FARMING IN OREGON
SOUTHERN SECTION OF THE STATE
Farmers' Institute at Medford--Representative Miller's Address--
Advantages to the Farms of Improved Stock.
MEDFORD, Or., Feb. 1.--TO THE EDITOR.--Southern Oregon was all sunshine during the past month, and the light frosts of early morning were followed by clear, beautiful days that greatly favored the efforts of the gentlemen connected with the agricultural college to make a pleasant and successful occasion of the institute recently held in this city. Professor Washburn asserts that this has been the most successful effort of the kind ever held in Oregon. Well-known gentlemen came from all parts of this county. Ashland, Jacksonville, Central Point and Grants Pass sent B. F. Meyer, Judge Prim, Charley Nickell, Henry Klippel, R. A. Miller, Mr. Carson and others, and many practical farmers, stockmen and fruit-growers were present.
Climate here shows a golden mean between the northern valleys of Oregon and that of California. There is not here the excessive rain that is depressing in Willamette winters, nor the excessive heat of California summers. In production, also, it has a convenient position between semi-tropical production, on the one hand, and the growths of the temperate zones at the north. In many respects it has the most satisfactory conditions possible, and realizes an ideal temperature and conditions both in winter and summer. Remoteness will be overcome by all these advantages in course of time, and this section will rank in productiveness and availability as to resources and production with any known regions of earth.
This county and Josephine can feel proud of having very intelligent men now engaged in fruit-growing and faithfully working to develop all branches of that important industry in this region. Of late years J. D. Whitman and J. H. Stewart have made a success of growing fruit in the immediate vicinity of Medford, on rich prairie lands close by here. These two gentlemen have done much to establish and advance fruit production in Southern Oregon, and deserve to be respected for their enterprise, as well as for the intelligent manner in which they conduct their operations.
Mr. Carson, of Applegate, near to Grants Pass, is another gentleman of culture who has left the law to devote himself to production of fruits, and brings to bear on this field a well-stored mind that investigates thoroughly as the work proceeds. Mr. Parker divides his time between his farm in this valley and his law office in Jacksonville, and makes a specialty of rearing swine of the best breeds. Mr. [W. Cortez] Myer, of Ashland, is well known for his Percheron horses and Jersey cattle, and has had an eminence for many years on horse breeding in our state.
While Jackson and Josephine have resources that must in time be developed, I am surprised to see how little has been accomplished in comparison with what is possible. No doubt newcomers hesitate to come this distance from market, and remoteness still applies in some degree to Southern Oregon, though railroad facilities have brought it into much nearer relations than were possessed a few years ago.
The branch railroad running between Jacksonville and Medford is a great accommodation and practically gives identity to the two places and a common interest favorable to both. It is not easy to set a limit to the productive area of this valley, for the greater portion is yet undeveloped, but the foothills capable of producing excellently are very extensive, and the rich gravelly loam of the valley land in many places is unexcelled. As yet the production of fruit is but in its infancy, and the development and experience of the fruitgrower of today will redound to the advantage of newcomers and new beginners for all coming time.
Jacksonville, despite its isolation and indirectness, is a pleasant and attractive place, built partly on the foothills and watered by the creek whose placer mines, yielding millions of rich treasure, once astonished the world, and assured its old-time prosperity. The hills nearby have grown the Miller orchard, and can produce grapes in excellence and with certainty. It is surprising that no more development of the kind is attempted. Apples and pears are a specialty on the prairies near Medford, also peaches and prunes are grown here. Peaches seem to have been a specialty at Ashland. The future must see a really great area of soil hereabouts in successful cultivation for fruit production, for it can be rolled on to produce fruits of size, excellence and flavor unsurpassed.
Medford is evidently prosperous and the seat of a good trade. Its opera house is a comfortable hall where public meetings can be agreeably held. People generally turned out to attend the institute and make its meetings interesting.
The institute opened with an address from J. D. Whitman, on "The Advantages of Improved Stock to Farmers."
