The Olwells and Snowy Butte Orchard
June 26, , Tuesday
Day showery, rained heavy, shower at our house about noon. Childers, Getchell, Carter, Gatewood and Frank hauled hay until noon and afternoon went berrying. Got a few raspberries and some blackberries. My wife and Emma Cole done the housework and I went to old man Fountain's to see him for Beck. In evening Mr. Olwell from Nodaway Co., Mo. came to stay all night. He is out looking at our country with intention of locating here.
Martin Peterson Diary
LIBERAL.--Mr. Olwell, of the Phoenix Mills, offers to bear one-fifth of the expense of building a new school house in Phoenix, and we understand there are others of the prominent citizens of that place who will also contribute liberally to this laudable enterprise. A good school house is a positive necessity to our thriving little town, and will add much to its good fame and its prosperity.--Tidings.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 23, 1879, page 3
We learn that P. W. Olwell has sold some land in Phoenix to the Germans who at first thought of establishing a brewery at Medford. They propose going into the same business at the former place.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 8, 1884, page 3
P. W. Olwell's sons have a fish trap in Bear Creek, in Phoenix, with which they have taken a large number of fine salmon trout this spring. The fish find a ready market here and at Jacksonville.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, May 2, 1884, page 3
A report has been in circulation for some time past that P. W. Olwell was going to move his flouring mill from Phoenix to Medford but in an interview yesterday he denied that such was the case. He says that he runs his mill eighteen hours a day, finds a ready sale for his flour and has not the least trouble in disposing of his hogs in his present location and wants to know where the necessity of a change comes in. The report that the Jacksonville distillery would be moved to Medford is equally without foundation.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, February 7, 1885, page 3
There is some activity in the grain market, consequent upon war rumors from Europe, and much wheat has changed hands at an advanced figure. G. Karewski sold 10,000 bushels last week to Plymale & Angle of Medford, for the Salem flouring mills, and we learn that P. W. Olwell of Phoenix has also sold a large quantity. The rate paid was 60 cents a bushel, sacked and delivered at the railroad. This is not a big price, but more satisfactory than that offered for several months past, even if buyers do require the train to be free from all kinds of rubbish. As long as the railroad company maintains its exorbitant freight charges, grain cannot be raised with much profit in southern Oregon.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 1, 1885, page 3
Roberts & O'Neil of Medford precinct sold 3,000 bushels of wheat to P. W. Olwell of the Phoenix mills, and they got 60 cents a bushel for it.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, March 20, 1886, page 3
Fish from Bear Creek find ready sale in this market. P. W. Olwell's sons find no trouble in disposing of all they bring in.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 23, 1888, page 3
Hon J. H. Sears and P. W. Olwell of Eden precinct and Hon. J. D. Whitman and wife of Medford have gone to Jenny Creek on a pleasure trip, accompanied by their families.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 9, 1888, page 3
Wm. and John Olwell, of Phoenix, have both been very sick with fever, but are now improving under the skillful treatment of Dr. Pryce."Medford Items," Ashland Tidings, July 19, 1889, page 2
A. J. Weeks, of Phoenix, who purchased P. W. Olwell's upper mill site, has the machinery in place to carry on an extensive box factory next summer.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 16, 1890, page 3
Olwell's mills at Phoenix will hereafter be operated in connection with the Medford Roller Mills. The combination will prove a strong one.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 23, 1890, page 3
To the Farmers of Jackson County.
Having found it impracticable to operate our mill at Medford as an exchange mill, we have purchased the Washington Mills of Phoenix, and will continue to operate them on the exchange plan. As soon as practicable we will overhaul the mill and place it in first-class repair. So bring on your wheat and we will prove to you that you will be treated as well by the new firm as the old.
Respectfully yours,Medford, Or., Jan. 20, 1890.
Davis & France.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 23, 1890, page 3
Davis & France, proprietors of the flouring mill at Medford, have bought the Phoenix mill of P. W. Olwell, and intend to overhaul and improve it. They will operate both mills, Mr. Joseph France taking charge of the Phoenix mill.
"Brevities," Ashland Daily Tidings, January 31, 1890, page 3
P. W. Olwell is preparing to build a fine residence on his orchard ranch in the environs of town. He was singularly fortunate in getting nearly all his 12,000 fruit trees to grow last summer, dry as the season was, and if the present year proves as favorable as it now promises, his immense orchard will prove a veritable mine of wealth in a very few more years.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 6, 1890, page 3
P. W. Olwell has contracted for the immediate erection of a temporary frame dwelling house on his property near town, to accommodate his family until he can build the brick residence which he has in contemplation. He is compelled to build a temporary home for his family in consequence of having sold his residence at Phoenix. The work will be rapidly pushed forward to completion.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 17, 1890, page 3
P. W. Olwell has already placed his order for 50,000 brick, to be used next fall in the construction of a fine residence on his ranch near town. The building at present in course of construction will be used as a tenant and farm laborer's cottage after the brick residence is built.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 1, 1890, page 2
John Olwell of Central Point has gone to Mt. Angel College, where he will be during the coming year.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 3, 1890, page 3
Agent Dunn, of Staver & Walker, had a runaway at Central Point in Mr. Olwell's field one day recently, resulting in a broken buggy.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 28, 1890, page 2
John Olwell last week returned home from attendance at school in Portland.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 3, 1891, page 3
Mr. Olwell's big orchard near Central Point is in a flourishing condition, and he will soon have the reward of his enterprise. There is no more favorable site for an orchard in the state, and as the selection of fruit is of the very best, there can be no doubt of its proving very profitable whenever the trees come into bearing.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 10, 1891, page 3
Wm. Olwell has for some weeks held the responsible position of manager of the Medford roller mills, and will, of course, give the best of satisfaction, as he was raised in a mill and has good business qualifications.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 9, 1891, page 2
Mr. Olwell of Wisconsin, brother of our esteemed fellow citizen, P. W. Olwell of Central Point, is paying this section a visit.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 9, 1891, page 3
Wm. Olwell, late bookkeeper at the Medford Roller Mills, is back at his father's ranch near Central Point, where he will remain several weeks and lend a hand at pruning their 160-acre orchard.
"Local News," Medford Mail, March 10, 1892, page 3
Will Olwell is once more at his post of duty in the Medford roller process flouring mill.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 22, 1892, page 3
John Olwell, who has been attending a commercial college in California, has returned to Central Point.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 10, 1892, page 3
John Olwell has returned from Oakland, where he has been attending college.
"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, June 17, 1892, page 3
P. W. Olwell, the king orchardist near Central Point, has been making several improvements about his premises, noticeable among which are the gable windows in the residence.
"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, July 1, 1892, page 3
A. A. Davis is in Olympia again and Will. Olwell is managing the Medford mills.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 1, 1892, page 2
Will Olwell has gone to Davenport, Wash. to take charge of the mill of Davis & Co. at that place, now ready for operation. He is a straightforward business man, and his many friends wish him success in his new home.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 28, 1892, page 3
Joe Olwell last week returned from attending school at Oakland, and will remain at home during the summer months.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 9, 1893, page 2
A. P. Gordon, a prominent citizen of Marion County, is in the valley looking after the sale of a fruit dryer that is pronounced unexcelled by any other. The Times is pleased to learn that he has sold one of them, of considerable capacity, to P. W. Olwell of Central Point, the enterprising horticulturist, which will be erected in time to dry this season's crop.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 14, 1893, page 3
John Olwell of Central Point was at the county seat one evening this week, from whom we learned that the fruit dryer his father is having erected is near completion. This [is] one of the most important enterprises in the valley, and we hope to see it prove successful.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 4, 1893, page 3
Will. Olwell, who has been paying his relatives and friends in Rogue River Valley a visit, started Sunday on his return to Davenport, Wash., where he is employed in the mill of Davis & Howard.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 11, 1893, page 3
The Olwell Fruit Farm.
Written for The Medford Mail.
The writer recently visited the orchard of Mr. P. W. Olwell, at Central Point, and our expectations were fully realized in finding it to be the best young orchard in the valley. It is one-half mile square, containing one hundred and sixty acres. The trees are principally the best varieties of winter apples. There are twelve thousand apple trees, about two thousand pear trees, three hundred peach trees, and about four hundred prune trees. Before Mr. Olwell purchased and set this farm out to fruit, it was known as one of the best grain farms of the valley, and some of the wiseacres (?) even now, in talking of this beautiful young orchard, suggest that the land would pay better, considering the expense of taking care of the orchard, etc., if it was still in grain. To those we would simply say, you don't know what you are talking about. While some of these people talk thus and raise fifty-cent wheat and nine out of every ten getting poor, Mr. Olwell will raise fifty-cent apples and get rich. Now we do not contend for a minute that everybody could get rich raising fruit. On the other hand, we believe there are few men who will make a thorough success raising fruit, and we believe--as the care of the orchard will bear us out--that Mr. Olwell is one of the few who through careful attention and persistence will make a success of fruit raising. He evidently believes in the old maxim which says: "The one sure, safe, serviceable, attainable quality is that of attention. It will grow in any soil, and in its own due time bring forth good fruit." As his orchard is coming into bearing, Mr. Olwell has provided facility for taking care of a part of a crop in the years to come, he having secured an Oregon dryer, which is used almost exclusively in the Willamette Valley and throughout Washington. As Mr. Olwell will not have enough fruit to run the dryer to its full capacity this season, it will be run on a custom basis. Mr. A. P. Gordon will have charge of the dryer this season. He will buy fruit, and also dry for a share. In a few years. Mr. Olwell expects to have a switch run to the edge of the orchard, where he will load and ship by the carload.
Medford Mail, September 1, 1893, page 2
Mr. Olwell is very busy now pruning his fine young orchard.
"Central Point," Southern Oregon Mail, February 10, 1893, page 2
Roads are in an awful fix from here to Medford; the nearer Medford you get the worse the roads. The road is the reflex manifestation of the civilization of a community: Therefore, etc. etc. We believe that every man in Medford and Central Point should be hung for the sin of omission. If you pull through that lane alongside of Olwell's orchard and then go and look at the windrows of good gravel along Bear Creek you will see what is omitted. Why Brother Nickell did not rush a bill through the legislature declaring this particular road a nuisance is amazing. A great opportunity for fame, and an "ad" in the Times, was hereby foolishly thrown away.
"Spikenard Sparks," Medford Mail, March 24, 1893, page 1
P. W. Olwell, the big, prosperous fruit man north of Medford, is preparing to care for his fruit in a manner most commendable. He has purchased a fruit dryer and the company's agent, A. P. Gordon, is now engaged in putting the same in shape for use.
"All the Local News," Medford Mail, July 14, 1893, page 3
Will Olwell, the gentleman who at one time operated the Phoenix flouring mill, but now bookkeeper for the A. A. Davis Milling Company at Davenport, Wash., is in Medford for a visit with friends and relatives.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, July 21, 1893, page 3
P. W. Olwell of Central Point precinct, who owns one of the largest and best orchards and farms in the valley, was recently offered $35,000 for the same, but promptly refused. He has 160 acres in choice fruit trees.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 11, 1893, page 3
P. W. Olwell, of Central Point, was in Medford Wednesday. The gentleman reports his fruit dryer doing an immense business and that he is daily offered more fruit than he can handle.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, October 13, 1893, page 3
P. W. Olwell is storing the crop of his orchard at Central Point for future shipment.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 27, 1893, page 3
Olwell Bros. last week shipped the last of their apple crop, four carloads, to Victoria, B.C., realizing good prices therefor.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 28, 1898, page 2
The Olwell lane in this precinct, which has been an eyesore every winter for so many years, is being graveled and otherwise improved. Supervisor Olwell is overseeing the work.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 13, 1898, page 3
P. W. Olwell & Sons have had a large number of men at work picking apples in the big orchard near town, and about 10,000 boxes are now in the warehouse ready for packing. The fruit is of a fine quality and will command a fancy figure when put on the market.
