"From Yreka," Shasta Courier, Shasta, California, September 9, 1854, page 2
Five thousand pounds of new flour from Helman & Co.'s mill in Rogue River Valley has arrived in town, and may be found at the store of H. T. Templeton & Co., who will hereafter have a large supply from this mill. We are informed that it is of a first-rate quality.
Within two years prior to the beginning of this contest between natives and miners [in 1848] the writer saw the hunters' paradise of Upper Rogue River. He saw banded antelopes lying on the swells of land opposite where the City of Ashland now is, like flocks of peaceful sheep. He saw the watchful native runner, seemingly naked, start to carry the news of our parties' presence from village to village in advance of us. He saw them closing in on the trail we made into the snows of the Siskiyous, where, according to the estimate of our leader, Jesse Applegate, they would slaughter every one of us for the property one of us carried, if we gave them the chance. When they were surprised by us, three-fourths of them were clad in deerskins, with the hair yet on. That they fought for their native valleys according to their knowledge is no disgrace to them.
John Minto, "Treaties with Indians," Oregonian, Portland, December 4, 1900, page 19
A Trip to Ashland.At the invitation of one of our good citizens on Saturday last, we took a seat with him behind a pair of champing steeds and wheeled away toward our destination for this little village at the upper end of our valley, simply on an excursion of seeing what we had never seen. We passed many beautiful farms, whose broad acres were being blackened by the plowman's recent furrow, and in many places the young grain was peeping up in feeble contrast, and in a few spots of early seeding it was wearing a carpet of lively green. The ride was marked with alternate shower and sunshine, giving hope to the bosom of the anxious farmer, who seemed busy on every hand in honestly turning the glebe, and lending new life to the lowing herds that were eagerly cropping the tender grass on the warm sides of the lower hills. Passing this beautiful and fertile region, which seems more like a view of panoramic art than a reality, we reached our destination at dark, and was kindly welcomed at the Ashland Hotel, kept by Mr. E. Emery.
ASHLANDIs, naturally, one of the most favored inland locations we have met on this coast. Situated at the head of Ashland Creek Valley, on a gently elevated bench from the lowlands, resting as it were in the lap of the lower hills of the Siskiyou Range--just where the creek leaps down from the last mountain gorges--precipitating its crystal waters in calm volumes along a gentle channel at the lower limits of the town. The scenery of the contiguous hills shoot up into sharp peaks, studded with the majestic sugar pine and symmetrical fir overshadowing the scene below, while the Oregon ash and the evergreen madrone complete the rare adornments to the lower margins.
Nature has done much for this favored spot, and the earnest pioneer, in the absence of the proper outlets, is struggling to do his share. Several enterprises seem to be under favorable headway. A woolen factory has been recently established here, run by this magnificent water power, and was in operation until a short time ago, and for some cause is suspended, but we learned that it will resume operations again soon. The building and findings are of the most approved style, and it turned off an excellent article of woolen goods. A splendid flouring mill, saw mill, marble works, and turning mill, all moved by the same water power, gives activity to the place. The village also contains a good hotel and livery stable, two stores, a model blacksmith shop, quite a number of tasty private residences, and a neat Academy. There is now, however, a fine, commodious Academy in course of construction, and will soon be ready for use, which manifests a high spirit the citizens of this place have for the cause of education. There is quite a flourishing school here under the tutorage of Mr. H. C. Fleming, assisted by Miss Maggie Hutchinson, whose efficient mode of instruction and excellent tact in discipline recommend them alike to the good will of patron and pupil.
Mr. Rutan, the blind music professor, is dispensing the favors of the science of harmonious sounds to the young people of the town. The Professor has deservedly won a high reputation in his art, and what the sad dispensation of Providence has taken away from him in sight has kindly made it up to him in the ear. He will give a grand musical concert soon, which will doubtless be a rare entertainment.
After being most kindly cared for by mine host, we bid this pleasant little village adieu, that happily honors its historic name, feeling the force of sentiment of the homespun couplet:
"In leaving pleasant places and people,A few hours' ride, retracing the beautiful expanse of valley to our right, along the tread of the western range, brought us to our home, that not less picturesquely nestles in another inviting lap of our motherly hills, that patiently awaits the puff of the iron horse to give it that activity its surrounding country so justly merits.
One will keep looking back at the steeple."
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 4, 1871, page 2
We clip the following from the Lakeview Examiner of the 12th:
"From the reports of crimes of all grades reported by the Jackson County papers as occurring in that county, one would naturally arrive at the conclusion that Jackson County includes within its borders some of the toughest and most unprincipled cusses on the coast. The latest case reported is that of James Knox Polk Brown, who is charged with incest with his daughters. J. K. P. B. is a resident of Ashland, but whether the puritanical sentiment of that town upon the temperance question in curbing the propensities of such monsters in one form of debauchery impels them to display their naturally depraved instinct in another and more fiendish form, does not appear. Certain it is that a town whose people profess to have all the virtues and none of the vices of other and presumably immoral places is not helping to add to its reputation for sobriety, propriety, rectitude and morals by permitting such villains to live. There are less godly communities in existence where a case of this kind just mentioned, when backed up by the evidence which appears to make this so damning, would take the guilty wretch to the nearest tree and hang him so high the flies would not bother the corpse. But then such places are not under Christianizing and humanizing influences of which Ashland so proudly boasts.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, May 19, 1883, page 3
THE CITY OF ASHLANDIs located at the southern terminus of the Oregon and California Railroad and near the head of the Bear Creek arm of the Rogue River Valley, being 315 miles from Portland and about twenty miles from the California line. The present population is estimated at 1700 and is rapidly increasing. The business establishments may be generally summarized as follows: Three general merchandise stores, four groceries and provisions, three hardware and tinware, two drugs and jewelry, two furniture, two millinery, two planing mills, two flouring mills, one woolen factory, one bank, one photograph gallery, one second-hand store, five hotels, two agricultural implements, two variety stores, two meat markets, four blacksmith and wagon shops, five physicians, three lawyers, three real estate agents. There is a free reading room well supplied, and four churches--Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and Dunkard; and one weekly newspaper. There are two public schools, one of the buildings for which was completed only a few weeks ago at a cost of $1000, besides a flourishing normal school, which is about to be taken charge of by the state, as will be seen by the following report of a meeting of the college board:
At a meeting of the board of Ashland college and normal school held January 26 a resolution was passed tendering the property of said college and normal school to the state of Oregon, subject to the ratification of the Oregon annual conference of the M.E. Church, on condition that the state of Oregon establish and maintain therein a creditable normal school. But in case the state fails to maintain such school the property is to revert to the said M.E. Church. The property is valued at $10,000.
