Jackson County 1903
ABOUT THE ROGUE RIVER VALLEY.LOS ANGELES, Cal., Feb. 5.--Leaving Ashland, Oregon, for the South the route leads over the Siskiyou Mountains. With two engines up front and one pushing, the train known as the "Overland" slowly ascends the heavy grade. The route is extremely rugged, and trestles and tunnels succeed each other in rapid succession. Looking from the train windows, above may be seen what seems to be another road, for it does not seem possible that this train could ever get there, and again below may be seen the track over which we have come almost directly beneath. Occasionally away below us we get glimpses of the valley out of which we started. The road traverses every point of [the] compass, at one place forming a complete loop and crossing itself directly over a tunnel. At a height of about six thousand feet the summit is reached, and we glide down into the Shasta Valley, glad to be relieved of the laborious snorting of the three monster engines. Much of the time the grand old Shasta Mountain is in full view, and near its base the train stops and the passengers are given five minutes to drink of the waters of the famous soda springs. A night in the Sacramento Valley, and we awaken in the morning just in time to see our train drawn in two sections onto the immense ferry boat at Benicia, where the road crosses an arm of the bay above San Francisco.
The following letter contains so much of information about Rogue River Valley that we are certain it will be read with much interest by persons interested in this section of the country:
MR. HENRY A. TOWNSEND, TRAVELING AND IMMIGRATION AGENT, DES MOINES, IOWA--Dear Sir: Your favor of the 6th inst. is at hand, and I take this first opportunity to answer it, and I am glad of the opportunity to give any information possible to intending settlers, and I feel I am fairly qualified regarding land conditions here, for I have resided continuously in this country for 42 years, during which time I have been employed continuously, either as county surveyor, U.S. deputy surveyor, U.S. mineral surveyor and special agent of the general land office as inspector of surveys.
In answer to your question regarding tracts of government land on which desirable homesteads could be had, I will say that the area known as "Rogue River Valley" is that portion of Southern Oregon lying between the Cascade and Coast ranges of mountains, and embraces Josephine and Jackson counties, and for the reason of it being sheltered from the cold winds from the east and the storms of the Pacific on the west, by the mountain ranges on either side, is justly celebrated for the mildness of its climate and the great variety of its productions.
The area of the two counties is 120 townships, less than one-fourth of which is suitable for cultivation and settlement, the rest being foothills and mountains, covered with forests of pine, fir, cedar, oak and laurel timber, the best portion of which has been taken under the timber act. The foothills and mountains on the west abound in mines of gold and copper, the gold mines having been worked since 1851.
In the spring of 1852 there was a great rush to the gold mines near Jacksonville. The consequence was that the Rogue River Valley had a large population when a goodly portion of Iowa was a wilderness. The government, as an inducement to settlers in Oregon, had passed a "donation" act, giving a man and wife 640 acres and a single man 320 acres, as homesteads. The consequence was that most all of the rich valley lands were quickly located, and since then the settlements have been crowding up into the foothills and auxiliary valleys until nearly all the locations fit for settlement have been taken up, so at this time, I am sorry to say that I do not know of a single desirable tract for a homestead in the two counties.
Immigrants should not be induced to come here thinking that they can find desirable homesteads, for they will be sadly disappointed, either here or any of the valleys between the Cascade and Coast ranges.
Notwithstanding there is no desirable lands for homestead, this is the most desirable place in the United States for a man with moderate means (from $1,000 up) to make a home in. He can do it quicker and easier and without suffering the discomforts of the rigorous climate localities further east. We have a greater variety of industries than most any other locality. We have fruit, grain, stock, timber and mines. None of these suffer depression at the same time, so we always have plenty of recourses to keep our people from suffering. The pioneers who took up the large homesteads 50 years ago are fast passing away, and their rich holdings are being divided up and sold in small tracts suitable for cozy homes, and large tracts which were entered upon by stockmen years ago for grazing purposes are grazed out and require cultivation, and are being sold in small tracts upon which good homes are being made. The large herds of stock are being transferred to the wild grazing lands "east of the mountains," and the land heretofore devoted to that purpose is being planted in fruit or used for grain raising.
The fruit industry, which started shortly after the advent of the railroad here, bids to be the leading industry, and the results have been highly satisfactory since the orchards have become bearing. Of the fruits, we raise apples, pears, peaches, apricots, nectarines and prunes; also all kinds of grapes in as great perfection as in California. Soft-shelled almonds are easily raised, and quite a quantity have already been shipped. English walnuts and most any other walnuts are easily raised here. Apples are raised more than any other fruit, as their keeping qualities enable them to be shipped long distances; a large portion of our crop is now sold in England, some of our best varieties having been sold in London at 14 shillings for a box of 45 pounds.
The Spitzenburg and Yellow Newtown Pippins are the favorite apples, as they are raised in greater perfection than anywhere else in the world and readily command $1.00 per box, f.o.b. here. The orchards commence bearing in from 5 to 8 years from the time of planting, according to the soil, whether it is warm and dry or rich and moist.
One of the first orchards set out here bore about one box to the tree at five years old, the trees being set out about fifty trees to the acre. Trees at 8 years old average about 5 boxes, and as they grow older from 10 to 20 boxes. From ten-acre tracts here have been sold this season from $2,000 to $6,000 worth of apples; on the $6,000 ten-acre tract the trees had been set out from 8 to 10 years.
The trees are generally set out 30 feet apart, and for the first four or five years corn or other cereals are raised between the rows. After that time the trees require the use of all the ground.
Good orchard land can be had from $6 to $100 per acre, according to quality and location, near or remote from the railroad.
There are many crops that can be profitably raised besides apples. One man realized $600 per acre from two acres of onions this year; hops have been a profitable crop in some localities. On lands that can be irrigated alfalfa can be raised from 5 to 8 tons per acre for the three crops. There is a creamery in successful operation in the upper part of the valley, and another is to be started here soon. There are sawmills, sash and door factories and box factories in different parts of the valley; there are numerous quartz mills in the mines; there are two enormous dams being constructed on Rogue River, costing at $75,000, each for the purpose of generating electric power for the mines and for mills to work up our fine bodies of timber. One large irrigating ditch, costing over $100,000, is being constructed and nearing completion, and another much larger under contemplation. So with the large force employed in the orchards and other industries, together with the mines, there is abundant employment for those who want to work.
Our climate is very mild (no coal famine here), very seldom falling below 32 degrees above zero. In the 42 years that I have been here the lowest was 4 degrees above zero, and that only once in a great many years. We have but very little wind here, as we are sheltered by the mountains. We have as good schools as you have in the East and a full complement of churches. Our people are fully civilized and will gladly welcome any who may come among us to help develop our resources, and while we have no homestead government tracts to offer, we think our country offers many inducements to homeseekers that the newer and more remote portions of the country do not have. Very respectfully yours,
J. S. HOWARD.Medford Mail, January 23, 1903, page 3
Medford, Jackson County, Oregon,
Jan. 15, 1903.
R. L. Andrus, "A Western Letter," Bolivar Breeze, Bolivar, New York, February 19, 1903, page 1
Unprecedented Prosperity in Every Branch of Industrial Work.
JACKSONVILLE, April 3.--It is gratifying to be able to say that at no period in the history of Jackson [County] has the county been so prosperous as at the present time. All lines of business are prosecuted in a more intelligent and systematic manner, and there is everywhere more vigor and energy manifested in the legitimate industries. The excitement and glamor incident to new discoveries in the mines in earlier days have ceased to be disturbing factors, and attention is given more directly to the permanent and less hazardous business affairs connected with home building and the development of the natural resources of the county. The year just past was one of the most prosperous Jackson County has ever experienced. The large gold output, the heavy yield and high price of fruit, the ready sale at good prices of stock, wool, hops, lumber, poultry, dairy and other products swelled the aggregate revenues for the year to something like $500,000. There was a greater demand for labor last year and at better prices than ever before, and no one went begging for a job who wanted work.Description of the Rogue River Valley.
The Medford-Butte Creek ditch, the Gold Hill High Line Ditch, the Ashland oil-drilling plant, the survey of the C. R. Ray Co. canal to Rogue River, the survey and partial completion of this company's dam across Rogue River near Tolo, the construction of the steel bridge at Medford, the installation of a large, general gasoline gas plant at Jacksonville--these and many other lesser enterprises and improvements, added to the current new building, new clearing and improvements, created a demand for labor far in excess of any previous year, and the payroll being mainly from foreign capital largely increased the circulating medium, so that money was plentiful and easy during the whole year.