"Central Point Pointers," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 6, 1899, page 3
P. W. Olwell has 160 acres set with 12,000 fruit trees, which are beginning to be profitable. He will sell 10,000 boxes of apples and 1500 boxes of pears. This is about one-third of a full yield. His apples bring him from 90 cents to $1 per box on cars at Central Point, and his pears $1.25. He had in November 20 hands packing apples, and has had 60 in the busy season. In the immediate vicinity of Ashland 75,000 boxes of peaches of a superior quality were handled at a large profit.
G. A. Gregory, "Jackson County," Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 1, 1900, page 3
The well-known orchardists Olwell Bros. of Central Point have purchased a large gasoline power sprayer for use in their extensive orchards. It is said to be the first of its kind on the coast.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, March 22, 1900, page 3
The Olwell orchard at Central Point, which is one of the largest in the state, promises to yield an immense crop. Unless frosts should interfere, 75 carloads of fruit will be shipped from it during the coming season.
Olwell Bros. of Central Point this week packed the balance of their apples for shipment to Portland, amounting to three carloads. This enterprising firm have shipped a large quantity of superior apples to different parts of the United States during the past season, and will do a bigger business than ever during the coming year.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 26, 1900, page 3
Olwell Bros. will place in their big orchard at an early date a decided innovation in the way of a sprayer. The task of spraying their thousands of trees has been a slow and tedious one, and they have decided to adopt a machine similar to those in use in some eastern localities. A gasoline engine will be mounted in a low wagon, and power from it used to force the spraying liquid through four pipes simultaneously. These, directed by four men, will make an easy matter of spraying 1000 trees per day, and it is claimed that the work done is more thorough and effectual, on account of the force employed.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 27, 1900, page 7
The Olwell boys, near Central Point, have a novel way of clearing their orchard of the windfall apples. They are endeavoring to buy a drove of hogs for this especial purpose. They will drive the hogs through the orchard and all apples which have dropped will be eaten by the hogs, also the worms in the apples--which were the direct cause of the apples droppings. This method will very effectually do away with the worms--and will fatten the hogs. It is only a part of the Olwell orchard which is affected in this way--and this is a part which was not sprayed because of a short fruit yield on a few trees of a certain variety.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 27, 1900, page 7
There are sixteen girls employed at Olwell Bros.' packing house. They will not be able to finish the apple crop for a month.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, November 30, 1900, page 3
An entire trainload of apples! That is the record of a shipment just sent east by Olwell Bros., of Medford. The train consisted of 15 cars, all loaded with apples, the price of which was $1 per box, F.O.B., for the export trade. This is the largest single shipment that ever went from the Northwest.
Medford is becoming a famous exporting point for apples. There is strong competition among foreign buyers for the products of that favored district, the fame of which is due to the up-to-date, scientific methods of progressive growers. In the results of their careful work is furnished another practical object lesson in the value of intelligent farming along scientific lines.
Off of their 160 acres last year Olwell Bros. raised enough apples to net them $14,000. The sum, however, represented a corresponding amount of toil. The orchard is as carefully kept, nursed and tended as the business of any business firm in the city. As an example of this fact, it may be stated, the orchard was sprayed eight times this year. And each time the trees were thoroughly drenched with spray in such a manner that not a single leaf in the forest of trees covering 160 acres escaped. The spraying was accomplished by means of a gasoline engine upon a portable wagon to which were attached four hoses. As soon as the entire orchard was sprayed once, the workman began over again at the beginning. When it is known that 98 per cent of the fruit this year is clear from any kind of pests or diseases, it will be seen that such careful work pays.
All the apples thus far sold from the Medford district netted the owners $1 per box. It is estimated that about 70 carloads have been shipped. Other prominent growers in the district are Stewart, who has 100 acres; Whitman, 100 acres; Voorhies, 140 acres. These men raise for the export trade, and always obtain top prices. Their product is never a drug upon the market. As stated, buyers are only too anxious to secure the product. The varieties of apples raised in that district are the Jonathans, Newtown Pippins, Winesap, Bluetown Pippins and Red Russians.--Roseburg Plaindealer.
Lincoln County Leader, Toledo, Oregon, November 30, 1900, page 1
OREGON APPLES BRING TOP PRICE.
Fruit from the Olwell Orchards Beats World's Prices in the London Market.
From the Portland Oregonian.
John Olwell has been in Corvallis attending the mid-winter meeting of the board of regents of the agricultural college. With his brothers, Mr. Olwell owns and manages an apple orchard that is one of the most noteworthy in the country. A feature of chief interest is the fact that apples from this orchard command the highest prices that the world pays for this fruit. They bring two shillings, or 48 cents, more per box in the London market than do the best California apples. Returns from a carload of Oregon Newtowns received ten days ago gave the Olwells $1.04 per box, free on board, at Central Point. Apples from the same orchard are selling in the New York market at the rate of $4.50 per barrel, while the best Eastern apples are quoted in the same market at $2.50 to $3 per barrel. Some time ago Spitzenburgs from the Central Point orchard were marketed in New York and netted the Olwells $1 per box, free on board, at the orchard. The freight to New York is 50 cents per box, making the Olwell apples in the latter city $1.50 per box. Eastern apples were selling at the time in the same market at 50 and 75 cents per box, or one-half to one-third the price of the Oregon product.
The Olwell orchard this season produced 58 cars of apples, 55 cars of which have already been shipped and sold. It was the orchard's 12th year of existence and third year of bearing. Up to the present time $40,000 has been invested in the enterprise. Of the apples shipped, four cars went to London and 24 cars to New York and other eastern cities. The other cars went in all directions--to San Francisco, to Montana, to Australia, to New Orleans and other localities. The contents of each loaded car was 600 boxes, or a total of nearly 35,000 boxes. The apples that went to London were Oregon Newtowns, accounted by Mr. Olwell to be best sellers produced. The New York sales were mostly Spitzenburgs, while to the other markets went Baldwins, Ben Davis, Winesaps and one or two other varieties.
The orchard comprises 160 acres, all in apples but 1500 trees of Winter Nelis pears. Every apple shipped from the Olwell orchard sold in London or important eastern markets comes out of the original box wrapped in paper. The box is sugar pine, marked in large letters "Oregon Apples," together with the additional private stamp of the orchardists. The bottom and sides are lined with paper. Between each layer is paper, blue in color and of cardboard variety. On top is a paper of the same kind, and the lid is sprung in place with a machine and nailed. The apples in the box are packed with such exactness that when the lid is finally nailed on there is no shifting of position by the fruit inside.
For packing purposes, the apples are classified into four-tier and five-tier grades, according to size. Four-tier apples are those in which four apples exactly make a row in a tier and in which four tiers fill a box. The five-tier size takes its name for similar reasons. No apple is packed that is not absolutely perfect. The color must be right, the shape proper, and there must be no flaw or blemish that the eye can see. In the picking, 50 men are employed. During the packing season 20 girls are kept constantly busied at their duties. The packing is done in huge fruit houses, fitted with convenient tables and appliances for systematic prosecution of the work. Packing of apples for a carload does not begin until the fruit has been contracted. A telegram is received in the morning while the apples are still in bulk. At evening time the car of newly packed apples stands on the siding, to be taken way by a train within an hour or two after the process is completed.
One of the most remarkable features of the Olwell orchard is the success attained in destruction of the codling moth. Conditions in the locality are highly favorable to the propagation and prevalence of the pest, even more so than in the Willamette Valley. Formerly the whole crop of orchards in the district was lost by the infection. In many instances 90 percent of the apples in the orchard were infected. In the Olwell orchard this season less than 5 percent was lost by reason of the presence of the worms. This unparalleled result has been attained through diligent and intelligent spraying. The spray used is Paris green and London purple, applied six times during the season. One of the chief points of precaution in the spraying is to be absolutely certain that the poison is pure, a fact made doubly necessary because so many bogus preparations of both poisons are in the market.
Medford Mail, January 18, 1901, page 2
Quite a number of the orchardists hereabouts have purchased gasoline engines with which to furnish power to operate their spraying pumps. The Olwell boys experimented with one last year and found it to be a great saving in labor and added proficiency to the service. The gentlemen who have made recent purchases are Messrs. Weeks & Orr., C. E. Stewart, Capt. G. Voorhies, J. A. Whitman, John Gore and Olwell Bros. The Mail has also purchased one, of the greater horsepower than the spray engines, for use in operating its presses.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 15, 1901, page 7
John Olwell is making an extended trip through Washington.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, April 26, 1901, page 3
E. L. Olwell, who has been taking a course in Heald's business college, returned home last week.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, May 3, 1901, page 3
Mrs. P. W. Olwell and daughter, Miss Julia, who have been spending the past six months at Los Angeles, returned home last week.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, June 7, 1901, page 3
Rural Northwest:--"The fine orchard of Olwell Bros., of Central Point, Oregon, is doing good advertising for Oregon. Many papers in all parts of the country have mentioned this orchard and the fine apples it produces. The last issue of the Western Fruit Grower contains an article written for that paper by Olwell Bros., describing the orchard and their methods. The article is accompanied by three fine halftone illustrations, loaned by the Oregon State Board of Horticulture, and will give the people of the Middle West a good idea of what up-to-date orcharding in Oregon is like. * * * In the article written by Olwell Bros. the pleasing information is given that the San Jose scale is diminishing in Jackson County as a result of the attacks of a small black insect. This insect is not named by Olwell Bros., but it is probably the black ladybird (Rhizobius ventralis). In his annual report for 1892, Mr. J. D. Whitman, then commissioner of the Oregon State Board of Horticulture, called attention to the natural enemies of scale insects discovered by Mr. Albert Koebele. * * * These parasitic insects were obtained from the California State Board of Horticulture and distributed to fruit growers in different portions of the state. We do not know that any went to Jackson County, but think it probable. Some were sent to Canyonville, Douglas County. Whether the insects mentioned by Olwell Bros. have descended from those imported and distributed by the board of not, it is encouraging to know that they are now so numerous in Jackson County."
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 7, 1901, page 7 The Western Fruit Grower for 1901 containing the above Olwell article seems to only survive at the Cornell University Library in Ithaca New York. Anyone know someone in Ithaca?
Wm. J. Olwell and family of Davenport, Wash. arrived here Thursday and will spend a few weeks with relatives.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, June 21, 1901, page 3
W. J. Olwell and family, who have been visiting relatives here, left for their home at Davenport, Wash. Monday evening.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, June 28, 1901, page 3
J. T. Olwell, a prominent orchardist of Central Point, and one of the regents of the agricultural college, was in the city yesterday. He has 160 acres in apples, and last year marketed 35,000 boxes, making 58 carloads, for which he received $1 a box at the cars. He says his crop this season promises to be as good as that of last year. These apples were principally shipped to England direct.--Oregonian.
"News of the State," Medford Mail, August 2, 1901, page 4
Olwell Bros. and W. H. Norcross have a large number of fruit packers employed at each of their respective orchards and ship several carloads of apples each week.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, September 13, 1901, page 3
Fifty men wanted to pick apples at the Olwell orchards, Central Point.
Medford Mail, October 11, 1901, page 2
100 acres of farm land. Apply to Olwell Bros., Central Point.
