MEDFORD. Population 2,500. Jackson County. Settled in 1884, incorporated as a city in , in the Rogue River Valley, on Bear Creek and the Southern Pacific railway, 328 miles south of Portland, 443 north of San Francisco, and 5 east of Jacksonville, the county seat. Contains Christian, Baptist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist Episcopal and Methodist Episcopal South, Presbyterian and Catholic churches, public school, opera house seating 600, water works, fire department, electric light plant, four newspapers--Enquirer (Democrat, weekly), Medford Mail (Republican, weekly), Medford Success (Republican, semi-weekly) and Southern Oregonian (Independent, semi-weekly), two banks, the Medford roller mill, capacity 100 bbls.; the Hotel Nash is a prominent institution; a distillery, brewery and two planing mills. The Iowa Lumber Co. have their mills and factories here, and give employment to a large number of men. Annual rainfall 20 to 30 inches, averaging about 25 inches. Among the leading placer mines in the vicinity is the Sterling mine, which yields from $60,000 to $100,000 annually. A water canal ten feet on the bottom and sixteen feet on top is now being constructed from Butte Creek and Fish Lake, which is about half completed and when finished will be about 45 miles long, to furnish power and water for Medford. The land is fertile, suited to grain and fruit. Shipments, flour, fruit and livestock. Quartz and placer mining is extensively carried on. Telegraph Pacific Post and Western Union. Express Wells Fargo & Co. Mail daily. George F. Merriman, postmaster.
R. L. Polk & Co.'s Oregon, Washington and Alaska Gazetteer and Business Directory 1903-04,
page 253 Abbreviations spelled out to facilitate searching.
MEDFORD, OREGONMEDFORD, March 26.--(Special correspondence.)--When the Southern Pacific Railroad was built through this part of Southern Oregon, Medford came into existence, and that was about 20 years ago. There were but few settlers in the country and stock raising was the principal industry. From that small beginning the town of Medford has grown gradually, year by year, until now it has a population of about 2500.
THE COMMERCIAL CENTER OF THE RICH ROGUE RIVER VALLEY
IN SOUTHERN OREGON
It is a very common practice in all parts of the country to doubt the correctness of the figures given by a census enumerator, but an actual count is much more reliable than mere guesswork or figures based on school or voting population. It does not make as much difference, however, what the exact population of a town may be when it comes to showing to the public its advantages. What every person wants to know who reads about a location is: "How can I make money if I go there?" We Americans have become such travelers that we do not mind going a few hundred miles either to the north, south, east or west to better our conditions. Bettering our condition may mean engaging in exactly the same business or it may mean investing the profits of our present business in something else, somewhat different. We are soon on the alert to learn of these opportunities, and when we hear of them will delve into the details with interest.
What They Want to Know.I have in mind two brothers who are living in Fairmount, Ind., and who are engaged in the glass-blowing business there, and have been for the past ten or 15 years. Their wages are fairly good, they have steady work, their families are growing up around them, and they have saved some money. These people will make good citizens anywhere, but what profit would it be to them to come to Oregon, which has no glass factories? If they were depending upon their trade they would starve. But nevertheless these same brothers have become interested in Oregon and want to come to the state and reside, and they are picking up every scrap of reliable information about the state. They quickly learn that they cannot expect to be engaged in a glass factory, so they look around to see what other opportunities there are for "making money." It all sums itself down to one proposition: "making money."
Taking Up Timber.People in the East are much excited just now over investing in timber lands, and hundreds of them make the trip to the Pacific Coast on purpose to go out into the mountains and locate and file on a timber claim. I am not particularly impressed with the benefits Oregon derives from this class of investors. They are non-residents and remain non-residents, and the Oregon timber lands are just as well to be owned by the government, and it may be better than to go into the hands of non-resident speculators. But there is "money in it," and so these buyers are coming and investing, then going away, and residents of this state get but little benefit unless it be the railroads and hotels.