In his address of welcome the chairman alluded to Medford as a town of eight years' growth; its buildings are substantial; it has a sash and door factory and other industrial concerns; a pork packing and meat canning establishment doing good work, as well as a distillery that he intimated worked for foreign consumption. Medford has good public schools, well officered, and seems really prosperous and likely to prosper in the future.
Professor Shaw, on part of the agricultural college, showed its purposes and workings, as well as its relations to the farming interests of our state, and wish to advance their best efforts.
The institute was held, he said, to consult with practical farmers of this region, and drop any ideas they may have that can be of use, as well as learn more of the country.
Mrs. Susan West read an excellent paper on farm life, the room for development, comparison between old times and new, the monotony of life and overwork that drives the boys from the farm. She told of two homes recently established near Medford by strangers. Times look gloomy to the old-timer, but these newcomers redeemed the condemned soil, planted and cared for it until it became covered with richly bearing trees, while their homes displayed works of art and valuable books.
Professor Narregan, principal of the public schools, read a good paper on "The Value of Industrial Education."
Discussion of subjects offered occasionally involved gentlemen who made such topics interesting outside the regular programme.
"Silos and Ensilage" was the subject of practical illustration by Professor French. The subject seemed new to farmers here. It was received with close attention. It is full time that Oregon farmers generally made use of this manner of feeding green fodder to make it available all the year round.
"Overproduction of Fruit" was the subject discussed by J. H. Stewart, one of the progressive fruit-growers of this region, who boasts that he receives $1 a box for apples this year, and the purchaser furnishes the boxes. Mr. Stewart argues that fruit must be a drug and the world will have no use for it, therefore men should be slow to plant more trees. The audience hardly gave Mr. Stewart credit for disinterestedness or sincerity, as he does not follow his own counsel, but plants trees continually. I heard one gentleman quote the old proverb, "Actions speak louder than words," at his expense. It is well enough to discuss all sides of this question, but not so well for old fruit men to try to discourage new beginners. It is true enough that fruitgrowing will be as conspicuous for failures as for success, but that will usually be due to neglect and want of care, and thorough care and cultivation, not because the world has no use for our products.
In this connection Rev. Mr. Edmunds, of Medford, remarked that Senator Parker, of California, went to England and Europe not long ago and found that the superiority of California fruits was appreciated there, and a market for them could be depended on any time when a surplus existed for export. Mr. Edmunds added a tribute--very emphatic, too--of the excellence and superiority of Oregon fruits as compared with the products of California, his former home.
Professor Washburn made a very interesting talk about insects beneficial to farming, because they live on and destroy pests. This is an interesting and important matter, and fruit-growers should be educated to know and respect this class of insect life.
Hon. H. B. Miller, of Grants Pass, must have astonished any old fogeys who may have been present by his opinions concerning the needs of education by agriculturists. He proposed education as the remedy for all their ills and the sovereign panacea to secure their rights and remedy their wrongs and ensure farmers their proper place in the nation. Mr. Miller is a forcible and graceful speaker, and is especially happy in the use of language. He showed that while all other classes are represented by the greatest human intellect to secure their position, the farmer alone has permitted, in the past, his cause to be neglected and unrepresented, while by all ordinary reasoning he should be the most powerful in respect to political, social and educational measures, because he represents the greatest and most important interest known as producer of the staples of life. Complaint is made of monopoly, of middlemen, of financial stringency and class legislation and a remedy is demanded, but the only efficient remedy will be to educate the farmer. The professional men and merchants are educated to their respective positions and so prepared to ensure their success. The farmer alone, who needs as much as any to be thoroughly educated and trained for his work, follows obsolete precedent and tradition, lagging behind those of his own class who by education are able to comprehend cause and effect and so realize success. There is no more interesting and important study than soil and climate and conditions afford. Educate the farmers of the world and they will rule the world fairly and impartially and prevent the many abuses that now exist and ensure their own prosperity while they also ensure that of the whole people.
In days of Roman greatness agriculture was the study of wise men, and of the greatest as well. Small farms and educated industry were the cause of Roman prosperity, and when war and conquest became the object of Roman ambition, agriculture was relegated to slaves and the decline of the Roman empire began.