Medford Mail, October 11, 1901, page 2
Olwell Brothers are shipping carloads of their fine apples every week to eastern markets.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, October 11, 1901, page 3
The crop of apples in the Olwell Bros. orchard this season will reach forty carloads. As the prevailing price is from $1 to $1.25 per box and 600 boxes comprise a carload, it does not require much of a mathematician to figure out that there'll be close onto $30,000 due the boys when a final reckoning is made.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 25, 1901, page 7
L. B. Brown, who lives in East Medford, has sold his apple crop to Olwell Bros., and he is now packing the fruit. He estimates that he will market fully $1000 worth of fruit from his orchard this year. Considering that there are only eight acres of land planted to orchard, the revenue is indeed a good one. His Yellow Newtowns are being packed especially for the London market.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 1, 1901, page 7
Olwell Bros. of Central Point, who are the largest growers of apples in southern Oregon, have gathered their crop of apples. It amounts to 40 cars of 600 boxes each. All of the Newtown pippins grown by them have been contracted for the London, England market, to reach which the cost per car is $600.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 7, 1901, page 7
Mr. and Mrs. P. W. Olwell and daughter have gone to Los Angeles to spend the winter.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, November 8, 1901, page 3
The Mail is in receipt of a copy of a pamphlet printed for the purpose of filling a demand for accurate information concerning the scope of the proposed Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition to be held in Portland in 1905. The book is neatly and tastily gotten up and filled with illustrations of Oregon scenery, business enterprises, etc. The information contained is more accurate than some of the illustrations in the advertisements; for instance, on the back page a group of halftones is shown purporting to illustrate scenes along the line of the O.R.&N. Co.'s line, and among them is a picture of the interior of Olwell Bros.' packing house at Central Point, with Joe Olwell plainly to be recognized in the foreground. We of Southern Oregon are used to being overlooked to some extent, but when it comes to switching an establishment which will ship over fifty carloads of apples this year clear to the other end of the state, we imagine we have a "kick coming" and herewith register the same.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 8, 1901, page 7
W. H. Norcross has shipped five carloads of his fine apples to the East, Chicago and New York City being the principal markets. He shipped two carloads to London this week, and will have enough apples to keep his full force of packers employed until Christmas. Porter Brothers have shipped five carloads in the last few days, and Olwell Brothers will not be through packing their large crop before the new year, and we have several other fruit growers that will ship quite a large quantity this fall. W. J. Freeman & J. Hughes have an immense quantity of dried prunes ready to ship.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, November 15, 1901, page 3
Olwell Bros. shipped three carloads of apples from the Luscomb orchard this week.
"Gold Hill Items," Medford Mail, November 15, 1901, page 3
P. W. Olwell left for Arizona Wednesday to join his wife, who will spend the winter there for her health.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, December 6, 1901, page 3
Olwell Bros. shipped two carloads of apples this week to Hamburg, Germany. The strict quarantine regulations established by Germany against fruit from all Pacific coast states makes the matter of shipping to that country decidedly hazardous, as many carloads already shipped from other coast points have been rejected by the German inspectors, but to do away with any possible trouble Messrs. Olwell Bros. had each box of fruit in these two carloads inspected by A. H. Carson, horticultural commissioner and inspector for this district, and his certificate to the effect that the fruit was not pest infested accompanied the bills of lading.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, December 13, 1901, page 7
OREGON GROWERS RECEIVED $2.25 PER BOX NET.
Two dollars and a quarter net per box is the price Olwell Bros., of Central Point, Jackson County, received for a carload of Oregon Newtowns sold in the London market a day or two before Christmas. Another car, sold a few days later, when the market was a little off, brought $1.75 net. More of the same apples are now in London, and returns are expected at any time.
J. D. Olwell was in Corvallis last week to attend the meeting of the board of regents of the Agricultural College. The Olwell Bros. have an orchard at Central Point of 160 acres. They had $12,000 worth of apples aboard the cars and on the way to market at one time last fall. The orchard is 13 years old, and the late crop is the fourth. Its aggregate this season was 35 cars, against 55 cars last year; but the better prices of this year made the output about as profitable as formerly.
The Olwell Spitzenburgs brought $1.50 net. They were mostly marketed in New York and Chicago. The buyer came to the orchard in August, and contracted for all the Spitzenburgs before the apples had matured. He remained there and paid spot cash for each car as it was shipped. The former price realized for Spitzenburgs was about $1 per box. The former price of the Newtowns, now selling in London at prices that net $2.25 and $1.75, was $1.05 to $1.10 per box. The Ben Davis variety in the Olwell orchard brought at the orchard this year $1.10 to $1.20 per box. They were mostly sold in New Orleans, which is not particular about the grade of apples it consumes. Last year the Olwell Ben Davis apples went at 65 cents per box.
At the Olwell orchard at picking time 70 men were employed. At packing time, which began after the picking and extended nearly to the holidays, 30 men and 16 girls were kept at work.
The codling moth has practically been run out of the Central Point district by the spray pump. Formerly 50 percent or more of the crop was destroyed by the worms, but by diligent spraying the percent of loss on this account is reduced to less than 5. In the Olwell orchard the spray pumps are operated by gasoline engines.
Mr. Olwell believes that much of the same success in growing apples in the Central Point district can be attained in the Willamette Valley. All that is necessary, he thinks, in order to make large orchards successful in the Willamette Valley is to be careful in the selection of soil and location, and then take good care of the orchard.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 23, 1902, page 7
THE OLWELL ORCHARDS.
Two dollars and a quarter net per box is the price Olwell Bros., of Central Point, Jackson County, received for a carload of Oregon Newtowns sold in the London market a day or two before Christmas. Another car, sold a few days later, when the market was a little off, brought $1.75 net. More of the same apples are now in London, and returns are expected at any time.
The Olwell Bros. have an orchard at Central Point of 100 acres. They had $12,000 worth of apples aboard the cars and on the way to market at one time this fall. The orchard is 13 years old, and the late crop is the fourth. Its aggregate this season was thirty-five cars, against fifty-five cars last year, but the better prices this year made the input about as profitable as formerly.
The Olwell Spitzenburgs brought $1.50 net. They are mostly marketed in New York and Chicago. The buyer came to the orchard in August and contracted for all the Spitzenburgs before the apples had matured. He remained there and paid spot cash for each car as it was shipped. The former price realized for Spitzenburgs was about $1 per box. The former price of the Newtowns now selling in London at prices that net $2.25 and $1.75, was $1.05 to $1.10 per box. The Ben Davis variety in the Olwell orchard brought at the orchard this year $1.10 to $1.29 per box. They were mostly sold in New Orleans, which is not particular about the grade of apples it consumes. Last year the Olwell Ben Davis went at sixty-five cents per box.
At the Olwell orchard at picking time 79 men were employed. At packing time, which began after the picking and extended nearly to the holidays, 30 men and 16 girls were kept at work.
The codling moth has practically been run out of the Central Point district by the spray pump. Formerly 50 percent or more of the crop was destroyed by the worms, but by diligent spraying, the percent loss on this account is less than 5. In the Olwell orchard the spray pumps are operated by gasoline engines.
Medford Mail, January 24, 1902, page 6
At last reports four-tier California Newtowns were selling in London at 7s to 7s6d per box, and Oregon Newtowns at 10s to 11s. What's the matter with Oregon apples? Olwell Bros., of Central Point, Oregon, netted $2.25 per box on one lot of apples shipped to London this season.--Rural Northwest.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, January 24, 1902, page 7
Mr. Olwell Says Fruit Was Clean.
In view of the fact that there is considerable talk being indulged in upon the subject of the recent rejection of Southern Oregon apples in the German markets, a Mail reporter on Tuesday sought an interview with Mr. John Olwell, one of the Olwell Bros., orchardists, of Central Point. The question was asked him: "Mr. Olwell, what do you know about the rejection of our fruit in the German markets?"
"I know a great deal about it," said Mr. Olwell. "I am glad you mentioned it to me, because I feel that I ought to say something upon the subject in justice to Messrs. Weeks & Orr. We (Olwell Bros.) bought this fruit from Weeks & Orr and shipped it to Hamburg, Germany, in anticipation of receiving a fancy price for it, as we had been informed that first grade, clean apples were in great demand on the German markets and would bring an extraordinary high price. We bought this fruit from Weeks & Orr because we knew it to be absolutely free from infection of any kind and we knew that their orchard was clean. (That word cleans means entirely free from infection with Jackson County orchardists.)
"To further guard against any possibility of rejection we had every box of this fruit inspected by Mr. A. H. Carson, horticultural commissioner of this district, and to the bill of lading we attached a certificate signed by Mr. Carson which was that the fruit was free from pest infection of any nature. These were sent with the fruit--and it was rejected--said to have scale on it. We know there was no scale. We have three reasons for knowing, any one of which would have been sufficient for us. We know that the Weeks & Orr orchard has no scale; we know that Mr. Alfred Weeks would not pack scaly apples, and we know that Mr. Carson would not certify to a document which he did not know of his own knowledge to be true.
"Since the rejection of this fruit we have learned that any fruit from the Pacific coast states of the United States would be condemned by the German authorities. The reason for it we, of course, do not know, and the only reason we can surmise is that at some time, earlier in the history of Pacific coast horticulture, some unscrupulous shipper has unloaded infected fruit on the German markets."
Medford Mail, February 14, 1902, page 6
P. W. Olwell, who has been spending the winter at Tucson, Arizona, arrived home this week, much improved in health.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, April 11, 1902, page 3
John D. Olwell, Democratic candidate for representative, spent Saturday night in Jacksonville.
"Jacksonville Items," Medford Mail, May 9, 1902, page 3
JOHN D. OLWELL
His Life Lies Like an Open Book Before the People of Jackson County.
Among the candidates is none more worthy of the place than John D. Olwell, nominee for representative of Jackson County on the Democratic ticket. He is known to almost every resident in Southern Oregon. He was practically forced into accepting the nomination by his friends; but since he has entered the fight he is determined to win. In sending such a man to represent Jackson County the people will make no mistake. He is frank, open, genial, thoroughly honest, and once knowing that he is right nothing will move him from his purpose. Taxpayers can feel safe when such men are in power. He was born in 1870. He came to this state as a boy with his parents. The family came to Jackson County by wagon from Roseburg. Mr. Olwell, Sr. was engaged in the milling business in Missouri and at Phoenix, and John was brought up in the trade of flour milling. Subsequently the family engaged in the fruit business. Some fourteen years ago they planted 160 acres of vacant land to orchard at Central Point, apples being the leading feature. This orchard has become noted as one of the finest apple orchards in the whole Pacific West, and is accepted as a model as to rare management and production of fine apples by horticulturists in Southern Oregon. The business is managed under the firm name of Olwell Bros., of which John is the head. They are now the largest shippers of apples in Oregon. The name of Olwell Bros. is a guarantee to buyers of apples as to fine quality, for every box bears it in the extensive markets of the eastern states and in Great Britain, where their product is sold. Mr. Olwell from habit and training is painstaking and vigilant as to all details of his business. He received a liberal education in the schools of this county, and in San Francisco and Portland, is a young man of excellent understanding, and with a mind alert to all that comes before him. He is therefore without narrow prejudices, and would be open, liberal and competent in his treatment of all questions which would come before him as a legislator in the event of his election. The state educational institutions, with which he is familiar, will have a good friend in Mr. Olwell. He is one of the regents of the State Agricultural College, under appointment of Gov. Geer.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 29, 1902, page 4
What John D. Olwell Says About His Election.
"I appreciate the compliment paid me by the voters of Jackson County, and I shall endeavor to show how sincerely I thank them by shaping my actions in representing Jackson County in such a way as to merit their future approval."
