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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Exhibit Building


    Dr. B. F. Adkins has suggested to us the advisability of endeavoring to have a small portion of the new depot set apart for an exhibition room for Southern Oregon mineral, fruit, cereal and vegetable products. The idea is certainly one deserving of attention, and The Mail has no doubt but that such a room or at least a large glass case could be arranged for, if our townspeople will interest themselves in the matter and confer with the railroad authorities. While it is true trains do not stop here a great length of time, yet there is considerable baggage to be loaded and unloaded upon the arrival of each train, and the time required in doing this would be ample for passengers to have a good look at such of our products as would be there displayed. It would of course be necessary to detail someone to look after the display--to keep the fruit and vegetables fresh, and to gather such as would be most suitable. The good that would accrue to the valley from such an exhibition is incalculable.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, January 12, 1900, page 7


Exhibit for Travelers.
    MEDFORD, Or., Dec. 20.--(Special.)--Medford is now assured of a permanent exhibit of the resources of the valley. Arrangements were completed today for the erection of a building for this purpose, beside the railroad track near the station, so that all traveling through this section will have an opportunity to see the great horticultural, mineral and agricultural possibilities of Rogue River Valley.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, December 21, 1904, page 7



    An ordinance was passed providing for the lighting of the permanent exhibit to be placed upon the railroad grounds near the Southern Pacific depot. The ordinance provides that the building will be lighted and that the amount of electricity used in such lighting will be deducted from the amount furnished the city by the Condor Water & Power Co.

"City Council Proceedings," 
Medford Mail, February 10, 1905, page 4


    Plans are being considered for the building to be erected on the railroad grounds to contain a permanent exhibition for Jackson County. If the ideas of the promoters are carried out the building will be of concrete and glass of the Mission-Japanese style and will be a most attractive and picturesque structure. In it will be displayed specimens of the fruits, grains, timbers and minerals of Jackson County, and it will prove one of those kind of advertising mediums which count.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 17, 1905, page 5


Exhibit Building Commenced.
    The building destined to contain a permanent exhibit of the products and resources of Jackson County on the railroad grounds, near the Southern Pacific depot, will be soon in place. The foundation, of Southern Oregon stone and cement, is being laid this week.
    The building, when completed, will be 26x48 feet overall. It will be built upon a foundation of cement and stone on the Japanese style, with a porch six feet wide around it. The west side and south end of the main building--the side facing the railroad track and the end facing 7th Street--will be of plate glass, the first-named being forty-eight feet long and five feet high and the last twenty-six feet long and five feet high. Also part of the north end of the building will be of glass. This will enable people passing through to have a full view of the interior of the building and the exhibit place therein.
    The building will be lighted with electricity, and different color effects will be produced by the lamps. There will be an electric fountain in the center, and during the summer an electric fan will waft cool breezes toward the passersby. The railroad company will fill the depression about the building, and it is intended to plant a lawn in front and trees indigenous to the country around this miniature park. The exhibit will be "the thing," however. It is hoped that the Southern Pacific can be induced to increase the length of time its passenger trains stop here, in order to give tourists a chance to examine the exhibit. The good results of having a sign like this out where "he who runs may read" are hard to calculate from the very magnitude of them.
    The people who have had the good of the country at heart sufficiently to inaugurate this enterprise and carry it through are: The Rogue River Land Co., the Medford Bank, Jackson County Bank, Fred Hopkins (now owner of the Olwell orchard), J. W. Perkins, Edgar Hafer, Dr. C. R. Ray and C. H. Lewis.
    All the corporations and private individuals named above have large interests in Jackson County. They believe in the development of the country; that whatever helps their neighbors helps them, therefore they are willing to aid in anything which might result in good to the community at large.
Medford Mail, February 24, 1905, page 1


Permanent Exhibit at Medford.
    MEDFORD, Or., Feb. 23.--The foundation for the building intended to contain a permanent exhibit of the products and resources of Jackson County was commenced today. This building is to be erected on Southern Pacific railroad ground, opposite the depot, and will be surrounded by a small park. The intention is to place within it specimens of Jackson County timber, minerals, grains, grasses, fruit and other products, so that the traveling public may have an opportunity of seeing what this section of the state can produce.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, February 24, 1905, page 5



    Work on the exhibit building, near the Southern Pacific depot, is being pushed as rapidly as possible, but it will probably be a couple of weeks before it is finally completed. The large plate glass windows for the front and side will be here this week. The interior is ready for lathing and plastering, but inability to secure laths has delayed the work some. Upon the side facing the railroad track and that facing Seventh Street, the exterior finish will be of cement, laid upon steel lath. It has been suggested that if miners of the vicinity would bring in specimens of mineral ore of various descriptions the specimens could be embedded in the cement, very much to the improvement of the general effect. There will be about one hundred and twenty electric lights on the outside of the building, underneath the porch, eighty of them being on the side facing the track. The total number of lights in and about the building will be over two hundred. Seventy will be on required for the big electric sign on top which will outline the word Medford. This will be an alternating flash sign and will be visible for a long distance. When finished this will be the finest and most complete building for exhibition purposes possessed by any city in the state, in fact the only one of its kind.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 31, 1905, page 5  The flashing sign seems not to have been installed.


