The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1923

Also see the Bixby columns for this year.

The Rogue River Valley
    Southern Oregon includes the Umpqua Valley and Rogue River Valley with many lesser tributary valleys. Southern Oregon is a land of infinite beauty and charm. The traveler who approaches Oregon from the south by way of the Shasta Route over the Siskiyou Mountains looks down from an elevation of more than 2000 feet to the Valley of Rogue River, the most southern of Oregon's valleys. It is spread out before him like some titanic checkerboard, its alternate squares consisting of orchards and fallow land. The green of the orchard, the brown of the cultivated land, the yellow of the occasional stubble field make the valley look like some huge map laid off in tinted squares. Nestling at the foot of the mountains, like a cameo set in a mounting of pearls and emeralds, lies Ashland, a city green to its very doors.
    The Valley of the Rogue comprises an approximate area of 2300 square miles, of which there are over 500 square miles of rich valley floor and gentle hill slope. The soil of the valley is largely alluvial but you will also find disintegrated lava and a soil of granite formation. Much of the soil is black and deep, with here and there lighter colored soil formed of disintegrated granite. You will also find dark red soil, as well as gray and light yellow soil, and soil coarse in texture. This granite soil contains abundant elements of plant food, such as silica, lime, magnesia, potash and phosphoric acid.
    In buying land here, as well as elsewhere in Oregon, it is well to know exactly what you are planning to raise so that you will not later be disappointed, for you will find here sandy soil coarse in texture excellently adapted for early crops where rapid growing and early maturity are desired. You will find this soil ideal for strawberries or loganberries, but unsuited for orchards. Hence it is well to examine carefully and investigate thoroughly any place, wherever located, before you buy it. Much of the land in the Rogue River Valley not now being used for agriculture will in time become valuable, as its plant foods are readily available, and if humus, such as barnyard manure, is added to the soil, it will respond with good crops.
    The Rogue River Valley is best known for its pears, apples and peaches, particularly its pears. Pears from Medford and vicinity have brought top prices in almost every large city in Europe.
    The high prices received in the past for fruit caused the farmers to devote most of their attention to the orchard instead of the raising of corn and alfalfa, hogs and dairy cows. They have acted upon the principle of Pudd'nhead Wilson ; put all their eggs in one basket and have watched that basket. More and more, however, farmers in the Rogue River Valley are beginning to take up poultry, turkey raising, the growing of sugar beets, alfalfa and other farm crops in addition to orchard fruits. The red soils of the foothills now covered with a heavy growth of oak timber or mountain mahogany are especially adapted to  grape culture.
    At Jacksonville, one of the oldest towns in Southern Oregon, one may see splendid vineyards, orchards that have been planted for nearly fifty years and huge fig trees heavy with the weight of their ripened fruit.
    The Rogue River Valley in time will be settled by hundreds of retired farmers, merchants and professional men who want to work a small tract intensively and enjoy the mild climate, the pure mountain-born water and the scenic beauty of the Valley of the Rogue. The annual rainfall at Grants Pass is 32 inches, at Medford 28 inches and at Ashland 20 inches. Only 8 percent of the annual rainfall occurs in June, July, August and September, so that it is a sunnier district than the Willamette Valley or the Coast region.
Oregon for the SettlerSouthern Pacific, edition of August 8, 1923, page 17

Last revised June 19, 2015