The enterprises for the present year, so far as I am advised, will be the completion of the dam across Rogue River, the installation of an immense power plant at the dam for mining, manufacturing, lighting, irrigating and other purposes. This plant and its various adjuncts and dependencies will give employment to perhaps not less than 200 men. The construction of two 20-stamp mills, one near Gold Hill by the C. R. Ray Co., the other by the late purchaser of the Opp mine on Jackson Creek, the operation of three large sawmill plants, two of which are now running at full capacity near Jacksonville, the other on Applegate to commence work as soon as the machinery can be placed in position, the large brick schoolhouse to be built in Jacksonville, and brick for same to be made and burned here, the new creamery now in process of construction at Medford. These new enterprises will furnish employment for at least 200 men. The laying of the large new main for the Ashland waterworks will be an important public enterprise which will require a large amount of labor to complete.
Should the report prove true that L. T. Ward, one of the original incorporators of the Gold Hill High Line Ditch, has secured funds in the East with which to proceed with the work of construction, a large number of men will be required for the next two years for this work.
In conversation with the County School Superintendent P. H. Daily, who is over the county a great deal visiting schools, respecting industrial affairs generally, he said: "I have been here for the past 12 years, and at no time during this period has the outlook been so encouraging as at the present. All lines of business are active, and the demand for labor at unusually large wages was never so great before. Money seems to be plentiful and seeking investment, all classes of people are easy and comfortable, and the most hopeful feeling exists all over the county. From what I have seen and heard in my travels over the county, this will undoubtedly be the most prosperous year during my residence here. There is not a whisper of hard times, no bewailing of conditions, no complaint of the scarcity of labor, but in lieu, a general feeling of satisfaction and encouragement such as has never before existed since I came to the county. Yes, Jackson County is all right, and with the completion of the large enterprises now on foot, will take rank among the most advanced counties in the state. Though the immigration to the county was quite large, the school census for some reason increased but little during the past year, only about 100."
From the best information obtainable the immigration last year was about 500. The County Recorder estimates 6000 acres of new land taken up during the year.
----Sunday Oregonian, Portland, April 5, 1903, page 8
ASHLAND, April 3.--It is thought to be a conservative estimate when it is said that the population of Ashland and vicinity has been increased by immigration 10 percent during the past year, and the immigration of the present spring, which is to be added to this, shows an increase over the corresponding period of 1902. The immigration is of a desirable kind of people, too, for it has included a large proportion of those who, if not in independent circumstances, come here with a moderate competence to cast their lot in a congenial clime and amidst pleasant surroundings, with good home and school influences.
The immigration makes itself felt in business enterprises of every kind and has operated to increase the swelling tide of prosperity which has swept over this section of Oregon more noticeably, perhaps, than in some other sections of the state.
Fruitgrowing has taken on a new impetus, encouraged by several years of prosperity in succession in this industry, and new orchards and more careful attention to old ones are apparently well justified by the returns. Thousands of acres of new apple orchards, especially, are being planted in the Rogue River Valley and the apple industry, already a big one in this section, promises to assume large proportions. The dairying industry has been steadily growing the past year. The Ashland creamery has established substations and installed many individual farmers' separators and the industry has been developed into a fixed and paying and growing business. The rich bottom lands of this vicinity, while naturally limited in extent, are found to be exceedingly profitable for gardening and berry culture, and the increasing population and facilities for shipping are bringing this industry in the front more and more every year, and many communities in Southern Oregon and Northern California have come to depend upon getting their supplies of garden truck and berries as well as their peaches and other fruits from Ashland.
Probably the largest local industrial enterprise now operating here is the Ashland Manufacturing Co., which has large lumber mills on Neil Creek, just south of here, and planing mills and box factories in the city. A large new sawmill with a capacity of 50,000 feet per day's cutting is now under construction to supplement the sawing facilities already in operation, and the year 1903 promises to be by far the greatest one in the history of the lumber industry locally.
The schools of Ashland have been an important factor in increasing the population of the city. The growth of the city's public schools has been steady in attendance and efficiency as the population has grown. There are now approximately 1100 children of school age in the city, of whom about 700 are enrolled in the public schools. Another year is to be added to the high school course, which will bring the schools to a standard of advanced study second to none. The Southern Oregon State Normal School, which is located here, has made a remarkable showing the past year, doubling and trebling its attendance, until it is at the head of the list of normal schools of the state.
Ashland has a payroll of about $15,000 per month from the Southern Pacific Company, this being a division point and the home of probably 150 of its well-paid employees. The increase of the business over the lines of the company, which has been large, has made more employment for train men and engine men and swelled the monthly payroll here to no small extent.
The Ashland Board of Trade, Mr. G. C. Morris, president, is ever on the alert to further the interests of this section and lends a hand to every worthy enterprise that it can assist. Mr. Morris is an enthusiastic believer in the future of the city of Ashland and proud of its rapid and steady growth, but is not much inclined to talk for publication. Recently he has been endeavoring to center the influence of the Board where it will be the most effective in securing a system of sewerage for Ashland, which is very badly needed. A committee of the Board is now cooperating with the City Council in making plans to this end, and there seems little doubt that the work of inaugurating the system will be gotten under way during the present year.
It is situated near the central part of Jackson Co., Ore., the dimensions of which are nearly twenty miles in width by thirty miles in length, numerous small hills included in the dimension which arise from 300 to 1,000 feet in height above the valley. The Siskiyou Range can be seen in a distance in the south, from all parts of the valley which is capped in almost perpetual snow. The same can be said of the Cascade Range lying east of the valley; the Coast Range to the west and the Umpqua Range to the north are ever in view but do not reach to such high altitude and consequently do not carry the snow of the former two.
Ashland, a small city, is situated in the most southerly part of the valley. It has inhabitants near 3,000, it is one of the principal cities of the valley; it is located on the line of the S.P.R.R. and is near the junction of the two streams, Ashland and Bear creeks. The two streams, after emerging into one, retains the name of Bear Creek which flows in a northwesterly direction through the valley. The route of the railroad traverses Bear Creek its entire length.
Then following down Bear Creek from Ashland in a northwesterly direction the valley widens out to twenty miles in width. From leaving Ashland four miles distant on the R.R., we come to Talent, a small station. The soil in this locality is very fertile, a large proportion of the soil being planted in fruit trees. In the adjoining hills around are rich placer mines. A distance of three miles brings us to Phoenix, a small but one of the oldest towns in the valley; a distance of five miles brings us to Medford, it being the business center of nearly all the valley. Most of the land adjoining Medford is an unbroken field of orchard. Jacksonville lies to the extreme west of the valley and possesses rich placer mines. Four miles distant brings us to Central Point, it being a small railroad station. At that point we leave the railroad, and by wagon traverse a northeasterly direction for ten miles, thus arriving at Eagle Point, a small village, it being located on Little Butte Creek five miles from its mouth. This stream rises at the foot of Mt. Pitt and flows in a westerly direction to a point where it empties into Rogue River. Its entire length being about forty miles. Mt. Pitt being situated on the Cascade Range of mountains near the boundary line between Jackson and Klamath counties, the altitude being 9,000 feet. Brownsboro, a small village, also located on Little Butte Creek, it being nine miles from its mouth. Seven miles farther brings us to Lake Creek P.O.
Little Butte Creek flows through fertile valleys twenty miles of its length, much of this land being set out in apple trees of choice varieties.
Rogue River's choicest apples were purchased along this stream and were shipped to different points of the world.
There are numerous mineral springs situated in the foothills along this stream which are thronged with people during the summer and fall seasons of the year. There is good trout fishing along this stream.
At present there is a large irrigation ditch under construction; the ditch is to take water out of the Little Butte Creek, about three miles above Lake Creek P.O., which will cover the larger portion of the Rogue River Valley.
The hills and mountains surrounding the valley are covered with dense forests of timber which in the near future will be valuable for commercial purposes.
We will now return to Central Point again and resume our course through the valley. Continuing on from this point five miles we come to Tolo, also known as Ft. Lane. It is near the junction of Bear Creek and Rogue River, the latter being the principal stream that flows through the valley.
After crossing Rogue River we come to Sams Valley, it being a nice little valley lying between the river and foothills. There is a small village located in this valley named Moonville. Then seven miles up the river we come to the meadows, it being a fertile little valley lying back from the river a short distance and surrounded by low hills. This being a brief description of the Rogue River Valley.
EAGLE POINT.Eagle Point, located on Little Butte Creek, about three miles from Rogue River, is a small village, at present containing two hotels, two stores, two blacksmith shops, two drug stores, a flour mill, church, school house, saloon, millinery store and post office. The place was named by Andrew McNeal in honor of the national bird. The post office was established in 1872, Andrew McNeal being postmaster. This gentleman retained the position until 1877, when it devolved upon F. B. Inlow, who held the office for a number of years, A J. Florey now being postmaster.
The site of Eagle Point was taken up in 1853 by Abraham Robinson, George Ludlow and Freeman Smith. Mr. Robinson is now in Boise, Idaho; Mr. Ludlow died in Iowa several years ago, and Mr. Smith returned to the East. The individuals took up 800 acres as joint property for the purpose of gardening and raising livestock for the market of Jacksonville sixteen miles distant. Smith sold to James J. Fryer in August 1853.