    The exhibit building will be opened Saturday morning, as by that time everything excepting the electric fixtures will be ready. The ladies of Medford have been very generous with their fine roses, and upon the opening day the building will be a mass of the fragrant blossoms. The two plots at the north end of the building have been planted with flowers, and this was accomplished by the voluntary work of Miss Flora E. Russ. Miss Russ not only furnished the plants--some of them being her finest roses, and she has a reputation for growing exceedingly fine ones--but superintended the planting of the same. The result of this contribution will be that Medford will, in the course of a very short time, have one of the handsomest depot parks in Oregon.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, May 12, 1905, page 5


    J. D. Olwell--"You should have seen those conductor excursionists flock into the exhibit building Wednesday morning, while the train they were traveling on was standing at the depot. There was a full trainload of them, and they were from all parts of the eastern and southern states. I believe I could have sold five dollars' worth of souvenirs if I had had any to sell. They admired everything in the building and wanted a piece of the entire exhibit to take home with them. When it was time for the train to move they just naturally would not break loose from those exhibits. This shows the interest strangers are going to take in our building and the exhibits we have in it."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, May 19, 1905, page 1


Medford Mail, May 19, 1905

MEDFORD'S EXHIBIT BUILDING.
    The formal opening of the Medford exhibition building took place Saturday, in conjunction with the farmers' institute. The interior of the building was literally a mass of roses, contributed by the ladies of Medford, and not the least attractive feature of the exhibit were the ladies themselves, rivaling in sweetness and beauty the roses which they were arranging with such deft hands. Mineral specimens of various kinds, samples of grains and other agricultural products, photographs of Southern Oregon scenes tastefully arranged made a pleasing ensemble and brought forth many expressions of admiration, not only from the citizens of the town, but from persons passing through on the trains, which now stops ten minutes to give passengers an opportunity to view the exhibit.
    Among the exhibits which attracted more than ordinary attention were some figs, nearly full grown, some half-ripened cherries and well-developed apples from the Leever place, near Central Point, some fine specimens of copper ore from the Blue Ledge and pure quicksilver and cinnabar ore from the Meadows cinnabar mines. The exhibit will be added to as the season advances, until Medford will have one of the handsomest exhibits along the line.
    The lighting of the building is one of its best features. A continuous line of lights, numbering nearly 200, runs around the outer edge of the porch, and inside the lights are in equal profusion.
    Credit is due, and whole lot of it, to the gentlemen who inaugurated the enterprise and especially to Hon. John D. Olwell, who gave it his personal time and attention from its beginning to its completion.
Medford Mail, May 19, 1905, page 1


    Some of the good works of the [Commercial Club] is much in evidence any dark night when we look on the well-lighted exhibit building. It is one thing greatly appreciated by every citizen of our city, and perhaps some do not know that it is through the efforts of the Commercial Club that this building is kept well lighted. The club is replacing the globes as fast as they burn out, and we have paid a bill of $15 at one time for electric light globes to replace those burned out.
J. A. Perry, "No Influence Brought to Bear," Medford Mail, April 6, 1906, page 1


New Exhibits
    There have been a number of specimens of fruit and grasses brought to the exhibit building this week.
    George J. Post, who purchased the Patrick farm, near Central Point, brought in a limb of Bartlett pears upon which the pears are as thick as they possibly can be. He has already thinned his pears twice and must make a third thinning on part of the orchard in order to have perfect fruit and save the trees. He shows a limb of peach plums and one of plums, not named, that are in the same condition as the pears.
    Mahlon Purdin has a bunch of Jackson County-grown flax on exhibition.
    W. H. Brown, of the famous Ben Lomond orchard, contributes some very fine apricots.
    I. M. Harvey shows some fine Yellow Transparent apples, grown without irrigation.
    Early Alexander peaches of large size are shown by Thos. Collins, of East Medford.
    A specimen of German millet comes from the farm of John Heimroth and is very fine.
    A new kind of wild grass, something nobody seems able to name, was brought in by Capt. Rawlings. It was found growing thriftily on a dry hillside about ten miles from the city. The specimen is about a foot in length and has well-seeded heads.
    Wednesday morning the last of the 1905 pumpkins were thrown out. For over nine months that mammoth squash had been one of the attractions, but like all of us, old age finally conquered.
Medford Mail, July 13, 1906, page 1


    George J. Post:--"There are a whole bunch of people from the cold countries dropping into Medford these days. See that fellow over there? I'll bet any amount of money he is from North Dakota or Minnesota. How do I know? Well, look at the heavy clothes he wears, also the overshoes and cap with ear mufflers attached. A fellow, a stranger to me, stepped into the exhibit building a few days ago, clad about as above described, and I went up and spoke to him something like this:--'Had pretty cold weather up north where you are from this winter, haven't you?' His reply was:--'Well, yes, we've had very little July weather for several months past, but how did you know I came from the north?' I called his attention to the fact that the skin was peeling off his ears and nose. He had evidently frozen these members not long since, and he didn't freeze them in Southern Oregon. He finally told me he was from the Alberta country in Canada."
"Things Told on the Street," Medford Mail, March 1, 1907, page 1


    Another example of the public-spiritedness of Medford's citizens was shown in the building, by a number of its citizens, of an exhibit pavilion. The exhibit building is of unique and attractive design, its style of architecture being patterned after the old-time Mission. It is situated near the depot, in full view of passing trains. It contains samples of productions from the orchards, farms, mills and forests of the tributary territory, the diversified character of which almost leads the visitor to believe that he has wandered into a world's fair building instead of a local exhibit building.
"The Cream of Creation," Medford Mail, April 26, 1907, page 3


