Medford in 1931, facing east.
R. L. Polk & Co.'s Oregon, Washington and Alaska Gazetteer and Business Directory 1931-32,
MEDFORD. Jackson County. Population 11,095. Is the commercial and business center of famous Rogue River Valley, Southern Oregon. It is located on the Southern Pacific railway and on the Pacific Highway. It is a terminal for the Medford Coast Railroad, which line is electrified. The elevation of Medford is 1,368 feet. The average temperature for the past 20 years has been 55 degrees. The annual rainfall is from 18 to 22 inches. Surrounded by 25,000 acres of irrigated lands. Medford is the gateway to Crater Lake. Auto stage every day during season. It has a cosmopolitan population; people from every state in the Union have come here to make their permanent homes. The following are some facts about Medford: The best paved city for its size in the world, having 25 miles of pavement; 30 miles of sewers; water mains 28.45 miles, cement sidewalks, 5 grade schools and 2 high schools, St. Mary's Academy, business college, conservatory of music, and 2 kindergartens. Modern-equipped fire department, electricity and gas for lighting, heating and power purposes, 4 banks, a public library, 3 modern hotels, 3 second-class hotels, 5 restaurants, 6 apartment houses, 1 weekly and 2 daily newspapers, city park, baseball park, fair grounds, 4 auto camp grounds, country club, 2 golf courses. Five ladies' clubs, farm bureau cooperative exchange, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, Craters Club, Business and Professional Women's Club, Greater Medford Club. All denominations of churches, 3 hospitals, opera house, 4 movie houses, a natatorium and $80,000 armory. All leading lodges and societies. Federal building and offices of the weather bureau, district forestry, U.S. [plant] pathologist. Jobbing and wholesale center, Class A airport. Auto stages--interurban auto routes to all points of Southern Oregon, hourly service to Ashland. Auto stage to Roseburg and Klamath Falls, stops at all towns along line; also auto stage station on line from Los Angeles to Portland. Has 3 lumber mills, 1 box factory, 2 large creameries, fruit and vegetable canneries, pickling and catsup works; 21 fruit associations with 2 large pre-cooling plants. The district surrounding Medford is the greatest pear country on the coast and one of the best apple-growing districts. Stock raising, lumbering and diversified farming are among the greatest resources of the valley. Independent Telephone Co. Telegraph Western Union and Postal. Railway Express agency.
page 163 Abbreviations spelled out to facilitate searching.
Population has increased, not rapidly but steadily. [Medford's population grew by 493% between 1900 and 1910, then declined 35% by 1920.] The census of 1920 established the number of residents at slightly over fifty-seven hundred. An estimate made from the school census according to the accepted ratio allows a conservative 1925 figure of nine thousand.
An examination of the 1925/26 school census shows also a practically pure white population, there being in attendance only eight colored children, all of whom are Japanese. Those in positions having contact with the public characterize the population as not only practically pure white but very largely pure American. There are a few English people but no distinct foreign strains.
There is practically no illiteracy and relatively little poverty. Those cases coming under the charge of the social agencies are chiefly subnormal individuals who are outside the field of library activities.
INDUSTRIES AND OCCUPATIONS.
A view at this point of the industries and occupations will give a further understanding of the population to be served.
This section has become chiefly agricultural. A large part of the population is engaged in the growing, packing, marketing, drying and canning of fruit. Although the thinning, picking, packing and cannery and dryer operations are seasonal occupations, this work is practically all done by the permanent residents, chiefly the women who thus earn extra money, and not by migratory laborers.
The growing and shipping of grain and hay and the manufacture of flour is important.
There are large timber interests here. Within a year a million-dollar mill has been erected just outside the north city limits which gives employment to a large group. Other smaller mills are scattered about the county. Incident to the production of lumber are two selling companies [i.e., lumber yards] and two factories doing cabinet work and inside finishing. There are endless contractors and builders at present, for the building of both homes and large buildings has experienced a decided impulse with the coming of the mill company. The population of Medford has always been a quiet, home-owning population and not a transient one.
Stock is raised both in the valley and in the foothills surrounding Medford. While it is not shipped out, it is nearly sufficient for local consumption, and there are two good-sized creameries for the manufacture of dairy products.
There is a box factory, an ice plant with modern machinery, and a cement block factory.
Medford is the headquarters of a large electric power company with a very complex and efficient organization. It employs a large group representing interests varying from the latest methods in office record keeping to those of the office draftsman to the engineer in the field. The employees' organization, called The Forum, has for several winters followed systematic plans of study in history and literature.
Although the mines are not now so active as formerly, there are vast undeveloped mineral resources, and there is a constant demand for books in the fields of geochemistry, metallurgy, ore identification and industrial chemistry.
There is a prosperous business section in which all the usual commercial activities of an American city are represented. The stores and business blocks are well organized and well kept. Window displays are attractive and indicate that the best class of merchandise is handled.
Commercial transportation is handled entirely by the Southern Pacific. The main local artery for automobile traffic is a link in the Pacific Highway. Passenger transportation is carried on by both state and interstate stage lines as well as by trains. There are no public carriers from one part of the city to another.
The governmental framework of the community is conventional and rather simple. The official directory reads as follows:
MayorThe city is divided into four wards, from each of which two councilmen are elected. The standing committees of the council consisting of three members, each are as follows:
Chief of Fire Department
Chief of Police
Judge of City Court
Caretaker of Park
FinanceIn addition to these are two special commissions: The Water Commission of five members and the City Planning Commission of ten members.
Streets and Sewers
Light and Water
Parks and Public Works
The social organization of the community, after a canvass of the field, was found to be as follows:
First Presbyterian 400EXPERT SERVICES.
Methodist Episcopal 325
Roman Catholic 300
Protestant Episcopal 150
English Lutheran 100
Seventh Day Adventists 100
Christian Scientist 60
Woodmen of the World 600
Royal Neighbors 125
Knights of Pythias 400
Pythian Sisters 100
Eastern Star 350
American Legion 350
American Legion Auxiliary 75
Chamber of Commerce 487
Crater Club 60
Retail Merchants Association 60
Rotary Club 32
Lions Club 27
Greater Medford Club 75
College Women's Club 90
Pan Hellenic Society 45
Delphian Society 40
Wednesday Study Club 25
Daughters of the American Revolution 47
Parent-Teacher Associations ?
There are several expert services with which the librarian should expect to cooperate. For the giving of scientific information and advice as to methods to the agriculturists there is a county agent, assisted by a pathologist, a club leader and during the spring a frost expert. Connected with this staff there is a home demonstration agent for the teaching of domestic economy. These experts work under the Smith-Hughes Act and are considered as field workers for the state agricultural society.
There is a Jackson County Health Association working through the assistance of the Rockefeller Institute. Headquarters are in Jacksonville, and except for instruction in the city schools, this expert service is given chiefly in the rural districts and the small towns.
The headquarters of the district office of the National Forest Service is located in Medford and is equipped with a good technical library.
A representative of the American Red Cross and a Y.M.C.A. secretary are established here.
There are no other libraries here except that of the high school. From this are administered the small grade school room libraries. The work of these libraries supplement each other, as neither is large enough to meet the demand of about five hundred high school students.
Besides the new and modern high school building, which will be occupied this fall, there are four large grade school buildings. Aside from this school system, the library is the only education institution in the city.
The professions are represented by the school faculty, the ministers of the churches, the musicians, the journalists connected with the two newspapers, the doctors, the nurses of the two hospitals.
Excerpt, E. Fay Woolsey, "A Survey of the Library Services of the City of Medford, Oregon," 1931. Jackson County Library.
Last revised November 25, 2011