We met at the late pioneer celebration with Col. John E. Ross, who is one of the pioneers of Jackson County as well as among those who came to Oregon at an early day. Col. Ross is a Rogue River farmer whose place is only three miles from Jacksonville. He is well informed, of course, concerning that region and says it offers great inducements to new settlers. Rogue River Valley, including the territory from Umpqua Mountain on the north to the Siskiyou Mountain on the south, is forty miles wide, north and south, by sixty to seventy miles long, east and west. Of this the land and open country of the valley that is already settled is about equal to one-fourth of the total. The remainder is a hilly region, covered with undergrowth in part, but when cleared makes the best of vineyard and orchard land. If we only claim one-half of the whole valley to be available for agriculture, that will leave as much vacant land, subject to entry, or purchase from the railroad company, as is now cultivated or owned in Jackson and Josephine counties. There is diversity of soil in Jackson County. Part is clayey soil, well adapted to vine growing or orcharding. There is considerable granite decomposition that has been tried for orchards with success. We met the other day with a gentleman who formerly lived in that region, who told his experience in planting an orchard on decomposed bench land.
Of the whole area described as within the limits forty by sixty miles, the open prairie lands of the valley, that constitute the farming region of Jackson County, form not over one-fourth; the remainder is generally vacant. Within a few months the O.&C. Railroad will reach that section and give it all the necessary facilities of transportation. The natural outlet of Southern Oregon is towards the north, where its products will find a market. The soil and climate of Rogue River Valley favor the products that are natural to California, on the south of it. While it produces well all the cereals, fruits and vegetables that grow to the northward, it also grows corn, grapes and peaches that do not succeed with certainty in the valleys north of it. The climate of Southern Oregon is pleasantly modified so that it has not the hot summers, nor the fear of drought that are so common to California. Its winters have not the excess of rain sometimes known in our own section. We have often asserted that Jackson County possesses advantages of climate over any other part of Oregon. Its southern location, midway between Oregon and California, secure for it the best features of each state.
Oregon needs corn, and settlers in Rogue River Valley can raise that cereal to advantage with certainty of a market close at hand. Market gardening will pay well there because a market for early vegetables will be secured at Portland and other northern towns. We already receive early fruits and vegetables from Douglas County, in the Umpqua region, one hundred miles north of Rogue River Valley.
The soil of the Rogue River country is quick and responsive, similar to that of California, and can be depended on for early production. We have spoken of the different soils. We look to the future with certainty that there will be great population in cities, and that Rogue River farming will be called on to supply the demand of these northern cities for the products it can raise, which the rest of Oregon cannot grow with certainty. Rogue River vineyards make excellent wine and grow very fine grapes. It will be natural for the future cities of Oregon to seek their supplies from an Oregon source in preference to going to California. As to peaches, also, we shall require extensive shipments.
But fruit growing there can include all varieties known in the Willamette. The fruit grower can work with a certainty that he can compete in all respects with the fruit grower of any other section. He can dry or can his product or ship it green and be able to do each to advantage.
We do not mean to intimate that fruit growing is the only resource in Rogue River Valley. The people of that county carry on farming extensively and are stock raisers on a generous scale. We are referring to the new lands, overgrown with brush, that abound in that portion of Oregon. Our effort is to show their especial value, where proper locations are secured, for fruit growing. We have also shown the especial adaptability of Jackson County for that occupation. A few acres, well tilled, will afford occupation to a family. The man of small means can manage to clear a few acres in garden until it bears fruit. There are many inducements for settling that region, and there is every reason to believe that in time it will become the garden spot and fruit-growing portion of Western Oregon.
Willamette Farmer, Salem, June 22, 1883, page 1
After leaving Eugene City we still follow the Willamette River, but it is becoming quite a small stream, and is more suggestive of an afternoon's fishing than of commerce. The fact is, one hundred miles up the stream, at Corvallis, is the head of navigation, though some years boats run to Eugene, twenty miles further, and even beyond. The valley is narrowing, and the country getting quite hilly. At Roseburg, of which you people have probably heard, we are among the hills, and so continue the remainder of the journey. Somewhere in the afternoon or evening, I forget exactly when, after passing up a long valley for miles the road swings around, we climb a hill across the head of the valley, and looking down the stream see one of the prettiest little pieces of country the sun ever shone on. It looked as though one could live there a thousand years without getting tired of the valley or of life. After leaving Roseburg--7:30 in the evening--my impressions of the country, people and surroundings, are rather confused until we pass Glendale--but no, there is one very distinct recollection. A bright-looking mother with three small children is on the train. The station she is destined for is reached, and one of the youngsters is asleep. With the three children to look after, several bundles to carry, and no one appearing to help, the little woman is terribly worried, and getting nearly frantic. There are two or three married men on the cars, with their wives, and I look to some of them to help the lady, but not one moves. So there is no help for it. I spring forward and say:
"Shall I help you with this boy?"
"If you will."
"I take the youngster and one of the packages, and we make a rush. On the platform I set the youngster down, and he staggers about like a drunken man. His mother tries to wake him by shaking and saying:
"Wake up Nellie!"