The speaker was John D. Olwell, elected representative of Jackson County on the Democratic ticket. He conducted his campaign in a clean, clear-cut manner, free from all personalities. He feels that he owes his election not alone to the Democrats, but to the Republicans as well. His popularity swept aside party prejudice. He was elected by his friends, regardless of party principles.
"It shall be my one aim," said he, in a sincere, modest manner, "to represent the interests of Jackson County in a faithful, impartial way. Thus can I best show how I appreciate the compliment."
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 12, 1902, page 2
Who Are Interested in Davenport, Washington.
Through the courtesy of Ed. Olwell, one of the Olwell Bros., now a progressive business man of Davenport, the metropolis of the Big Bend country, in Washington, the Democratic Times has received a neatly prepared advertising booklet. It is constructed in a first-class style, and would reflect credit on a much larger place. It shows that other Jackson County citizens, besides Mr. Olwell, are interested there. The names of A. A. Davis and W. I. Vawter are mentioned as prominent officers in the Big Bend flour mills, of which W. J. Olwell is vice-president and manager. He is also a city councilman. One of the principal brands of flour of this mill is "Davis' Best." The booklet shows that Davenport is a progressive town of 1,500 inhabitants, and a desirable place in which to locate.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 19, 1902, page 7
Ed. Olwell was among us Monday. From him we learn that his mother and sister will remain in Southern California during the season.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 26, 1902, page 1
Ed. Olwell, who is now a prominent business man of Davenport, Wash., arrived during the week, for a visit with relatives and friends.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 26, 1902, page 2
Mr. Olwell Discusses the Fruit-Growers' Union.Medford Mail, June 27, 1902, page 2
John D. Olwell, one of the owners of the famous Olwell orchard, four miles north of Medford, and which by the way is one of the largest apple orchards on the Pacific Coast, and for that matter in the United States, was in this city Tuesday. Speaking of the proposed fruit-growers' union, which is being talked of by the fruit men of this valley, Mr. Olwell stated to a representative of the Mail that he thought that in the matter of marketing fruit a union would be of little assistance to the growers who have from ten to forty, or more, carloads of fruit to ship, but to those having small quantities, and who are compelled to sell to local buyers, a union would be an advantage to them. Especially so would a union be to peach and berry growers, who usually have small quantities to market, and whose fruit is of a perishable nature and has to be rushed to a market. To such persons a union would enable them to secure better prices, through pooling their crop and reaching a distant market, but to the apple growers, at least those who have large quantities, a union would not be of much advantage, for their crop is not perishable at once, but can be held for months until it is convenient to ship.
In other ways Mr. Olwell thought a union would be of considerable benefit to all the fruit men of the valley. The present laws for the suppression of fruit pests he considered inadequate, and it would require a united effort by all the fruit men to get the legislature to make the necessary changes to the law. A union could do much toward enforcing the present fruit pest laws, and thus prevent careless farmers and town residents from allowing their fruit trees to become a nursery for the propagation of pests that would swarm out and overrun the orchards of those who try to keep their trees clean and healthy. Mr. Olwell wished it distinctly understood that he was not opposed to the fruit men getting together for their mutual interests, or that he even desired to discourage the effort to organize a union. On the contrary he was willing and anxious to do all that he could to push the fruit business of Jackson County, and to make it possible for the growers to maintain the high quality and splendid reputation that their fruit now has, and also secure to them the best prices that the markets of the world can afford.
Rogue River Valley apples are noted as much for their keeping qualities as for their eating qualities and handsome appearance. It is nothing uncommon, where they are properly kept, to have old apples keep until the new crop is fully grown. Mrs. L. F. Lozier, of this city, used the last of her apples last Friday, and they were then in quite as perfect condition as they were last winter. They were unselected apples from Olwell Bros.' orchard and were given no special care to ensure their keeping.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 4, 1902, page 7
E. L. Olwell, who is now one of the leading merchants of Davenport, Wash., is visiting the home folks. He will return to Washington the last of the week.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, July 11, 1902, page 3
Olwell Bros. will ship several carloads of Gravenstein apples to Montana during the week. They are also buying and shipping pears.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 28, 1902, page 6
Olwell Bros. shipped two carloads of apples to the outside market this week.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, August 29, 1902, page 3
P. W. Olwell of Central Point, one of our pioneer horticulturists, was a Medford visitor Monday.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 4, 1902, page 5
Frank Olwell of Central Point was among our visitors Saturday. He recently returned from a trip to Washington and other states north of us.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 18, 1902, page 1
Olwell Bros. have been experimenting this season in shipping summer apples to foreign markets. They recently shipped one carload to Siberia and two to London. The variety was the None Such, and it is expected that very satisfactory returns will be received, as this variety of fruit is a very good seller, provided, of course, that the fruit reaches its destination in good shape.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 19, 1902, page 7
Olwell Bros. recently shipped a carload of apples to Alaska and two carloads to London. They are of the Nonesuch variety. Rogue River Valley apples have gained widespread fame.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 25, 1902, page 1
An Important Enterprise.
Olwell Bros., the well-known horticulturists, with their accustomed enterprise, are branching out. They have rented the Southern Oregon Packing Co.'s building, located in Medford, and will install first-class machinery of large capacity for the manufacture of cider and vinegar, expecting to commence operations soon. We hope to see them encouraged in a substantial manner, as they well deserve it.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 2, 1902, page 1
The machinery for Olwell Bros.' cider and vinegar manufactory has arrived and will soon be in position. This will prove an important enterprise, as it will consume a large quantity of fruit and give employment to several people.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 2, 1902, page 1
A RICH ORCHARD
Located in the Southern Part of this Great State.
"Snowy Butte" orchard, owned by Olwell Bros., adjoins the city limits of Central Point, Jackson County, Oregon. They had about $40,000 in cash and good notes, and in 1889 purchased 300 acres of land, for which they paid $15,000 cash. One hundred and sixty acres were set to apples and winter pears--150 acres being set to apples. There were 5,000 Spitzenburgs, 1,500 Newtowns, 1,500 Gravensteins, 1,500 Ben Davis, 500 Winesaps, 100 Petite prunes, 500 Winter Nelis and 400 trees of Swaar, Red Astrachans, Red Cheek Pippins and Bartletts. The trees cost them $40 a thousand, and there were 12,000 trees in the orchard. The land is what may be called heavy and is very dark. It was nine years before the trees came into bearing. Had the land been lighter they would have come into bearing two years earlier, but the trees would not have lasted so long. Between the rows of trees were grown corn and watermelons, which, for the first three or four years, paid for caring for the orchard. The amount was decreased each year as the trees got larger, and discontinued altogether after the fifth year.
The land requires constant cultivation until the middle of July; hence a crop requiring cultivation can just as well be grown for the first few years. One year 60 acres were devoted to watermelons.
When the land was purchased there were no buildings of any kind on it. Buildings had to be constructed, horses and machinery had to be purchased. When the trees came into bearing in 1897 of course there was only a small crop produced--about 2,400 boxes--they had used up the entire $40,000. This partial crop was sold f.o.b. the cars at Central Point for 90 cents per box. Since that the average crop has been 35 carloads, or 21,000 boxes, per year. Some years more and some years less. In 1898 they were offered 75 cents per box f.o.b. [the] cars at Central Point for common varieties and $1.10 for fancy grades, and had they sold would have netted about $8,000. This was when they were just beginning to see "daylight" in the orchard business. They were then inexperienced in the marketing of fruits and held the crop, thinking that prices would advance in late winter. Early in March they shipped the bulk of the crop to New York, which reached there about five days after the fruit held in cold storage had been put up on the market, and prices were way down. They would have been better off had they never harvested their fruit. Yet, as one of them remarked to the writer, "It was probably worth to us all it cost, as it taught us a lesson."
The net profits on the farm were for 1899 $6,000; 1900, $12,000; and for 1901, $20,000.
For the best care of a large bearing orchard it will cost per year from $15 to $25 per acre; this is for cultivation, spraying, pruning, thinning, etc. The cost for picking, packing, wrapping, etc.--that is from the tree to the car where the station or siding is near the orchard--is from 25 to 30 cents per box. The paper alone for one year's crop will cost about $1,000, boxes $1,800 and nails $150. This will give some idea of the cost of a large commercial orchard. Pickers are paid $1 per day and board. Picking season lasts for about three weeks, and from 40 to 80 pickers are employed--50 being the average. The packing is done by girls. [They] employ about sixteen who are experienced. It takes about two years to become an expert packer; some never can become expert in that line.
The apples are picked off the trees by hand, placed in what are called orchard boxes and hauled to the packing house on long racks with springs under them, 60 to 70 boxes being hauled at each load, and they are stacked up. The red varieties are run through a polisher and are assorted into two sizes. The polisher is made by fastening brushes on a wheel, there being a circular strip upon which brushes are also fastened, all being attached to springs. The wheel is revolved quite rapidly, the apples passing through between the brushes on the wheel and those attached to the circular strip, which gives them a glossy appearance. The imperfect apples are set aside. The perfect apples are then wrapped in fruit paper, each piece having the advertisement of the orchard, and packed in standard boxes. The green-colored varieties are assorted, wrapped and packed, but not polished.
A good packer under favorable conditions can pack from 40 to 50 boxes per day of eleven hours. Ordinarily they pack from 25 to 30 boxes. The boxes are lined with paper, a blue cardboard is placed between each layer and in [the] top and bottom of [the] box. The art in filling a box is in building it up, as each variety of apples is placed in differently.
Immediately after packing the apples are shipped in carload lots. Newtowns go to the English markets, Spitzenburgs to the large cities of the East, Ben Davis and Red Cheeked Pippins usually go to the Southern states, and some to Alaska. If any of the crop is held it is not advisable to pack until ready for shipment.
Apples for the English market are billed to London; but if, when they reach New York, the market in London is not what is desired, the apples are put in cold storage at New York to await an advance in the London market. If there is a considerable amount the cost of cold storage is 5 cents per box per month.
Fruit that is sold in London is sold at auction at 9 a.m.; and by reason of the difference in time a cablegram is sometimes received at 8:30 a.m. at Central Point, announcing the price for which it was sold at 9 a.m. the same day.
Olwell Bros. have built up a reputation for honesty of pack; hence they sometimes sell ten thousand dollars worth of fruit on a telegraphic order. The buyer knows that he will get just what he orders, and the seller knows that the buyer will be pleased.
When they began hand pumps were used, and the spraying of 160 acres became quite a problem, especially when men refused to work when asked to operate the pumps. Finally they made a gasoline engine, which operated the pump and also the agitator, and placed it on a wagon. Three men with one machine will spray about 400 trees per day. The spraying is thoroughly done; every apple is covered, and the tree after it has been sprayed has the appearance of having been washed. The photo will give some idea of the way the machine is operated.
In 1890 when the girls were packing apples Mr. Olwell told them that the apples they were then packing were to be shipped to Alaska, so they conceived the idea of putting notes in some of the boxes, asking the purchaser to state the price paid for the box, the condition in which the apples were received, and also that the purchaser exchange a nugget for a photograph. In response to one of these notes the following letter was received:
"Nome, Alaska, Nov. 6, 1900.--Miss Mamie Rippey, Central Point, Oregon. Dear Miss Rippey: Your letter has just been discovered in a box of apples I bought today, and it arrived none too soon, as the last boat leaves today. The apples are very fine, and you will doubtless be surprised when I tell you that I paid $6 for that one box. I am enclosing herewith a little nugget from one of the creeks here, and would like to have you tell me if you receive the same all right. You will doubtless wonder who I am, which I, in my haste, almost overlooked. I am running the North Star restaurant in the central portion of the flourishing little city of Nome. My home is not very far from you, being in Williams, Josephine County, Oregon. Hoping you will receive the nugget all right, I beg to remain, Yours very respectfully, G. H. Chapman, Nome, Alaska. P.S.--Nuggets are very scarce in this camp this year on account of the scarcity of water, but will be more plentiful next year. I hope you will exchange me your photograph for Nome nuggets."