The Journal, Winchester, Indiana, July 1, 1903, page 6
Some Entertaining and Instructive Drives.
Last Friday noon Professor A. B. Cordley and Professor E. R. Lake, of the State Agricultural College at Corvallis, arrived at Jacksonville to take part in the fruitgrowers convention that was held Saturday in this place. During the first part of the afternoon the professors were shown by K. K. Kubli the historic points of interest about town and the fine collection of Indian relics and curios in the Table Rock Saloon that is one of the best collections on the Pacific Coast and which was collected by the late A. Helms and added to by his sons Edward and Harry. The professors were then taken to the Britt home by Emil Britt, where they spent some time in enjoying the beauties of the handsome park about the house, the rare collection of trees, shrubs and flowers being very interesting to them. Mr. P. Britt showed them his collection of photographs and daguerreotypes that without doubt contains more rare pictures than any other gallery in Oregon, for there are daguerreotypes taken by Mr. Britt in St. Louis, some as early as 1846, also the first pictures taken in Southern Oregon, being daguerreotypes taken by Mr. Britt soon after his arrival in Jacksonville in October, 1852. There can also be seen the first photograph ever taken in Southern Oregon, which was made by Mr. Britt in 1857 [sic]. He has the first photograph ever taken of Crater Lake, which he took in August, 1874. As both of the professors are amateur photographers, they were greatly interested in Mr. Britt's collection of lenses, which number 26 and include the little daguerreotype lenses with which he learned the art in 1846 and a big photographic lens that cost him $250 in New York. The professors also visited Judge H. K. Hanna's home where a pleasant time was spent in looking over the fine collection of trees and plants that Judge and Mrs. Hanna have. Prof. Lake, who had his camera with him, took a picture of a giant almond tree, a foot and a half in diameter, and of a bearing olive tree that stand in the Judge's yard. The professors also got some fine view in Mr. Britt's yard.
Saturday morning professors Cordley and Lake visited the new school house, shown through it by Director P. Applegate. They paid Jacksonville the compliment of having one of the best school houses in the state as to perfect arrangement, convenience and appearance. The handsome knoll upon which it is situated they pronounced a model location and if planted, all but the playground, to trees, shrubs and flowers would make a yard for beauty hardly equaled on the Pacific Coast. On the rain of the morning ceasing the professors were shown over the town by Prof. E. E. Washburn and Charles Meserve. Prof. Lake used his camera frequently and got views of the new school house, of the first school building erected in Jacksonville, [and] the largest elder tree in Oregon, it being 37 inches in diameter. He also took several views in the cemetery, which both he and Professor Cordley pronounced the handsomest in its natural beauty of any that they have seen in all their travels. The natural beauty of the hills about Jacksonville in their tree verdure of oak, madrona, pine, mountain mahogany, manzanita and other trees and shrubs was freely commented upon by the professors, and they selected Gov. Beekman's hill as an ideal site for a park of 100 acres and the location for a grand hotel that would attract patrons from the fog- [and] rain-deluged sections of the coast districts of Oregon and Washington and the windswept districts of the East. Their opinion was that such a park and hotel would be as profitable as are those at the California resorts and be a big factor to the permanent prosperity of Jacksonville.
The professors, desiring to see more of the valley and not having the time at their command to remain over Monday, were taken Sunday by Emil Britt and Charles Meserve in a carriage and driven through the fruit districts. They were first taken to the Britt vineyard, where they examined the many different varieties of grapes that are being tested by Mr. Britt. They had visited Mr. Britt's wine vault the previous day, and they pronounced the grapes and the wine as fine as is produced in the United States and predicted that in time to come the Rogue River hills would be dotted with vineyards and that the valley would gain a reputation for grapes and for wine equal to that of the Rhine.
From the vineyard the party went up the hillside to an old abandoned orchard in Mr. Britt's pasture where the 30 Asiatic ladybird beetles received by Prof. Cordley from Dr. Howard, entomologist for the Department of Agriculture at Washington, were placed upon a small pear tree in a thicket of pear sprouts that were all infested with the San Jose scale. Within five minutes several of the beetles began feeding upon the scale. While Prof. Cordley was placing the beetles on the tree Prof. Lake took a photograph of the scene, for it may become a notable event should the beetle bugs multiply and eradicate the scale from Southern Oregon orchards. Tuesday Mr. Britt again visited the tree and found 8 of the beetles upon it. The others had either died, migrated to other trees, for they can fly readily, or had been eaten by the birds.
Returning to Jacksonville, the party drove to Griffin Creek, where a stop was made at the home of Mr. and Mrs. S. W. Boyd. A chicken dinner was had such as only a good cook like Mrs. Boyd can prepare and to which full justice was done, the professors proving themselves quite the equal of the traditional preacher as chicken eaters. A brief examination was made of Mr. Boyd's orchard, which consists of 10 acres of old trees and 52 acres of trees planted last winter. Both orchards were in the best of condition, and the old trees were bending, though thinned twice, under a load of fruit that will average 95 percent perfect, for Mr. Boyd is a thorough orchardist, as he is a farmer, for he has the young orchard in corn and the entire 52 acres will yield above 40 bushels of big firm ears that would do credit to Illinois. Mr. Boyd is a new settler, having been here less than two years, but he has found that there is money in fruit. Last week he picked 225 boxes from 23 King of Tompkins County trees which he sold for 80 cents a box, making $180 from less than a half acre of ground, with 40 boxes yet on the trees. Had the trees been Newtowns or Spitzenburgs the returns would have been of $375 for the half acre.
From Mr. Boyd's place the party drove by the Voorhies, Lewis, Whitman. DeHart and other orchards, the professors noticing the fine condition of each, and arriving at the home of S. L. Bennett, two miles north of Medford, a stop was made. Mr. Bennett is president of the Rogue River Fruit Growers Union and one of the most thorough orchardists in the county. His orchard, like all the other commercial orchards of the valley, was found to be in the very best of condition, the trees free from pests and the fruit so perfect and bright that some of the apples looked as though made of wax. Mr. Bennett is testing a new apple, which he has named Bennetts Seedling, that promises to be a leading apple for Rogue River, for it is a thrifty tree, prolific and yearly bearer, and the fruit embodies all that is desirable in a shipper, for they are round, handsome colored, of red, mottled with a golden yellow, fine flavored and a splendid keeper, and stand the hard usage of transporting equal to the best Newtown. These apples keep easily to the first of July, that being the average date that Mr. Bennett has had them for family use. Both Prof. Cordley and Prof. Lake were greatly interested in the trees of this new variety, for Mr. Bennett now has several that are bearing besides his first tree, and they thought that it might become one of the noted apples of the country.
Mr. Bennett is also a farmer and has a cornfield that would excite the admiration of an Iowan, and his melon patch would do credit to Georgia. The melons were generously sampled by the party, and Mr. Bennett presented the professors with a 40-pound specimen to take home with them to Corvallis. As to profit in apples, Mr. Bennett last year sold $940 worth of Newtowns from an acre and a half of ground. While that would be impossible with an eastern orchard, it is frequently equalled by other Rogue River orchards.
Returning to Medford, the train was found to be an hour late, so a short drive was taken to the hill east of Medford, where the professors were given another view of the valley, which they declared more resembled the famous Santa Clara Valley of California than any other valley of this coast in its beauty, fertility and progressiveness. Both Prof. Lake and Prof. Cordley were most favorably impressed with what they saw of the Rogue River Valley and did not hesitate to say that its climate, productiveness and progressive people could and would make of it one of our national garden spots, and their visit here will be sure to be of advantage to the valley, for in their extensive travels they meet many people who are seeking a new home and who will ask questions relative to various localities that the professors are familiar with, and that the professors will always speak a good word for the Rogue River Valley is not to be doubted for a moment.
Jacksonville Sentinel, September 11, 1903, page 5
The City of Medford, Jackson County, OregonTwenty years ago the present site of Medford, Jackson County, Oregon, was a chaparral patch, populated principally with jackrabbit; now it is a thriving city of nearly three thousand inhabitants, with everything that goes to make up a modern, up-to-date community. It is a city of churches and schools. Nine religious denominations are represented here, viz: Episcopal, Presbyterian, German Lutheran, North, South and Free Methodists, Baptists, Christian and Catholics; each has a good-sized membership.
The Medford High School, of which Prof. N. L. Narregan is principal, has a corps of eleven teachers and an attendance of over four hundred pupils; a thorough grammar course is taught.
The Medford Business College is now in its second year, and is under the direction of Prof. P. Ritner. It is gaining in attendance and will ultimately rank high among the educational institutions of Southern Oregon.