Nellie! That is not a boy's name! But I can name a boy that vanished very, very suddenly. The same old mistake, that people always make. "Why cannot fond mothers label their youngsters and provide against this? "This is a girl," or "this is a boy," conspicuously attached to the dress somewhere would do away with the necessity for many embarrassments that are now unavoidable.
Glendale, two hundred and seventy-five miles from Portland and seventy-five
from Roseburg, is reached at 10:45. The darkness of the hour prevents us from seeing much of the place, but judging from what we do see, such darkness is a blessing. The "front" of the railroad, it is a hard town. No one is anxious to stay there, and when the stage goes out at 11:30, the rustic writer of this goes with it. We pass up the main street of Glendale and note the usual percentage of saloons,
then through a city of tents into the woods and are on a corduroy road. It is my first experience with corduroy, and with good luck and no preventing providence, I resolve that it will be my last. There is a little Jew on the other end of my seat, and every time his side of the stage dives into a rut I go down and visit him. I can't say that he has a great appreciation for my company, and I suppose he would kick a little more if the stage upset; but not much. However, we finally get off this "road to Jordan," and climb a hill at the extreme "front" of the railroad, where a large gang of men is working day and night tunneling Cow Creek mountain. The timber is quite heavy, the trees tall. Near the stage lamps light the sides of the road, and further away are the lights of the camps, the motion of the coach giving them an appearance of dancing like will o' the wisps. The hill is steep, and at places we look over a steep bank and see the tops of large trees. When the top of the hill is finally reached I draw a long breath. I need it, for it is soon frightened out of me by a steep descent on the other side. Looking ahead the stage seems to be rushing off a terrible precipice, over the edge of which the tops of trees can barely be seen, when whisk! we turn a corner and miss the edge by seemingly half an inch. If I dared, I would jump out, but that edge is too close, and it looks like hundreds of miles to the gulch's bottom. What a relief it is to get to the creek's bed and draw one good, natural, unfrightened breath once more! We cross another hill, but a comparatively mild one, and stopping at Grave Creek take in two more passengers, mother and daughter. It is too dark to see the features of either, and though I feel sleepy and ugly I try to be accommodating and give up my seat to the elder. The Jew pretends to be asleep so the younger woman has to be content with the next best seat. No seat is very good, for we have a rough driver, who seems to purposely hit all the stones and ruts in the road. I sit facing the two and, it is perhaps not necessary to say, build air castles. The elder lady has a severe headache and the younger has to see to her a good deal. No one can even pretend to sleep except the Jew, who hangs to his seat with desperation, and as I have not yet said my say in the coach and here is a chance to make an impression, I drop an incidental remark to my neighbor, evidently a miner. He responds, and we have quite an animated talk for a time, in the course of which I mention that I have been in college for a year, am a newspaperman at present reduced to the painful necessity of sticking type for a living, but hope to soon rise to my proper level, mention that I am from Colorado. My neighbor is from Colorado, too, and much better posted than I am, which I soon find out, but I have most assurance and father every assertion [sic] he makes, so that the others in the coach take me to be well informed, while my neighbor sets me down, I won't say whether correctly or not, a senseless ass. But he gets too far off my range and I have to change my base to keep up. So I talk of Walla Walla. He has been there, too, and lets me know it before I have a chance to say anything. Here is a chance to crawl out easy, and remarking that I was but a short time in that city I shut up and let the other man spread himself.
As the morning gray begins to appear in the east we start up a long hill. After getting over this, we come to what would be good tiding, if we had an ordinarily decent driver, but the old pirate we have continues to make things interesting for us. To add to the other pleasures of the time, the motion of the stage or the emptiness of my stomach, or both, made me terribly faint and sick. The Jew has
kept up a continuous snoring all night, the sick lady has only complained once or twice, the young lady and my neighbor are silent and occasionally wonder how long until breakfast time. So it will be seen we were all enjoying ourselves. At. about six o'clock the breakfast station was finally announced and we all got out, and--by George! the young lady was a blooming lass of about sixteen and rather pretty.
Breakfast over, everyone felt better. The old philosopher was right. "A man's stomach makes a man his happiness." At another station further along two more passengers got aboard, one of whom was an odd genius, a very convenient person to have aboard. During the morning I had made an attempt or two at a pun and been a little successful--the younger lady laughed; but when this passenger got
aboard I shut up. His good humor was immense and was augmented at each stopping place. The stories he treated us to were Munchausen-like and terrific, until the elder lady told one, of the early days in Oregon.
"It was," she said, "an exceptionally cold winter. Snow laid on the ground longer than was over known before or since. A neighbor of ours had put about three thousand sheep on his place the year before, and the cold and snow soon begun to tell on them, as well as on the horses and cattle. My husband owned quite a number of horses, and we were at our wits ends to feed them, having no hay and very little straw. Still we were not near as poorly off as our neighbor with the sheep, as he came out in the spring with six head left, while our horses all lived, and how you can't guess. The sheep were frozen to death and as soon as they were frozen solid our horses would eat them up, wool and all.''
The story-telling passenger looked at the gray hairs of the narrator and sighed, and it was some minutes before he could do more than open his mouth and sigh again. Then he turned appealingly to the daughter. There was an amateur sun in each of her eyes that dazzled his gaze and he looked hopelessly away. He did not fully recover the rest of the trip. Of course he told us more stories, but he did not venture on any very large ones. When he started one that was fair to average stunning lie would look slyly at the lady to see if she had anything to say, and if the signs looked promising he would gulp down his yarn. He even failed to relate how Hank Monk had got Horace Greeley through on time, though he did ask if any of us had heard it. Before we parted, however, the daughter was heard to say confidentially.
