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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Medford News: 1920

Medford-related news items from 1920. Also see descriptions of Medford and Jackson County for this year.

Interurban Autocar Co. schedule 1920

Oregon Growers Make Remarkable Growth
Now Have 22,000 Acres
    Thirty days ago we had just passed the 15,000-acre mark. At this writing, February 10th, we have 22,000 acres, and at no time in our history have we grown as fast as during the past thirty days. We should soon reach the 25,000-acre mark, and should have 30,000 acres for next season's business. Great gains have been made all over Western and Southern Oregon, more especially in Polk and Yamhill counties in the north, and Douglas and Jackson counties in the south. On Tuesday, January 27th, we met a small group of fruit growers of Medford, and told them that we must have a minimum of 4,000 acres, and should preferably have 7,000 acres, if we were to operate successfully in the Rogue River Valley. The growers responded handsomely, signed 4,250 acres in ten days, and in all probability will sign between 6,000 and 7,000 acres.
    The condition of the fruit growers in the Southern Oregon country is not what it should be. They have been maintaining from ten to fourteen buyers, with a tonnage which was large enough to support two. No two growers in the valley seemed to be getting the same price. There is no such thing as a standard grade and pack, or a growers' inspection service, which inspects the pack before it leaves the valley. There are inadequate means for handling the horticultural products. If the growers of the Rogue River Valley respond as they should, central packing houses will be established at such points as Grants Pass, Rogue River, Central Point, Medford and Talent. Many of the large growers, however, will pack in their own houses. A central byproducts plant will be established at Medford, with large cold storage capacity, and good facilities for canning and the manufacture of vinegar and lime-sulfur, and in short, facilities for conducting a business which the tonnage warrants. Not until then can the growers realize what they should from their fruit, and not until then will the land values be what they should. What is true of the Rogue River Valley is equally true of the Umpqua, and many parts of the Willamette. We are all going to pull together, choose a brand, nationally advertise it, standardize our grade and pack, maintain efficient inspection for our fruit, have direct representatives in the larger markets, and create a greater demand for our products. Such a program will tend to stabilize our industry, and keep the growers prosperous. Let us all pull together, and hasten the day.
The Oregon Grower, magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., March 1920, page 1


    J. E. Edmiston, Medford, Oregon, says:
    "Duc de Comice," King of the Pear family, and favorite fruit of Napoleon the Great, is still the "class" of all table pears in the opinion of no less a judge than Albert, King [omission] of his consort. Nowhere, aver these two royal authorities, does the Comice pear grow to greater perfection than in the Rogue River Valley.
    During their recent tour of the United States the Belgian Royal party spent several days in Santa Barbara, California, and while there called on J. A. Doremus, brother of F. C. Doremus, Medford pear grower. At dinner both Bosc and Comice pears from the Doremus ranch here were served.
    Attracted by the delicate flavor, large size, uniformity, and perfect shape of the fruit, King Albert inquired as to where it was grown. Unlike most Californians, the host at once gave Oregon, or that part of it lying immediately adjacent to this city, credit for the product. So interested were the King and Queen [omission] great length on the Rogue River Valley and the pear produced there.
    "Those pears," said the King, "particularly the Comice, surpass anything I have ever found in France, where they originated. Your Bosc is wonderful--exquisite! Your Comice superb! When I return again to your wonderful country, I should like nothing more than to visit the valley which produces such unexcelled fruit!"
    When the royal party left Santa Barbara, they carried with them several boxes of Comice and Bosc from the Doremus storehouse. Others, packed in cotton, will follow after each harvest so long as he is a grower, Doremus says.
The Oregon Grower, magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., March 1920, page 14


    J. E. Edmiston, a fruit grower of Sams Valley, near Gold Hill, has been selected as field representative for the Oregon Growers' Cooperative Association for the Medford and Grants Pass districts, including Jackson and Josephine counties. Mr. Edmiston is a live wire, having signed up over 1600 acres in four weeks during the recent campaign. He is a member of the association and is very anxious to see it succeed. He can be relied upon to give us his best efforts.
    The acreage already signed in these counties amounts to approximately 6000, owned by 200 members. Of this amount about 6200 acres are in Jackson County, and 800 in Josephine. Considerable more acreage can without doubt be obtained in both districts. The checking up and crop estimating will be no small task.
"Field Department,"
The Oregon Grower, magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., April 1920, page 10


    "Mose" Barkdull, whose interest in politics is only overshadowed by the commercial interests that involve him in the real estate business, is at the Imperial Hotel, registering from Medford. "Mose" is known officially as J. E. With him are Lloyd Elwood and E. M. McKeany, both of Medford.--Portland Journal.
Medford Mail Tribune,
April 22, 1920, page 2


New Plants Purchased by Oregon Growers Association,
Buying and Building New Plants.

