large enough to drive a two-horsepower motor, or to furnish one arc lamp like that used, and it was driven by a belt from the shafting of the flour mill. As the first electric light in Ashland (and the county), the event of its being put up is worthy of remembrance."
Medford, the youngest town in the valley, did not get electric service until 1894, when a franchise was granted and a wood-burning steam plant erected on the west bank of Bear Creek, where Eighth Street now crosses. This was adjacent to the city water pumping plant.
The electric plant was of small capacity. The owner, R. A. Proudfoot, contracted to have four arc lamps installed and operating on Main Street by September, 1894.
The city paid $10 every month for service to the arc lamps. The only other electric customers were a few residents and store owners who installed lights. No appliances were available until years later.
Early-day owners of electric plants were plagued with the costs of keeping up with a fast-developing industry. Generating equipment improved quickly. No sooner had they installed an expensive new generating machine than a newer, bigger and more efficient one was manufactured. The junk pile licked many an electric pioneer.
In 1900 the city of Medford bought Proudfoot's electric plant for $8,400 plus $794 for 133 1/3 cords of split wood and 178 cords of slabs. Two years earlier, Proudfoot had secured a contract to light Medford's streets and operate the water pumping plant for $105 per month, using the city's new boiler for power to drive generators and pumps.
Ordinance Is PassedIn 1901 the city passed an ordinance making it unlawful to light any place of assembly with hanging oil lamps--only the electric lamps could be used.
Customer wants were few in the early days. One carbon filament lamp suspended in the middle of a room was ample--the rate or "light bill" being based on the size of the globe and whether the use was until 9 o'clock, 10 o'clock or until midnight.
The first electric appliance, and for years the only appliance in use, was the flat iron.
For many years the towns purchased their street lighting on a moonlight schedule--no street lights were turned on if the moon was shining.
In 1903 a power plant and dam were constructed on the Rogue River about 12 miles northwest of Medford. The project came to be known as the Gold Ray plant and dam. C. R. Ray of New York City had purchased a considerable amount of land in Jackson County, including farm lands at Tolo.
Ray's purpose in building the dam was twofold: water power to operate a pump to lift water from the river to irrigate his fields in the Tolo Valley, and to furnish electric power, primarily for gold mines in the area west of Gold Ray. He installed two 750-kilowatt generators driven, and still so driven, by sturdy ropes connected to submerged water wheels.
The popular conception at the time was that the valley could never utilize all the electric energy that his plant could furnish. Today, of course, the generation at modern power plants is measured by the tens of thousands of kilowatts and more--and the average residential usage of electricity in Medford is far above the national average.
From Gold Ray plant, power lines were built to Medford in 1904 and to Ashland and Grants Pass the following year.
Company Acquires PlantIn December of 1904, the Condor Light and Water Company acquired the plant and began serving Medford and Gold Hill, after installing a bank of 250-kilowatt transformers. In 1905 the company supplied power to the Ashland Power and Light Company, allowing both Ashland plants to be shut down.
In 1907, the city of Medford, under Ordinance No. 126, sold its electric system to Condor Light and Water Company for $20,000, with payment to be made over a period of years at the rate of 5 percent of the company's gross income in Medford.
Rapid growth and progress for the electric industry came in the succeeding years, as larger companies were formed to consolidate properties of the smaller companies.
Following a well-established and proven pattern, and with a proud history of nearly 75 years, the California Oregon Power Company was merged into Pacific Power and Light Company on June 21, 1961.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 9, 1965, page C6
Last revised April 27, 2018