"Why, Mother, you used to tell that and say hogs instead of horses."
Above a place called Rocky Point we came to the bank of the Rogue River, which we follow down through forests of oak, fir, pine and laurel, and occasionally a cultivated valley to the basin in which Jacksonville, my destination, is located. This Rogue River is a wonderfully pretty stream and is said to abound in trout. In places it reminded me much of the Big Thompson, and especially at Rocky Point is it like Loveland's river. Here the natural obstructions in the stream create quite a "riffle" and make one wish for a good pole and plenty of line.
Jacksonville is reached at about 12 o'clock, and here I took leave of the other passengers, and dismantle more air castles. Jacksonville was in early days the center of an immensely rich placer district, and still has a large business from the where there is water. It is, however, a small place, with scarcely a thousand inhabitants, and will soon lose much of its trade. The railroad misses it by six miles and passes right through the nice town of Ashford [sic]. Owing to the manner of her mines, some of which run almost into the town, Jacksonville will always control a certain amount of trade, and be a certain sort of a town, but if her residents ever dreamed of her being a city they dreamed in vain. Two or three days spent here ends the boy's visit, and a ticket for Portland is again in his pocket, and this letter is written from the latter place.
F.A.M."Portland, Oregon," Fort Collins Courier, Fort Collins, Colorado, July 12, 1883, page 1
JACKSON COUNTY.Though a third of a century has rolled by since smoke first issued from the clay chimney of the settler's cabin in Rogue River Valley, that region is but now being opened to the world by that great factor of modern progress, the railroad. The iron horse of commerce is rapidly approaching it from the north and the south, and before the birth of another year its forest-crowned hills will echo across the grain-carpeted valley the locomotive's shrill whistle. A new branch will be added to the tide of commerce; not a tender shoot but a stout limb of vigorous growth, one that will give more than it receives and strengthen the trunk to which it is united. Though to a degree isolated from its sister counties, communication maintained only by means of the stage and cumbrous freight wagon, cut off almost totally from an outside market for its products, the natural resources of Jackson County have been developed to a degree almost unknown and entirely unappreciated by those not familiar with its condition and history. The rude cabins have given place to comfortable and elegant residences, large and substantial barns have succeeded the thatched stables of the pioneer, well-tilled fields and thrifty orchards attest the success of agriculture, manufacturing industries have sprung up, towns with houses, dwellings, population and trade that astonish the stranger have grown and flourish, farmers and business men have become wealthy, and all the indications of prosperity are observable on every hand. With such a beginning, what must be the result of an early connection with the trade centers of the world?
Its Great Agricultural and Mineral Resources.
ROGUE RIVER VALLEY THE ITALY OF OREGON.
Fruit, Grain, Bay, Butter, Stock, Timber and Minerals.
Jackson County lies in the extreme southern end of Oregon, bordering on the California line, and is hemmed in between the Cascade Mountains on the east and those of the Coast Range on the west, the Rogue River Mountains on the north and the Siskiyou on the south, all of which occupy a portion of the 2,800 square miles embraced within its territory. Surrounded by these mountain ranges is the thickly settled portion of the county, the beautiful Rogue River Valley. The valley proper is about forty miles long by twenty wide, though sometimes the name is made to embrace the whole watershed of that turbulent stream. The mountains are heavily timbered and rich in minerals; the foothills afford splendid grazing for cattle and sheep, and their special adaptation to viticulture and the growth of certain kinds of fruit is now being recognized; the valley lands produce cereals, hay and vegetables in abundance, and the river bottoms fruit of unsurpassed excellence. In the diversity of its products and resources, Jackson County is superior to any in the state, and needs but the railroad advantages soon to be given to take a front rank in wealth and importance.
The beauty and probable fertility of Rogue River Valley were first commented upon for years by the bands of American and English trappers that traversed it on their way between the Columbia and the trapping grounds of California, but owing to the fact that it was cut off from approach by sea and to the hostility of the Indian tribes of that region, no effort was made to occupy it until long after the settlements in the Willamette had become so numerous that the Territory of Oregon was organized. The hostile and thieving character of the savages won for them the title of "Rogue Indians," and this name has descended to the valley, the river that drains this whole region and the mountains that border the stream toward the coast. The regular trail from the Willamette to the Sacramento led through this valley, and many a fatal encounter is recorded between the natives and bands of trappers and emigrants passing through. Under such circumstances there was small inducement for the emigrants to settle there with their families, when so much desirable land could be found in the Willamette Valley, where a degree of safety was assured by the very extent of the settlements. The discovery of gold on Klamath River and its tributaries in 1850 and the great rush to those mines in the spring of 1851 led to the discovery, also, of rich diggings on the streams of Jackson and Josephine counties a few weeks later. Hostile Indians never protected a rich mining region from invasion by the irrepressible gold hunter. Miners flocked into the mountains bordering the valley on the west, and though they suffered frequently at the hands of the native proprietors, they not only were not driven away but increased in numbers. The town of Jacksonville sprang up and became the trade center, pack trains brought supplies from both Oregon and California, and the quiet wilderness awoke suddenly into life and activity. The great demand and high price for hay, vegetables and grain induced settlers to occupy the choice spots in the valley and along the streams, exposed to the wrath of the savages and suffering the other disadvantages of pioneer life. For the next six years a constant warfare was maintained. Travelers and pack trains were ambushed, whole families massacred, bloody battles fought and worthless treaties made, ending in the extermination of a majority of the Indians and the complete removal of the remainder to a reservation many miles away.