    Members of the Oregon Growers Association will be pleased to know that the packing corporation now has three plants which have been recently purchased. The plant of the Rogue River Fruit and Produce Association at Medford, the Umpqua Valley Fruit Union plant at Roseburg, and the Drager Prune Packing Plant at Yamhill. Some notes in regard to these plants will be interesting.
    The plant at Medford is well located, a paved street leading to the property, there being 13 city lots, or a full block, about three hundred feet square. Side tracks are provided for the loading of 14 cars at one time if necessary. The main building is constructed of interlocking tile throughout, has two full stories and basement. On the main floor will be found a receiving room, general office, and packers lunch room, and four precooling and storage rooms, measuring 42x30, 30x40, 40x29 and 37x50. The packing room is on the second floor and measures 78x98 feet. Fruit is conveyed to the packing room by a large water-power elevator from the receiving room on the first floor and by a power hoist endless chain system, the trucks unloading at the south end of the building direct onto the belt. The packed fruit is then placed on a gravity carrier which takes it to the precooling or cold storage rooms, and later from them direct into the cars. The cold storage plant is operated from the basement where there is installed a 25-ton Vulcan compressor, and 50-h.p. motor. There are also two condensers. The east, south and west sides of the entire building are surrounded by porches 12 feet wide, which are roofed in. On these porches or platforms, the bulk of the fruit is unloaded. There is also a long extension shed. At some time in the future, the entire plant will probably be turned into a cold storage plant and a packing shed will be built in conjunction. This is the first plant taken over by the growers association in the Rogue River Valley.

"Packing Department," The Oregon Grower, magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., May 1920, page 4


    At the last meeting of the directors of the Oregon Growers' Cooperative Association, Mr. Howard Hill of Medford, was elected director to fill a vacancy existing on the board. Mr. Hill is the son of Mr. Dillon Hill, and their orchard is known as one of the better orchards of the Rogue River Valley. The Rogue River now has two directors on the board, Mr. Fritz Eisman of Rogue River being the other director.

The Oregon Grower,
magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., May 1920, page 8



    During the last three weeks of March more orchards changed hands in the Medford district than during the entire two years previous. More than a dozen ranches were sold, with a total of over 500 acres in bearing pears and apples. Persons in close touch with the situation state that the entrance of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Association into this district has been a very important factor in bringing this about.
    J. E. Edmiston, field representative for the Medford and Grants Pass-Rogue River districts, reports a gain of 20 members with 300 acres in the Medford district and four members with 65 acres in the Grants Pass-Rogue River district, during the past three weeks.
"Field Department," The Oregon Grower, magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., May 1920, page 9

Farm Bureau Buys Warehouses.
    Medford, Ore., May 7.--A deal has just been completed by which the Farm Bureau of Jackson County in its expansion campaign takes over the two warehouses and six lots adjacent to the Southern Pacific railroad tracks, from the Rogue River Cooperative Fruit Association. The consideration was $12,400. The bureau took possession May 1 and from the warehouses are selling at wholesale prices, grain, feed, fertilizers and spray to its members. The bureau will continue to make use of the warehouse of the Rogue River Fruit and Produce Association, which it leased sometime ago, as a supply depot.
The Chicago Packer, May 8, 1920, page 35