Pacific Homestead, Salem, September 18, 1902, page 1. Also printed in the Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 2, 1902, page 4
NEW MEDFORD ENTERPRISE.Medford Mail, October 3, 1902, page 2
A Plant for the Manufacture of Vinegar Is Installed by Olwell Bros.
Several weeks ago an article appeared in the Mail announcing the probable establishment of a vinegar factory in Medford. Since that time this prediction has been verified, and within a very short time the plant will be in running order. Olwell Bros., of Central Point, are the main movers in this addition to the manufacturing concerns of Medford. They have leased the Slinger & Ulrich packing house in northwest Medford and are busily engaged preparing the building for their purpose and installing the plant.
The plant at present consists of a hydraulic cider press and mill with a capacity of from sixty to seventy-five barrels per day, and a steam engine for motive power. If a sufficient market is found to justify it, additions will be made later and the business worked up to its highest point. The press and mill are now in place, and as soon as the necessary barrels and tanks arrive and the fruit commences to come in--in between two and three weeks--operations will commence. The class of fruit to be used is that which has heretofore been allowed to rot on the ground in many orchards, being unsalable, and by so decaying has been a detriment to the orchard. In speaking of the supply of such fruit, John D. Olwell, of Olwell Bros., said: "I believe that the supply of fruit will be sufficient to run a plant large enough to make the business a profitable one. No matter how well an orchard is kept, there is always more or less windfall, imperfect and otherwise unmerchantable fruit, which is now allowed to decay in the orchard because there is no other means of disposing of it. This is a positive injury to the orchard and is sometimes so large in quantity as to become a positive nuisance. In our own case, for instance, last fall we would have been willing to pay someone to haul them away."
In the matter of a market it is expected that Portland and the Sound cities will consume the whole product of the enterprise, as the pure food law of Oregon forbids the sale of acid vinegars, and it is impossible now to produce enough cider vinegar in the state to supply the demand. Sweet cider will also be manufactured, and it is expected that a good market can be worked up for this product.
Hon. J. W. Bailey, state food commissioner, is in some measure responsible for the inauguration of this enterprise. On a visit here several months ago Mr. Bailey was much impressed with the possibilities of the Rogue River Valley as to the manufacture of cider vinegar, not only on account of the large fruit production, but for the reason that a higher percentage of acetic acid could be realized from Rogue River fruit than that of the Willamette Valley. In 1899 a law was passed fixing the percent of acetic acid in cider vinegar at 4.5, but vinegar manufacturers of the Willamette found it difficult and generally impossible to reacher a higher standard than 4.0 percent, and in the legislature of 1901 the standard was reduced to that point. In tests made by Mr. Bailey and others of Rogue River vinegar it was found that a standard of 7.5 percent was easily reached in this section. The state standard of 4.0 percent gives a product strong enough for all table use. Thus, it is readily seen that one gallon of Rogue River vinegar will produce almost two gallons of the required strength. The fact, taken together with the yearly increase in orchard acreage, should ensure the success of the scheme from the start and in the end build up a business that will be one of the prominent commercial institutions of the valley.
Olwell Bros. shipped a carload of their fine apples north this week.
Miss Myra Galloway, of Grants Pass, is packing apples at the Olwell Bros. orchard.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, October 10, 1902, page 3
A. A. Davis left Tuesday morning for Davenport, Wash., to be absent upon his annual tour of inspection of his business interests at that place. The company, of which he is president, operates a large flouring mill at Davenport, which is superintended by W. J. Olwell, formerly of Jackson County. Mr. Davis reports that crops in that locality have been good this year, and that his mill is doing a fine business.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, October 10, 1902, page 6
The cider press and mill is all in position for Olwell Bros.' vinegar factory and is altogether a different-looking machine from the homemade cider mill a great many of us remember in our boyhood days. The fruit is poured into a hopper and carried by an elevator to the hopper which feeds the mill, eight or nine feet from the floor. The pomace drops onto trays, which when full are carried under the hydraulic press, and when that press gets through with it, if there is any piece left it is not perceivable. The juice flows into a reservoir beneath the machine, from whence it is pumped into other receptacles prepared for it. A carload of barrels was received this week. Work in arranging the plant has been considerably retarded by lack of lumber, but that difficulty has now been overcome.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 10, 1902, page 7
Frank Roundtree of Central Point, an expert mechanic, is in Medford assisting in putting Olwell Bros.' cider and vinegar plant in operation.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 16, 1902, page 1
The Wilhite brothers and Earl Case have quit school temporarily and are engaged picking fruit in the Olwell orchard.
"Beagle Items," Medford Mail, October 17, 1902, page 5
Cider Apples Wanted
At the Southern Oregon Cider & Vinegar Company's plant, located in Medford, at the old pork packing establishment.
We will pay 20 cents per hundred pounds delivered at the factory, or will pay a reasonable price in the field when quantities will justify, and will guarantee to clean the orchard with haste before the fruit is destroyed by decay and storm, as it decays very rapidly when left exposed to the weather. We are prepared to handle a carload per day. The fruit is all weighed on the scales at the Perry warehouse at the company's expense. If you have cider apples haul them in at once.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 23-30, 1902, page 1; also
Medford Mail, October 24, 1902, page 2
VINEGAR PLANT IN OPERATION.
Operations were commenced at the Southern Oregon Cider Vinegar Company's plant on Monday, and in a run of nine hours ground out about 3000 gallons of apple juice, filling one of the three large tanks about three-fourths full. The well from which water for the engine was used proved unequal to the demand upon it, and operations had to be suspended until it could be deepened. It is expected that when everything is in running order that a carload of apples will be used a day. The juice from which vinegar is to be made is pumped direct from the press to the tanks, where it will go through a course of fermentation and then be drawn off into barrels. Usually it takes several months to produce vinegar from apple juice by the ordinary process of barreling up and letting it stand, but the company expects by using the large tanks, giving more surface to the air and inoculation with vinegar germs--mother of vinegar--to achieve the same result in about sixty days.
The juice to be used for cider will be pumped from the press through a series of filters into a tank and then drawn off into barrels, and every precaution will be taken to ensure the purity and absolute cleanliness of the product.
It is the intention of this company, if the venture proves a success, to erect suitable and convenient buildings for their purpose, as their present location, while large enough for the business now, will not afford the room necessary for any considerable increase.
On Monday also articles of incorporation of the Southern Oregon Cider Vinegar Co. were filed with the secretary of state, the incorporators being H. B. Miller, John D. Olwell and Jos. Olwell. At a meeting held the same day, John D. Olwell was elected president, Jos. Olwell vice-president and J. E. Enyart secretary and treasurer. The capital stock of the company was placed at $5,000.
The company is ready to buy all the cider apples offered and advertises to that effect in another column of this paper. Aside from receiving remuneration for a product which has hitherto proved a total loss, orchardmen will derive a benefit from the installation of this factory by having all windfalls and imperfect fruit removed from their orchards instead of allowing it to decay on the ground to become a breeding place for fruit pests of various description.
The Mail is unable to see why the logical outcome of this enterprise should not be the thing it has talked about in season and out of season, first, last and all the time for years, and that is a fruit and vegetable cannery. If it will pay a reasonable profit to grind into cider and vinegar the unmerchantable apples of this valley, by the operation of a plant capable of using a carload of apples a day, why wouldn't it also pay to can the small fruits and vegetables which could be raised at various points in the valley, which are not specially adapted to successful fruit raising? Tons of berries, tomatoes and other commodities could be raised here where there are pounds now, if a market could be found for them, but their perishable nature and the distance from city markets preclude the idea of shipping them fresh. A cannery could use them, however, work them up into a merchantable commodity and create a new and profitable industry in Southern Oregon. Because we have not mentioned the cannery proposition of late people may think we have forgotten it. But we haven't. We are going to keep at this thing until we get it. Sooner or later we will succeed.
Medford Mail, October 24, 1902, page 2
B. R. Porter took his daughters, Myrtle and Margaret, and Miss Grace Jennings over to the Olwell packing house Saturday, where the young ladies were initiated into the mysteries of apple packing. They are now busy, with the assistance of Oliver Adams and Ephraim Chapman, packing Mr. Porter's fine apples.
J. C. Pendleton, "Table Rock Items," Medford Mail, October 24, 1902, page 3
The Southern Oregon Cider and Vinegar Co. is doing a good business already. On Tuesday it shipped a big barrel of cider to Portland.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 30, 1902, page 1
Clyde Wilhite has given up his position in the Olwell orchard and has returned home to resume his studies at Antioch.
"Beagle Items," Medford Mail, October 31, 1902, page 3
The Southern Oregon Cider and Vinegar Co. shipped a carload of cider to Portland a few days since. It is manufacturing a superior article, which finds favor wherever sold.
"Brief Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 6, 1902, page 2
Olwell Bros. are short of apple packers. They pay 4 cents per box. Some packers make $12 to $15 per week, while others less.
"Central Point Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 12, 1902, page 2
Olwell Bros. have purchased the fine crop of apples raised on Phil. Luscomb's place, located not far from Gold Hill.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 26, 1902, page 1
The Enterprise Appreciated.
The Southern Oregon Cider and Vinegar Co. is manufacturing an immense quantity of first-class cider and vinegar, which is giving general satisfaction. Much has already been shipped to Portland and elsewhere. A prominent agricultural paper, speaking thereof in a recent issue, says: The new cider and vinegar works at Medford are doing a big business and paying $6 per ton for apples, which is a high price for apples to be used for that purpose. Cider from this factory is now on sale at the leading retail grocery stores in Portland, and it is not probable that Kentucky will be drawn on for this article by Oregon as extensively this year as was done last.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 26, 1902, page 2
P. W. Olwell of Central Point and his daughter, Miss Daisy, left for Arizona Monday, to join Mrs. Olwell.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 3, 1902, page 4
Representative John D. Olwell is taking considerable interest in the fishery question as it relates to Rogue River and is trying to get an expression from the people regarding their wishes in the matter. He has been approached by several who have interests at stake but has reached no definite conclusion regarding the method of securing the best results for those most vitally interested.
Medford Mail, December 12, 1902, page 2
Olwell Bros. finished loading the last two cars of apples on Monday for shipment south. This closes the business for the season and makes a total of fifty-one cars of fruit shipped from this locality by these energetic orchardists.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, December 12, 1902, page 6
Olwell Bros. shipped two carloads of apples during the past few days. They have sent over fifty carloads out of the valley this season, besides manufacturing a very large quantity into cider and vinegar.
"Brief Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 17, 1902, page 2
AN APPLE-RAISER ON A TOUR.
Mr. Olwell Visits the Fruit Districts of Eastern Oregon.
J. W. Olwell, of the firm of Olwell Bros., the well-known apple-growers of Southern Oregon, has returned from a ten days' visit to various sections of Eastern Oregon and Washington, where he went to see what he could learn about fruit-growing and packing, says the Oregonian.
"We are generally credited with being quite successful in apple-growing and marketing in Southern Oregon," said Mr. Olwell; "but I have observed that there is much to be learned by visiting other people and observing their ways. No community has a monopoly of the best methods, and more visiting around might do us all a great deal of good. Last year 2500 acres of apple trees were set out in Rogue River Valley, and nearly as many will be set out this season. In 15 years from now every acre of good apple land in Rogue River Valley will be covered with trees. With an industry growing like that it is well for people interested in it to take advantage of every opportunity to learn.