You may say all the trades should also be educated, but these are only industrial features, and every trade demands an apprenticeship that is an education. Whereas agriculture is the basis of all prosperity and excellent [sic]. The mechanic requires skill by system and organized discipline that does not exist in the cause of the farmer. Farmers' homes should, if refined and cultured, affect and improve the whole world. Give farmers the power they should claim and exercise and they will revolutionize and reform the conditions of the world's civilization. The coming of that day depends on your will, your wisdom and your acts.
The gentlemen of the college--Professors Shaw, Washburn, Coste and French--express themselves as greatly pleased with the interest taken and assert that the institute held now at Medford has been the most successful and satisfactory of all yet held in our state.
S. A. CLARKE.Oregonian, Portland, February 12, 1892, page 9
A Description of Our Beautiful Little City--Its Resources and Surroundings.
A volume descriptive of the state of Oregon is to be published by the state board of agriculture, to be distributed abroad and at the world's fair. The following description of Ashland has been prepared for the volume by C. B. Watson, Esq., of this place, at the request of the Ashland Board of Trade. (The weather tables are omitted because copy could not be obtained in time for this issue.)
It has been conceded by all who are most familiar with the Pacific Coast countries that Rogue River Valley, in climate, scenic beauty and the variety of its productions excels all others. Much has been written and said about it, and among homeseekers, tourists, travelers and those who are interested in reading descriptive literature there are very few who have not learned something of its attractions.
This valley is about fifty miles in length, irregular in shape, and in width varying from two to twenty-five miles, its general direction being from the southeast to northwest, its numerous streams falling into Rogue River, which courses through the northern part of the valley and takes its direction to the west, emptying into the ocean about thirty miles south of Cape Blanco. The southern extremity of the valley reaches a point in the Siskiyou Mountains about eight miles north of the California line. It is bounded on the north by the Rogue River mountains, east by the Cascades, south by the Siskiyous and west by the Applegate mountains, being thus entirely surrounded by rugged ranges of great height, many of the summits reaching into the altitudes of perpetual snow, from which hundreds of beautiful streams take their rise, and, coursing through the valley, ensure it that magnificent abundance of the purest water which is a never-failing guarantee of the excellent crops for which this valley has ever been noticed. The table made up from the weather reports, and accompanying this article, speaks more eloquently for the climate of this favored section than all else that might be said about it. Situated between the 42nd and 43rd degrees of north latitude, it has all the advantages of the north temperate zone, and is wonderfully favored by its location and surroundings. Reference to the table above mentioned will show that this valley has neither the humidity so objectionable to many further north, nor the extreme heat or droughts so prevalent further south. The climate cannot be classed as either hot or cold, wet or dry, but is a happy medium, in which not only animated nature but vegetable life as well seems to find the happiest conditions for a healthy and vigorous growth. Hence the character of its stock and animal products, fruits and vegetables, the cereals and the products made from them is becoming so well and favorably known in the markets of the country, even to the Atlantic Seaboard, that the label "Rogue River Valley" or "Southern Oregon" is a certificate of excellence.
Ashland is situated near the southern end, or head, of the valley, on the line of the Southern Pacific R.R. 430 miles north from San Francisco and 343 miles south from Portland in Oregon, and is the end of the second division south from Portland, and of the second north from San Francisco, and is therefore the central division station of the only line of railroad between the two largest cities on the Pacific Coast. It has a population of 2500 and boasts of many attractions and advantages. It is situated at the foot of the Siskiyou Mountains, which rise to the southward in majesty and grandeur to a height of eight thousand feet within ten miles, where snow may be found the whole year, and from which comes rushing and leaping and sparkling like "glad tidings of great joy" one of those beautiful mountain streams, the like of which poets and bards have delighted to describe and sing about from the earliest ages. This stream runs directly through this "little city of the vale," furnishing an abundance of water power and a supply for all purposes of the purest water in the world, fresh from the snows and the sparkling springs almost ice-cold in mid-summer. The people of Ashland know how to appreciate this great blessing, and have constructed a splendid system of water works at a cost of $57,000 for domestic use and all purposes, from which at more nominal figures every household, garden, shop or other place requiring it may draw to the heart's content. Ashland has justly acquired some fame for its facilities as a manufacturing site. It has an "Electric Light and Power Co.," which not only gives a splendid service in lighting the city, but is busily engaged in constructing electric light plants for cities and towns of both Oregon and California. It has two sash, door & blind factories, one large flouring mill, a woolen factory and other establishments where machinery is operated, and Ashland Creek furnishes all the power--not a stationary engine is to be found in the city. It has many beautiful residences, nearly all of which are ornamented with lawns and flower gardens, fruit trees and shrubbery, kept in excellent taste and trim, the admiration of all visitors--another of the blessings that flow from Ashland Creek, the pride of the mountains and joy of the valley and the town.