    Rogue River Valley orchards have staged a remarkable "comeback" in the realty activity of Southern Oregon, due very largely to the entrance of the Oregon Growers in this field, according to prominent local real estate operators. Upwards of 25 orchard properties have changed hands this spring. Proof of the stabilizing effect of the association on orchard business here is contained in the statements of two owners of large holdings, recently acquired, to the effect that they would not have bought orchards in Southern Oregon had it not been for the bright outlook for the business occasioned by the coming of the Oregon Growers into the Valley of the Rogue.
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    J. G. Love, recently from Washington County, Iowa, now owner of the famous "Snowy Butte" orchard near Medford, is one of the staunchest boosters for the Growers here. Love's orchard, while small in acreage, is a big shipper. From 14 acres of Winter Nelis trees as high as 15 cars of fruit have been shipped by the former owner. Love has an unusually heavy bloom this year, especially in his Nelis block.
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    Here is an example of what "intelligent farming and lots of it" will do for a run-down, no-account orchard.
    Several years ago Lyman & Hooten of Gold Hill took over just such an orchard in the Rogue canyon four miles from Gold Hill. The block consists of six acres of Spitz and five acres of Newtown apples. It had never paid and was about to be pulled out. Last year the new owners shipped 8660 boxes of fine apples from the block of which 5200 were Spitz. Irrigation, installed at a slight expense, and intelligent application of nitrates did the trick, Lyman says.
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    Fred Mahan, lately of Eugene, now in charge temporarily of the Medford plant of the Growers, is on the job daily at the cold storage plant and can be interviewed there by growers desiring orchard supplies.
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    Lieutenant Paul Schier, lately of Uncle Sam's navy of the Pacific, is now a full-fledged orchardist in the Central Point section. He recently purchased the "Alberta'' orchard, a heavy producer of pears and apples. After a thorough investigation of Rogue River Valley marketing conditions, Lieut. Schier elected to cast his lot with the Growers. He has a 40-acre block.
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    Dillon R. Hill and sons, "Comice Pear Kings" of the Rogue, have added to their large orchard holdings by the purchase of the L. P. Hubbard property near Central Point. There is 120 acres in the tract, of which about 70 are in orchard.
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    Irrigation is now assured for the Medford Irrigation District comprising 10,000 acres, largely orchards. The district court has recently held that the proceedings are valid, thus clearing the way for the commencing of actual construction work. Water will be available, it is said, for at least a part of the land in the spring of 1921.
"Field Department," The Oregon Grower, magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., June 1920, page 14


    The Association has been very fortunate in securing the services of Harry Stoltz and Clarence Pankey, both very capable and popular men, to take charge of packing, warehousing, loading and handling of supplies in the Medford district.
"Field Department," The Oregon Grower, magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., June 1920, page 16


    Mr. Crawford C. Lemmon of North Yakima has been appointed to take charge of the affairs of the association in the Rogue River Valley and will be stationed at Medford. Mr. Lemmon is a man of wide experience, has owned a fruit farm in the Hood River Valley for eight years, handled one of the largest packing and storage houses in the valley, later for several years conducted a produce business of his own. He has worked for the Pacific Fruit and Produce Company in their houses at Kennewick and Wenatchee, Wash. This past season he was field manager for Perham Fruit Company of Yakima. We are fortunate in being able to secure a man who has had such wide experience in the handling of both apples and pears under Pacific Northwest conditions.
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    Mr. Fred Mahan, who has been handling the work temporarily at Medford, has been transferred to Roseburg, and will represent Mr. Holt in the Umpqua Valley. Mr. Mahan is a man of wide experience, owned and operated large orchards in the fruit districts of Colorado, conducted a fruit packing house there, developed a large orchard at Ontario, Ore., was associated for some time with Mr. R. C. Paulus at the Salem Fruit Union. While with the Fruit Union, Mr. Mahan had charge of the fresh fruit packing department, and later assisted in the dried fruit packing. During the past year he has been associated with Mr. J. O. Holt of Eugene and has assisted him both at Eugene and Creswell. Mr. Mahan is especially fitted for the position at Roseburg. His association with Mr. Paulus and Mr. Holt, his wide experience in the handling of both fresh and dried fruits, make him an invaluable man for the position.
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    With the large increase in tonnage which will have to be handled in the Medford district, it was deemed wise to immediately increase our facilities for the handling of the fresh fruit. A new packing shed is being rapidly completed on the south end of the central plant at Medford.
"Packing Department," The Oregon Grower, magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., July 1920, page 8