LEADING BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENTS.The Ashland woolen factory is quite an extensive establishment, employing from thirty to thirty-five people, using over 200,000 pounds of wool per year and turning out about $50,000 worth of flannels, blankets, yarns, socks, etc. annually. The concern is operated by a company and is under the management of W. H. Atkinson. Miller & Co. are wholesale and retail dealers in hardware, stoves, tinware, farming implements, builders' hardware, etc., and also forwarding agents for Wells, Fargo & Co. and the United States government at this point. This extensive business is all under the able management of Mr. George M. Willard, who is also the mayor of the city, and who is not only a successful business man, but a very clever and popular gentleman. E. P. Branch is proprietor of an extensive furniture store, also handling carpets, wall paper and house furnishing goods, etc. Mr. Branch takes great interest in developing the town and surrounding country, and has done much to that end. The pioneer store of the place is that of Alford & Eubanks, successors to Butler & Drake, dealers in general merchandise. The Bank of Ashland is a solid institution with a capital stock of $50,000, with W. H. Atkinson president, J. M. McCall vice president and E. V. Carter cashier, doing a general banking business. The late firm of Fountain & Wilshire has been dissolved, J. B. Fountain succeeding to the business. He carries a large stock of general merchandise. A new institution for this part of the country is the Ashland Packing Company, composed of F. Roper, J. H. Mayfield, Geo. B. Landers and Geo. M. Willard. They started in November, 1881, and have been quite successful so far. J. M. McCall is proprietor of the old Ashland store, and is one of the pioneer merchants and leading business men of the place. He deals in general merchandise of all kinds, and is also interested in various manufacturing and other enterprises. G. F. Billings, the enterprising real estate agent, has a fine line of city and county property for sale at reasonable pries. Mr. B. is not one of your "booming" land agents, but tries in giving the advantages of the Rogue River Valley to underestimate, instead of overestimating, its advantages. Having resided in the county for years, one can easily find out his business reputation. He has the agency for some of the best insurance companies represented on this coast. George W. Stephenson is a stock dealer, and also owns a large livery and sale stable.
FINE BLOODED STOCK.One mile north of Ashland is the farm of W. C. Myer, who has handled purebred stock for many years and whose numerous customers have been more than satisfied with stock bought of him. At present he has one of the best studs of horses to be found in the United States. As draft horses he finds there is no equal to the Percheron family, combining, as they do, size, action, form, docility and finding ready buyers at good prices. His Arabian bay needs only to be seen to be admitted. In striking contrast to these large Percherons are the Shetland ponies--a great favorite with all children. Doubtless Mr. Myer has the finest herd of Jerseys (all A.J.C.C.H.R. of the best strains) on the Pacific Coast. As a family cow the Jersey has no equal. Mr. M. bases his success on three things: Extra quality of stock, low prices and representing, when selling, each animal's true merits.
THE INNER MAN.Houck, at the Ashland House, will feed and talk to the multitude, and he acknowledges no rival. While High & Taylor, proprietors of the Alhambra sample rooms, can furnish spiritual consolation in any quantities desired. They keep a neat, quiet place, and are noted for the excellent quality of their liquors, cigars, etc., and the artistic manner in which they dish them up.
VARIETIES.Burkhalter & Hasty, corner of Main and Grant streets, have a neat little store, in which one can buy almost anything outside of dry goods or steam engines, for they have canned goods, fruits, nuts, cigars and tobacco, stationery, etc., and also sell the OREGONIAN.
"The City of Ashland," Oregonian, Portland, February 2, 1885, page 3
SOUTHERN OREGON.EDS. RECORD-UNION: The metropolis of Southern Oregon is getting ready to welcome a large influx of strangers from the East, who are fleeing from the ravages of the severe winters experienced there. It is estimated that our population was increased from three to five hundred people the past year, and all indications point to as large, if not larger, immigration the coming year. Ashland has a population of about 1,600 people, and is in every way a thriving little city. Its natural water works and its extremely healthful situation give it predominance over every other town in southern, or, I might say, any part of Oregon. It is situated at the extreme end of the Rogue River Valley and right close up to the foothills of the Coast Range mountains. Ashland Creek, a stream of wonderfully pure, clear water, comes tumbling down in beautiful cascades from Ashland Butte, fourteen miles above, and which is covered the year round with snow. The creek, besides furnishing power for two sawmills, a planing mill, a flouring and a woolen mill, supplies the town with plenty of pure, good water for house use and irrigating purposes. It is proposed, and the money already mostly raised, to lay a pipe a half mile up the creek, which will furnish Ashland with fire protection better than the best steam engines.
Letter from the Record-Union Correspondent at Ashland.
The completion of the California and Oregon Railroad between your city and Portland will give to us a market for our apples and fruits, and furnish competition with Portland as to supplying our merchants.
Ashland expended over $100,000 in buildings and improvements in 1884, and a number of costly dwellings will be put up the coming season. Among the buildings erected last year is the Ashland Bank, a structure which we take considerable pride in, being the finest in Southern Oregon, and one that will compare very favorably with the banks in cities of more pretentions. The bank was organized last spring, with a paid-up capital of $50,000, and is doing a good business.
While, in common with every place else, business at present is a little dull, yet our merchants in general have a good trade.
Thousands of young fruit trees were planted here this spring, and in the near future we will have a mammoth cannery factory, it is hoped. Our peaches in this vicinity are superior to any others raised in Oregon, and find a ready market in Portland.
The other towns of Southern Oregon, Jacksonville, Medford and Grants Pass, are also in flourishing condition. At Jacksonville, the county seat of Jackson County, a magnificent new courthouse was erected last year at a cost of $40,000. Although Medford is a town that came with the railroad about two years ago, it now boasts of some 500 people. Grants Pass also experienced a wonderful growth last year, and is a thriving place. More anon.
Ashland, Or., May 31, 1885. ASHLEY.