AT THE EXHIBIT BUILDING
    While the commercial orchards are devoting their attention to the growing of fancy varieties of apples, once in a while somebody brings in a sample of the old-fashioned kind that we all remember that grew in the old home orchard of fond memories. Such was the lot of Gloria Mundis brought in by Frank Bellows, of Eagle Point, last week. They were as large as the ones we remember in bygone years, and while the cultivated taste might cause them to seem insipid, it hasn't been so long ago when a big Gloria Mundi, eaten in winter by the side of an open fire in the evening, tasted mighty good.
    L. E. Van Vleet, of Central Point, has some Rhode Island Greenings that couldn't be surpassed anywhere.
    J. E. Watt exhibits some Spitzenburgs and Newtowns of generous size and fine appearance.
    The Bear Creek orchards also show some beautiful, large Newtowns.
    S. L. Bennett comes to the front with some Gravensteins, Red Astrakhans and Spitzenburgs that are strictly up to the standard in all respects. He shows a limb from a five-year-old Newtown tree which has fourteen large, well-developed apples in a space of two feet.
    N. S. Bennett shows a couple of limbs of French prunes--they are literally limbs of prunes--as you can't see any wood, just prunes, with a leaf showing now and then.
    A limb of Spitzenburgs from S. L. Bennett's orchard is filled with fine apples, and he has plenty more such in his orchard.
    J. W. Myers, of Central Point, has some Wealthy apples, which show up nicely with their rich coloring and uniform size and shape.
    J. L. Demmer, of Medford, shows some very fine Bartletts and Clapps Favorite pears.
    C. H. Lewis is to the front with the first Howells.
    The Bartletts brought in by W. H. Brown from the Ben Lomond orchard are the biggest yet.
    L. E. Van Vleet, of Central Point, has Clairgean and Flemish Beauty pears, and some beautiful Gravenstein apples.
    From the Boyd place recently purchased by Mr. Wilson come some fine, large Newtowns.
Medford Mail, August 16, 1907, page 1



    Another example of the public-spiritedness of Medford's citizens was shown in the building, by a number of its citizens, of an exhibit pavilion. The exhibit building is of unique and attractive design, its style of architecture being patterned after the old-time Mission. It is situated near the depot, in full view of passing trains. It contains samples of products from the orchards, farms, mines and forests of the tributary territory, the diversified character of which almost leads the visitor to believe that he has wandered into a world's fair building, instead of a local exhibit building.
The Sketch, Portland, Oregon, September 14-21, 1907


    Swanson Brothers, whose farm is two miles east of Medford, have on exhibition at the Exhibit Building a 25-pound beet and a large rutabaga grown by them. This beet, had it not been broken in getting it out of the ground, would have been more than three feet in length.
"Social and Personal," Medford Daily Tribune, November 19, 1907, page 4



    It is interesting to note the different impressions which Medford makes upon strangers. Probably nine-tenths of the people who get off the trains with no one to greet them look up and down Main Street and are most favorably impressed and, as a usual thing, happily disappointed [sic] to see modern and substantial-looking business blocks and the apparent "hustle" manifested by the people in general. Then he spies the splendid-looking Exhibit Building and meanders in to look over the exhibit, which he declares surpasses in quantity and well as quality any exhibit he has seen along the Coast. By the time he has finished there he is ready to interview the Secretary of the Commercial Club and invariably goes into the real estate office, which is at one side of the room, to find him, expecting beyond all doubt to find the club rooms there, and he is really justified in thinking so, for that is the most natural place to have them. Therefore he is a bit disappointed when he is informed that he may find them on the second floor of a block some little distance from the depot.
"A Stranger's Impressions of Medford," Rogue River Fruit Grower, April 1909



WILL BUILD FOUNTAIN OF GRANITE
AT LESS THAN COST
Design Not Complete, but Will Probably Be Surmounted by Apple and Pear.
    Elmer A. Hicks, general manager of the Oregon Granite Company, is preparing a small plaster [of] paris model of a drinking fountain to be erected near the exhibit building by the ladies of the Greater Medford Club.  As soon as the model is completed he will submit it to the ladies of the committee appointed by the club, who will in turn submit it to the club as a whole. The members of the committee called upon him Thursday and left with a promise to have the fountain constructed and erected by the company at less than cost.
    While the plan of the new fountain has not been decided upon, Mr. Hicks is at work upon preliminary plans, which will have the fountain surmounted by a group of apples and pears. It will be necessary to make the cast before knowing whether such a design will be practical or not. It may be changed to some other design, but that is the idea held at present as the most appropriate for Medford and the Rogue River Valley.
    The Oregon Granite Company recently gave a number of granite blocks to the city of Eugene for the entrance to a park the Southern Pacific Company is building near the depot in that city. The drinking fountain, however, is so much more elaborate that the company would not be justified in giving it to the city. But they will do the work for less than cost.
Southern Oregonian, April 28, 1909, page 8


    It was recently reported that the tail of Halley's Comet was found wrapped around the top of a monster pine tree between here and Crater Lake, and that it is to be taken down and placed in the exhibit building at Medford.
"Prospect Items," Medford Mail Tribune, May 24, 1910, page 3