Almost every branch of business and industry is represented in Medford. There are seven large dry goods and clothing establishments, two of which also carry groceries, four exclusive grocery houses, two boot and shoe stores, three blacksmith shops, a tinshop, two furniture stores, two confectionery stores, three barber shops, a merchant tailoring establishment, two jewelry stores, one hotel, two restaurants, two lodging houses, two printing offices, five saloons, four hardware stores, a foundry and machine shop, cigar factory, three dentist offices, four doctors, a private hospital, three legal firms, an ice manufacturing plant, two banks, a harness shop, creamery, two livery stables, two marble shops, three millinery stores, three implement houses, two opera houses, and half a dozen real estate agents.
Medford transacts a greater volume of business than any other city of its size in the state, due to the extensive country tributary to it. People come a distance of over one hundred miles, from across the Cascade Range, in the fall, to buy their winter supplies from Medford merchants.
Climate and Surroundings.--The town is situated almost in the center of the Rogue River Valley, famous for its genial climate and productive soil. The climate is a happy medium between the extreme humidity of the north and the dry, hot climate of California. Although over thirteen hundred feet above sea level, the thermometer rarely falls below 20 degrees above zero in the winter, and only twice does the "oldest inhabitant" recollect that the zero point has been reached. Snow does not fall more than a few inches at a time, and the luxury of a sleigh ride is practically unknown. The Cascade Range of mountains borders the valley on the east, while the Siskiyou chain forms the southern boundary. The Coast Range and branches of the Cascades enclose the valley on the west and north so that it is literally surrounded by high mountains, whose precipitous sides are clothed with mighty forests of fir, cedar and pine, which will one day make one of the principal sources of wealth to this section.
Resources.--The next important question after climate is that of resources. To answer this question favorably two conditions are indispensable. First, the country must possess the latent elements of wealth, and, secondly, those latent resources must be available; that is, the material elements necessary for the support of a great commonwealth must be of sufficient quantity and variety to diversify the labor required in their development. It is also necessary that those resources should be within the reach of the willing hand of industry. Land is the basis of all wealth, agriculture the basis of civilization, and diversified industries the key that retains wealth in a community. Examine Jackson County and the country around Medford on this hypothesis. She has 1,658,880 acres of timber, grazing, mineral and agricultural land. From this land may be produced all that is necessary for the support of beasts and men. Her vast forest, comprising every variety of wood necessary for the wants of ripe civilization, awaits the echo of the woodsman's ax, the buzz of the saw, the mellow hum of the planer and the merry clatter of arms of iron and fingers of steel. To aid the advance of civilization and give it permanence there are stored large banks of potter's clay, beds of cement, veins of coal, quarries of limestone, sandstone, marble and granite, mountains of iron sufficient to bed a continent, and mines of gold, capable of yielding, when developed, circulating medium for a grand, prosperous commonwealth. These are some of the latent elements of wealth, some of the factors of a progressive society, which only await the magic touch of the willing hand of industry to cause them to bud and blossom and bear rich fruits of a progressive Christian civilization.
Wheat, rye, oats and barley grow well on all soils, and yield fine crops. The straw is generally bright and clean, free from rust or mildew, and the grain full, plump and well-matured. Owing to this fact the wheat of Rogue River Valley is sought after and always commands the highest market price. The best lands will average thirty to forty bushels of oats per acre. Fields under the modern, thorough system of farming often produce fifty to sixty bushels of wheat per acre and a corresponding amount of oats. Tame grasses, such as timothy, clover, bluegrass, alfalfa, etc., are not a success on common uplands. But on bottom lands, where the soil is damp, or such as is generally used for meadow land, or where the land can be irrigated, all tame grasses grow in the richest profusion. The poorest sandy, gravelly soil, favored by irrigation, will produce three or four crops of alfalfa each season. It is a frequent fact for the land around Medford to produce three crops of alfalfa each year and without irrigation.
Corn grows well on all good soils and yields on an average of from forty to sixty bushels per acre. The summers being dry, less labor is required to keep the land free of weeds than in other sections. This section affords fine opportunities for the raising of hogs, and nowhere can quicker or more profitable returns be made from an industry of this character, as the mildness of the climate and the absence of epidemic diseases, coupled with a ready and accessible market, ensure immediate results. There is no section where hogs can be more easily or profitably raised than in Rogue River Valley.
What has been said of hogs can be said of poultry. They are remarkably healthy and profitable, and many of our people make handsome profits from this industry, and our women find themselves ever supplied with needful "pin" money.
Soil of the Valley.--The great diversity of soils and the admixture of the elements composing one class of soil with those of another grade renders it exceedingly difficult, in the space at our command, to describe it so that one not acquainted with its peculiarities and the climatic influences can form a rational conclusion concerning its merits. The soil of all sections of country seems to be adapted to the climate, or the climate of the soil. These two conditions appear to be admirably adjusted here. There is no frost to loosen up or pulverize the mineral elements, but this work is done by chemical action, caused by the admixture found in nearly every grade of soil.
Vegetation of every description can here be found. It has all the natural elements of the Garden of Eden, and with little aid of man will in many ways (according to history) produce nearly if not as abundantly as did that old famous garden which is known through historical ages passed down from generation to generation until the present time, and, to those among us who envy Father Adam, we will say Come to the Rogue River Valley (the Valley of Eden) and you will soon be able to enjoy the extensive natural growths of delicious fruits such as we have read about and longed to see and realize. Rogue River Valley without a doubt or exception has the best apple- and pear-producing soil that can be found on this earth. Apples grown near Medford bring an average of $4 per bushel in London, England, and as high as $12 per bushel in Alaska. The wholesale price for export f.o.b. at the nearest station exceeds the retail price in the local market. This shows the superiority of the Rogue River fruit against that of the world. London buyers can be found busy in the fall season purchasing all the fruit accessible.
Fruit.--Starting from a shipment of twenty carloads during the season ten years ago, the industry has grown until now there are a dozen orchards surrounding the town that ship that many carloads of apples and pears each, and a number of them more than twice that number every year. Nowhere on earth does the Bartlett pear and the Newtown Pippin and Spitzenburg apple grow to such perfection as here. Other varieties grow in great profusion, but the above-named varieties are the choice products of the orchards. A Southern Oregon apple or pear, with the brand of one of our prominent growers on the box, is sure to bring the top price in any market in the world.
One reason of the superior quality of Rogue River Valley fruit is the care that is taken of the orchards the year 'round. Five or six different times during the year every tree is carefully sprayed to remove insects which prove injurious to the fruit, beginning in the early spring and only leaving off just before the fruit is ready to gather.
When gathered the fruit is carefully graded, none but the perfect fruit being saved for shipment. This is again assorted as to size, and carefully wrapped--each apple or pear separately--and packed in orderly rows in the boxes, with an additional layer of paper between the layers of apples. Then the boxes are loaded into a refrigerator car and started on the long journey to the markets of the world.
Prunes, peaches, apricots, berries and all varieties of small fruits grow in profusion, but the main products of the orchards are apples and pears.
Cereals.--All cereals take kindly to the climate and soil. Large yields of wheat and oats are common, and corn grows well and of good quality. However, the geographical situation of the valley and distance from market cause other crops to be more profitable, and very little grain is grown beyond that needed for home consumption.
Stock.--In the foothills on the east and tributary to Medford are located many flourishing stock farms. The season during which stock have to be fed is short, and for most of the year they range on the succulent grasses of the mountains and wax fat with comparatively little cost to the owner.
Mining.--The rock-ribbed hills of Southern Oregon are seamed with gold, and much of this passes through the banks of Medford. Both placer and quartz mining are followed, and successfully.
Medford is situated midway in an extensively gold-bearing belt covering the northern and southern slopes of the Siskiyou Mountains, sometimes known as the Klamath Mountains, whose older rocks have enriched the gold placer diggings of Jackson County and the Klamath River districts. Mining for gold is one of the leading industries of Southern Oregon. It is also the oldest. It is estimated that more than $30,000,000 have been extracted from the placer and quartz mines of Jackson County since gold was first mined at Jacksonville. At this day placer mining is conducted almost wholly by hydraulicking, which requires some capital in the business. More than half the gold output of the region is from this source. Quartz mining assumed no great importance until within the last eight years. With the advent of capital and experienced knowledge in the business, quartz mining has gained an unquestioned position as a permanent and highly important industry in which there is a large amount of money invested, and affording employment to a very considerable portion of the population. The developments already made have demonstrated continuity of the vein formations with persistence of workable values on the deep levels opened. The deepest mine in Southern Oregon is within two miles of Ashland, and the gold-bearing vein has greatly improved with depth. There is extensive development on these properties, comprising more than a thousand feet of excavation on the Shorty-Hope, about a mile of shafts, tunnels and drifts on the Ashland, and considerable explorations on the 180-foot level of the Free Silver, the latter being a large body of complex ore, rich in gold and silver. The ores of the other properties named, and generally in the district, are mostly simple and free milling. The Ashland has attained a depth of 750 feet in free-milling ore of high grade. The Shorty-Hope has a 10-stamp mill on its property. There are many lode prospects undergoing development, and a number of them may be expected to become paying mines. Some important developments of cinnabar ore are being made, and prospects of this mineral are being found elsewhere.