The Record-Union, Sacramento, June 4, 1885, page 1
The next morning after leaving Portland we awoke in Ashland, the present terminus of the Oregon & California R.R. This beautiful little city is nestled at the foot of the mountains, about 312 miles from Portland and 9 miles from the California line, in the
ROGUE RIVER VALLEY.After partaking of the sumptuous breakfast the citizens had prepared we met Mr. Atkins and wife (the latter is a daughter of J. T. Mott) and Mr. Taylor and his estimable lady, who is a sister to Postmaster Prescott, of this place. They are all more than pleased with the country. Mr. Atkins is draying over the mountains, with horses, to points in Northern California and Mr. Taylor is pursuing agriculture farther down the valley. We also met a young gentleman from Elkader, whose name is Carter, and his father is interested in a bank at Ashland. Of this valley we can but speak in a general way. The climate is very similar to that of California, the thermometer rarely getting as low as 20 degrees, nor higher than 40 degrees. The rainfall is not so heavy as that of the Willamette. Contracted in size as it is, there is considerable arable land, which produces fine crops of all kinds, especially of fruits. There is very little government land, and that is not desirable, for it is on the foothills. Cultivated land ranges in price about the same as in Iowa. Not only are the mountains of Southern Oregon covered with forests of pine, fir and cedar, but rich veins of the precious and the rougher ores are found in their depths. This valley probably presents more reasons for being one of the most beautiful places in which to spend one's life than any other on the continent. While on our way down the valley we had a taste of the way western trains are run. The track runs along the foot of a mountain and on the other side is a rocky, rapid, narrow stream, and beyond more mountains. The little valley describes some very abrupt curves, making the R.R. somewhat resemble a snake's trail. Here our train ran as swiftly as they do on the level prairies of our native state.
"The North-West Aftermath," Postville Weekly Review, Postville, Iowa, July 17, 1885, page 2
ASHLAND'S EARLY DAYS.
(Letter of E.H.A. in Cleveland Leader.)
ASHLAND, OR., March 15.--Many improvements in Oregon may be traced to the enterprise and public spirit of men and women who in an early day came hither from Ohio, and the pleasant town of Ashland, near the base of the lofty Siskiyou Mountains, belongs in the catalog. The place received its name partly in remembrance of the stirring city of Ashland lying some sixty miles south of Cleveland, and partly from attachment to that eminent leader of the old Whig Party, Henry Clay, whose Kentucky town, as most readers know, was called Ashland.
At an early period of Oregon history, the spring, probably, of 1852, there might have been quite a company of men, women and children making the toilsome passage of the Siskiyous, on their way to the even-then-famous Rogue River Valley. This company all settled, I believe, in the vicinity of this place, and one of the number, at least, was a native of Ashland County, O. This was Mr. A. D. Helman, the founder of this town, who still survives to relate to history writers and inquisitive journalists many harsh experiences of pioneer life. Mr. Helman was an ardent Whig, and of course shared in the almost romantic regard for Mr. Clay which animated the breasts of so many in that party. This feeling, together with a strong love for his native state, led Mr. Helman to perpetuate the memory of both by giving the name of Ashland to the town he laid out.
The location of the place is very attractive. It stands at the junction of Bear and Ashland creeks, both swift, narrow streams springing from the heart of snow-clad hills, and affording water power sufficient to drive a thousand mills and factories. Both are clear, cold, talkative streams, whose voices throughout all their course can be heard some rods away. The latter bisects the town, and is about ten miles long. The former down by on one side, and when it joins Rogue River has a length of nearly thirty miles.
The village may also be said to lie partly in the arena and partly on the southwestern side of an amphitheater on majestic hills, which shut in the now-blooming valley from the world without, and terminate in cones and sugarloafs of most graceful shape. Of course these hills are often the scene of beautiful atmospheric displays. Yesterday, for instance, from the window of my room in the hospitable home of Judge J. C. Tolman, the present Surveyor General of Oregon, a snow storm was busy in one direction, draping a half dozen bold summits with white. At the same time could be seen almond and apricot trees in full bloom just across the street.
Ashland is one of the three principal towns of Southern Oregon. It lies on the line of the Oregon & California Railroad, about nine miles north of the majestic transverse chain of mountains which separate the state from California, and has a population of about 1,600. The inhabitants are justly celebrated for their hospitality, free, open natures, and general interest in the welfare of others. But so widely were these good qualities proclaimed last summer by members of the Iowa editorial excursion who visited the place and had a taste of "Ashland free-heartedness" that further encomium is here quite unnecessary. The whole country knows the story. No small percentage of the citizens have rendered distinguished services to the state or the country at large. Others have won fame for their reading, their eccentricities, their skill in storytelling, or for the thrilling episodes with which their lives have been crowded. It may come to our hand to write somewhat about these characters while on the Coast.
The year of his arrival Mr. Helman laid off the town on a portion of his own estate. Possessing some means and a spirit of enterprise, he immediately began making improvements for the benefit of the scattered settlers. Others of his company joined him in the work. Soon a saw mill and a flour mill were sending their music through the valley. The next year a post office was opened, and for twenty-eight years following Mr. Helman served the people of Bear Creek as their postmaster.
The gentleman is now quite sixty-three years of age, and notwithstanding his long sojourn on the Pacific Coast, retains a lively affection for his native state, and declares that the word Buckeye is never uttered in his hearing but that it gives him pleasure. Meeting him at his home yesterday morning, I found he had vivid recolections of certain periods of great privation and want which marked the earlier days here. One of these seasons made memorable the winter of 1853. A snow storm of unusual length and severity then raged for eighteen days through the Rogue River Valley. As in those days flour had to be brought by pack train from Portland, a distance of 325 miles, and meat, other than wild game, came in over the Siskiyous from California, the supply of provisions among the Ashland families when the storm began was limited. Soon the trails were impassable. Neither men nor animals could leave or enter the valley. Flour got excited, and went up to a dollar a pound. Potatoes sold for twenty-five cents and over per pound. Some families lived without bread. Wheat, if obtained at all, was cooked in the berry. It is said there were parties who lived fully three weeks on little else than wild meat. Each day or night some snow fell. Nearly each day also the sun looked forth serenely and partially melted the latest installment, so that when the storm really abated the earth was blanketed to the depth of eighteen inches, with a sheet of pretty solid ice. Almost immediately a warm rain set in and all minds were apprehensive that a destructive flood would follow. Nor were these fears without ground. In a short time the rapidly melting ice had converted the lower part of the valley into a wide sea. Happily, however, no very serious disasters attended it, and not long after in came the regular bands of little mules laden with the necessaries of life. From that day to this no such extended fall of snow has been seen in the beautiful valley of the Rogue River.