Freed from this great drawback to its prosperity, Jackson County made rapid progress. Its mines were rich and supported a large population, drawing supplies of food chiefly from the farmers in the valley. The mutual support thus afforded by its two leading industries is the secret of the great prosperity of this region, a prosperity wrought within itself, substantial and permanent. The opportunity soon to be offered of shipping to other markets the surplus products, of which there will be an abundance as soon as the shipping facilities are provided, will be improved by the people now living here and the hundreds who will be led to make this their home, and the present prosperity and wealth will rapidly increase. Such is a brief resume of the past, and we will now consider the Jackson County of today.
CLIMATE.In its climate this delightful region possesses the combined advantages of the various other sections of Oregon without the accompanying drawbacks. It enjoys the warmth of summer and the frosts of winter known in Eastern Oregon without the extremes there experienced. With a rainfall ample enough for all the purposes of agriculture it escapes the continual rains of the Willamette Valley in winter, and receives but occasional refreshing showers in summer, the annual rainfall varying from twenty to forty inches and averaging about twenty-five. The extreme limit of the thermometer in summer is 100°, though it seldom exceeds 90°, while in winter it seldom sinks as low as 10°, the average for the winter months being about 40° and in summer about 70°. Snow falls occasionally to the depth of three or four inches but rapidly disappears, while ice never exceeds two inches in thickness and forms but a few times during the season. In the mountains, of course, there are more snow and ice, and upon this fact the miners rely for a supply of water for their business. It will thus be seen that in both valley and mountain nature has provided just the climatic conditions required by the two great industries of the county, agriculture and mining. To the eastern man especially, who desires in summer a warm climate without the excessive heat of his native state, and in winter a clear, bracing atmosphere unaccompanied by extreme cold and exemption from continuous snow or rain, Rogue River Valley presents attractions peculiarly inviting. It is beyond question the Paradise of Oregon.
AGRICULTURE.The market for the valley's products has hitherto been necessarily local and limited, though more extensive than one would at first suppose. The stage companies and teamsters have consumed large quantities of hay and grain, while the flour, vegetables and fruit of Jackson, Josephine, Curry, Del Norte, Klamath and Lake counties have been largely supplied from this region. Beyond what was necessary to supply this demand, however, has not been produced, and it can truly be said that the capabilities of the valley for extensive agriculture have never been fully tested. The arable land embraces about one-fifth of the entire area of the county, including foothills, plains and river bottoms. The foothills possess that rich soil to be found on all the hilly lands of Western Oregon, while the plains have much adobe land and the bottoms are composed of the most fertile alluvium. In the valley wheat, oats, barley, corn, potatoes, hay, etc. yield abundantly, and anything less than a half crop has never been experienced during the thirty years of cultivation. Twenty bushels of wheat to the acre are considered a very unsatisfactory crop, while as high as sixty bushels have been realized. Barley and oats produce proportionately well, and potatoes and corn are of especial excellence and yield abundant crops, the former contrasting favorably in quantity and quality with the inferior tubers of California. The facilities now afforded for shipment to other markets will no doubt serve to largely increase the crop of cereals in the future.
LIVESTOCK.The foothills of Jackson County furnish grazing for sheep of the finest quality, and the best strains of fine Merinos have been introduced into the county. So much attention has been paid to improving the sheep of this region that Southern Oregon wool is rated higher in the market than that from the Willamette Valley. About 30,000 are kept, chiefly in small bands, by the ranchers. About 10,000 beef cattle graze on the hills, and many fine stock, including Jerseys, etc., are kept. Horses, too, are made a specialty by some of the farmers, and Rogue River Valley has the reputation of producing the finest horses of Oregon. In the matter of improving the blood of their animals, the stock men of this region have shown commendable enterprise, and are reaping their reward in the reputation and increased value of the animals. Some 5,000 horses are assessed in the county. Of hogs about 10,000 are kept, the majority of them getting their own living in the woods.
DAIRY PRODUCTS.The butter and cheese of this region have an enviable reputation wherever they are known. The fine breeds of dairy cattle, the climate, grass, water, etc., all combine to produce a superior quality of butter and cheese. With the facilities for cheap shipment of these articles offered by the railroad there will, beyond question, be a great increase in dairy products and a new source of wealth opened to the farmers. The market in Portland for butter, cheese and eggs is high and permanent, and the old and new farmers of the valley will find it extremely profitable to supply the required products.