THAT EXHIBIT BUILDING
CAUSES BIG CONVULSION IN COMMERCIAL CLUB
Results in Determination to Buy Out John D. Olwell's Interest
at "Reasonable Figures"--Committee to Handle Deal
    Fireworks were touched off last night at a meeting of the commercial club, red fire raged and roared for two hours, and that exhibit building occupied by John D. Olwell was the cause of it all. The fight waged furiously, and even the chairman called a member to preside while he took the floor and mixed in the battle. A spade was a spade last night, and as long as the question was up, a question that has caused grumbling and rumbling for months, most everybody present had a say, and said what he felt. The result of the long, drawn-out fight was that the club adopted an amended resolution declaring that the exhibit building should be owned by the club, and the chair adopted a committee of wait on Mr. Olwell and make a deal whereby he will sell his interests to the club and vacate.
    At a meeting of the club two weeks ago a resolution was adopted and forwarded to Southern Pacific officials at Portland to the effect that the arrangement of the road with Mr. Olwell was satisfactory. This caused a storm when other members learned of it, and it was charged on the street, in offices, and on the floor last night that the action did not represent the sentiment of the business men of Medford. As a result, the club room was packed last night, for it was known that a resolution would be introduced to rescind the former resolution and to call on the club to go on record in opposition to Mr. Olwell and take steps to buy and maintain the exhibit building.
    After some minor business had been transacted, Chairman Colvig stood and read the resolution, which stated that the former resolution did not represent the business interests of the city, that the exhibit building as now conducted was a detriment to a number of members of the club, and that it was the sentiment of the club that the building and exhibits be purchased at a "reasonable figure" and maintained as a commercial club enterprise.
    It was quickly moved and seconded that the resolution pass. Then the war was on, and before the question was put two hours of red-hot discussion was indulged in.
    Dr. J. M. Keene was the first man to take the floor. He supported the resolution. He declared that the exhibit building had served its purpose and the present arrangement should be done away with; that it acted as an injustice to other real estate men; that he wanted to see the club take charge and install a secretary to meet the people who come to Medford looking up investments, and that no one man hold a monopoly.
    R. H. Hanauer moved that the vote on the resolution be by ballot. He said that he wanted the matter to come squarely before the club, and if the resolution was lost, he "would never mention the matter again." This motion seemed to have gotten lost in the smoke of battle.
    Then a member stood up and stated that he was the recipient of a present. He did not want it, and when he offered to give it back the donor would not accept it. Now, he stated, he wanted to give it to the club. The speaker then pulled from his pocket a formidable-looking document and began to read.
    "Does it contain any personalities?" interrupted the chairman.
    "No," replied the reader. "I just want you to know what you are getting before I give you anything."
    This caused a ripple of laughter to run over the room.
    The gift turned out to be a copy of a deed or whatever name may be applied, signed by four citizens turning over their one-half interest in the exhibit building to the commercial club and dated two years ago.
    Chairman Colvig stated that the club had never accepted the offer.
    "That instrument is on record at Jacksonville," stated Mr. Hanauer.
    "That makes no difference," replied the chairman.
    "Because some anxious brother ran over and had that recorded does not affect the position of this club. This body has never accepted it or acted on the matter in any form."
    At this point Judge Colvig called W. I. Vawter to the chair and took the floor. The judge, in a warm speech which seemed to make some other members warmer, attacked the whole proposition and wanted to know "what will the club do with the elephant when it gets it?"
    "Mr. Olwell owns a half interest. The club has not the money to buy this half. Besides the building, since the construction of the new passenger station, is not in the right place. The proposition to buy the exhibit building is not wise. A publicly maintained exhibit building will not be halfway maintained. They never are.
    "You can't force Mr. Olwell to sell. I look on this whole fight as a fight between real estate men. I tried to keep this thing from ever coming publicly before the club. I see no necessity of taking up somebody else's fight. Besides it will cost considerable money to maintain the building. The lights alone will cost $150, and Dr. Ray has said it may be $200. A janitor's salary is $60."
    Judge Colvig then proceeded to jump the real estate men of the city, giving them a lambasting for what he termed their misrepresentations to investors as to what the profits were in Rogue Valley orchards.
    "I am glad there are certain real estate men here tonight to listen to what I have to say," said the judge. "I have wanted this opportunity for some time. If we are to maintain our position we must tell investors the truth. This talk of $1000 an acre profit is foolish."
    The speaker continued and stated that several men had visited his office to complain. One stated to him, said Judge Colvig, that he had put $25,000 into an orchard, and would spend $5000 more in knocking Rogue Valley.
    Mr. Colvig then returned to the question of the exhibit building. "I don't believe a real estate broker should live in that building, but when it comes to taking over that building it is another matter. We must raise several thousand dollars to buy out this real estate man. You will vote thousands to buy, but next spring when a committee comes around to get your subscription you will probably contribute four bits.
    "I am not speaking personally, but I repeat, this is a fight between real estate men, and some of whom are misrepresenting profits on orchards. Grumbling is coming up from all parts of the valley. If the real estate men cannot come together and form some sort of a policy as to telling the truth, then the sooner they move out of this valley the better for the valley.
    "The statement that $1000 profit an acre is made on these lands will not stand. Not $100 is made, and in cases not $50 is made."
    Mr. Hanauer was on his feet to protest at this statement and handed Judge Colvig a copy of the handsome Medford book, open at a page whereon was stated that $1080 profit an acre was made. The judge acknowledged this to be true and said there were other orchards which would do that, a dozen of them, yes twenty, but that he meant that not all the land would return a profit of $1000 per acre.
    Bert Anderson got the floor. Mr. Anderson saw no use in great agitation regarding the buying of the exhibit building.
    "The fact is," said Mr. Anderson, "that the real estate men feel that the Southern Pacific is granting a special privilege to one man. It is not a question of buying Mr. Olwell out, but a question of allowing the Southern Pacific to let Mr. Olwell continue to hold the position in the real estate market he now holds. It is a case of special privilege alone. I have no personal feeling against Mr. Olwell at all, and really I question the wisdom of buying him out, but something must be done to stop the contention."
    Mr. Dodge told of efforts some months ago to organize a real estate association. This failed. "We need the same thing now," said Mr. Dodge.
    "When we tried to organize the real estate men we went to Mr. Olwell. He looked at the list of signers and replied he would not go in with those men."
    George Putnam moved to strike out the first and third paragraphs of the resolution. The first paragraph was that portion which stated that the former action did not express the sentiments of the club. The third paragraph was that which stated an injustice was being done a large number of members of the club. Dr. Keene objected to striking out the paragraphs. He stated that the former resolution was "railroaded through by men who rarely attend this club's meetings."
    Mr. Colvig objected to the word "railroaded." Dr. Keene quickly disclaimed any discourtesy to Judge Colvig as presiding officer at that meeting.
    Ed Andrews wanted the exhibit building matter handled in an amicable spirit.
    "Mr. Olwell will be fair," said Mr. Andrews.
    Mr. Whistler, former manager of the Bear Creek orchard, deprecated acrimony. "It seems a lot of personalities are being indulged in which are unnecessary," said Mr. Whistler. "That resolution is a conglomerate mess." He wanted the resolution amended as proposed. He would like to see the resolution tabled and a committee formed to deal amicably with Olwell and be fair to all sides. He did not want to see any man's property confiscated.
    Mr. Hanauer replied that there was nothing in the resolution that smacked of confiscation.
    At this point Judge Colvig startled the meeting by stating that the resolution was not signed and that the chair would not consider it, that the chair could not put the resolution if somebody did not sign it. Silence was intense for a moment, and then Mr. Hanauer stepped briskly to the chairman's desk, grabbed a pen and signed the document amid cheers of the members. "I did not draw or present the resolution," stated Hanauer, "but I will sign it if it is necessary to make it a go."
    The word "confiscation" was mentioned again, and Dr. Keene stood up and said: "Nobody wants to confiscate anybody's property. What I object to is for a bunch of fellows drinking highballs and then coming down here and forcing through that resolution at the previous meeting."
    The motion to eliminate the two paragraphs, one and three, was then put one by one. The club voted to eliminate paragraph one, and Mr. Hanauer, who had just a few minutes before signed the resolution, agreed that paragraph three be eliminated and that was done by the chair. The amended resolution was then adopted unanimously, or rather no one stood up to vote nay.
    Dr. Keene moved that the text of the resolution be wired to the Southern Pacific officials. The motion carried unanimously.
    Judge Colvig then named J. A. Perry, Bert Anderson and George W. Cherry a committee to wait on Mr. Olwell and negotiate for the exhibit building.
    Later Mr. Anderson tried to beg off, but Judge Colvig refused to take his name from the list.
    The meeting broke up in a spirit of harmony and good humor.
Medford Sun, December 22, 1910, page 1