The families that had so recently arrived from the East were taken by surprise. Some of them had come from the broad, rigorous prairies of Iowa, severing the precious ties of kindred and acquaintanceship to find, as they supposed, homes in a land where flowers bloomed without cessation, where flocks could graze all winter, and whose fertile soil would yield every product necessary to the support, as well as gratifying to the taste of man. Fervid accounts of the country, its hospitable climate and august scenery, had reached their distant firesides, begetting such lively anticipations in comfort and prosperity that the toilsome journey hither had been risked and accomplished. And what for? Only to encounter a snow storm which was first cousin to those of Iowa.
One gentleman who had driven across the continent a number of valuable horses concluded that he would try some other pursuit if that was a sample of weather in Southern Oregon. Accordingly, the next spring he put his animals in good condition, drove them across the Siskiyous into California and sold them. He was quite too easily alarmed, for during not more than one or two seasons since, I am told, have herdsmen been compelled to drive their animals in and feed them, on account of the severity of storms. Feeding is now, however, quite extensively practiced in the valley, because, the land having been taken up, the ranges are limited.
"What will the Rogue River and tributary valleys produce?" I inquired of Mr. Helman.
"Ask me what they will not produce," was his reply, "and I can tell you that oranges will not grow here. But every variety of fruit native to the temperate zone attains perfection. Cherries, plums, prunes, peaches, apples and apricots require no better conditions. Figs of good quality have been grown in the open air, but California bears away the laurel for raising that fruit. The rich, deep soil of these valleys returns bountiful crops of all the cereals, and if potatoes are left in the ground, a volunteer crop will appear next year."
"And Southern Oregon teems with berries," added a lady in the room. "They are very large and of delicious flavor."
"Indian tribes were all about you in those days. Did you find them friendly?"
"Yes, practically so. The Indians of Bear Valley were a band of the famous Rogue River tribe, whose hot uprising in 1853-54 [sic] sent widespread terror among the white settlers, but toward the people of Ashland they evinced little if any hostility. Volunteer companies were, however, raised here, to quell Indian disturbances elsewhere."
Very wisely, instead of depending solely upon the charms of its location, the extent of its agricultural resources, and the reputation of its climate for its future material progress, Ashland is laying a foundation for growth in manufactures.
This will be all the more easily accomplished because of the abundant water power right in the midst. A woolen mill, running seven looms, 480 spindles, and several sets of knitting machinery, has been in operation since 1868. It works up 16,000 pounds of wool each month. Its products are shawls, cloths, fine blankets, underwear, hosiery, and perhaps other articles. Lumber making is also an industry of the place, and there are planing mills and cabinet shops.
Almost without exception the residences are frame structures, destitute of foundation walls, and allowing free passage to the bracing mountain air beneath the floor. This feature of Pacific Coast architecture certainly affords proof of the mildness of the climate, if not the vigorous constitutions of the people. And yet it must be said that until one who has been accustomed to the substantial, warmly built dwellings of the East becomes used to the low temperature maintained in most of these Oregon homes his discomfort is constant, and by no means slight, and oftentimes his health suffers. Window blinds, within or without, are usually eschewed, tinted shades with lace and other draperies being the window furnishings. Notwithstanding these people are so completely to the front, and railroad communication with the outside world is so recent, [that] in their homes are to be found all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life. They are fond of music, and pianos are numerous.
Emma H. Adams, Ashland Tidings, May 28, 1886, page 1
LV.At an early period of Oregon history, probably in the spring of 1852, quite a company of persons might have been seen making the toilsome passage of the Siskiyous, on their way to the even then famous Rogue River Valley. The party all located, if I mistake not, in the vicinity of this place. One of the number, who still survives to relate to history writers and inquisitive journalists the harsh experiences of pioneer life, is Mr. A. D. Helman, the founder of the town. Being an ardent Whig, the man shared in the almost romantic attachment of his party for Henry Clay. This feeling, as he informed me, induced him to give to the Oregon town the name of Mr. Clay's Kentucky home, and also that of his own native village, Ashland, Ohio.
ASHLAND, AT THE BASE OF THE SISKIYOUS.
The place is beautifully located at the junction of Bear and Ashland creeks, both swift, narrow streams, springing from the heart of snow-clad hills, and affording water power sufficient to drive a multitude of mills and factories. The latter bisects the town, and is ten miles long. The former flows by on one side, and after a journey of thirty miles contributes its waters to the marvelous Rogue River. Ashland lies partly in the arena and partly on the western side of an amphitheater of majestic hills, shaped into graceful cones and sugar loaves. Often are these hills the scene of striking atmospheric displays. Yesterday, from my room in the hospitable home of Judge J. C. Tolman, the present surveyor general of Oregon, I witnessed a snowstorm draping in white several bold hilltops nearby, and a few hours later there was thrown upon the grass halfway up these very elevations a broad rainbow of dazzling colors, not arched as we are accustomed to see them, but straight as lines of color could be drawn. On several other occasions short, perpendicular rainbows were seen standing on end upon the eastern hillsides. At another time one-half of one of these gay objects lay penciled upon the green turf, while the remainder turned straight up toward the sky, forming a right-angled triangle. When the snow descended in the morning, almond trees, hyacinths, jonquils, and dainty grass lilies were blooming unconcernedly in the valleys but a short distance below. Grandeur and altitude surround Ashland on all sides.
Soon after his arrival Mr. Helman laid out the town on his own estate, and immediately began making improvements for the benefit of the scattered settlers, other parties joining him in the work. Soon a sawmill and a flour mill were adding their cheerful whirr and hum to the music of the streams. The next year a post office was added, and thereafter for twenty-eight years Mr. Helman served the people of Ashland as their postmaster. The gentleman retains vivid recollections of certain periods of great scarcity and want in the valley. One of these occurred in the winter of 1853, that following the entree of his party into the region, and was occasioned by a snowstorm of unprecedented duration.
This storm raged for eighteen days throughout the district. At that time flour for the settlers was obtained by pack trains from Portland, a distance of over three hundred miles; and meats, except wild game, came over the lofty Siskiyous from Yreka, California. Naturally, therefore, when the storm began, the supply of provisions among the Ashland families was limited. Rapidly fell the fleecy crystals, and soon the trails were impassable. "Neither men nor animals," said Mrs. Tolman, who also recalled the ordeal, "could leave the valley. Each night, and often during the day, fresh snow fell. Nearly every day, also, the sun shone warmly for a time, partially melting the latest installment, which in turn froze hard the next night. And when the storm really abated, the region was covered with a blanket of pretty solid ice, eighteen inches thick." Almost immediately, then, a warm rain set in, and, together with the melting ice, threatened to inundate the country. Presently the lower part of the valley was a wide sea. But happily no serious results followed, and as quickly as possible in came the trains of little mules, bringing the necessaries of life, and relief to all hearts.