Medford and Grants Pass Districts
    No more acreage will be taken in the Rogue River Valley for this year's crop, the campaign having been closed on June first. During the three weeks prior to closing, the association field department did a land office business. Twenty-five new members with 522 acres were added to the Rogue Valley total.
    Colonel Gorden Voorhies of Medford has returned to assume management of his 100-acre pear block, having been mustered out of the service after two years overseas. After a thorough investigation of marketing conditions in the Rogue Valley, Colonel Voorhies decided to cast his lot with the Growers.
    Judge G. C. H. Corliss, prominent Portland attorney, is another new Rogue River Valley member. Judge Corliss has a 40-acre block of pears near Phoenix.
    One of the largest orchard deals of the past few years was consummated at Medford recently when the Suncrest orchards were sold to a San Francisco syndicate. The price given was $250,000. This property contains the largest solid block of pears in Oregon. The entire planting of pears and apples consists of 450 acres.
    T. J. Gardner, a Medford member, is bemoaning the fact that his giant Newtown apple tree "Producer" has taken a rest this year. Last year Gardner took 53 boxes of merchantable fruit from this tree. In 1916 the fruit from this tree netted him $125.
    Officers of the Medford irrigation district are hard at work on their plans for bringing water to cover 10,000 acres of the Rogue River Valley bottom lands in 1921. With the coming of this water, large  plantings of berries, apricots and plums are promised.
    Fred Mahan, who has been in charge of the association's Medford plant for the past two months, has left to take over the management of the Roseburg plant.
    Ground has been broken for a new packing house at Medford to occupy a site adjoining the cold storage plant of the Oregon Growers. The building will have a floor space of 80x100 feet and will be a one-story frame structure. Paul Wright, well known Medford builder, is in charge of the work.
    Decision to build was reached by Mr. Holt when it was learned that the prospective tonnage to be packed out of the city of Medford alone by the association was more than twice as great as the old plant's capacity. The second floor of the cold storage plant will be used by Mr. Holt as a main supply house for the entire valley, while the entire first floor will be used for precooling and storage of apples and pears.
    In addition to the Medford house, the Growers' Association is planning to pack at Gold Hill, Rogue River, Grants Pass, Eagle Point, Phoenix and possibly Talent. The association has purchased three outside or "community" packing houses from the Rogue River Fruit and Produce Association. They are located at Voorhies, Phoenix and Davis.

The Oregon Grower, magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., July 1920, page 12


    The overhead crossing at Tolo was opened for traffic this afternoon. This will be welcome news to tourists and local people.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, July 19, 1920, page 2


Rogue River Valley.
    The Oregon Growers now have the best arranged fruit packing house in Southern Oregon. With the completion of the new packing shed at Medford the association's "home" in the Southern Oregon metropolis is without question the largest and best plant in that part of the state. In addition to the new packing house, an office building has been erected on the association's property.
    Preliminary units of the big irrigation scheme in the Grants Pass district have been completed and water is now available for several thousand acres of land, much of it orchard properties. Test "patches" in the Grants Pass district prove that the bottom lands along Rogue River produce a very high tonnage of superior raspberries, Logans and strawberries, and with water now available, this industry promises to develop into a big and profitable one there.
    Rogue River Valley orchardists are generally keenly disappointed over the recent "bone dry" decision of the Supreme Court in the matter of the validity of the bonds of the Medford Irrigation district. This district, which had already commenced construction work, planned to bring 10,000 acres immediately adjacent to the city of Medford under water in 1921. Since the courts declared the bonds invalid work has been discontinued, and before a refinancing plan can be formulated and carried out it looks like more bone-dry years for the Medford orchardists.
    Bosc and Winter Nelis pears are the Rogue River Valley's banner crops this year, horticulturally speaking. The census of the association shows Bosc, Nelis and Comice pears heavier than 1919, Bartlett somewhat lighter and Anjou and Howells much lighter than last year. The apple crop is considerably lighter than in 1919, this being the  valley's "off" year.
    Orchard properties continue active on the realty market in Southern Oregon. A number of first-class orchards changed hands during the past month. Among the newcomers here is M. M. Bilyeu of New York, who has purchased the Ed Hamlin block of pears and Newtown apples south of Medford.
"Field Department," The Oregon Grower, magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., August 1920, page 8


    At Medford, the new packing house adjoining the cold storage plant is being rapidly completed. Packing tables for the handling of pears have been made, and an apple sizing machine to aid in the grading and packing of apples has been purchased. An office is being established and equipped. The department is extremely busy these days, getting ready for the big rush of the pear season, which will open early in August. Thousands of boxes are being made up, and every step taken to facilitate the rapid, efficient handling of our crop.