FRUIT.It is because of its superior fruit that we refer to Rogue River Valley as the Italy of Oregon. It is a well-known fact that the finest flavored grapes of California are produced on the sunny slopes of the foothills, and the conditions there found exist in the foothill region of Jackson County. The vines produce large clusters, and the grapes have a most excellent flavor, being very juicy and making a superior quality of wine. The conditions of soil and climate are also very favorable to peaches, the fruit being superior in flavor, though a trifle smaller in size, to the California product. The slight touch of frost in winter, though too mild to injure the vines or trees, gives a flavor to the fruit that is lacking in that of the warmer regions of California. The bottom lands are especially adapted to fruit culture, and it is that class of soil that has been utilized the most by fruit growers. In addition to grapes and peaches apricots, pears, plums, apples, cherries and the small fruits produce luxuriantly, and are of excellent quality, especially the apples, which have no superior anywhere. Hitherto the foothills have been used chiefly as a grazing ground for sheep, but that the flocks will seek "pastures new " and the land be planted extensively in vineyards and orchards is certain. On the whole the fruit interest of Rogue River Valley consists more in the possibilities of the future than in what has already been accomplished. With no market beyond the limits of Southern Oregon, farmers had formerly no encouragement to plant extensive orchards or large vineyards, but enough has been done to show the wonderful adaptability of the soil and climate to the production of fruit. The whole Northwest offers a market at good prices for fruit of all kinds, while certain varieties are largely sought after in the East. There is no business that can be embarked in with greater promise of a golden reward than that of fruit culture. It must, however, like everything else, be managed properly to be a great success. Orchards and vineyards must be planted and taken care of in a systematic manner and the business from first to last be conducted as experience in other places has shown to be best. Especially must the fruit be put up in an attractive and marketable shape, well assorted, conveniently packed for handling by the dealer, and attractive to the eye. Experience in California and elsewhere shows that the most successful fruit raisers are those whose product reaches the market in the best condition and presents the most inviting appearance. Already we hear of a number of experienced orchardists who intend to locate in Southern Oregon immediately. It is a great pity that the farmers of that region have not prepared themselves for the market now being opened by planting extensive orchards, but it is by no means too late, though the golden harvest must be delayed. The men who set out at once large orchards and vineyards and get them into bearing condition will be the first to reap their reward. The market is large, growing and permanent.
PRICE OF IMPROVED LAND.Farms and ranches of all kinds may be purchased in Jackson County at prices which are extremely moderate when the advantages are considered. Good improved farming land can be bought from twenty to fifty dollars an acre, though a few choice places would command a higher price. Other lands, not so well improved but just as fertile, and in some cases more desirable for fruit and grape culture, can be had as low as five dollars per acre. These prices depend upon the amount of improvements, location, character of soil, water facilities, etc. Two farms, two miles apart and containing a total of 400 acres, were recently sold for $8,000, or $20 per acre. Another of 300 acres brought $7,000, or $23 per acre. These are choice places, wholly arable land, with good buildings and modern farm improvements. Many partially covered with timber, or a portion of which is too hilly or rocky for easy cultivation, can be purchased at much lower figures and turned into excellent farms. Small farms, upon which orchards could be made the principal source of income, can be bought at low prices, and there are many places where a little work in clearing off brush and timber would reward the industrious farmer with many acres of land of the best quality for grain, orchards and vineyard. Much of the hill land will produce good crops of grain, and its capabilities for grapes have been pointed out. It has been used chiefly for grazing and is nearly all owned in large tracts, which will of necessity be cut up into smaller divisions for farming purposes and sold. The land is so well adapted to mixed farming that it is especially valuable, for with grain, fruit, hay, cattle, sheep, horses and hogs to depend upon such a thing as an entire failure would be impossible. We advise parties desiring to gather more particular information about special tracts of land for sale to visit the valley or address a letter to the dealers in real estate whose advertisement may be found in this issue of The West Shore. There is much government land in the foothills and mountains, as well as large tracts reserved to the O.&C.R.R. Co. Information in regard to the former can be had at the Roseburg land office, and of the latter at the company's office in Portland. A great increase in the value of real estate in the next four years is beyond question.
VALUATION AND PRODUCTS.The assessment roll of 1882 shows a total valuation of $2,464,832 in Jackson County, which is almost fifty percent, of the actual cash value of assessable property. This was divided as follows: Value of improved lands, $658,985; unimproved lands, $144,531; town lots, $62,982; improvements, $264,509; merchandise and implements, $396,435; money, notes and accounts, $594,277; household furniture, etc., $68,735; horses and mules, $149,005; cattle, $72,335; sheep, $31,361; swine, $21,677. These figures will be increased at least 25 percent, by the assessment of the present year. According to the census of 1880 the population was 8,116, but it has since advanced to fully 10,000, and a still more rapid increase during the next few years is certain. The annual product of the county can be given approximately as follows: Wheat, 300,000 bushels; barley, 100,000 bushels; rye, 3,000 bushels; oats, 350,000 bushels; corn, 40,000 bushels; potatoes, 60,000 bushels; apples, 100,000 bushels; peaches, 15,000 bushels; pears and plums, 15,000 bushels; hay, 30,000 tons; wool, 250,000 pounds; grapes, 150,000 pounds; butter, 26,000 pounds; cheese, 15,000 pounds; vegetables, 150,000 pounds; bacon, 400,000 pounds; lard, 80,000 pounds. Now that an outside market is opened there will be a great increase in the above figures, especially in fruit, grain and dairy products.