The simple relation of such an experience, at this distant day, with plenty smiling in nearly every home in the valley, is an act far from painful ; but to live three weeks with scanty stores daily diminishing, with hunger waiting to take seat at the naked board, is trial most unwelcome. Flour became excited at the prospect, and went up to one dollar the pound. Potatoes caught the fever, and sold at twenty-five cents and more per pound. Some families lived for days without bread. Wheat, if obtained at all, was cooked in the berry. In some homes wild meat constituted the bill of fare for three weeks. It is thirty-six years since that day, yet has no such fall of snow been witnessed in the Rogue River Valley. And in not more than two seasons, it is said, have herdsmen been obliged to drive in and feed their stock on account of the severity of the climate. Feeding, however, is now quite extensively practiced, because, the land having been "taken up," the ranges are limited.
"What will the Rogue River Valley and its tributaries produce?" I inquired yesterday of a citizen.
"Ask me what they will not produce," he replied, "and I can say that oranges will not grow here. But every fruit grown in the north temperate zone attains perfection in this soil. The region teems with all kinds of berries, and their flavor is delicious. Figs of good quality have been raised in the open air, and probably no spot on the continent is better adapted to peach culture than are these foothills. The danger from frost after the trees are in bloom is reduced to a minimum. The fruit excels in size, flavor, and color. Many thousand peach trees have been planted this spring, more than in all the previous history of Southern Oregon. Every variety does well--the rich, juicy peach to be eaten out of the hand, and the long-keepers fitted to be sent to distant markets. Thousands of prune trees, also, have been set this spring."
"Indian bands roamed all around you in the early days. Did you find them friendly?"
"Yes, practically so. The Indians of this valley were a band of the famous Rogue River tribe, whose hot uprising in 1853-54 sent such widespread terror among the scattered white settlers; but toward the people of Ashland they evinced little, if any, hostility. Volunteer companies were raised here to suppress outbreaks elsewhere."
In addition to its grand scenery, fertile soil, and almost faultless climate, Ashland is noted on the coast for its mineral springs. They are scattered all about in the vicinity, sulfur springs particularly, and are doing their utmost toward giving the Oregonians pure blood, a clean skin, and flexible hair. Some of the latter are cold, others are warm, and all vary in medicinal properties. One of these fragrant fountains on any man's estate is said to considerably enhance its value. Two, one tepid, the other frigid, bubble up on the large farm of Judge Tolman, four miles outside the village. One, highly impregnated with the mineral, graces the property of Mr. Helman in the foreground of the place. Beside it is a trim little bath house, fitted up with every appliance for taking the waters. All are perennial and as wholesome and palatable for animals as for men. It is claimed, indeed, that stock will pass by ordinary water to drink from a sulfur stream, and that they always choose the warm instead of the cold fluid. These cleansing fountains are inviting much company to the pretty town under the shadows of the Siskiyous. But numbers of them are wasting their odors on the much sweeter mountain air.
It may be supposed from all I have said that brimstone is the only mineral which Nature stirs into the waters of Southern Oregon for her sons and daughters, and creatures, to drink. But the facts assert the contrary. She well knows there are ailments which sulfur will not cure. In certain springs, therefore, she has skillfully mingled a variety of ingredients, with the purpose of eradicating a half-dozen diseases from a single mortal. Allow me to describe a visit I paid to one of these sources of health.
Just after breakfast one Wednesday morning, toward the last of April, a bright little woman from Ottumwa, Iowa, Mrs. Tolman, her daughter, a sensible bit of humanity, and myself, took seats in an open carriage, drawn by two mismatched horses, and set out for the angle of country enclosed by the intersection of the Cascade and Siskiyou Mountains, ten miles distant, Mrs. Tolman acting as driver. Far up in this angle, on the very brink of a narrow stream, called Emigrant Creek, there wells up a fountain possessing manifold curative qualities, and, what is a little singular, its waters are totally unlike those of the current beside which it breaks forth, the latter having no medicinal virtues whatever. Nor is this a solitary instance of the kind. Along the margin of this creek, some miles apart, gush up other notable healing springs, their waters diverse from that of the stream.
For half the distance, probably, our way led up the valley of Bear Creek, with its green wheat fields, its peach and cherry trees in bloom. Then, turning more to the eastward, we soon climbed a lofty spur, and, lo! the earth stood up in points, ridges, and summits, far as we could see. At its base swept Emigrant Creek, so named, said Mrs. Tolman, because, in an early day, Lindsay Applegate, a distinguished pioneer of Oregon, conducted several parties of emigrants into the Rogue River Valley over these sightly elevations and down the bank of this chatty stream. Mr. Applegate, now far advanced in years, is a resident of Ashland. Like his son, Hon. Elisha Applegate, also a citizen of the place, he was by nature a friend to the red man; was inherently just toward him, and never knew the slightest fear of him. His influence over the bands in these valleys was potent, and parties of white people guided by him were quite sure to reach their destination.
The Applegates were a Missouri people, from about where St. Louis now stands, I think. They came into Oregon with the earliest emigrants--two or three families of them--encountering almost endless hardships and perils; some meeting with death on the way, and others with hairbreadth escapes therefrom. They were a brave, intelligent, peculiar people, fond of books, possessed of strong personality, were naturally kind and sympathetic. Lindsay Applegate, a brother, Jesse Applegate, known all over Oregon by the sobriquet of "the Sage of Yoncalla," and Elisha Applegate, have all stamped their impress, more or less, upon Oregon life and affairs. The latter, the most unique of men, chose to become a lawyer. His strong point is story-telling. Gifted with a marvelous memory, and apparently born to encounter the incredible in life, he has laid away a fund of extraordinary tales, with which he enchants of evenings nearly every fireside in the neighborhood.