There Is Profit in Fruit.Around Medford lie the level and fertile lands of what is known as the Rogue River Valley. The soil and climate are adapted to fruit culture and are natural conditions which exist. The Southern Pacific Railroad passes through Medford and affords a reliable method of transportation to markets of the world. This company uses excellent judgment in its treatment of the fruitgrower by giving very low freight rates to eastern markets. Last year there were 211 carloads or an aggregate of 5,340,000 pounds of the products of Rogue River Valley shipped from Medford alone. There were 37 carloads of apples, 18 carloads of prunes, 43 carloads of pears, 1 carload of cider, 1 carload of almonds, 38 carloads of hogs, 22 of cattle and horses, 10 of wheat and corn, 20 of flour and feed, 2 of lumber, 9 of hay and 4 of onions.
It will be noted from the above items of export that this is a fruit and stock raising district. The total number of carloads of fruit shipped last year was 98, and the present new acreage of orchards will make the shipments in 1910, seven years from now, about 1000 carloads, as the total acreage of bearing orchards at that time will have increased nearly ten times what it is at present.
There are orchard lands and farm lands at prices ranging from $5 to $100 an acre and producing orchards ranging from $100 to $300 an acre, and both are good investments. Mr. C. W. Palm, a resident here for the past 20 years and who has assisted many a newcomer to get located, says he has seen men make just as much of a success in buying a ten-acre tract of $100 land as to buy 100 acres of $10 land. I was informed of a tract of level land worth $5 an acre, enough for 250 families, along the bank of a stream that could be irrigated and would grow alfalfa hay, or apples, pears, prunes or peaches, but it is nearly 20 miles from Medford. I was told of 1500 acres of $10 land suitable for fruit or stock raising, but it is eight miles from Medford. The lands in the valley here which are held at $100 an acre are the very best soil, in close proximity to town, and are set to alfalfa, and yield from $30 to $50 a year income in the four to six crops of hay each year. These same lands are best adapted to the growing of apple orchards, and in that line yield an income from $100 to $150 an acre each year. It is not surprising, in view of this fact, that wheat raising in Rogue River Valley is almost a thing of the past, and is superseded by fruit raising, which is so much more profitable. One grower near here realized last year $7000 in cash from 20 acres over and above all expenses. All the farmers here with bearing orchards are now living on "easy street."
The large profits on fruit cultivation are being taken advantage of by residents and non-residents alike, and there are more new orchards now being planted than ever before. The business is no longer an experiment, and mistakes of former years are avoided, such as unsuitable land and unsalable varieties of fruit.
I have gathered a list of the growers of fruit in and around Medford, and the aggregate is about 3200 acres. I was not able in the limited time at my command to learn just how much of this total was in pears, how much in peaches, in apples, in prunes, or in almonds, nor how many of these acres were bearing orchards, or just lately planted. I know of some of this land which is now being planted this year.
Are Raising Fruits.The following list includes bearing orchards and those just set out:
Gordon Voorhies . . . 400 acres
C. H. Lewis . . . 250
J. H. Stewart . . . 160
Wm. Stewart . . . 100
Clay & Meader . . . 140
J. McPherson . . . 40
J. Hanson . . . 80
C. Kleinhammer . . . 50
J. D. Andrews . . . 40
C. Pheister . . . 10
D. Hargreave . . . 10
T. Kelso . . . 10
F. Beaver . . . 20
William Carroll . . . 40
E. J. De Hart . . . 65
Orchard Home . . . 100
G. A. Hoover . . . 50
J. Thomas . . . 20
R. W. Gray . . . 5
Paul Demmer . . . 5
L. Demmer . . . 5
Mrs. Bradley . . . 5
E. King . . . 15
S. L. Bennett . . . 5
Mark Pallett . . . 60
John Gore . . . 60
J. A. Lyons . . . 20
J. A. Philbrick . . . 40
L. Berger . . . 15
Phipps Bros. . . . 100
Wilbur Jones . . . 40
I. W. Thomas . . . 25
E. Hall . . . 40
James Taylor & Sons . . . 40
F. E. Payne . . . 40
J. A. Whitman . . . 125
Beck & Mitchell . . . 25
W. H. Barr . . . 40
Fawcett Peach Ranch . . . 12
W. A. Jones . . . 20
G. W. Bashford . . . 15
J. L. Demmer . . . 5
Mathias Demmer . . . 10
Paul Krutzler . . . 5
W. S. Speas . . . 5
C. R. Himroth . . . 40
T. Smith . . . 10
W. H. Bradshaw . . . 15
F. Hutchinson . . . 5
M. L. Hartley . . . 125
J. A. Perry . . . 20
Emil Walters . . . 5
Bates Brothers . . . 80
S. Van Dyke . . . 40
Mrs. J. Karewski . . . 20
Henry Pohlman . . . 20
A Granite Quarry.About six miles from Medford, and within two miles of the Southern Pacific Railroad, is a ledge of granite stone, hundreds of feet high, the quality being equal to the celebrate Barre granite of Vermont, and of a dark gray color. This rock can be delivered in Portland even now in competition with granite from other places, but it leaves little margin of profit. What is wanted is a capital of about $20,000, or perhaps less, to put labor-saving machinery on the ledge, a sidetrack from the Southern Pacific, and an agent in Portland. Then get contract rates from the railroad company and develop the business. This stone is being used locally here, has a fine grain, and polishes beautifully. The parties who own this quarry will take stock in such an enterprise in payment for the property.