MINING.Since the discovery of gold led to the first settlement of Jackson County in 1851, the mines have been the mainstay and prop of this whole region. Without them there would have been no market for the farmer's produce, though of late years the grazing regions of Modoc, Klamath and Lake counties have drawn heavily from the valley for their supplies. Placer mines are the must numerous. Hydraulic power is used on quite an extensive scale by several companies, while rockers, sluices and wing dams are utilized where the location requires them. The Sterling hydraulic mine is situated on Sterling Creek, about eight miles south of Jacksonville, and was opened several years ago at an outlay of $100,000. The company owns ground enough for fifty years of continuous work, the whole property being valued at about $200,000. Other large hydraulic mines are yielding handsomely. It is estimated that the yield of gold dust during the past thirty years has been over $30,000,000, and there is no reason to anticipate falling off in the industry for many years to come. Iron, coal, copper and cinnabar exist in varying quantities, though the lack of cheap transportation has retarded their development. The iron ore along Rogue River is being prospected aud tested by experts with the view of using it at the great iron works at Oswego, near Portland, and if it proves to be in sufficient quantity and of the quality required the mine will be worked on an extensive scale. The opinions expressed are very favorable, and there is but little doubt of the development of these mines at an early day. Marble of an excellent quality abounds, and with the facilities offered by the railroad it can no doubt be quarried to advantage. The same may also be said of coal, a good quality of which has been discovered in various localities. Cinnabar and copper have both been worked to a considerable extent, but owing to the expense of transporting the required machinery the development of these industries has been seriously retarded.
MANUFACTURES.Manufacturing on an extensive scale in a region cut off from railroad privileges could hardly be expected, and yet the excellent facilities offered have been improved to as great a degree as possible, and commendable enterprise has been shown, especially in the establishment of a woolen factory at Ashland. This institution has been running successfully for a number of years, and its goods have an enviable reputation throughout the whole Pacific Coast. It was founded on the theory that it was cheaper to ship the manufactured article than the raw wool, and the success of the undertaking has demonstrated its correctness. The mill is large, is operated by a splendid water power, is fitted up with the most approved of modern machinery, and is in every way capable of turning out the finest quality of goods at a minimum cost. Several excellent flouring mills are in operation at Ashland, Phoenix and Jacksonville, supplying the whole of Southern Oregon with a superior quality of flour, and no doubt the bulk of the surplus wheat of this region will, ere long, be shipped abroad in the form of flour. Saw and planing mills produce all the rough and finished lumber needed in this section, which is by no means a small quantity. The mountains are covered with dense forests of fir, yellow pine and sugar pine, while black and white oak, ash, laurel and maple grow in abundance on the foothills, in the valley and along the numerous streams. Extensive experiments have been made the past few years in the culture of amber cane, and both soil and climate have been found admirably adapted to it. It is probable, then, that the manufacture of sugar will be embarked in at no distant day. Splendid water power exists in numerous localities very advantageously situated for manufacturing, and it is but a matter of time when much more of it will be utilized than at present.
SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL.The first two inquiries made by a man of family seeking a home in a new country are, "What is the condition of society here, and what facilities are offered for the education of my children?" To both of these important questions Jackson County can give a favorable answer. In the first place it must be remembered that this is by no means a newly settled country, that it has been occupied by an intelligent, industrious and law-abiding population for more than thirty years. The pioneers who located here and subdued the wilderness came from nearly every state in the Union. Many of them were highly educated and all were accustomed to the requirements and conveniences of older communities. Here they have made their homes and reared their families and have spared no effort to give them the advantages enjoyed by communities more closely united to the outside world. The fact that they have been all these years beyond the reach of railroads has had no power to check the growth of education. Railroads are but an effect and not a cause of knowledge. The community has grown and prospered by the mutual support of its own industries, and this prosperity has enabled it to provide even better educational facilities than are enjoyed by many a community which would appear to a superficial observer to be more favorably situated. The public schools throughout the county will compare favorably with those in any portion of the state, while the schools of Jacksonville and Ashland are of a very superior order. In the latter place is a college where a high order of scholarship is maintained, and which annually receives over 200 students of both sexes. It was recently designated as a state normal school by the legislature. St. Mary's school for girls has been an institution of Jacksonville for many years, in charge of the sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, and receives many pupils from a great distance as well as from this county. Nearly every leading religious denomination is represented, and most of them have good and some of them even elegant church edifices. The daily and weekly papers of Portland and San Francisco are taken in great numbers, besides instructive magazines and periodicals, and the three excellent papers of the county are given good support. The advantages of a daily mail and the telegraph have been enjoyed for years, and they have little to gain in this respect by the advent of the railroad, except in the saving of about a day's time in the receipt of mail.