"Packing Department," The Oregon Grower, magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., August 1920, page 16


    The new stretch of the Pacific Highway between Rogue River and Grants Pass is now open for traffic and has been since last Sunday, much to the delight of tourists and local autoists of Medford and Grants Pass. However, the remaining part of the highway between the two cities, the stretch between Gold Hill and Rogue River, will not be completed until next year because of the plans of the State Highway Commission having been changed to provide a much heavier than two- to three-inch pavement base.

"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, August 1, 1920, page 2


    An order was signed by the county court this week authorizing Jackson County to cooperate with the state and national government in providing funds for the construction of the Crater Lake Highway. By this arrangement the national government provides 50 percent, the state 25 percent and the county 25 percent of the amount to be expended. It is expected that financial arrangements along this line will be completed in the near future.--Jacksonville Post.

"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, August 16, 1920, page 2


    The surfacing of the highway between Rogue River and Gold Hill is progressing favorably, according to S. S. Schell. The State Highway Commission some time ago changed the amount of hot stuff that had to be laid. The depth of the pavement was 2½ inches before, but this has been doubled, and it takes just twice the amount of hot stuff. By winter all but a couple of miles will be surfaced between Grants Pass and Ashland--Grants Pass Courier.

"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, August 27, 1920, page 2



Rogue River Valley
    There has been but little activity in the field department in the Southern Oregon section for two months past, the field organization having taken over the inspection service. Within a short time an energetic campaign for new members will be inaugurated, however.
    G. A. Jewett, Chicago merchant, recently purchased an 80-acre bearing apple and pear block in the Medford district adjoining the famous 401 ranch. Jewett is a member of the Oregon Growers and one of the organization's best boosters.
    Howard Hill, chairman of the Medford committee and member of the state board of directors, is ill with a severe attack of bronchitis. He has been under a physician's care for a month past.
    E. T. Guthrie, member of the Medford committee, plans to combine business with pleasure during the next half year which, with Mrs. Guthrie, he plans to spend in England and Scotland. Guthrie will devote considerable time abroad advertising Mistland products and investigating market conditions.
    C. H. Chadwick, Chicago merchant and owner of a 135-acre block of pears and apples in Fern Valley, has disposed of his place to R. J. Henry of the "Windy City." Henry will take possession in November and will move his family to Medford early in the spring.
    Frank Wiggins, St. Louis merchant, has purchased the Will McKay orchard, a 20-acre block of pears and apples near Phoenix. Wiggins bought a box of Medford pears, came here to investigate their point of origin and invested. He is an enthusiastic booster for the Growers' Association.
    Medford pear growers are going in more and more for the P. Barry pear. This variety, new here, has been bringing good prices for several years past. The variety was introduced here by C. H. Chadwick and the Potter Palmer interests.
    E. W. Carlton of Table Rock has finished harvesting an excellent crop of Jonathan, Newtown and Winesap apples. Some of Carlton's nine-year-old "Sap" trees picked as high as 15 boxes each. Over a period of years, Carlton has found the "Sap" his best paying apple and the Winter Nelis pear his best paying pear. Carlton's orchard, the "Redskin," is one of the show places of the valley.
    Col. R. C. Washburn of the Table Rock section, has just finished harvesting 15,000 boxes of Newtowns and "Saps" from his block of 29 acres. This is one of the best yields in the Medford district.
    The association's heaviest apple tonnage in the Medford district this year is being harvested from the Fred C. Bell ranch at Eagle Point. Bell expects to harvest 35,000 boxes from his 70 acres. The trees are from 15 to 30 years old, and the varieties grown are chiefly Newtowns, Spitzenburgs and Red Cheeks.
    Clyde Niles, manager for the Leonard Estate Company at Grants Pass, and a member of the state board of directors, harvested 10,000 boxes from 15 acres of young Newtown trees. The fruit was exceptional.

The Oregon Grower, magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., November 1920, page 10



Last revised July 16, 2016