A Business Town.Traveling men tell me Medford merchants buy during the year large quantities of goods, and one gentleman who travels out from Portland informed me his sales this year, up to date were 34 percent better than the same time last year, and his orders are large ones. I was told by a leading merchant that trade comes to Medford 150 miles from the East, out in Klamath and Lake counties; to the west for 40 miles; to the north, 15 miles, and south 10 miles. During the months of September and October the trade from long distances is very heavy, and it is estimated over $10,000 worth of goods goes outside the town during those two months. "By the way," said my information, "do you know that out near Eagle Point, 14 miles from Medford, is the greatest onion country in Oregon? Not only are the onions the largest and finest, but the yields are something immense. I purchased 75,000 pounds from one man this fall, which were raised off of one and two-thirds acres, and I paid him $900 in cash. I cannot supply the call made upon me for this particular quality of onion. I understand there are many more acres of this land not yet being used for onion culture, and it seems to me it appears an excellent opportunity for investment."
Irrigation and Power.High mountains surround the Rogue River Valley on all sides, and at this season of the year are covered with snow. During the summer months the valley below is in need of the stored-up waters of the mountains, and to supply in part this demand the Fish Lake Ditch Company was organized in 1890, and has expended about $100,000 in constructing a water ditch a distance of 16 miles, bringing water from Butte Creek to the valley here. There are about 14 miles more to complete the ditch to Medford, the ditch having now reached what is known as "The Drop," where the 10,000 inches of water makes a perpendicular fall of 100 feet and will develop 2500 horsepower, which will be used for manufacturing and power purposes. Farmers living along this line of ditch will be supplied with water this year for the first time. This same company has purchased about 3000 acres of desert land, about seven miles from Medford, and will next spring continue this ditch to the land which, with irrigation, can be reclaimed and made very productive. This tract aggregates 25,000 acres, all of which is farming land, when it has the water supply.
A Timber Belt.East of Medford about 30 miles is a belt of about 75,000 acres of sugar pine and fir timber, which is the largest and most valuable tract of the kind in this part of Oregon. There are nearly 3,000,000,000 feet of merchantable lumber and the outlet is either by water or rail. It is proposed to utilize Rogue River in floating the logs and boom them at Tolo, where a large power dam is being constructed, and sawmills will be located. If this project should not be successful, a railroad will be built to this body of timber from Medford and bring the lumber out by rail. In my opinion, it will be found necessary to use both water and rail. The isolation of this timber belt has kept it out of the market until quite recently, but now it is nearly all in the hands of private parties, although there are still some claims yet untaken. A logging railroad into this section will also bring a market for the products of a large area of agricultural country. Jackson County is rich in undeveloped natural resources, and a population of several times that at present will center in the Rogue River Valley, and Medford will be the trading center.
Municipal Ownership.Medford owns its own electric lights and water works, and Mayor Crowell is very enthusiastic over the success of municipal ownership. The management of these public utilities is in the hands of the City Council, and a successful management by a City Council is an exception rather than the rule. Medford is to be congratulated on having elected business men to manage the affairs of the city.
There is no steam laundry at Medford, which seems somewhat strange, as Ashland, on the south, and Grants Pass and Roseburg, on the north, each have one.
E. C. P. [Ed. C. Phelps?]Oregonian, March 30, 1903, page 4
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
Last revised April 1, 2018