Circa 1912

PURCHASE OF EXHIBIT FAVORED
Commercial Club Appoints Committee to Negotiate for Acquisition of Building and Display--
Large Membership Present and Long Debate Ensues
    The largest attendance at any recent meeting of the Medford Commercial Club was present Wednesday evening, when the exhibit building was again discussed. The club rescinded its resolution of the previous meeting endorsing the maintenance of the exhibit as at present conducted and adopted a resolution declaring that the exhibit should be maintained by the club, and appointing a committee to open negotiations with John D. Olwell for the purchase of building and exhibits.
    Real estate men were out in force and were unanimous in the opinion that the maintenance of the exhibit, as at present conducted, with a real estate office in the structure, worked to the disadvantage of the other realty dealers, and that the time was ripe for the Commercial Club to acquire the structure and maintain the exhibits. A deed was shown to be on record conveying a half interest in the building itself to the Commercial Club, signed by four of the eight contributors to the building fund, the Jackson County Bank, Fred. H. Hopkins, J. W. Perkins and Edgar Hafer. It was brought out that this offer had been made the club in 1909, but had been rejected, after which two of the signers, F. H. Hopkins and Edgar Hafer, had informed the club that they had signed under a misunderstanding, and withdrew the offer, but in the meantime the deed had been recorded.
Debate and Resolution.
    The resolution was presented by Dr. J. M. Keene, who, however, refused to sign it as sponsor, whereupon R. H. Hanauer assumed the responsibility. A long debate ensued, in which it was demonstrated that the sentiment of those present was overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution.
    President Colvig left the chair to speak against the resolution and took occasion to score real estate brokers for instances of misrepresentations to purchasers made by them. He considered the entire matter a fight between real estate brokers and not proper for the club's action. He thought the club could not afford to maintain the exhibit as creditably as it was kept up at present. He urged real estate men to get together for their own good and the good of the valley and end their rivalry.
Amendment Offered.
    R. H. Hanauer and J. M. Keene led the fight for the resolution. Bert Anderson stated that he thought it a question of special privilege and that in permitting the exhibit as conducted to be maintained on its right of way, the Southern Pacific was granting an unfair advantage to Mr. Olwell. Messrs. C. E. Whisler and G. Putnam opposed the resolution and he latter offered to amend by striking out section 1, which rescinded the Commercial Club's former action, and section three, which declared the maintenance of the exhibit injurious. Section one was retained by the club and the signer of the resolution agreed to striking out section three.
    As finally adopted, the resolution rescinds the former action of the club claiming it is not the sentiment of majority of the club to maintain, if opportunity is secured, a creditable exhibit, and authorizes a committee to secure a proposition from Mr. Olwell for the purchase of building and exhibit; and submit the same to the directors of the club.
Accepts Bank's $200.
    President W. I. Vawter of the Jackson County Bank stated that the directors of the bank had appropriated $200 as the bank's share of the publicity fund of the Commercial Club, in accordance with an agreement with other banks, to give the same amount each. The other banks had not lived up to the agreement, but had increased their donation to $400 from the First National and $300 from the Medford National, but the Jackson County felt bound by its original agreement and felt aggrieved that the club had refused by resolution to accept it and that such action had been published. He stated that his bank had given $200 a year when other banks had given $100, had always been a large giver and had the welfare of the club at heart, but stood pat on the original offer of $200, which the club voted to accept.
Chicago Land Show.
    J. A. Perry spoke of the club's display at the Chicago land show and presented a list of 3500 names of people who had attended and wanted information regarding this section.
    Mr. Schenk of the Omaha land show urged the club to make an exhibit at Omaha in February, and the proposition was referred to the exhibit committee to report to the directors.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 22, 1910, page 1