All classes of mercantile houses carrying stock suited to the varying pursuits of the people and surrounding country are made attractive and prosperous by careful management and the airs are rather [more] metropolitan than those of a little city of only 2500 people. There are many elegant business and public buildings, among which may be particularly mentioned the Hotel Oregon, a structure of much elegance, three stories high, of an attractive style of modern architecture, complete in all its parts, constructed and furnished at a cost of $30,000--a source of constant pride to the people. It is built of brick, highly finished inside and out, and is the favorite hostelry for all traveling men between San Francisco and the north. There are two other excellent hotels; one known as the Depot Hotel, which belongs to the R.R. Co. and is kept and run in first-class style, and the Ashland House, the pioneer hotel of the city, also a substantial brick, well appointed, and where the service and accommodations are excellent. There are three other hotels and a restaurant of more modest pretensions. The Ganiard Opera House is one of the attractions--a three-story brick, which is of elegant appearance. The Bank of Ashland, one of the business standbys of the city, occupies a neat two-story brick. The Masonic and Odd Fellows' halls are also elegant two-story brick structures. McCall's Block, Johnson's Block, the Thompson and Billings blocks and Crocker's Block, all substantial structures of brick, and the city hall, a new building of brick, two stories high, well built and occupied by the various city officers, fire department, city jail, etc., are among the principal buildings. The various places of worship noticeable to strangers are the M.E. Church, the Presbyterian Church, Baptist, Congregational and Catholic church buildings. the S.P.R.R. Co.'s depot building is one of the largest and handsomest railroad buildings in the state. Trains stop here thirty minutes for meals going either north or south.
Among the institutions of Ashland of which its people are justly proud are its public schools, which, under the management of Prof. P. A. Getz for the past three years, have taken rank among the best public schools on the coast. The schools occupy three buildings, one at the north end of the city, another at the south, while a third is centrally located, thus affording convenient accommodations for the pupils in the several grades. These buildings are suitably furnished for approved modern school work, there being in the rooms for the primary grade tables for convenience in concrete work in number, and elementary work in "form and color." These are also provided with charts, ample blackboard surfaces and various other appliances for the work of this grade. Other grades have tables for sand modeling as well as charts, dictionaries, maps and globes appropriate to the age of the pupil and the character of their work. The high school has an ample supply of chemical and physical apparatus for classes in these sciences. The schools are organized into primary, secondary, grammar and high school departments. There are eight years' work (known here, for convenience of designating them, as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. grades) below the high schools, which affords a three years' course of an English scientific character. The methods of instruction and general conduct of the schools are under the supervision of a principal who has associated with him nine other teachers, all but one of whom hold the highest grade of Oregon state certificates. These pursue a study of the best methods of education, and, for that purpose, hold biweekly meetings known as local teachers' meetings. That these meetings contribute to the success of the school work is known from the satisfactory progress made by the six hundred pupils in attendance.