Now, take a look at that elevation on our left. Clinging to its side is a marvel in the shape of huge, dark-red sandstone rocks, piled up in positions so precarious that none other than Cyclopean hands could have performed the feat; and chiseled into figures so whimsical that the waves must have exercised their talent for sculpture in shaping them. Those enormous stones are placed upon lilliputian ones, exactly as if by design. What a singular conceit was it to form that prodigious hat, of perfect Quaker pattern--crown large, brim broad--and place it top down upon that tall column of red sandstone! And what hater of reptiles fashioned that colossal toad, and then cruelly stationed it where, to the end of time, it must forgo the pleasure of robbing beehives, or of clearing gardens of destructive insects? Geological speculation replies as follows:
In the long bygone of time almost all the territory now termed "the Pacific Coast" was covered by the waters of the great ocean, which extended as far eastward as the Blue Mountains in Eastern Oregon and Washington. As the ages rolled on there occurred three successive recessions of this vast sea, volcanic, or other agencies lifting up the bold mountain ranges, and forming corresponding depressions at the bottom of the deep. As the upheavals took place the waters withdrew, until there existed the Pacific Coast of today, the Rocky, Cascade, and Coast ranges marking the three vast abatements of the water. If this hypothesis be susceptible of proof, it gives as the agencies by which most, if not all, the physical miracles of the Pacific Coast have been performed.
But we have come several miles during this talk, and are now in front of an inviting hotel, with rooms for thirty guests, and conducted by Jacob Wagner, from Dayton, Ohio. Surrounding the house are fifty acres of land, very little of which was made to lie down. In front, behind us, to the right, to the left of us, massive mountains show their respect for mortals by standing. They are green to the top. Cattle range upon them; trees clothe them; swift streams leap from their heart. They crowd around us, narrow our horizon, but kindle our awe. A wilderness of rosebushes forms a tangle in one corner of the yard. Daisies, double, rimmed with pink, are scattered among the grass, making us careful where we tread, and mindful that flowers "crushed to earth" may not "rise again."
But a few feet from the road, on the other side, comes to view again our friend, Emigrant Creek. Willow, elder, wild cherry, and a beautiful shrub called Oregon grape fringe its banks. On its verge, under a sort of summer house, bubbles the spring we have come miles to taste. A rivulet issuing from it dyes the stone rust color, disclosing the presence of iron in the water. Other constituents are soda and magnesia in plentiful amount, with still others, all highly curative! To this fountain Nature invites such of her children as suffer from kidney troubles, the horrors of dyspepsia, typhoid, bilious, and some other direful fevers. And, wisely, the physicians of the region almost unanimously second her invitation.
It may be added of Ashland that, blest with abundant water power, the place is giving attention to manufactures. A woolen mill, running four hundred and eighty spindles and several knitting machines, was established in 1868. It works up from sixteen to twenty thousand pounds of wool per month, day and night sending its music abroad through the village. Its products are shawls, cloths, fine blankets, underwear, hosiery. There are also planing mills, sawmills, a flour mill, and cabinet shops in the place.
Emma H. Adams, To and Fro, Up and Down in Southern California, Oregon, and Washington Territory, Cincinnati 1888, pages 569-579
The "West Shore" OutrageThe July number of the West Shore is at hand, in which Ashland's illustrations appear. It is a good thing that the cuts are all labeled, so that we all can see that the artist meant this place in them. Had he left out the name of the place would have thought it was a village in some half civilized country. Ashland, as is universally acknowledged, is one of the most picturesque towns in appearance on the coast, but those pictures murder it. They look like a lot of barns and outhouses thrown together, and although the town and its surroundings is a continuation of orchards, trees and shrubbery, the engraver shows up only a few things that look like bean poles. Ashland has always had the good will and influence of the S.P.R.R., but when they see the way their fine new depot and hotel is pictured we fear the
worst. If the fault was with the town an unprejudiced jury would bring in a verdict of justifiable homicide if the company would kill it. The more those views of Ashland are circulated (where denials could not reach them) the town will suffer an untold injury, as no sane person would care about moving himself, much less an innocent wife and children, to such a woebegone place as that. The board of trade, which is accused of being an instigator of this thing, has gone to the woods until the excitement and indignation aroused has subsided enough to avoid a lynching.
Valley Record, Ashland, July 25, 1889, page 3
ASHLAND AND ROGUE RIVER VALLEY.What is known by the general name of Rogue River Valley, in Southern Oregon, includes much more than the strip of country which lies immediately along the banks of the stream that gives its name to the region. Spurs from the Siskiyou Mountains to the south, the Cascades to the east and the Umpquas on the north traverse the section in all directions, and the many tributaries of the Rogue River drain valleys having a large aggregate area, some of them being nearly fifty miles long and several miles in width. These valleys radiate from Rogue River, toward which they all tend, and, while they present many varieties of soil and surface, they
are all of a semi-tropical nature and are particularly adapted to the production of fruit.
One of the most important sections of the Rogue River country is the valley of Bear Creek, a stream which rises in the Siskiyou Mountains near the California boundary and joins Rogue River about fifty miles to the northward. The valley of Bear Creek is more than forty miles long and of an average width of about twelve miles. It extends northwest and southeast and is bounded by spurs of the Siskiyous and the Cascades. It is one of the most charming little valleys in the West, and is reaching a high state of development in every direction.
Some thirty miles above its mouth Bear Creek is joined by Ashland Creek, from the south, which takes its rise from the melting snows of Ashland Butte, a snow peak reaching an altitude of nearly eight thousand feet. During the dry season Ashland Creek always has a good volume of water, while Bear Creek, above its confluence with the Ashland, sometimes goes dry. On Ashland Creek, a short distance from its mouth, is situated the city of Ashland, from which the stream derives its name. This is much the largest city in the Rogue River country. It has a population of about three thousand souls, and is in every sense a flourishing town. About the year 1851 a party of men from Ashland, Ohio erected a small saw mill on the present site of the city of Ashland, Oregon. That mill and, possibly, a small house or two built at the same tine, constituted the first settlement of the valley. In 1854 the flouring mill, that with greatly improved machinery still grinds away at the old stand, was erected. Then a few lots were laid off near the mill and business houses were erected. Gradually the plat was added to until it assumed the air of a city, and all the time settlers were locating in the country about the town and reducing the fertile valley to a rich garden. But in the absence of railroad communication the growth of that section was necessarily slow, and in 1885, when it was incorporated as a city, it had a population of less than a thousand. For many years Ashland was reached only by stage routes hundreds of miles long overland, or from the sea coast at the mouth of Rogue River, where coasting vessels sometimes landed. [There was no practicable land route from Gold Beach; access to the coast was at Crescent City.] Then for some years the long gap in the railroad between Portland and San Francisco, from Roseburg, one hundred and forty miles to the northward, to Redding, in California, one hundred and sixty miles south of Ashland, made a wearisome stage journey of three hundred miles necessary between the two railroads. Ashland was always the most important point in the valley, but that counted for little when it was so inaccessible. A year ago
last December the two ends of the railway met in the mountains [they met on the edge of town] near Ashland and a continuous rail route between the two large cities of the Pacific Coast was established. The historic mountain stages disappeared from the scene, and the thrilling stage journey over the Siskiyous is now only a memory.