CLAIMED THAT HE BACKED DOWN
OLWELL WILL NOT VACATE UNTIL FIRST OF APRIL
Syndicate Arranging for Money Is Likely to Call Off Purchase of Exhibit Building
    The negotiations with John D. Olwell for the purchase of the exhibit building by the Medford Commercial Club appear to have come to a sudden terminus, with little hope of being able to consummate the deal that at last accounts was supposed to be all but closed. The representatives of the club claim he has backed down from his original proposition.
    They state that Mr. Olwell offered that for $2000 cash he would within ten days turn over all of the interest in the building save that of J. W. Perkins. Now it is stated that he will turn over only those of J. E. Enyart, Hunt Lewis and himself, and that he will not move out before April 1.
    This is not satisfactory to the members of the committee, so they state, as the parties putting up the money to make the purchase would not agree to it.
    Thus the deal appears to be about where it started, and both sides obdurate.
Statement to the Contrary
    Words of Mr. Olwell to a representative of The Sun yesterday conveyed an entirely different meaning than the foregoing. The committee, appointed at the last meeting of the Commercial Club to close the deal for the exhibit building, visited the owner yesterday, and on being asked by The Sun if that meant that the deal was closed, Mr. Olwell said:
    "No, the deal was not closed. The committee called to confer over certain details regarding the transfer. The papers are not yet in shape, but I suppose will be ready within two or three days for my signature."
    Mr. Olwell did not intimate that a snag of any nature had been encountered.
Medford Sun, January 22, 1911, page 1


EXHIBIT BUILDING TRANSFER SLOW
Negotiations Have Been Delayed Pending Completion of Details--
Consent to Transfer Must Yet Be Received.
    Transfer of the exhibit building from John D. Olwell to the Commercial Club is delayed pending completion of details. Before papers are signed consent of the Southern Pacific to the transfer must be received, and it will be several days before their action is known.
    At a conference Sunday between Mr. Olwell and members of the Commercial Club committee appointed to conclude negotiations, a disagreement as to terms arose, which may delay final transfer. Mr. Olwell demanded $500 cash, the balance ($1500) to be placed in escrow until deed was turned over, and agreed to surrender possession upon April 1. This was not soon enough to suit the committee.
    Pending receipt of word from the railroad as to the lease, the matter is up in the air. It is probable that a compromise will be reached and the affair amicably adjusted.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 22, 1911, page 1



OLWELL RECEIVES ULTIMATUM
BUILDING MUST BE TURNED OVER IN TEN DAYS
Otherwise Deal Is Off--Money Ready on That Condition Only--Does Not Accept
    An ultimatum was delivered yesterday afternoon by the commercial club committee to John D. Olwell which, in the words of the committeemen, was that they had raised the $2000 and the money would be paid over to him if he would turn over the exhibit building in ten days; otherwise the deal was off.
    The members of the committee are S. A. Nye, Fred N. Cummings and F. J. Newman. As soon as they were assured that they had the money on top they rang up Mr. Olwell by phone, catching the Hotel Nash. He was told that such was the situation and that the decision of the committee was that he could take it or leave it.
    His reply was not an acceptance. He stated that he would agree to vacate in ten days if he could, but that if he could not do so in that time he would vacate as soon as possible, but would not agree to vacate for certain until April 1.
    This was merely promised to be reported back to the committee, but the members stated that they would not consider it nor any proposition different from that contained in their ultimatum.
    There the matter rests, and it is Hobson's choice as to which side will be safe guess for the first play. Both are essaying to stand pat.
Medford Sun, January 24, 1911, page 1



COMMITTEE AND OLWELL GET TOGETHER
Exhibit Building Will Be Occupied by Secretary of Commercial Club
After April 1--Papers to Be Signed This Afternoon.
OLWELL REMAINS IN BUILDING UNTIL APRIL 1
Reports that Negotiations Had Ceased Were Erroneous--
Clear Understanding Has Been Reached
    After April 1, the exhibit building will be occupied by the Medford Commercial Club.
    John D. Olwell and the committee appointed to confer with him have reached an understanding, and the papers will be signed this afternoon if some unforeseen feature does not arise.
    Mr. Olwell asked the committee that he be granted until the first of April to leave the building, as he will at that time have new quarters ready to move into. The committee has acceded to this request, and the matter has been arranged satisfactorily.
    Mr. Olwell sells his interest in the building to the club for $2000. Real estate and business men in the city put up the money.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 24, 1911, page 1


OLWELL DICTATES THE TERMS
WILL VACATE EXHIBIT BUILDING ON OR BEFORE APRIL 1
Sells to Commercial Club Committee, Receiving Five Hundred Cash--Ultimatum Miscarries
    The ultimatum of the commercial club committee was delivered to John D. Olwell according to schedule and with much exactness, but he stood pat and yesterday sold the exhibit building on exactly the terms he set forth--that he will vacate on or before April 1.
    The committee took a second thought over the matter and arrived at the decision that it would be better to thus settle the matter now for all time than to take a chance in the future of being able to do anything whatever. Accordingly he was paid $500 and will receive the remaining $1500 when he vacates.
    The committee was given power to act, hence the deal is closed and the unpleasantness is over with.
    The building will be used as a club headquarters and kept up as an exhibit, as it now is.
Medford Sun, January 25, 1911, page 1