The famous Sterling and Sturgis hydraulic mines, two of the largest mines of the kind in the state, are located but a few miles from Medford.
Timber.--North, south, east and west of the Rogue River Valley stretch miles on miles of timbered mountains. Gigantic sugar and yellow pines rear their lofty crests, and the leaves of mighty firs of every species rustle in the breezes on the mountainsides, waiting for the time to come when they shall be called upon to add their quota to the world's wealth. Trees from eight to twelve feet in diameter are frequently met with, and a 160-acre tract that won't "cruise" several million feet is not really considered particularly valuable. In its timber lies one of the principal resources of this section, and as yet it is almost entirely undeveloped.
Light and Water.--The city owns its own electric light and water system--the latter being used only for irrigating purpose, water for domestic purposes being procured from wells. The city is now conducting negotiations with outside corporations to furnish electric lights and power, and a change in the present system will likely be made shortly.
Fish Lake Ditch.--One of the most important enterprises now under way in the country is what is known as the Fish Lake Ditch. The company having this matter in hand have control of the waters of Fish Lake on the summit of the Cascades, at the base of Mt. Pitt, which rears its snow-capped head 10,000 feet above the sea level and is visible from all portions of the valley. The waters of this lake are pure and cold, and it is expected that ultimately it will be piped to Medford and will furnish an inexhaustible supply of the purest water for all purposes. Medford will then have a water supply unexcelled anywhere. At present the ditch is over twenty miles long, and next spring the water will be brought upon a large area of semi-arid land owned by the company. There is a large body of this land lying along the south bank of Rogue River, which at present is unproductive, but experiments on a small scale have demonstrated the richness of the soil, and the ditch company expect to make it as productive as other portions of the valley when water shall have been brought upon it.
Hunting and Fishing.--The surrounding mountains are [a] veritable hunters' paradise. The heavy timber and rocky steeps furnish ideal hiding places for game of all kinds, while the streams are alive with fish. Rogue River abounds in steelhead, cutthroat and rainbow trout and salmon, which afford excellent sport for the fisherman, while the smaller streams of the higher levels are filled with the delicious mountain trout. Deer, bear, mountain lion and other large game are numerous in the dark defiles of the Cascades, while in the valley quail and other game birds are plentiful. Mongolian pheasants were introduced into the valley several years go, and in a few years will be quite plentiful.
Crater Lake.--So much has been said of this great natural wonder that it would seem difficult to find something new to say; yet, no matter how many times one might visit the lake, he will always find something he has not seen before, or experience a new sensation, and he never loses the sense of awe inspired by the silent and awful grandeur of the mighty charm in which lies the shimmering, sparkling waters of Crater Lake. Standing on the brink of those lofty cliffs one can faintly realize the terrific convulsion of nature which blew the top of the twin of mighty Shasta, which towers 14,400 feet in air, into fragments and left a crater seven miles across and 4000 feet deep where now is Crater Lake. Medford is the principal starting point for parties wishing to visit the lake, and the best time for the trip is from the middle of July until the middle of September. By reason of its altitude--8000 feet--the snow usually comes early and falls to a considerable depth, so that, from October to June, Crater Lake is silent and unvisited. The usual route is up Rogue River over a very fair road a distance of eighty miles from Medford, but, if one does not mind a little roughing , a delightful side trip may be made along the divide between the watersheds of the Rogue and the Umpqua. Starting from Union Creek, seventeen miles west of the lake, a good trail leads to the summit of the divide of the "Cowhorns," two lofty pinnacles of lava rock which rise several hundred feet, near the summit of the ridge, and from a distance bear the resemblance to a gigantic pair of cow horns which gives them their name. Thence following the old Indian trail--used countless years before the white man invaded the country--along the summit of the divide through a country literally alive with game, a journey of twenty-five miles--three days at least should be devoted to this trip--you come to Diamond Lake, a beautiful sheet of water some five by three miles in extent, lying at the foot of Mt. Thielsen. This mountain is one of the least frequented and hardest to scale of any of the minor peaks of the range. The summit terminates in a needle-like [spire]--as it appears from the lake--not more than as large as a dining table on top, and the last part of the ascent is made by traversing a narrow shelf of rock, along a precipice hundreds of feet deep, and then scrambling up the almost perpendicular face of the cliff some thirty feet to the summit.
From Diamond Lake the way is easy to the north wall of Crater Lake, a distance of about twelve miles, being nearly level and through open timber. The trip above described is an enjoyable one to persons accustomed to mountain travel, but not advisable to weak or delicate people. The trip to the lake may be made along the road in comfort by wagon to the very rim of the lake; then, if desired, the party can return by way of Pelican Bay, famous as a fishing and hunting resort, and by way of the Dead Indian Road to the valley. Side trips may be made to historic Fort Klamath, Klamath Indian Agency, and many other interesting points. Along the route to Crater Lake are the beautiful Rogue River and Mill Creek Falls. At the latter a good-sized stream plunges boldly from a perpendicular cliff 110 feet high and dashes itself to spray on the rocks in Rogue River. Then at Union Creek is a natural bridge of solid lava, under which Rogue River rushes to emerge foaming 100 yards below. Along the route can be found grand and beautiful scenery in the shape of prosperous-looking farms, green alfalfa fields, sleek, well-fed cattle; higher up come foaming cascades, big trees and frowning precipices, to end at last in the chief of them all, the gem of the Cascades--grand, awe-inspiring, majestic Crater Lake.
Captain Gordon Voorhies.--Captain Voorhies is a native of Kentucky. He served six years in the regular army as lieutenant. During the Spanish-American War he was later appointed captain of staff and Assistant Adjutant General in the 4th United States Artillery, after which he came to Oregon and engaged extensively in the growing of choice fruits.
Mr. Voorhies purchased 425 acres of land near Medford, most of which he set to choice fruit; 140 acres are now in full bearing. This season's output is as follows: 16,000 bushels of pears, 6,000 bushels of apples, and about 40,000 pounds of prunes. The oldest trees in this orchard are 16 years old, while a large number of them are under 10 years. The average price per bushel for pears this season is $1.25; at this price the pears alone will bring a total of $20,000. The apples sold at the regular market price of $1.50 per box [and] will bring a total of $9,000. The prunes to be sold for the present price of from 3 to 4 cents per pound would bring a total of about $1,400. Thus, figuring the total cash receipts realized from the 140 acres of bearing fruit, we find that Mr. Voorhies received about $31,000, or on an average of $4,600 per acre for this season's crop. The fruit industry in this valley differs somewhat from that of other regions, inasmuch as a failure is unknown. It is true that different orchards vary somewhat in the quantity of their annual output; at the same time the smallest yield ever known was harvested at a fair profit, which ensures the fruit grower against loss.
C. H. Lewis.--C. H. Lewis is one of a large number of successful fruit growers. Mr. Lewis has about 200 acres of choice fruit, being mostly apples, pears and prunes. This season all three crops are found to be a most profitable enterprise. Mr. Lewis was formerly a member of a large wholesale firm in Portland, which business interests he sold in order to give his entire attention to the growing of Oregon apples and other choice fruit. It can be said that Mr. Lewis is somewhat original in his ideas, centered more particularly in his novel manner of living during fruit season. Located on the highest mound in the center of his fruit ranch is found a typical "bungalow" or summer residence, as is shown in the cut in this article. This bungalow is modern, finished in natural wood, has many conveniences of an up-to-date clubhouse, and it can be said that there is no bachelor compartment in any fruit country that can rival this novel summer cottage designed by Mr. Lewis.
Olwell Bros., Snowy Butte Orchards.--The now-famous Oregon apples were first grown and obtained their name from the Snowy Butte orchard. Those orchards are located six miles from Medford near Central Point. There are 320 acres in fruit--160 acres now in bearing--from the 160 acres will be harvested this year 35,000 bushels of fruit for export. Nearly the total amount has been contracted for by London firms, the average price running from $1.25 to $1.50 per box or bushel. At these prices the 160 acres in bearing fruit will pay a net profit of about $40,000, the total receipts amounting to about $50,000. Oregon apples are very carefully wrapped in paper and find a ready market in Alaska, London and other foreign markets. A large number of boxes are shipped to Alaska and sell readily at from $12 to $16 per box. In London they bring from $2.50 to $5 per box. Pears are as much in demand, but sell for a few dollars less in Alaska than the apple, on account of not being so well preserved when they arrive at their destination.
S. L. Bennett.--S. L. Bennett is one of the oldest residents in or near Medford. Mr. Bennett states that from three acres of choice apples last year he received $12,000, leaving $1,000 net profit, after paying expense of growing.This is a fair sample of the average apple yield under fair circumstances. Mr. Bennett has the distinction of growing a new variety of apple known as the Bennett Seedling. This seedling was first located in a fence corner, having probably sprung up from a seed; a good variety of apple was found on a small branch which was later grafted into another thrifty shrub, and today we have a large red apple very much like the Northern Spy. A cut of one of the trees is shown in this article. There are now several trees of the Bennett Seedling, which apple no doubt has a big future.