"Of course, I came back more in love with the Rogue River country than ever before; and yet I saw many successful apple sections. The best apple-growing regions east of the mountains, according to my observations, are at Hood River, Yakima and Walla Walla. I am convinced that the greatest success of the apple-growing industry depends upon producing a variety of fruit which will be a favorite on the market, and can be grown better here than in any other place. That is the advantage we have in Southern Oregon. We grow Newtown Pippins and Spitzenburgs principally, and our climate, altitude and soil enable us to produce a better apple of that variety than can be grown in the eastern states. For that reason we can demand and receive a higher price for our fruit than can the eastern growers. There is always a plenty of the common grades of fruit; and it is by raising something extra good that an extra price is obtained. People who go into fruit-growing should study the conditions of their localities, so as to determine what variety of fruit will do best, and then not be content with growing anything inferior to the best that the conditions will permit."
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 31, 1902, page 1
Olwell Bros., the extensive fruit growers and shippers, who purchased a tract of land some time ago, will plant it in apple trees at once. They have already purchased 2100 of the Newtown Pippin variety from L. B. Warner.
"Brief Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 14, 1903, page 2
Jos. Olwell, the clever horticulturist, has gone to Spokane. He has been invited to deliver an address at the meeting of the Northwest Fruit Growers' Association, which will be held in that city this week, on fruit packing in Southern Oregon, a subject he is well qualified to discuss.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 4, 1903, page 4
Hon. J. D. Olwell of Central Point was a Medford visitor Thursday. He made a fine record during the session of the legislature just closed.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 4, 1903, page 3
Messrs. Olwell Bros., the orchardists, are experimenting with an irrigating plant down at their orchard, near Central Point, [where] there is a certain portion of their orchard that is just a little higher than the general lay of the orchard, and it is feared by the owners that there is more fruit on the trees of this particular part than can properly mature without more moisture than is being supplied by nature. A three-horsepower gasoline engine is being put in, and with it they will pump water from a well and force it through 1200 feet of pipe to this high land and there distribute it among the trees by means of irrigation ditches. Should this plan prove beneficial, and can be successfully operated, it is more than probable that another season they will endeavor to thus irrigate the greater part of the orchard. Should this be deemed advisable a dozen or more plants will be necessary. In speaking of the fruit crop this year with one of the owners of the orchard, a Mail reporter was told that the crop would exceed any former crop by at least twenty-five carloads. The greatest number of carloads ever harvested in one season were forty-seven--this means that there will be over seventy carloads harvested from this orchard this year. The apple and pear crop is unquestionably a record-beater this year in all orchards of the valley. All the growers of the valley will watch with considerable interest the result of the experiment which Messrs. Olwell Bros. are now making.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 26, 1903, page 7
FRUIT TREES NEED WATER.
Rogue River Orchard Will Be Supplied Artificially.
MEDFORD, Or., June 24.--(Special.)--Olwell brothers, who live four miles north of Medford, are putting in a gasoline pumping plant to irrigate certain high parts of their famous apple orchard. The reason for this is that the trees have more fruit on them than they can properly nurture, and this added moisture is deemed necessary.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, June 25, 1903, page 4
John Olwell--"I read the article in the Mail last week concerning our irrigation experiment with considerable interest, but I think people who do not know should be given to understand that irrigation is not an absolute necessity to the raising of good fruit. Some of our orchard has too much moisture, while some of the high ground has not enough. We are now putting in tiling in the lower parts of our orchard, and the stream of water flowing therefrom confirms the conclusion we had arrived at, that we had too much moisture in these parts of the orchard to secure the best results. Our irrigation experiment is being watched with considerable interest by other orchardists, as there are a number of other orchards where the conditions are much the same as in our own, and if anything can be done to enhance either the quality or quantity of the yield, the orchardmen of the valley are always ready to do it."
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 3, 1903, page 7
August 26, 1903 Oregonian
Hon. John W. Olwell, Oregon's horticultural commissioner for the St. Louis World's Fair, has expressed the desire that we should ask those of our horticulturists who may have some choice varieties of fruits, such as pears and peaches, to preserve them for him to place on exhibition at the fair next year. The later fruits can, of course, be kept in cold storage and will be in good shape for the exhibition, but this can hardly be expected from the early fruit. All necessary expenses, such as the purchase of suitable jars and liquids for the preservation of these fruits, will be paid by the commissioners in charge of the Oregon exhibit, but it is expected that only the very choicest of these fruits can be preserved. The Mail will suggest that anyone having such fruit confer with Mr. Olwell and become more fully informed.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 18, 1903, page 5
Messrs. Olwell Bros. have purchased the Amy tract of 182 acres of land. This land is situated just east of Bear Creek, near Central Point. The price paid for the land was $12,000. Inasmuch as there were other prospective purchasers of this tract, it is barely possible that the above-named purchasers may dispose of the land to some of them at a considerable advance in price, but if this is not done they will put forty acres of the land into alfalfa, forty acres in to hops and the remainder will be set to apples and pears. Mr. Amy reserves the crop of wheat which he now has sown on the place.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 4, 1904, page 5
The growth of the fruit industry in the Rogue River Valley is one of the factors which will make a steady and growing demand for boxes. The climatic and soil conditions are extremely favorable for the growth of apples and pears. J. D. Olwell, of Central Point, of the well-known firm of Olwell Bros., fruit growers, gave The Timberman recently some interesting figures regarding the future of the fruit business in the Rogue River Valley, of which Medford is the center. "Seven to eight years ago, fruit growing was commenced in a commercial way. At the present time there are probably from seven to eight thousand acres in orchard. The increase in fruit acreage is about 1500 acres yearly, probably more than less. It takes the trees about seven years to come into bearing. At the end of this period the trees should produce five boxes per tree, and more with age. Sixty trees are planted to an acre, requiring 300 boxes to the acre. In the early orchards the trees were planted closer, which was found to be a mistake. In our old orchard we are cutting down every alternate row. The principal varieties of apples grown are the Newtown Pippin and Spitzenburg. Our apples find a ready market in the large eastern cities, and in England. The Oregon Newtown Pippin attains its highest perfection here on Rogue River, the elevation being about 1400 feet. In a small section near Watsonville, Cal., some Newtown Pippins are grown at an elevation about six feet above sea level. This fruit brings about 40 percent less than the Oregon product. There is also a small section in Virginia, where Pippins are grown, which comprises the available area for the production of this particular variety of the apple family. In pears the Bartlett, Comice and Basque are the leading varieties grown. There is in my judgment no danger of the fruit business being overdone on Rogue River, as the markets keep constantly increasing. The profits in the business are good, with intelligent management. It is safe to figure on 25 percent of net returns on the investment."
"Southern Oregon," The Columbia River and Oregon Timberman, April 1904, page 20
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hopkins, of Portland, were in the city Tuesday. Mr. Hopkins is of the firm of Downing, Hopkins & Co., of Portland. It is this firm that purchased the Olwell orchards. Mr. H. and family expect to move to the orchards in about a month, and during the coming summer he will erect a fine dwelling.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, February 10, 1905, page 4
The Condor Water & Power Co. is stringing wires this week to Hopkins' orchard (formerly the Olwell place) for lighting purposes. It is expected later that power will be put in for pumping purposes. The stringing of the Condor Co.'s electric lines through the valley is but the commencement of a system which will result in every farm being provided with power and light, if the owners so wish, and it will not be long until they will wish it, when they see what their neighbors are doing.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 17, 1905, page 5
J. D. Olwell--"Yes, my garden is growing nicely, and I am ever so much obliged to the boys for so kindly planting it for me. I would rather, however, that they had planted it in rows, instead of sowing the seed broadcast. But then, not being accustomed to things agricultural, you couldn't expect anything different. I am a little disappointed in the onions, but the radishes and turnips are doing fine."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, May 5, 1905, page 1
J. W. Olwell--"You should have seen those conductor excursionists flock into the exhibit building Wednesday morning, while the train they were traveling on was standing at the depot. There was a full trainload of them, and they were from all parts of the eastern and southern states. I believe I could have sold five dollars' worth of souvenirs if I had had any to sell. They admired everything in the building and wanted a piece of the entire exhibit to take home with them. When it was time for the train to move they just naturally would not break loose from those exhibits. This shows the interest strangers are going to take in our building and the exhibits we have in it."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, May 19, 1905, page 1
Olwell Packing House, September 1906 Better Fruit magazine
That congratulations are now to be extended to Hon. John Dee Olwell, and to Mrs. Olwell, who was formerly Ina Enola Ray, is a matter of much pleasure to their many friends in Medford who have just naturally been getting ready for the showering of this popular young couple with the heartiest of glad cheers for some months past.
The happy event took place at Portland on March 6, 1907, and on March 9th the young couple passed through Medford en route to Southern California, where they will enjoy a few weeks amid the pleasures of that Italy land.
The bride is the most beautiful and highly accomplished daughter of Dr. and Mrs. C. R. Ray of this city, and the groom is a member of the Rogue River Land Company of Medford. Mr. Olwell is one of the gentlemen who has helped to make famous as a fruit section the great Rogue River Valley. He has represented Jackson County in the state legislative halls, and with all his excellent qualifications as a business man and politician, he has to his credit a legion of friends in all parts of Southern Oregon, and for that matter throughout the entire state.
The Mail extends its heartiest congratulations.
Medford Mail, March 15, 1907, page 1
PETITION TO RECALL OLWELL
The voters of the First Ward of this city are circulating a petition in order to invoke the recall law to elect a councilman in the place of John D. Olwell, who is no longer a resident of that ward. The voters of the First feel that as they are entitled, under the charter, to have two representatives at the council board, that they should have them. In order to accomplish this a petition is being circulated asking for the recall of Mr. Olwell and for a special election to elect his successor.
It has been published that the prohibition forces of the city were the ones behind the movement. Such, however, is not the case, if the names upon the petition are any criterion. There are to be found names of voters who are known to be against prohibition. All party lines are seemingly cast aside by the First Warders in order to have that ward have the representation at the council meetings that it is entitled to.
The petition is being very generally signed. Very few of those approached so far have refused to sign.
The case is an interesting one owing to the fact that this is the first time the recall has been invoked in this part of Oregon.
Medford Mail, July 17, 1908, page 4
Recall for Olwell.Councilman John D. Olwell of Medford, who was elected a member of the city council from the First Ward, and later removed his residence to another ward, is the first subject of the recall in Oregon. A petition to invoke the new law in Mr. Olwell's case was circulated several months ago and received the required number of signatures, but for some reason was not filed and the matter had been almost forgotten until last Saturday, when the petition was filed with the city recorder. According to the Tribune, a large number of citizens who had signed the petition appeared before the recorder Monday morning and requested to have their names removed from the same, alleging as a reason that they now believe the whole thing is a political move to oust Mr. Olwell in order that his place may be filled by some man who will stand with the water committee of the city council in closing the deal with Mr. Hanley for the Wasson canyon water right for the proposed city water system.
It is alleged that the prohibition fight is being injected into the Olwell case, he having incurred the displeasure of the anti-saloon people by voting for the issuance of a liquor license to the Hotel Nash.
Excerpt, Central Point Herald, September 24, 1908, page 1
OLWELL RECALL CALL RECALLED
Echo from the Dark Ages Dug Up at City Council Meeting--Asks Costs
Up out of the musty past, like the voice of some long-forgotten friend, the Olwell recall proposition has reared its ancient head. Time seems turned backward in its flight as if in answer of the poet's prayer, and decrepit with age the matter has tottered again into the limelight.JOHN D. OLWELL
To the oldest inhabitant the matter brings up a flood of memories. The days of the strenuous strife are brought back in a flood of memories. The old fight over the granting of saloon licenses by a tie vote with the mayor voting in favor is before one again in all of its cherished recollections. A movement started in the hope of removing a councilman who voted in favor of the licenses but which was doomed to defeat from the first is about the size of the Olwell scrap. And now there is a little bill of some $17 court costs for the city to pay.