JACKSONVILLE.The county seat is Jacksonville, once the liveliest mining camp of this region and still the most important trade center. The conditions of its existence have gradually changed from that of a rudely constructed and transient mining camp to that of a thriving trade center for a large expanse of mining and agricultural country. Its business is firmly established, its business buildings large and substantial, and its private residences neat and often elegant. It has always held the position of the leading town of Southern Oregon, which its enterprising business men are determined to maintain. It has a population approximating 1,200, and is beautifully situated on the banks of Jackson Creek, a tributary of Rogue River, in a western arm of the valley. Its taxable property amounts to about $500,000, and is increasing year by year. The advent into this region of many new families to engage in agriculture and fruit raising, which is certain to follow the railroad, will facilitate the growth of Jacksonville and increase its business, and the citizens very properly anticipate a large advance in its population, trade and the value of real estate. Several classes of manufactures could be conducted here profitably, and their founding is only a matter of time. The most prominent buildings of the city, aside from the long rows of substantial brick business blocks, are the Masonic temple, Orth block, United States Hotel, the Presbyterian church and the court house, now in process of erection. The last-named structure will be of brick on a solid stone foundation, and will cost about $50,000. It will be very ornamental in its architecture, two stories high, and surmounted by a belfry. The Presbyterian church is one of the most handsome edifices of the kind in Oregon. The Methodist and Catholic denominations also have neat church buildings. A large flour mill is one of the institutions of Jacksonville. Two excellent newspapers reflect the intelligence and enterprise of the citizens. The Democratic Times is ably conducted by its proprietor, Charles Nickell, and is one of the best exponents of Democratic principles in the state. The Oregon Sentinel, published by Frank Krause, is a supporter of the Republican Party and has been ably edited for a number of years by W. M. Turner. Both papers are excellent local journals, and make their presence felt throughout the state in the political field.
ASHLAND.The second town of Jackson County is Ashland, situated on the line of the railroad now being constructed, and in the southern end of the valley at the base of Siskiyou Mountain. It has a population of about l,000, and is rapidly increasing in size and importance. In the beauty of its location and the character of its residences, public buildings and business blocks, it is the equal of any town of its size in Oregon. In addition to its excellent public school, college and woolen mills, which have already been mentioned, it has a fine flouring mill, a saw mill and planing mill, doing a good business. Another flouring mill is situated a short distance from town. Ashland is a thriving place, and its position as the most southerly railroad town in Oregon and the nearest station to the Lost River and Goose Lake regions assures it a large increase in business and population. Its water power is excellent and capable of being utilized much more than at present. The leading public buildings are the Masonic temple, Odd Fellows' hall, Methodist and Presbyterian churches, and Ashland college. The handsome residences with their well-kept yards and beds of flowers, the streets and walks, the business buildings, and in fact everything pertaining to the town, present an appearance that indicates culture and refinement. The Ashland Tidings is a spicy independent weekly, published by W. H. Leeds, and is devoted to the interests of the town and Jackson County. The assessable property of the town amounts to $250,000 by the assessor's valuation, having increased largely over the total of last year.
PHOENIX.This is a little town lying in the valley on the road between Ashland and Jacksonville. It has a good flouring mill and is one of the oldest settlements in the county. There are twenty other post offices in the county, none of which have yet arrived at the dignity of towns. Stations will be established at some of them, however, as rapidly as the railroad advances, and a few, such as Grants Pass and Rock Point, will no doubt become business centers and shipping points.
SHIPPING FACILITIES.As has been before remarked, Jackson County's connection with the outside world, so far as shipment and receipt of goods and products is concerned, has hitherto consisted of the slow and cumbrous freight wagon. The Oregon and California Railroad began extending its line south from Roseburg a few months ago, and it has already reached nearly to the northern line of this county. It is the expectation that the road will reach Ashland by the first of January, where it will be compelled to halt for a few months until a very expensive tunnel through the summit of Siskiyou Mountain shall have been completed. The Central Pacific is also extending its line northward from Redding, and will reach the south end of the tunnel before that great work is finished. Work is being vigorously pushed on the tunnel, and it will be completed for the passage of trains in about one year. Connection will then be made by the two lines and a route be opened from San Francisco to Portland. Rogue River Valley will be on the through route between Portland and the east by the Central and Southern routes, and between San Francisco and the East by the Northern. Its facilities for reaching markets north and south and the east by two routes will stimulate its industries and increase its production. Good roads lead from the valley to the grazing regions of Southeastern Oregon and Northeastern California, also to the mines of Southwestern Oregon and Northwestern California, and a stage road runs from Jacksonville to Crescent City, where connection is made with a steamer for San Francisco. Good county roads lead out from the towns in all directions, and the conveniences for reaching the railroad from outlying districts are extremely good. The stage accommodations on the regular through route have always been good, but those now supplied by the California & Oregon Stage Co. are very superior. New coaches were put on the line this season, and with the skillful drivers employed travelers enjoy as great a degree of comfort and safety as on any stage line in the world. The trip between Glendale and Redding now occupies about forty hours, and many passengers prefer going by this route to traveling by steamer. The scenery is grand, and it alone leads many to adopt this route between San Francisco and Portland. Parties desirous of visiting this region in advance of the completion of the railroad will find the stage accommodations excellent, and the employees and agents of the company courteous and attentive.