Mitchell & Boeck.--This firm is particularly interested in the wagon and blacksmithing business in Medford, but an interesting story connected with the fruit industry is here concealed. There are a great many people who are still skeptical about the profits acquired in the production of fruit. To such a person the following would be of much interest: The above-named firm purchased 80 acres of land lying four miles northeast of Medford. This tract of land was considered by the owner to be of little value. Therefore Messrs. Mitchell & Boeck purchased it for $20 per acre. On this tract, which had received so little care, is an apple orchard of seven acres. These gentlemen who purchased the property, after pruning, spraying and properly cultivating the fruit, have changed this seven acres from a vast forest of brush and weeds to a profitable and creditable orchard of choice fruit, which in two years has paid for the eighty acres of land, leaving a small margin in cash. This is one of the many opportunities awaiting the enterprising farmer or fruit grower.
J. A. Whitman.--Within a 10 minutes' walk of town is the fruit ranch of J. A. Whitman, consisting of 190 acres; 120 acres are now in bearing fruit. Mr. Whitman makes a specialty of growing the Newtowns, Baldwins and Spitzenburg apples and the Winter Nelis pear. Some Bartletts are shipped in the early season, but the winter fruit is much more valuable. Like all other choice fruit grown in the Rogue River Valley, the output of this ranch is consumed by the London and foreign markets.
Joseph O. Smith.--Fruit is not the only product that can be successfully grown in this valley. Mr. Smith has as fine an agricultural farm as can be found in this county. There are 180 acres, valued at $70 per acre; 60 acres of this are in alfalfa, while the balance is used in diversified farming.
J. McPherson.--A native of the state of Indiana, came to Oregon in 1888, has 107 acres of choice fruit and agricultural land. This farm was purchased for $15 per acre only a few years ago, and today it cannot be bought for $150 per acre. The farm is producing over $5,000 worth of products each year, is located five miles southwest of Medford on what is known as Griffin Creek.
J. P. True.--Is no doubt one of the first settlers in this valley. He is a native of the Empire State, having come here 32 years ago. Mr. True owns 220 acres of mostly cleared and choice land.
E. J. DeHart.--Is a native of the Empire State, came to Oregon in 1861, engaged in the hardware business in Portland as a member of the firm of Honeyman, DeHart & Co. He now owns the Oak Lawn Orchard, located in the outskirts of Medford, consisting of eighty acres mostly set to choice fruit. The accompanying cut shows the residence of Mr. DeHart, which is one of the finest in Medford.
The Ish Estate.--Located between Medford and Jacksonville--the county seat of Jackson County--is the extensive tract of land formerly taken up by Abel George in 1855. The property consists of 640 acres of the choicest land in the county, and is used for diversified farming. Alfalfa is one of the principal industries, 200 acres being found in one field. Three hundred head of stock are constantly kept, among them being found some of the best dairy cattle in the state.
A. E. Hanley.--An extensive tract of choice fruit and agricultural land consisting of about 400 acres is here contained in the Hanley ranch; seventy-five acres are set to Newtown Pippins. Over one hundred will be found in alfalfa, the balance being mostly under cultivation. This property was purchased by Michael Hanley in 1856, and is now worth from $75 to $100 per acre.
Facilities for Acquiring Homes and Prices of Lands.--The average Oregonian who has had his choice in selecting land will say there is no government land worth the price and labor of entry and cultivation. There are now vacant thousands of acres of land superior to the states east of the Rocky Mountains. Rolling hill and narrow valley land may be found situated along the waters of the various tributaries of Rogue River on which families could find comfortable homes, and where from ten to sixty acres on a quarter section might be successfully improved. In fact, much of the best land that now lies in the mountains is destined to become, when brought under cultivation by the woodman's axe, the farmer's plow and the orchardist's skill, the most desirable and valuable of the valley land. Improved farms range, on or near the lie of the railroad and in and around Medford, from $35 to $100 per acre. Land ten or twenty miles distant from Medford sells for from $5 to $20 per acre. The railroad has large tracts of unimproved lands, and it is purchasable at reasonable figures on the most favorable conditions. The improved fruit ranches range from $100 to $500 per acre. We would not advise anyone to come expecting to secure government homesteads other than such as are mentioned above, but we assure them if they decide to cast their lot in this land of sunny slopes, blooming roses, gentle zephyrs, luscious fruits and where freezing frosts and chilling blasts disturb not and where the body is nightly refreshed with sweet slumber during the entire year and where Nature seems to have lavished her choicest gems and scattered her charms to woo and win, that our arms will be wide open and our welcome will be true and our friendship a tie which bindeth fast. Any further information concerning this famous Rogue River Valley will be cheerfully given by addressing a letter to the Board of Trade of Medford, Oregon.
Hotel Nash.--The first question asked by the tourist is regarding a hotel. This question is readily answered by C. C. Ragsdale, proprietor of "The Nash." This hotel is first class in every respect and is the starting point for Crater Lake. Special attention is given tourists who are en route to this famous national resort.
The Medford Board of Trade.--Is organized for the purpose of directing home-seekers, tourists and capitalists in the most desirable location and to answer all inquiries whether by correspondence or in person. Those desiring to know more about Medford, address Secretary, Board of Trade, at Medford.
Medford has two good newspapers, the Southern Oregonian, published twice a week by Charles Nickell, and the Medford Mail, published weekly by A. S. Bliton.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, October 1, 1903, pages C1-2
Jacksonville, the County Seat of Jackson County
Jackson County is without a doubt one of the most healthful, fertile and prosperous counties in the state of Oregon. It is located in the southwestern part of the state, covering the larger portion of the now-famous Rogue River Valley. It is bounded on the north by Douglas County, on the east by Klamath County, on the south by the state of California, and on the west by Josephine County.
Within the bounds of Jackson County will be found a large population of prosperous and intelligent people, the government lands have been taken up with the exception of some mountain tracts that are yet undeveloped and less fertile than the bottom or valley lands. Unlike many other parts of this country the Rogue River Valley has been particularly favored by old mother nature herself. The altitude ensures plenty of healthful air. The rainfall during the season is just enough to furnish plenty of moisture without irrigation. The soil is deep and fertile, and the climate makes the valley without exception a paradise.
Fruit of all kinds grows here in great profusion without irrigation and without being destroyed by insects. Apples, pears, peaches, prunes, apricots and grapes are the principal fruits, while many other kinds can be produced in paying quantities. Jackson County is also rich in mines. Gold, silver, copper, coal, iron and other minerals are found in large quantities, and in many sections valuable mines are being developed. Machinery, such as quartz mills, and other necessary devices for separating the valuable metals from the ore, are being constantly installed and put into operation.
We go back into the hills but a few miles and find a dense growth of valuable timber; thousands of acres are covered with huge trees of fir, yellow pine, white pine and various other kinds of timber. Large saw mills are being installed in several of the smaller canyons, or on the creek bank where the logs can be floated down to the mill during high water.
Then we come to the fruit, the delicious fruits known as the Oregon apples and Oregon pears; in the production of these two fruits the Rogue River Valley has no rival. Apples that are grown here find a ready market in Alaska, London and other foreign countries. Very little of the Rogue River fruits is shipped to the local markets.
The Rogue River Valley.--This valley, which takes its name from the picturesque and historical Rogue River, is one of the most beautiful, fruitful and healthful valleys in the state of Oregon. The Rogue River is a sparkling, icy cold stream, rising in the Cascade Mountains, in the northeast corner of Jackson County, Oregon, flowing in a southwesterly direction for half its distance, and thence running nearly due west to the Pacific Ocean. Its waters are supplied by melting snow and are always pure and cold.
Properly speaking, the Rogue River Valley is not a single valley, but a series of valleys, table lands and hills, mixed and commingled in wild, romantic confusion apt to bewilder and lead the stranger to erroneous conclusions. Many have been thus mistaken by supposing that a certain range of hills was the limit of the valley land. Under such conditions it is well for immigrants, capitalists and others to spend two or three weeks visiting various parts of the valley and thus form a correct idea of the geographical and physical features of this famous valley.
The Climate.--Is the most delightful in the Pacific Northwest. Here is to be found the golden mean between the excessive moisture of the Willamette Valley and Puget Sound at the north and the scorching summer droughts of the California valleys on the south. Average annual rainfall for the past twenty years, 20.50 inches. We seldom have colder weather than 10 degrees Fah. above, or hotter than 90 degrees above. The night temperature is always below 76 degrees and commonly below 60 degrees. Severe storms, destructive to life and property, such as cyclones and tornadoes, are unknown. The mosquito and other insects, so baleful to the peace of mind in very moist climates, do not figure as pests here. The region is singularly exempt in this respect.