EXHIBIT BLDG. IS DISMANTLED
Packing and Moving of Exhibits Are Under Way--
Commercial Club Gets Building April 1--Olwell Is Getting Out.
    The final dismantling of the exhibit is taking place this afternoon.
    During the moving the exhibits were packed and loaded on vans which took them to a local warehouse for storage until John Olwell gets located in his new quarters in the Mail Tribune block.
    Only four cases and the bare building will be turned over to the Commercial Club on Friday.
    During the day local people took their last look at what had been their pride for the past several years.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 27, 1911, page 8


OLWELL EXHIBIT IS REMOVED
    The Olwell exhibit was entirely removed yesterday from the exhibit building, which was recently sold to the Medford Commercial Club. It was transferred to the Mail Tribune block, where Mr. Olwell will have his office hereafter.
    The Commercial Club is to take possession April 1 and is announced to have a fine and entirely new exhibit in process of preparation.
Medford Sun, March 29, 1911, page 6


Medford Club Will Move.
    MEDFORD, Or., March. 23.--(Special.)--Medford's exhibit building, close to the Southern Pacific railroad tracks, which has for the past few years been occupied by the real estate firm of John D. Olwell Company, has been vacated and on April 1 the Medford Commercial Club will move from its present quarters to this building.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, March 30, 1911, page 11


POINTS OF COMPASS ARE SHOWN ON SIDEWALK
    Where is the northerly direction? Nine of every ten residents of Medford are wrong or confused when trying to set themselves right on this point; even some of the old settlers have twisted the magnetic needle so out of direction that in traveling north they would run directly into Idaho.
    Secretary Boos of the Commercial Club, realizing the fate of ill-guided Oregonians, has come to the rescue. He has had A. T. Brown, the surveyor, of the firm of Osgood and Cummings, establish the points of the compass in the cement sidewalk directly in front of the Commercial Club quarters on Main Street.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 19, 1911, page 4



NEW DEVICE TO CALL THE POLICE
Call Home Central and a Big Dazzling Red Light Will Spread the Alarm
    No more need the Medford housewife, listening for the belated footsteps of her husband, fear the iniquitous burglar. She has the police and fire department both at her call, and if one cannot handle the intruder surely the combination of the two can. All she has to do is to call the Home Telephone Company central and a powerful red light that can be seen a mile will be flashed from the combination police and fire alarm device on the corner of Main and Front near the Exhibit Building. The police force will come running, and the ambulance or the fire wagon will be called if needed.
    The apparatus that does all this is a very complicated affair and has been given to the city free of charge. Two devices will be put in, the second to be placed near the new city park. Both will cost $300. They are arranged to do many more things than those mentioned and will be among the most useful things the "department of public safety" has at its disposal.
Medford Sun, June 30, 1911, page 2


A Suggestion
    Why not leave the red, white and blue lights on the Commercial Club building until the next Fourth of July?
Ad Brown, "Jolts and Jingles," Medford Mail Tribune, August 6, 1911, page 4



JOHN D. OLWELL WILL MOVE TO NEW HOTEL
    John D. Olwell will occupy offices in the new Medford Hotel building and plans to move his office equipment in about two weeks.
    A modern and up-to-date real estate office, perfect in every detail, will be installed in the room west of the main entrance of the hotel.
    The Olwell real estate force has occupied their present quarters in the Parker Building only a few months, the exhibit building now occupied by the Chamber of Commerce having been built and occupied by Mr. Olwell for several years.
    Mr. Olwell built the first exhibit building showing specimens of the products of the district on the Pacific coast, and his scheme was followed by chambers of commerce and railroads throughout the country.
Medford Sun, August 27, 1911, page 4


NARROW ESCAPE OF COMMERCIAL EXHIBIT
    The Commercial Club exhibit building came close to burning up Tuesday, when telephone and electric light wires in the same pipe became grounded. The police and fire alarm box, and the light and telephone in the club rooms, were put out of commission, and about 50 feet of wire burned almost to a crisp. Had the wires touched a rafter or piece of wood, there would have been a blaze in the attic.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 20, 1914, page 2


Good Keepers
    Just one year ago today a box of Yellow Newtown apples from the Westerlund orchards were placed in the window of the Commercial Club. Today this same box of apples still remains in the window, proving beyond doubt the excellent keeping quality of the Newtown apple. These apples have been exposed to all conditions of heat and cold, even withstanding the intense heat of last summer. The Newtown apple today stands as the peer of all apples, and it is believed that in a few years when the apple-eating public of America learns of the excellence of this apple, as the people of England already know, that the demand will far exceed the supply.--Sun
Jacksonville Post,
October 17, 1914, page 1



HEADQUARTERS OF C. OF COMMERCE TO BE IMPROVED
    The directors of the Chamber of Commerce met last evening and adopted the recommendations of the headquarters committee. This places the directors on record as favoring no expenditures made for additional office furniture, that the building be kept well lighted, both inside and out, that photographic views of scenic points not located in southern Oregon which now hang on the walls of the office and exhibit room of the chamber be presented to the library.
    It is recommended that a fresh fruit display be maintained in the exhibit room and that growers be requested to furnish same when [it] becomes available. The grain exhibit will eventually be displayed in a decorative way, instead of in sheaf form. The processed fruit display to be renewed when conditions warrant and that the mining exhibit be enlarged and that mine owners be requested to furnish specimens for this purpose.
Caution in Expenditures
    The directors showed extreme caution regarding the expenditure of money for any purpose other than what was considered absolutely necessary. The untidy conditions of the walls and in view of the many visiting the building for tourist information, it was thought advisable to have the walls and ceilings of the building tinted. As director C. E. Gates expressed it, the first impression is the most lasting one, and therefore he was in favor of having the office give a neat, clean appearance. It was necessary to order new screens for the main entrance, as the old ones had disappeared, and from all accounts their usefulness had long passed. A new set of awnings was ordered, as the sun makes conditions unbearable in the building during the summertime.
New Signs Ordered
    The old Commercial Club signs on the windows are to be replaced with that of Medford Chamber of Commerce, and as the tourist traffic has become such a factor these days an added sign, "Tourist Information Bureau," will be placed on one of the front windows.
    Another feature to be added will be a visitors register, which will be indexed by states. This will give the tourist from Ohio an opportunity to see who from Ohio has visited this locality without going through the entire register. In connection with the register, the local residents should see that their names are on file at the chamber together with the address of their former residence. The visitors will have the privilege of going through the files to see who is located here from the states in which they live. It is very important to the operation of the chamber that this file be up to date and, therefore, residents should cooperate in making it a success.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 28, 1920, page 3