The Olwell recall never did find much favor in Medford. The first petitions that were started out slumbered for many weeks in some dusty pigeonhole of someone's desk. Then in all of its dustiness it was dragged forth and filed. Then those who had signed it took their names off. Then it was about to be acted upon. Then came the court, and suit, and injunction to stop it. It stopped and it has been forgotten, lo, these many moons. Olwell finished his term and his successor has had time to get onto the job. But now the city must pay.
The communication was read at the meeting of the council Tuesday evening. It was thought at first that it would go to the committee on ancient history but upon second thought it was referred to the finance committee.
And in such manner was the Olwell recall well recalled.
Medford Daily Tribune, April 7, 1909, page 1
Another costly home is that of Fred H. Hopkins, located near Central Point, which commands a view of Mount McLoughlin, the snow-capped sentinel of the Rogue, which gives the Hopkins orchard its name--the Snowy Butte.
It was built by Mr. Hopkins shortly after his arrival from Portland, two years ago. It is modern in design and elaborately furnished. The living room, which occupies a large part of the lower floor, is finished in dark wood, and the furniture is rosewood and mahogany. The rugs are fine furs from other countries, an immense royal Bengal tiger's skin some 15 feet in length being the most conspicuous. Among the other rugs shown is an immense polar bear. Exquisite taste is shown in all the furnishings, and all that can be devised for luxury and comfort is expensively supplied.
"Beautiful Homes in Rogue River Valley," Oregonian, Portland, May 9, 1909, page F4
The present week bears the record for the amount of orchard lands sold in Jackson County. The amount aggregates $335,000, and the deals cover four orchards. The largest sale is that of the Snowy Butte orchard, owned by F. H. Hopkins, a former Portland man. The place contains 300 acres, 240 set to trees, and the improvements consist of everything which will aid in farming in the scientific methods, combining the luxuries of a city home with the pleasure of country life. The price paid for this farm was $150,000. It was bought by Mr. Lamme, G. B. Phillips and S. A. Mendenhall, of Bozeman, Mont.
"Land Sales Heavy," Sunday Oregonian, Portland, June 27, 1909, page 6
Another matter which was not made exactly clear to me is as to who it was that planted the first orchard in the Rogue River Valley. "I am the pioneer in this business,'' said a man who looked as though he had a proper regard for the truth as a general proposition. "My brother and I planted the first orchard set out here," remarked another. "Our father was in the nursery business back East and we understood the business of fruitgrowing before we came here." But on a moving advertisement of John D. Olwell displayed in front of his real estate office is a proclamation which goes still farther. He announces in type so large that not only "he who runs" but also he who walks and he who stands still, may read that John D. Olwell is the leader in the orchard business in that locality; that 20 years ago he planted the first orchard at Medford and that 14 years ago he began the shipping of fruit to European markets. I am inclined, under all the circumstances, to give credit to Olwell as being the real, the simon pure, pioneer in this industry which is revolutionizing business methods in fruitgrowing on the Pacific Coast. I rode out in his machine on a tour of several miles, and his conversation was such as to give confidence in his regard for the truth. But for one brief moment that confidence was shaken. Pointing out a particular portion of an apple orchard he remarked: "The net profit on those trees last year was $2200 per acre." I have read many stories about California fruit profits and, indeed, have written a good many myself, but never tackled so severe a strain as that and never read of so marvelous a profit in this state, or any other, in fruitgrowing.
John T. Bell, "The Rogue River Valley and Medford," Sunday Oregonian, Portland, August 1, 1909, page 50
J. D. Olwell, a prominent apple-grower of Medford, is at the Portland [Hotel], having returned from a trip to Alaska.
"Personal Mention," Morning Oregonian, Portland, September 22, 1909, page 5
Fred H. Hopkins has sold his famous Snowy Butte orchard for $168,000 to John R. Allen, owner of the Pacific & Eastern and projector of an electric road through the valley. The property consists of 300 acres and is planted to fruit. It contains 16½ acres of Winter Nelis pears which in 1907 netted Mr. Hopkins $19,000 and this year $17,000. Mr. Allen promises to cut the place into small tracts and place them on the market, reserving a portion for himself. The sale was made by Dr. J. F. Reddy.
"Real Estate and Building News," Medford Mail Tribune, November 28, 1909, page 23
FINE ORCHARD SOLD.
Buyer Is John R. Allen, Railroad Builder--Will Sell Small Tracts.
Medford--John R. Allen of New York City, owner of the Pacific & Eastern Railroad that is being extended from this city over the Cascades, and projector of a trolley line to traverse the Rogue River Valley, has purchased the celebrated Snowy Butte orchard at Central Point from Fred H. Hopkins for $168,000. The orchard is one of the most famous in the valley, and the pioneer commercial orchard of this section. It consists of 300 acres of choice varieties of apples and pears, 160 of which are in bearing, the remainder in young trees.
Mr. Allen will subdivide the orchard into five- and ten-acre tracts, which will be placed upon the market, reserving a portion for himself. On this tract is located the wonderful block of 16½ acres of Winter Nelis pears, which produced a net yield of $19,000, or $15.83 per tree. The total crop this year will net over $40,000.
Heppner Gazette, December 2, 1909, page 2
Responsibility and credit for Medford's steadfast growth is vested exclusively in no one class of business men, but more of it belongs to the real estate owners and brokers than to any other one vocation, and the city has been particularly fortunate in her constant possession of men whose ability and enterprise in this calling are as obvious as their solid financial standing and high personal integrity.
Thus engaged and possessing in a marked degree the qualifications mentioned is Mr. John D. Olwell, who has lived for 37 years in the Rogue River Valley. He has had 20 years' experience in fruit growing here, planting 12,000 fruit trees 20 years ago, which was the largest apple orchard in the Northwest at that time. He has been buying fruit from nearly every bearing orchard here for many years and shipping it to the markets of the world. He shipped the first two carloads of Newtown Pippins that were ever exported to London by any grower in the Northwest 14 years ago. He is interested in 400 acres of orchard land and is a general broker for thousands of acres belonging to other people. He is contemplating platting several orchard tracts for 1910, and anyone thinking of locating here should advise with a man who has had the experience of locating the biggest fruit growers all over the Rogue River Valley.
Mr. Olwell also handles alfalfa and general farming lands. He helped to build the exhibit building and display rooms near the depot four years ago and maintains it at his own expense--and it is famous all over the country as the best display made anywhere. A constant stream of people file in and out of the building, and no other venture has made Medford so famous.
Mr. Olwell employs four men about his office and a dozen or more at his orchards. He was a member of the state legislature in 1903 and has served on the city councils of Medford and Central Point. He is now a director of the Oregon Agricultural College. He is a member of the Elks and the Commercial Club.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 2, 1910, page 9
January 23, 1910 Sunday Oregonian
The Snowy Butte Orchard, comprising 300 acres of bearing fruit trees, was subdivided into ten-acre tracts by Osgood & Cummings.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 20, 1910, page 3
Medford Mail Tribune, August 31, 1910
Medford Mail Tribune, September 4, 1910
HOW JOHN D. OLWELL BLAZED A TRAIL
FOR WESTERN-GROWN FRUIT ACROSS THE ATLANTIC
Overcame English Prejudice for European-Grown Fruit and Opened Up New Market.
Walter F. Woehlke, in the Saturday Evening Post, Tells Story of Olwell's Initial Step.
The manner in which John D. Olwell of this city blazed the trail for western fruit across the Atlantic, establishing the superiority of American-grown apples and pears over the choicest specimens of European orchards, is told in an article appearing in this week's issue of the Saturday Evening Post under the caption "Short Cuts from Farm to Market," from the pen of Walter F. Woehlke, a recognized authority on marketing of fruit and farm products. Mr. Woehlke says:John D. Olwell, Pioneer
"Quantity, size, overpowering mass, the superlative expressed in seven figures, have been Europe's strongest impression of American activities and products. The bigness of things in the New World has ever been the wonder of the old. Somehow, though, this admiration of the size and quantity of things American was always mixed with a slight disdain; its open expression was usually qualified with a 'But----.' Europe did not believe that America would ever reach its standard of quality. That this European notion is not well founded, at least so far as American fruit is concerned, was proved by the enterprise of John D. Olwell, a fruit grower in the Rogue River Valley of Southern Oregon, whose energy not only blazed the trail for western fruit across the Atlantic, but who also established the superiority of American-grown apples and pears over the choicest specimens of European orchards by the fire test, in which the American fruit panned out the highest percentage of fine gold.
"Some seven or eight years ago Olwell heard a rumor concerning the reported sale of a shipment of Oregon Newtown Pippin apples in London. Though he could never confirm the rumor, his imagination was aroused, and he determined to see for himself whether a market for Oregon fruit could be established in England. Though he rode all over the valley hunting for a son of Albion who might put him in touch with a London commission house, he could not procure the information. Perhaps a London paper would help him out. He wrote; and in due time the name and address of a firm was sent him. That fall Olwell consigned two carloads of Newtown Pippins to the London house and waited.
"Six weeks later Olwell received a cablegram announcing the sale of his apples and stating the proceeds in pounds and shillings.
"'I guess I must be a little rusty on international exchange,' muttered Olwell after calculations lasting an hour and covering many a square yard of paper.
"'What's a pound and a shilling worth in real money?' he asked at the bank.
"'About five dollars to the pound and two bits for a shilling,' came the answer. 'What's up, John? Did a rich English uncle die?'
"'Much obliged. No, my old uncle over there is still alive. I just wanted to find out how much I had coming from him,' said Olwell; and once more he translated the English currency terms into dollars and cents. The result confirmed his suspicions. Somewhere along the line a mistake must have been made in transmitting the figures. Here he had been getting seventy to ninety cents a bushel box for years; this cablegram said the same apples had brought three dollars a box on the other side. Somebody must have gotten off wrong. Olwell said nothing and waited for the letter. It came, and the draft it carried called for the same incredible amount. Still afraid of waking up--of receiving a cablegram rectifying the mistake--Olwell carried the draft around for several days before he dared cash it. Once the three-dollar dream had become a concrete reality, he got busy. The next year no apples were left in the valley for ninety-cent buyers. Olwell took over the entire crop and shipped it to London as fast as the apples were picked, anxious to increase the gold imports.
"As the Newtown Pippin, a green-yellow apple, had captured London, so the Spitzenburg captured New York. Under the stimulus of high bids from the fruit centers of the world, many young quality orchards are rising everywhere in the sagebrush country and the clearings of the Far West."
Medford Mail Tribune, December 2, 1910, page 1
Chicago Evening Post Publishes Interesting Account of Rogue River Valley Man
And His Efforts at First Marketing Northwest Fruit in Europe.
Under the caption "A Modern Pioneer," the Chicago Evening Post on March 2 published the following editorial:OLWELLS RETURN FROM LONG JOURNEY
"There is a real pioneer in town. He is one of those curious, fast-vanishing American pioneers who have seen the absolute beginning of things in the Far West, and yet are not old enough to have more than a gray hair or two in their heads. His name is John D. Olwell, of Medford, Ore.
"One man--a certain one-ideaed person from Illinois named J. H. Stewart--preceded Olwell in the planting of apples for commercial purposes in the Pacific Northwest. But Olwell and his brothers were the pioneers who worked out the growing and marketing details which created a settled industry out of an attractive possibility.