Jacksonville, Oregon.Jacksonville is the county seat of Jackson County. It is the oldest town in the valley and, with the exception of Oregon City, is the oldest town in the state. It was first settled in 1852 and incorporated in 1860. It is located on the western side of the valley, 323 miles from Portland and four and three-fourths miles from the main line of the Southern Pacific railroad, and is connected therewith by the Rogue River Valley railroad, a branch line of standard gauge which makes three trips daily to the town of Medford connecting with all Southern Pacific trains, thus giving Jacksonville as good transportation facilities as any town in the valley. The town has a population of 1,000. It has three churches, Methodist, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic, a large public school with several departments and about 300 children; also an academy conducted by the Sisters of Charity. The latter institution, the only Catholic school in Southern Oregon, is well patronized. Every line of mercantile business is conducted here with full stocks of goods. The merchants are usually able to discount their bills, and buy their goods in carload lots; hence goods can be bought as cheap as on the main line of the railroad. Jacksonville has a bank which does a general banking business. The principal buildings are the courthouse, public school house, Sisters' Academy, town hall and the halls of the orders of Masons, Odd Fellows and Red Men. The town contains thirty brick buildings, mostly business houses. There is a planing mill, an efficient fire department, two weekly newspapers--Jacksonville Sentinel and Democratic Times--a brewery and a broom factory; the U.S. is a good brick hotel, while there are other good houses for the accommodation of the traveling public. The courthouse, built and furnished at a cost of $39,000, is a fine structure substantially built of brick and stone, compete in all its appointments, and elaborately furnished throughout in the most approved modern style.
The best body of agricultural land in the valley joins Jacksonville on the east and northeast. Some of the choicest fruit grown in the state is shipped from this point.
It is one of the largest shipping points for gold dust in the state. The first settlements were made here in . Gold was discovered in Rich Gulch and on Jackson Creek immediately adjoining the town on the west. The mines proved both rich and extensive and soon drew to this part of the state a large cosmopolitan population, and the wise agriculturist among them saw in the beautiful and fertile valley a growing and permanent wealth that would long outlive the rush of a frenzied gold excitement, and many of the finest farms in the valley were at once located under the donation law of Congress, and in many instances are still in the hands of the original owners. For three decades this county grew and prospered, though completely isolated from the markets of the world. Our mineral resources amply supplied the circulating medium for the general conducting of business, which at that time was very large, on account of the great number of people who had gathered here under the impulse of a new and rich gold discovery.
Time has made great changes. The gold industry is still carried on, though in a much larger scale than in the early days, while the agricultural interests have developed wonderfully. The town is no longer isolated from the outside world but instead is so situated as to be a prominent shipping point and the only terminus of the Blue Ledge copper mine and other rich copper and gold finds in the Applegate, which is situated about thirty miles southwest of Jacksonville in the Siskiyou Mountains.
Jacksonville is the second oldest town in the state, the oldest town in Southern Oregon, the county seat of Jackson County, the center of the rich copper and gold fields--the starting point for the Applegate country--the only place in the state of Oregon where European varieties of grapes have been successfully grown; a fine peach country, a good place to grow plums and prunes; is situated near the home of the big red Oregon apples; is well represented in the pear industry; can grow figs and ripen them successfully; in fact there is nothing worth growing that will not do well in this valley, particularly around Jacksonville in the little nook of the Coast Range, where it never gets too cold nor too hot and where a fog has never been known.
While Jacksonville is in the center of one of the best agricultural districts in the valley, at the same time little attention has been given to this industry; the gold and mineral, being the principal attraction, has caused the horticulturist and agriculturist to overlook the wonderful natural resources awaiting the willing hands of the enterprising farmer or fruit grower. While Jacksonville proper has but 1,000 population, at the same time if the people interested in the mining industry and others who live on the Applegate who purchase all their supplies in Jacksonville were to be considered, making the population properly about 2,000 with a constant and continued increase.
Schools.--We have eighty-two school districts in Jackson County. The smaller have school from three to six months in the year, the larger nine months in the year. Our common schools are equal to those of any other state in the Union. The teachers in the larger districts came from the best normal schools in the eastern states, and teach according to the best methods used in the older states. The students from this county take higher rank at the University of Oregon than those from any other county in the state, and the larger part of the students who have entered that institution from this county have been prepared for such entry in the Jacksonville district school.
One year ago near the close of the scholastic year the high school building which was the first high school established in Southern Oregon was completely destroyed by fire. This caused considerable regret on the part of the old citizens, as the old building was as one might say a relic, however, a new, large, commodious brick structure has taken its place and eased the minds of the disappointed ones. This new building is one of the finest school buildings in the state; it is well ventilated, has a large assembly hall and well-planned playgrounds for the recreation of the children of the lower grades. By careful planning and constant work the building was complete for the opening of school on the 1st of September. A good school is first to be considered by the homeseeker; therefore we invite the prospective immigrant to inspect our school facilities, knowing that they cannot be excelled in the United States. We are equipped to prepare students for nearly any college in the West.
A Healthy Town.--Jacksonville is considered one of the most healthful localities on the Pacific Coast. To illustrate: We will say that among a number of about 300 pupils enrolled in our public school here in Jacksonville, not a single death has occurred in six years. There is some malaria along the streams in the lower parts of the valley, but none among the foothills. Jacksonville is situated on the edge of the foothills, about 200 feet in elevation above the lower parts of the valley, and is considered the most healthy locality in the county.
Climate.--The climate of Jacksonville is as near perfect as nature could provide. We do not have the extreme heat or cold, not too much rain, but just enough. We do not have the blizzards of the Western states or the destructive heats of the Eastern. The average temperature for the month of July for ten years was 72 degrees above zero; for the month of January 33 degrees above zero. The thermometer has rarely been known to reach zero in this valley since it has been settled by the whites. Destructive wind storms never visit us. During the summer months we have light thunder showers, but they are not accompanied with the high winds of the eastern states. The principal part of the plowing is done in the months of November, December, January, February and March, and seeding is done in all the winter months. Old residents who have resided in this valley for years say that they do not believe the climate can be excelled. The rainfall ranges from twenty to forty inches and averages about twenty-six inches per annum. The principal part of this falls during the months of November, December, January, February, March and April.
Mines and Mining.--It is universally known that the state of Oregon is enriched and gilded with leads of gold-bearing quartz. This condition is more particularly true of Jacksonville than perhaps of any other locality. In the early '50s hundreds of gold-hungry miners, and some who knew nothing of the mining industry, flocked to this point, which was then rich with gold. At this time the present site of Jacksonville was but a mining camp in a rather wild country. This gold fever lasted as long as the free mining of surface gold could be found, and gradually one by one and sometimes in larger parties, the fortunate ones who had been lucky and gathered considerable wealth as well as the poor fellow who lost all he had would leave for new fields, hoping and searching for the valuable yellow metal. Thus Jacksonville has from time to time been the center of excitement and then again has suffered for long periods when the gold seemed exhausted. During all this time there has constantly been a lack of knowledge of the valuable soil, the whole attention of the people having been attracted by the yellow metal in the creek bottoms and hills; however, the present generation has awakened to the fact that the land surrounding Jacksonville is composed of that vegetable decay and other decomposed volcanic deposits which go to make up the best agricultural land for diversified farming that can be found in the Northwest; accordingly hundreds of enterprising farmers have taken up donation claims and purchased portions of the best land, which to them is now paying a big revenue and could not be purchased for $100 per acre. All along during these changes the mining industry has not been forgotten, and it is now known that these first settlers who were so enthusiastic over the gold contained in the surface were ignorant of the fact that a few hundred yards from them and a little deeper in the earth is located some of the richest mines that were ever prospected. At the present time the principal mines are found northwest, west and southwest of Jacksonville. The principal mining camps are Blackwell, Willow Springs, Gall's Creek, Sardine Creek, Kane's Creek, Foot's Creek, Jackson Creek and its tributaries, Forest Creek, Poorman's Creek, Evans Creek, Applegate Creek and its tributaries and Sterling Creek. All the country northwest, west and southwest of Jacksonville is gold-bearing, and mining is at present carried on in all of the above-named mining districts. A large number of gold-bearing quartz ledges are situated west of Jacksonville, on Jackson Creek, and in various other localities. The mineral resources are gold in lodes and placers, iron ore, quicksilver, mineral waters, limestone, building stone, graphite, coal and infusorial earth. On the Applegate, which is reached only via Jacksonville, has lately been discovered one of the richest ledges of copper ever known, there being five parallel ledges, each measuring from 200 to 300 feet thick or wide. The depth and length of these ledges is as yet unknown but are reported by experienced prospectors to be solid for several miles and to run an almost unlimited depth. Several mining companies have been and are being organized. The principal of these mines is the Blue Ledge copper mine, which has been bonded for $250,000. All the property covering this ledge and for miles on either side has all been taken up, and it is understood that none of it is for sale. Operations will soon begin and if all goes as expected Jacksonville will build a railroad to this mine, which is thirty miles southwest, and thousands of dollars worth of copper and gold ore will be shipped out daily. Experienced miners say that this is the richest find that has been made in years.