The country in the vicinity of Ashland is especially adapted to the raising of fruit, particularly peaches, prunes, plums, apricots, apples and pears, blackberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.; and the cultivation of these fruits has become the chief occupation. There are now in the immediate vicinity of the city hundreds of acres of bearing peach orchards alone, while each year sees a large acreage of wild lands reduced to the cultivation of fruits--peaches predominating. There is no country in America that in quality and flavor of the peach, the productive power of the soil and the adaptability of the climate for that fruit can equal the country about Ashland. It is essentially the queen of the fruit sections of the West, and its markets are the markets of the world. Even Australia and Europe are learning the excellence of Southern Oregon fruit (apples and pears), and many of the states and territories of our own country call for shipments of Ashland peaches during the fruit season. In this industry, again, the people of this favored locality are made the debtors of the surrounding mountains for the abundant supply of pure water that never fails them. Irrigation, however, is seldom resorted to, the soil and climate rendering it unnecessary in the matter of fruit. The great variety of other crops successfully raised render an enumeration of them out of the question in an article of this character. Suffice it to say that few countries in the world can excel this section in quality and quantity of a great variety of vegetables and garden stuff, as well as the standard cereals.
Another feature that must not go unnoticed is the mining interest. Since the earliest settlement of the coast, the rich placer gold fields of Southern Oregon have been particularly noted. It has been, however, reserved to the more recent operation of prospectors to startle the people by new discoveries of rich mineral-bearing quartz, and what for years has been only speculation is now a certainty by the recent development of the rich Patton ledge, which a few months ago was purchased a company of Portland capitalists who have been carrying on their work of development night and day as fast as men and money could do it, and now are more than satisfied with the result both in gold and silver. This mine is less than three miles from Ashland, and the work of developing no less than six other quartz mines in the vicinity is now rapidly progressing, one of which is within the city limits. All of these ledges are affording such prospects that the newly awakened interest in mining reminds the old miner of the days of '49. The mineral wealth of this section is not confined alone to gold and silver, but copper, iron, tin, lead, asbestos, cinnabar, coal, platinum, kaolin and other valuable deposits of minerals and metals are found. There has never been so much interest evinced in the direction of prospecting and mining as now. A coal mine is at the present time being opened within four miles of Ashland and with very flattering prospects.
In building materials, few countries can show better granite or sandstone. A large sandstone quarry has been operated six miles south of Ashland on the line of the S.P.R.R. for the past two years, which stone has been shipped to Portland and may there be seen in the construction of some of the finest buildings in that remarkable city of wealth and enterprise. The Siskiyou Mountains are wonderfully rich in granite, and within ten miles of Ashland can be found granite building material to supply the world for centuries, while the wealth of the forests that cover these same mountains in sugar pine, yellow pine, fir and cedar can scarcely be estimated. These forests have as yet been practically untouched, though at the present time capitalists who have grown rich in the now-exhausted forests of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan are rapidly acquiring titles to timber lands and seeking eligible sites for sawmills. By these people more than 100,000 acres of the finest timber land in the world, within fifty miles of Ashland, have been bought, and mills to cut it are being constructed. It would be impossible in the space allotted to this article even to glance at all that might be truthfully told in regard to the undeveloped riches of this section. A glance at the many attractions for tourists and sightseers cannot be thought of; hunting and fishing alone would fill a book. Our Crater Lake, seventy miles from Ashland--from which it is most accessible--is one of the wonders of the world, has been much written about, and has been set apart by Congress as a national park. To describe Crater Lake alone would require double the space allotted to this article.
The "Ashland park," the nearest point of which is only three miles from Ashland, which has been temporarily withdrawn by order of the President of the U.S. with a view of setting it aside as a park for the protection of the forests, the water, etc., has a road running to its very center, and has already become a place of resort for the people of this city and valley, where they can saunter, or fish, or hunt or lounge about in the shade by the beautiful streams in midsummer, read their daily paper only a few hours from the press, and sympathize with their sun-stricken brethren east of the Rockies.
Truly, this is God's country, and, like the "groves of Daphne," its charms are such that he who once tastes the sweets of this retreat seldom leaves but to come again.