"It's a great story as the thick-set little man from Medford tells it--'main strength and awkwardness and a little money, against the game.' It starts in the prehistoric year of , when the old apple grower from Illinois appeared in the valley of the Rogue River in southern Oregon and set out 160 acres of apples. It tells how the Olwell boys followed this unheard-of example amidst the derision of the 'natives,' who remarked that they'd have to hire the U.S. army to come and eat the fruit.
"The story goes on to tell of the heartbreaking difficulties that came when these primeval orchardists tried to spray the trees to kill the parasitic growths; how they almost gave up because of the physical difficulty of the ask, until an old fisherman asked them why they didn't try a gasoline engine. And thus was evolved the first practical spraying machine, a device that is now used in thousands of square miles of western orchards.
"Then came the first crop--still 'way back in the medieval days of 1898. 'A Pacific Coast jobber came down to the valley and said he'd give me 90 cents a box for my Spitzenburgs and Newtown pippins,' said Mr. Olwell. 'He wouldn't touch the Ben Davises. And so we learned for the first time that all apples weren't alike; that some were worth money to the outside world and some were not. By sheer luck we happened to have a good many acres of the varieties the Portland man wanted. An old lady, who was a friend of the family, had asked us to plant them, because they were the kinds she liked.'
"That's the way the pioneers learn things. After they've dug and sprayed and slaved for seven years they suddenly find that half their crop is no good.
"The next step was equally clumsy. 'We found,' continued Olwell. 'that the yellow apples were being shipped to London. And after that coast jobber had bought from us for two or three years, raising his price 5 cents or so a year, I thought I'd see for myself what my apples were worth to the outside world.
"'Just to show you how shut in we were--we didn't know anything in London except the London Times. I expect everybody knows that. So I wrote the London Times asking them to tell me the name of a reputable English fruit concern. And when I get their answer, I ship two carloads of Newtown pippins, leaving them to make their own price.'
"The 'pioneer's' face is wreathed in a slow smile for a moment or two. He is amused at the memory of his amazing inexperience.
"'When their cable comes it names the price for those two carloads in pounds, shillings and pence. I take it down to our little bank to have it translated, but the figure is so large in dollars that I don't believe it. When the London draft comes along, though, I am convinced. I find that for my 90-cent apples they're willing to pay me $3 a box in London.'
"This is the dramatic climax to the story. The industry which men scorned and of which every simple rule had to be 'dug out by hand,' had proved itself a brilliant commercial success. The long fight was won.
"It is such battles as that which John D. Olwell 'put through' that has made the United States what it is today. Unheralded, unrecorded, such triumphs have been scored all over the millions of square miles in east, west, north and south.
"We all know this in a general way. But mostly we think of it as something that was done in the days of our grandfathers. It gives its own little shock of surprise whenever chance brings home to us the fact that the work of the pioneer in America is by no manner of means finished."
Medford Mail Tribune, March 8, 1911, page 4 The Chicago article was also reprinted in the Morning Oregonian on the same day, on page 10.
Medford Club Will Move.
MEDFORD, Or., March. 23.--(Special.)--Medford's exhibit building, close to the Southern Pacific railroad tracks, which has for the past few years been occupied by the real estate firm of John D. Olwell Company, has been vacated and on April 1 the Medford Commercial Club will move from its present quarters to this building.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, March 30, 1911, page 11
PLATE GLASS PLACED OLWELL'S NEW OFFICE
The plate glass fronts in the office rooms which are to be occupied by John D. Olwell were being placed in position on Thursday. By Monday the office will be ready for Mr. Olwell.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 6, 1911, page 6
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Olwell have returned from their journey which included a tour of the eastern states, going by the northern and returning by the southern route and spending several weeks in California. They left here during the holiday season and had been traveling and enjoying themselves by sightseeing ever since.
As the original "live wire" to make Rogue River fruit famous by his record shipments to New York and London, Mr. Olwell received distinguished attention during their travels which gave him unusual opportunities to say many a good word for Medford which he never overlooked an opportunity to do.
They were delighted to get back to this place which they declare to be the finest city in the finest climate that they saw on their extensive journey.
Medford Sun, April 7, 1911, page 1
Among the fruit growers and shippers here is John D. Olwell, who has 400 acres of pears and apples in bearing. He is one of the oldest growers of this section, having been here 25 years. He says prospects for fruit are good. Mr. Olwell also sells fruit land on easy terms.
JOHN D. OLWELL WILL MOVE TO NEW HOTEL
John D. Olwell will occupy offices in the new Medford Hotel building and plans to move his office equipment in about two weeks.
A modern and up-to-date real estate office, perfect in every detail, will be installed in the room west of the main entrance of the hotel.
The Olwell real estate force has occupied their present quarters in the Parker Building only a few months, the exhibit building now occupied by the Chamber of Commerce having been built and occupied by Mr. Olwell for several years.
Mr. Olwell built the first exhibit building showing specimens of the products of the district on the Pacific coast, and his scheme was followed by chambers of commerce and railroads throughout the country.
Medford Sun, August 27, 1911, page 4
OLWELL WITH FRUIT COMPANY
John D. Olwell of this city, one of the pioneer orchardmen of southern Oregon, who shipped the first car of fruit across the Atlantic from the Northwest, has accepted a position with the Stewart Fruit Company of San Francisco and will travel and purchase fruit for that firm. Mr. Olwell will retain his real estate office in the city, however.
Mr. Olwell will make his headquarters in San Francisco during the summer months and in Los Angeles during the winter. He will interest people in the Rogue River Valley as far as possible.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 3, 1912, page 6
MEDFORD PARENT WINNERMEDFORD, Or., June 9.--(Special.)--Being a fond and indulgent parent brought $25,000 to F. A. Hawk, a blacksmith of Central Point, yesterday when he sold to John Olwell, a real estate man and capitalist, his invention of a baby jumper. Baby Ruth needed diversion and exercise and Mr. and Mrs. Hawk were too busy to supply it, so the father constructed a canvas pair of trunks, attached a strong rubber cord to it, fastened this to a ring in the roof of the porch and the baby grew stronger and happier day by day as it danced and bounded to its heart's content.
F. A. Hawk Invents Baby Jumper for Youngster; Clears $25,000.
Mr. Olwell happened to see the child amusing herself as he was motoring by the place recently and was so struck by the ingenuity and cleverness of the idea that he purchased the patent and has decided to go into the business of manufacturing the Baby Ruth jumpers.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, June 10, 1912, page 1
JOHN OLWELL, builder of the Rogue River Valley district and the city of Medford, Ore.: "I am making my home now in California. I think that the Sacramento Valley is the richest undeveloped country in the West."
"Private Opinions Publicly Expressed," San Francisco Call, October 9, 1912, page 2
OLWELL HERE WITH LARGE PARTY FRIENDS
John D. Olwell, formerly of this city but now of San Francisco, is in Medford with a large party of friends who are looking over the valley with a view of investing.
Excerpt, Medford Mail Tribune, March 6, 1913, page 1
PEAR CROP BRINGS $20,000MEDFORD, Or., Aug. 30.--(Special.)--One of the best fruit deals in the Rogue River Valley for this year was made by Fred Hopkins, of the Snowy Butte orchard, today, when through the Producers Fruit Company he sold his entire crop of Winter Nelis pears, 7500 boxes, from 14 acres, to London and Glasgow fruit dealers for approximately $20,000.
From 14 Acres, 7500 Boxes Will Be Shipped to Europe.
For the past eight years the average return from these 14 acres has been from $15,000 to $20,000, and the fruit has nearly always found markets in foreign countries. The trees are 12 years old and are bearing more heavily now than ever before in their history.
Although the Bartlett pear prices are falling in the East, nearly 200 cars have been shipped from this valley at a price that will average close to $3 a box f.o.b. Medford.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, August 31, 1913, page 1
SNOWY BUTTE ORCHARD.
I purchased the Snowy Butte Orchard at Central Point in November, 1904. I was warned after purchase by the former owners, Olwell and Sons, that pears were "not the thing," but that apples must be depended upon as the source of the orchard revenue. F. H. Page, of Page & Son, Portland, commission men, also told me that there was no market for Winter Nelis pears except in Chicago and Cincinnati. Mr. Day of Sgobel & Day advised me never to ship to New York as there was no sale for "gum crushers," as he styled them. I have less than 16 acres of Winter Nelis pears.
In 1905 the pear crop was caught by frost, only one car being marketed. These brought $2 a box.
In 1906 W. N. White, the New York fruit broker, contracted for five cars at $2 a box f.o.b. orchard. As he was not in the city when the draft arrived to pay for the cars, they were turned over on consignment to Rae & Hatfield, who realized me $1.90 a box at the orchard. The crop totaled 12 cars. The balance was sold in New York and London and averaged me about the same, $1.90 net.
In 1907 Rae & Hatfield purchased the entire crop, 7,300 boxes, at $2.50 net f.o.b. orchard.
In 1908 the crop was light on account of frost.
In 1909 I marketed 7,000 boxes at $2.25 a box net f.o.b. orchard.
In 1910 the crop of 6,000 boxes sold for $1.87½ f.o.b. orchard.
In 1911 I marketed 1,287 boxes at $2.12½ f.o.b. orchard.
In 1912 the crop of 7,487 boxes of pears netted $14,385, the Winter Nelis selling at $1.87½.
In 1913 I sold 7500 boxes of five- and six-tier Winter Nelis, the former at $2.25 a box f.o.b. orchard, and 500 boxes of second grade.
In addition to the pears I have annually turned off hogs, barley and other crops at a considerable value.
(signed) F. H. Hopkins
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1914, page D8
John D. Olwell, of Seattle, for[merly a real estate agent] in the valley, is enjoying a visit of two days in this city while en route to New York on business. Mr. Olwell devoted the energies of his boyhood to life in this valley, in early days being associated with the conduct of the flour mill at Phoenix, then known as Gasburg. His many friends here are glad to learn that he is prosperous in his Seattle business, although he confesses that Seattle has been a rather dull business center for a year or so.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, February 24, 1916, page 2
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.
"Field Department," The Oregon Grower, magazine of the Oregon Growers Cooperative Assn., June 1920, page 14
JOHN OLWELL, A BOOM DAY FIGURE, TO FINAL REWARD
John D. Olwell, a picturesque and aggressive leader of the city in the "boom days," and a pioneer of the fruit industry in the Rogue River Valley, died in a sanitarium today at Oakland, Calif., following a long illness, according to word received by Mrs. J. F. Reddy. He was about 65 years of age. In his time he was one of the best-known men of southern Oregon, and well known and remembered by scores of older residents.
Olwell spent his early boyhood and young manhood in the valley, moving here with his parents from the East. With his father, for a number of years he operated a flour mill at Phoenix. Later, his father planted what is known as Snowy Butte Orchards, near Central Point. He was one of a family of four brothers and three sisters.
Olwell was a practical orchardist, and well acquainted with land in Jackson County. He figured in many of the large orchard deals consummated in 1910 and 1911, when engaged in the realty business. At one time he was associated with William M. Holmes, and later with J. E. (Mose) Barkdull. He was a genial, free-handed man and untiring worker in his field.
About twenty years ago he moved to New York City, where he engaged in the brokerage and promotion business. Later he moved to Florida, and when his health broke moved to California. He has been failing for four years.
He is survived by his wife, Ina Ray Olwell, relatives and a large circle of friends. He enjoyed a wide acquaintance on the Pacific Coast.
Funeral arrangements have not been definitely decided upon, but it is understood he will be brought here for the final rites and interment.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 1, 1931, page 2
Last revised September 30, 2018