For some time previous to the establishment of through rail connections Ashland had the benefit of the line to Portland, and from the advent of the railroad
dates a new era for that country. The changing tide of immigration was carried through the section, commercial influences from abroad quickened local trade, and new life was infused into every line of business. Instead of resting with what had already been accomplished, the people pushed on to achieve greater results with the increased facilities at their disposal. In the past two years Ashland has doubled in population and experienced a corresponding increase in the volume of business transacted there. Last year the building operations of the city aggregated over $225,000.00 in value. A good deal of attention is being directed to manufacturing, for which it is admirably suited, and its expectations of future growth are based, in a considerable degree, upon its manufacturing advantages.
Ashland has a woolen mills plant that uses two hundred thousand pounds of wool per year, a saw mill, two planing mills, two grist mills, a fence factory and brick and tile works. An electric light plant furnishes illumination. The motive power for operating all these institutions is supplied by the stream which flows through the town. The city has one banking house with a capital of $50,000.00, two weekly newspapers and five good hotels, one of which is among the best in the state. It was recently completed at a cost of $35,000.00. A new water works plant, to cost about $60,000.00, and a large cannery and drier for fruit and vegetables are among the enterprises that are now under way. The development of the fruit growing and curing interests of the Rogue River Valley renders necessary increased facilities for conducting that industry, and they are being provided in Ashland, which promises to become in a few years one of the most important fruit centers on the Pacific Slope.
The soil and climate of Rogue River Valley are suited to the production of such semi-tropical fruits and nuts as peaches, raisin grapes, almonds and walnuts. Last season almonds raised there brought one-fourth more per pound in the market than the California product. The great specialty of the valley, however, is peach culture. That industry is found to yield the most satisfactory results, and it is being largely engaged in. For three or four years past hundreds of acres have annually been set to peach orchards that are now coming into bearing condition, and are demonstrating the fact that it is not only a practicable but an exceptionally promising industry for that region. The cultivation of the peach is made a study and is intelligently pursued. Already buyers from Portland and San Francisco enter the Ashland market to compete for the peach crop, and with the increase of production that is rapidly developing it must gain greater attention from abroad in a short time.
As yet most of the peach crop is shipped to market in a green state. This will continue because there is always a demand for green fruit of such excellent quality, but as production increases there will be a larger amount of fruit that cannot stand shipping green which will have to be preserved. This will give employment to canning and drying establishments that will find ample occupation outside the fruit season in handling vegetables, such as tomatoes, peas, corn, succotash, etc. The fruit next in importance to the peach in the valley is the apple, large quantities of which are annually sent away to market. All fruits not requiring a tropical climate can be successfully raised. In the cultivation of fruit the orchardists are content to get one good crop from the soil, so they keep their orchards entirely free of weeds or any other crops, stirring the surface often and keeping the ground always mellow. Care is taken in harvesting the fruit, especially the peaches, to avoid bruising it. From the trees the peaches are carried in baskets to long tables where they are separately wrapped in paper and packed in boxes for shipment. Generally the crop is contracted for beforehand, so there is no delay to find a purchaser.
The soil of Rogue River Valley is largely a granite loam four to ten feet deep. There is a greater area of this kind than any other, though in some places there is a strong adobe soil, making inexhaustible grain land. A clay loam is also found in some places. Under the influence of the warm climate the soil is a quick-growing one and is favorable for most vegetable productions. It is the best corn land in Oregon. A large amount of general farm produce is raised in addition to the specialties mentioned above. Wheat, oats, barley, buckwheat, corn, hay, root crops and vegetables, and all the common fruits, including the finest melons, are among the products of the valley. Sweet potatoes, peanuts, sorghum and hemp can be successfully grown also.
The climate of the valley constitutes one of its chief natural advantages. The land is somewhat elevated, the site of Ashland being two thousand feet above sea level, and some portions being higher and some lower than that point. The mean annual temperature for the past four years, as ascertained from the records of the United States Signal Service, which maintains an observation station there, is fifty-four degrees. The average mean temperature for January, the coldest month in the year, is thirty-eight degrees and for July, the hottest month is the year, seventy-nine degrees above zero. The average annual rainfall for the same period was twenty-three inches, and there were but three times during that term when no moisture at all fell for thirty days. The greatest precipitation for any one month was in November, 1885, when a total of a trifle more than eight inches was measured. There are no destructive tornadoes in summer nor cold blasts in winter. Mercury seldom gets below ten degrees above zero, although snow usually falls to the depth of a few inches in winter time, and remains on the ground several days. There is a cool breeze in the afternoon and evening of the hottest days in summer. Crops grow without irrigation, but gardeners sometimes resort to artificial means of watering their plants so as to prolong the bearing season or to get more than one yield in a season from the same ground. The streams flowing from the adjacent hills make irrigation convenient for those who choose to employ it.
In the rough land bordering the valley there is an attractive field for stockmen. Generally the locality can be chosen so that by going into the mountains in summer time and coming out in the valley in the winter cattle find good grazing the entire year.. The stock interests of the Rogue River country are quite extensive and profitable. There are large numbers of sheep on the ranges, and the wool product is said to be the best in the United States. It is entirely free from sand and burrs, and the sheep are well bred. The animals are almost entirely high grade merinos, but steps are being taken to introduce long wool breeds to mix with them and bring the grade down to a more profitable basis according to the present tendency of the market. Jackson County, in which Ashland is situated, and its sister county in the Rogue River country, Josephine, are among the important wool producers of the state. The woolen mill now in operation at Ashland does not by any means consume all the product that naturally goes to that market.
Ashland has one of the best water powers in the state. Ashland Creek, which flows through the center of the city, has a fall of about two hundred and fifty feet to the mile, so the water can be used several times as it passes through the city. The volume is sufficient at all seasons for manufacturing purposes. It is so easily controlled that it has a special value for manufacturers of modest means who are in search of a place for safe and profitable investment. There are many choice sites along the streams and convenient to railroad transportation where furniture factories, flouring mills, woolen mills, machine shops and many other manufacturing institutions could be operated to advantage. It is a live and progressive community and inducements are offered that are worthy of careful consideration by investors.