The Missouri Mining Company have a large claim on this property and are expecting to begin operations in the near future.
There are numerous other mines that are paying well in and about Jacksonville. The Sterling placer mine is located but nine miles from town, and during the greater part of the year large quantities of the precious gold metal is shipped from there. The Sturgis placer mine, located on "Donkey" [Jackass] Creek, is also a paying piece of mining property and has a considerable output. The Jackson Creek quartz mines produce about $4 to $6 per ton gold, and from 6 to 8 percent copper. In some sections of the rock is found paying quantities of quicksilver. Ten miles from Jacksonville is located the largest mining dredge in the world, which will handle hundreds of tons of earth each day. The dredge is constructed on a boat and floats in a pool of water which fills the cavity in the earth made vacant by the workings of the dredge; in this manner the vast acreage of placer belt can be successfully worked at very little cost.
Irrigation.--To the agriculturist who has resided in California or other states where irrigation is necessary would here find a paradise for fruit growing or diversified farming. Fruits, vegetables, berries and tame grasses are somewhat benefited by irrigation, but if the land is properly cultivated all these products can be successfully grown without this enormous expense of irrigating. Deep plowing and subsoiling are all that is required; however, some of the drier sections of the hills and table lands could be made to produce bountiful crops of fruit if irrigated; so far no effort has been made to utilize these hills other than for grazing purposes, there not being a population great enough to necessitate their development. These lands can now be purchased for from $2 to $10 per acre, but in a few years will no doubt double or triple in value.
Alfalfa.--A field of alfalfa near Jacksonville has been cut three times each year for several years, without reseeding or irrigation, producing an average total yield per year of six tons. Alfalfa is one of the best-paying products raised by the agriculturist. We find that the soil here is particularly adapted to this grass or plant, as it is sometimes called, and without any particular attention otherwise from harvesting it will yield abundantly for ten or twelve years without plowing or reseeding. Next to the Oregon apple, the alfalfa is no doubt the most successful and best-paying crop.
Soil.--We will not dwell on the subject of soil, as an exact idea can be drawn from the facts that we grow nearly all kinds of choice fruit, vegetables and grasses. In all parts of the Rogue River Valley the soil is deep and rich, some sections being particularly adapted to certain kinds of produce, while the next-door neighbor can better grow another kind of vegetation. You will not find stony land as is found in some eastern states. All or nearly all the land is free to work and can be plowed exceedingly deep, which has a tendency to keep the earth airy and retain the moisture. The greater part of the soil around Jacksonville is composed of a dark, sandy loam with strips of clay, gravelly and adobe lands. The soil in the smaller valleys or creek bottoms is usually a very rich, sandy loam; along the foothills the soil varies somewhat but is generally found very rich.
Fruit.--All kinds of fruit that are grown in the temperate zone are successfully grown in Rogue River Valley. Fruit growing in this county has passed the experimental period. Experience conclusively proves that there is more actual wealth in our soil in raising fruit than there ever was in our gold-bearing creeks and gulches. Apples, pears, peaches, plums, prunes, apricots, cherries, nectarines, grapes, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, currants and gooseberries are all grown in abundance and are of superior quality. The apples grown in this valley are considered by competent judges superior to any other grown on the Pacific Coast. About eight years ago the planting of peach orchards for the purpose of raising peaches for export began. Since then large quantities of peaches have been exported from this valley and have brought the highest market price. Some of the three-year-old peach orchards have realized $2 per tree for the peaches sold last year, which is an income of about $400 per acre. Pear trees never fail to bear abundant crops of fruit of the finest quality. Cherries are a never-failing crop, and the trees bear abundantly.
The principal vineyards of this valley are situated near Jacksonville. The largest contains seventeen acres. The grape crop has never failed since the vines began to bear. The grapes are of a superior quality, and large quantities have been exported each year to the markets of the Willamette Valley and Washington. There is no greater pleasure than to walk through the vineyard of P. Britt & Son near Jacksonville, and see tons of this beautiful fruit.
The market for the fruit of this valley is without limit. All the vast tract of table land lying between the Rocky Mountains and the Cascade Range will soon be inhabited by tens of thousands of people. These people will have to look to the west of the Cascade Mountains for their fruit supply.
Our winter apples will find a never-failing market in New York, London and intermediate points. When we have planted sufficient small fruits to justify it canneries will be established here, which will make a ready market for all such fruits.
Peaches from the Karewski peach orchard, situated just out of the city limits of Jacksonville, have for several years succeeded in capturing first prize at all public exhibitions where they have been shown.
European varieties of grapes are not known to thrive elsewhere than near Jacksonville. Pumpkins and melons always do well; in fact, there has yet to be found the fruit or vegetable that cannot be grown in some nook of Jackson County, most especially near Jacksonville.
Timber.--The timber of the Rogue River Basin consists of the following varieties, to wit: Fir, yellow pine, sugar pine, cedar, yew, white oak, black oak, maple, ash, alder, laurel and a species of cottonwood. Fir is the most abundant timber in the basin. It is the principal rail timber and is mostly used in frames for building and bridge construction. It is very strong and well adapted to the purposes for which it is used. Yellow pine is used for flooring and rough lumber of buildings. Sugar pine cannot be excelled as a finishing lumber. It is used for doors, sash, blinds, moldings and all finishing work about buildings. It is the most valuable lumber we have. Cedar is a good finishing lumber, but sugar pine has superseded it for this purpose. Yew and cedar are much used for fence posts, and are very durable. The yew does not attain sufficient size to be manufactured into lumber. The white oak of this valley is not of much value for anything but firewood. Black oak and ash are used in the manufacture of wagons and agricultural implements. Maple, alder and laurel are the principal timbers used in the manufacture of furniture, for which purpose they are well adapted. Cottonwood is used only for wood and rails, and is not of much value. Maple, ash, alder and cottonwood usually grow in creek bottoms, white and black oak in the valleys and on the foothills. Yellow pine is generally distributed from the low valleys to the high mountains. Fir is found in all altitudes from the low valleys to the line of perpetual snow, and is most abundant on the north side of hills and in deep canyons. The fir is an evergreen, cone-bearing tree, which sometimes attains a height of three hundred feet, and its dark green foliage and symmetrical shade add much to the beauty of our scenery.
The Iowa Lumber Company.--Superintendent C. H. Hafer and others during the past year have established one of the best sawmill and lumber manufacturing plants in Jackson County.The site of the lower mill is at Jacksonville, while the upper sawmill is located three miles further up the canyon in the midst of heavy-timbered land. The capacity of the plant is about 30,000 feet of lumber per day. All kinds of furnishing and building materials are manufactured at the lower mill. This mill is one of the much-needed industries that are being constantly installed through the Pacific Northwest. The timber now available standing in the forest is almost inexhaustible and will furnish logs for years for ten times as many mills as are now in operation.
Jacksonville's Business Houses.--Within the walls of the numerous brick buildings are found the following business men and merchants:
Nunan-Taylor & Co., general merchandise.
T. J. Kenney, hardware and groceries.
Jas. Cronemiller, general merchandise.
G. E. Neuber, liquor store.
J. W. Robinson, druggist.
C. C. Beekman president, Jacksonville bank.
The U.S. Hotel, S. P. DeRoboam, proprietor.
P. J. Ryan, dry goods and general merchandise.
G. N. Lewis, livery and feed stables.
C. H. Basye, blacksmith.
S. J. Day, real estate.
H. H. Helms, Table Rock liquor store.
Dunnington and Deneff, liquor dealers.
Henry Orth, meat market.
J. Lyden, restaurant.
Mrs. M. Thompson, restaurant.
Fred Lewis, shoe store.
J. W. Conklin, furniture store.
Mrs. Lizzie Hoover, millinery.
John F. Miller, hardware store and postmaster.
Jacksonville has many favorable opportunities for factories, mining, farming, fruit growing and other agricultural and manufacturing industries.
For further information regarding details, address any of the above-named business men or the secretary of the Board of Trade, Jacksonville. Board of Trade: Charles Meserve, president; Dr. J. W. Robinson, vice president; T. J. Williamson, secretary; Chas. N. Nunan, treasurer. Committee Chairman; Emil Britt, manufacturing; C. W. Conklin, advertising; T. J. Kenney, transportation; A. E. Reames, press; J. Nunan, reception; John F. Miller, finance; M. M. Taylor, membership; G. E. Neuber, civic improvements and public meetings.
CENTRAL POINT.This newly built town is situated four and a half miles northeast of Jacksonville, on the Southern Pacific railroad. It is situated in the most central part of the valley, and is surrounded by good agricultural land. It is favorably located to become a lively center. A water ditch to furnish power to run machinery of all kinds and for irrigating purposes is expected to be completed in the near future.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, October 1, 1903, page D1
Last revised April 27, 2018