FLOWERS WANTED C. OF COMMERCE
    It will be appreciated if the residents of Medford who have a supply of extraordinary fine flowers growing in their yards, that they send some of them to the exhibit room of the Chamber of Commerce. An effort is being made to maintain a good fresh fruit and flower display there this summer, and as soon as the interior of the building has been thoroughly cleaned and rearranged, there is no doubt but what the strangers who come there will be impressed with our products.
    Strawberries will be coming in very soon, and a plate exhibit of them will attract considerable attention. Growers of berries and flowers, in sending in their displays, should attach their names to same so that due credit will be given them during the entire time they are exhibited.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 18, 1920, page 5


    In a rather modest building in the center of the town, very near the station, the chamber of commerce transacts its official business, not neglecting to give the stranger within its gates the benefit of suitable literature but a very entertaining exhibit of what can be grown in this country, and how it looks when at its best. The corn display astonished me, as did some of the apples, so large as to seem uncanny. The fruit they brag up most is the Bosc pear, and from the samples I have tasted, and the price it brings as compared to other varieties, confirmation of the story that it will soon have the run of the country is naturally to be expected.
Excerpt, "Daily Drift," Ammi L. Bixby, Sunday State Journal, Lincoln, Nebraska, December 23, 1923, page 18


    The five surviving fish, of more than 30, which were placed on exhibition six months ago in the Chamber of Commerce aquarium, will enjoy the benefits of an underwater garden made possible through the thoughtfulness of Chris Gottlieb, who last week placed a water plant in the aquarium. If the fish continue to die, more will probably be added to the dwindling population.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, June 26, 1927, page 2


    Gradually dwindling down from an original population of 30 or more, the aquarium at the Chamber of Commerce now only displays two fish, which are regarded as the survival of the fittest. The other fish died one by one, even with continual running water. The two that are on display are both of fairly good size and are expected to live indefinitely if Chris Gottlieb gives them proper care and feeds them at regular hours.

"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, July 14, 1927, page 2


    Fire did damage estimated at $500 to the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce last night. The blaze started between the exterior and interior walls of the toilet in the northeast corner of the building. There were many electric wires along the wall where the fire started, and it was thought at first that the glaze was caused by a short circuit.
    Upon arriving at the scene the firemen quickly covered all furniture, records and window displays with salvage blankets and thus prevented loss through smoke and water. None of the objects within the chamber was damaged.
"Damage of $500 Is Done by Fire to CC Building," Medford Mail Tribune, August 17, 1937, page 1


OLD C-C BUILDING SOLD TO RAILROAD
    Purchase of the old Chamber of Commerce building on West Main Street by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company was announced yesterday by J. A. Ormandy, Portland, general passenger agent for the company, and Frank Hull, manager of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. The purchase price was $1200, Mr. Hull said. The building has been empty since the chamber moved to its new quarters at 123 West Main Street last April 1.
    Mr. Ormandy stated that the company had no plans at present for the building, but had decided that since it stood on the railway right-of-way it should belong to the company. The building was erected in [1905] by a group of Medford citizens for civic display purposes and later was taken over by the Chamber of Commerce and was occupied by that organization for a great many years.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 3, 1943, page 1


PERMIT ASKED TO MOVE OLD C OF C
    W. B. Smith has made application for a permit to move the old Jackson County Chamber of Commerce building from Front and Main streets to 714 Palm Street, where he plans to remodel the local landmark into a residence, according to a statement made by City Superintendent Frank Rogers yesterday.
    The building was erected in 1905. The present offices of the Chamber of Commerce are located at 213 West Main Street.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 19, 1944, page 9



    One by one the old landmarks disappear--something new takes the place of what we had become accustomed to seeing and knowing every day. Now they are tearing down the old Chamber of Commerce building on Main Street in Medford, which has stood there beside the tracks ever since we came to this county nearly forty years ago. When we first saw that little building it housed a very beautiful display of the various fruits and vegetables grown in the Rogue River Valley. Every time a train (and believe it or not, there were such things in plenty in those days) [arrived,] the passengers used to hurry off to gaze in wonderment at what they saw there. That display became known from coast to coast.
    Following the big boom, which died away about 1910, fewer people were traveling up and down the land, and the keeping up of the display became more and more of a burden and finally it was abandoned entirely. Then the Chamber moved in and remodeled the place for an office for the secretary and for a meeting place for committees. What plans have been made around that big table there! How many times have we sat there and heard all sorts of discussions regarding city and county affairs. We shall miss those friendly gatherings.
Arthur E. Powell, "Musings," Central Point American, April 5, 1945, page 1


    The Commercial Club building is in a fine state of demolishment, and the civic water trough alongside awaits the same fate. The structure in its prime was the center of the 1910 boom, and community oratory.
Arthur Perry, "Ye Smudge Pot," Medford Mail Tribune, April 15, 1945, page 6



Last revised February 8, 2017