SCENERY.The diversity of mountain and valley scenery in Jackson County is pleasing in the extreme. After a long ride on the steep mountain grades, through the dense forest and along deep and rocky canyons, it is like a glimpse of Paradise to come suddenly upon the summit of a ridge commanding a view of the rolling hills, plains and green-fringed streams of the valley. And from the valley itself a lovely picture is formed by the encircling walls of mountain, the graceful pines spreading their mantle over the very summits, save where here and there some rocky peak thrusts up its barren head, often crowned with a wreath of snow. Besides the usual beauties of mountain scenery, this region offers special attractions to the tourist and the lover of the grand or wonderful in nature. The beautiful Rogue River Falls, so much admired by all who see them, lie but a short distance from the railroad. The river is a very turbulent stream, running through deep gorges and canyons and forming a succession of rapids, cascades and falls until it loses itself in the ocean. Pilot Rock, on the summit of Siskiyou Mountain, is an old and familiar landmark. Mount Pitt, in the Cascades, is a snow-shrouded peak worthy of much admiration. The Klamath Basin lies at the eastern base of the Cascades Range, and is about fifty miles long by twenty wide. Big Klamath Lake lies in the northern extremity and is some thirty miles in length with a varying width of five to twenty miles. Little Klamath, a much smaller body of water, lies immediately south and receives the water of its companion through a stream 300 feet wide, which foams and dashes down a perpendicular height of seventy feet in its short length of one and one-half miles. This connecting stream has been aptly named "Link River." The river and lakes are alive with the most delicious trout, weighing from two to eight pounds each, and waterfowl of many kinds abound. Deer in great numbers can be found in the mountains. The most wonderful feature of Klamath Basin is the hot springs which issue from the ground in many places with great force, having a temperature almost to the boiling point.
The Hole in the Ground is one of the curiosities of Rogue River Valley, being a spot where a small stream pours into an opening in the earth and disappears, the noise of its falling waters gradually fading away as they descend. It is not a chasm, but simply a hole, and all efforts to sound its depth have been fruitless. [This is a confused description of Natural Bridge on the Rogue River.] Pyramid Canyon [The Pinnacles, near Crater Lake], on the road over the Cascades, is a deep canyon where sandstone, worn by the constant action of water, forms huge pyramids and fantastic forms of many kinds.
CRATER LAKE.The greatest curiosity of this region and one of the greatest of the whole Northwest is Crater Lake, in the very summit of the Cascades, seventy-five miles northeast of Jacksonville. Its remoteness from the usual routes of travel has kept it in comparative seclusion, but more are attracted hither yearly, and it will, in the future, be one of the regular objects visited by tourists in this region. It has been variously known as Blue Lake, Deep Lake and Lake Majesty, but the more appropriate title it now bears will no doubt remain with it forever. In approaching, the visitor suddenly finds himself upon the edge of a tremendous precipice and looking across a wide stretch of water that lies far beneath. The shores vary from 1,500 to 3,000 feet in height. To be critical, there is no shore, for only at one point can a sure-footed person descend the cliff to the lake level, and when there the presence of a few boulders and some fallen debris is all that indicates a shore. The waters are wide, deep and silent. It is seldom that a breeze disturbs them, but at moments a weird breath moves softly along and breaks the calm surface into ripples. Looking across from the surrounding wall the sky is seen so perfectly reflected in the water that were it not for the rocky margin of the lake it would be impossible to discern the line of division. The circumference is more than twenty miles, and the altitude of its surface as great as the summit of the pass over the mountains. On the outside the steep walls shelve off into mountain ridges, wooded to the top; on the inside they stand almost perpendicular, looking down forever on the captive sea.
In the early years, before the wide scope of country to the east was covered up with lava and ashes, there must have stood here one of the grandest mountains of the world. How great this immense volcano must have been can be imagined when it is realized that these walls, that now stand from 7,500 to 9,000 feet high, are only the shell of the mountain as it once existed. With a base twenty miles in circumference, at a height of 7,000 feet, what must have been the the altitude of the cone that was reared above it? Beside it Hood, Shasta and Tacoma would hide their diminished heads. That such a mountain once stood here as an active volcano cannot be doubted. The country to the east for many square miles is buried beneath ashes, pumice and volcanic scoria. To the terrible convulsions of nature, those miles of desolation, those rocky walls and this vast crater bear witness. In the midst of the lake rises a perfect but extinct volcano, at least 1,500 feet in height, its sides fringed with a stunted growth of hemlock. The lava flowing from this has made an island in the lake at least three miles long. The cone [on the island] has a dish-like depression in its apex, which shows where once its crater was, and into which one can look from a position on the bluffs above. The period of the first great eruption was probably followed by a season of rest and then a second eruption, during which this small cone was formed by the final effort of the expiring forces. Burning lava flowed fiercely down its sides, where now the dwarfed hemlock has gained a precarious foothold and seeks to hide its ugliness beneath a mantle of vegetation.
The Indians view Crater Lake and its surroundings as holy ground, and approach it with reverence and awe. It is one of the earthly spots made sacred by the presence of the Great Spirit, and the ancient tribal traditions relate many mysterious incidents in connection with it. In the past none but medicine men visited it, and when one of the tribe felt called upon to become a teacher and healer, he spent several weeks on the shore of the lake in fasting, in communion with the dead, and in prayer to the Shahullah Tyee [saghalie tyee--"great spirit"]. Here they saw visions and dreamed dreams, and when they came down from the mountain, like Moses from Sinai, they were looked up to with reverence as having communed with the Great Spirit and seen the unknown world.
The West Shore, Portland, August 1883, pages 172-175