Another feature not to be left unnoticed is the wonderful variety and virtue of the mineral springs in this immediate vicinity, where, bubbling from the mountainside, may be found the sweetest and the bitterest waters ever mixed in the bowels of the earth. Within ten miles of this little city are soda springs producing thousands of gallons of water daily as sparkling and palatable as Apollonaris or Wabashaw, one of which has been furnished with a bottling establishment, and "the trade" is not unacquainted with the Siskiyou mineral water. There are within fifteen miles of Ashland three soda springs fitted up as places of resort, and one gas spring which is held in perfect reverence and sanctity by the aborigines, and has been for time immemorial for its wonderful curative properties for rheumatism and catarrh. These curative properties are well known here and are not doubted. Gen. J. C. Tolman has purchased these springs and within the past year has expended several thousand dollars in erecting buildings, baths and making arrangements for the proper treatment of patients. White sulfur springs, with baths not inferior to those of Arkansas, are found within the city limits of Ashland and are patronized by thousands of people yearly, many of whom seek Ashland as a health resort, and a place to recruit wasted strength, to recover from sickness or to spend a few weeks and often months in recreation and pleasure.
Ashland Tidings, April 29, 1892, page 1
UP ASHLAND CREEK CANYON.
Ashland, Or., Aug. 4th, 1892.Mr. Editor, Sir: We thought perhaps the many readers of your paper could read with interest a short description of our visit up and along the beautiful canyon and pure, limpid waters of Ashland Creek. Last Thursday being a beautiful day, your correspondent and Mrs. B. Radcliff, Mrs. Judson Ganiard and mother, Mrs. Donihue, Mrs. Gettobolt, Mrs. N. Radcliff and Mr. and Mrs. Baer started for an all-day's feasting and sightseeing. There were four carriages of us, each loaded with plenty of provisions, well equipped for fun and pleasure. Our road leads us up and along a deep canyon, in many places only wide enough for a single wagon track, many times the roadbed sloping down to the water. Passing along, wondering where noon would find us, at eleven o'clock we arrived at Bell Prairie, once a mill site. Here we took our dinner. We soon constructed a cooking range of rocks, built a fire, steeped our tea, then spread our table and oh my! what a dinner! Why, the table of two-inch plank fairly groaned with such a feast. Cake, pies, chickens, turkey, beef, venison, bread, butter, cheese, pickles, jellies, honey, cabbage, salads, tea, fruits of all kinds, delicious; but such a dinner is just what one needs after riding over and up those rough places. You always want to remember to take plenty of dinner with you. You will need it.
Well, after dinner was over our curiosity led us farther on. We ladies hitched up and started for a drive to see the falls. We drove as far as Mr. Watson's place. Nestled there among those old somber mountains, from nature's surroundings, it is destined to become a great summer resort. If you please, we will name this beautiful home Glenwood. The mountains rise high on either side. Their eminences are cut up with deep, dark wooded dells, or ravines, through which flows Ashland Creek, pursuing its way to mingle its waters with the Pacific. After resting and eating a lunch with lemonade, we tied our horses and started for a stroll alongside of the mountains, going to see the falls. About one mile to the famous falls without a name. So we suggested for a name Minnehaha. There we seated ourselves amongst its solitude, wondering what the convulsions of nature had been to have thrown up such mountains and cascades. O, it is charming, this rough and rock-hemmed little gorge, tumbling, roaring, leaping, lashing, until it finally goes along without a murmur, through woods, rocks and fernbrakes. Unfold thy beauty, to thy own solitude.
Many deer and panther, bear and wildcat frequent these falls, but our party were brave, undaunted. We were out that day for pleasure and enjoyment, as time whiled away here could be made profitable in studying nature. But, looking at our watches, we see that the sun was fast disappearing behind the western horizon. We thought, however, we had time to catch some fish and cook them for supper--the lines were soon cast out. Behold one fine trout, then another, and another, until we had enough for supper. Our tea was soon made, our table spread under the boughs of a lofty pine. Poor old pine, its boughs fairly sighed at the sight beneath its branches. We hugely enjoyed that meal, and kindly thanking nature for this great dispensation of pure water, diversity of scenery, not forgetting the ingenuity of man in developing so beautiful a place for tourists and pleasure seekers. Hitching up our horses again, all aboard for home--a straight pull on the lines, a sharp lookout is now the most important business, for down, down, crossing fifteen narrow bridges, around sharp curves, swiftly we came all to our Ashland homes.
Mrs. P. Griswold.Ashland Tidings, August 19, 1892, page 1
Last revised December 6, 2017