The city of Ashland is a most pleasant place of residence. It has broad, well-graded streets, and the general appearance of the town impresses one with a sense of its neatness and hospitality. It is laid off on a generous plan and some of the avenues lead through peach orchards and fields of waving grain even within the city limits. Many pleasing architectural features are observed in both public and private buildings. Every house has its lawn and flower and vegetable garden. The business streets are full of life and energy, and an air of comfort and refinement pervades the homes of all the people.
The education of the children of Ashland is well provided for. The city has two public school buildings and seven teachers are employed. A state normal school is maintained and liberally patronized. There are also three private schools, including a kindergarten. The city has a large public hall and six handsome church edifices belonging to the Roman Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Congregationalists, [and] Dunkards. The Episcopalians have an organization and will soon build a church. Of fraternal and benevolent societies there are lodges of Masons, Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias. The city has one of the best companies of militia in the state. A public reading room under the auspices of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the libraries of the different societies place good literature within the reach of everyone. The board of trade numbers among its members the live business men of the city, and it is, of course, a flourishing organization and one that is of inestimable value in promoting the welfare of the community.
A very important consideration in connection with the healthfulness of Ashland is the abundant supply of the purest water that is furnished its citizens. Good water is something that western cities sometimes lack, but the water supply of Ashland cannot be excelled. It is pure, and, flowing from the line of perpetual snow, it is always cool. There are white sulfur and soda springs in and near the city, which are well patronized by the home people as well as by visitors from abroad. The warm sulfur spring in one edge of the city is a rare attraction. It is fitted for bathing and is a very popular resort. Ashland has not pushed before the world its advantages as a natural sanitarium, but its merits are gradually becoming known and it promises to be in a few years one of the most popular health resorts in the country. In addition to its specific merits its surroundings are all pleasant, and there is not a single unhealthy symptom in the locality. The city claims the lowest death rate in the United States, notwithstanding the fact that many people have become residents there because of their broken health.
Besides being on the overland route of travel between Portland and San Francisco and a divisional point on the railroad Ashland is the nearest railroad station to that celebrated body of water that is proving such an attraction to curious tourists, Crater Lake. A wagon road leads from the city directly to the lake, a distance of about sixty miles. As a natural curiosity, as well as for the beauty of its surroundings, Crater Lake is well worth a visit. The excellent hotel accommodations of Ashland make it a comfortable stopping place for travelers, and its central location makes it the most convenient headquarters in Southern Oregon for hunters and tourists, as well as for business men having interests in that section. There is regular communication with the settlements of Lake and Klamath counties, lying to the east of Jackson, and a large volume of trade from that region goes to Ashland. A semi-weekly stage runs to Linkville, carrying the mail, but a proposition to increase the service so that a daily mail will be afforded the people of the interior is now being considered, with a probability that such a service will soon be established. The trade flowing to Ashland from the country immediately surrounding it is important and is constantly growing in volume.
The resources of the Rogue River Valley are by no means confined to farming, grazing and orcharding. The sides of the hills are covered with a good growth of valuable timber, such as sugar pine, fir, cedar and oak. The sugar pine is a particularly fine timber for manufacturing. The country is also rich in minerals. Last year Jackson County yielded more gold than any other county of Oregon. Since their discovery in 1852 the placer mines of that region have produced $25,000,000.00. There are quartz ledges showing rich prospects, but the want of sufficient capital has thus far prevented their development. Among the other minerals found there are marble, limestone, granite, sandstone, coal, iron, cinnabar and kaolin. There is a good opening for manufactories to aid in developing and working these minerals. The kaolin, as well as most of the others, has been thoroughly tested and found to be of excellent quality.
Ashland is making more rapid progress now than ever before in its history. Though it already has a water works plant the citizens have just voted to have a new one that will be more in keeping with the constantly growing needs of the city. The source of supply will be the same, but the reservoir will be over four hundred feet above the point of service in any part of the city, giving a natural pressure for all purposes. A bonus has just been raised that secures the building of a large fruit drying and canning establishment in Ashland. An avenue one hundred feet wide was recently made, leading from the business portion of the city to the sulfur springs at the base of the Siskiyou mountains, three miles distant, and preparations for building a street car line out to the springs are now in progress. Many buildings of a substantial character as in course of erection, and everywhere with the evidences of thrift and prosperity may be seen preparations for improvement. The post office receipts last year exceeded those of the previous year nearly fifty percent. Ashland is a repeating station on the lines of both the Western Union and the Pacific Postal Telegraph companies, and the business of the local offices has increased in the past six months fully forty percent over the preceding six months. Express and railroad business has experienced a corresponding increase. All industries show that the city is making rapid progress in every line, and as the metropolis of the whole Rogue River country it is sure to continue its advancement with accelerated pace.
Ashland claims the finest climate on the Pacific Coast, the best peach-growing country and the best farmers' homes. It occupies a position of advantage for manufacturing. From the general purposes of agriculture or stock raising the Rogue River Valley is unsurpassed. It has timber and minerals in abundance awaiting developing operations. Tillable land on the edges of the valley can be purchased for from $3.00 to $10.00 per acre, though, of course, choice locations in the valley cost much more. There is no government land suitable for cultivation unoccupied, but good range land in the hills is subject to entry. One of the greatest needs of the country is money to carry on the work of development, from which the element of uncertainty is almost entirely eliminated. No one who carefully examines the merits of the Rogue River Valley and of Ashland, its chief city, can fail to be impressed with the unusual advantages they offer for the investment of capital or the building of homes.
West Shore, Portland, July 1889, pages 353-357
AN OREGON PARADISE,(Special to the EXAMINER.)
Pleasant Ashland and the Rich Country About It.
THE REASON FOR ITS PROSPERITY,
It Has Mines and Timber and Factories,
and There Is No Finer Fruit Region on the Whole Pacific Coast.
ASHLAND, May 26.--Whenever Oregonians and Californians get into an argument over the relative excellence of the cities of their respective states the man from the North is pretty sure to say: "Look at Ashland; where can you beat that in California!" and the man from the Golden State will just as surely answer: "What makes Ashland so fine is that it is so close to California."
Certain it is that the city is as pleasant and beautiful as any on the Coast.
It is among the northern slopes and foothills of the Siskiyous, on rolling ground and surrounded by picturesque mountains. A fine creek runs through the town, still further increasing the beauty of the many pictures that every turn in the road reveals.
The city is by no means a new one; for nearly forty years there has been a community at this point. The place was first settled in a romantic little valley directly on the swiftly flowing creek. Gradually it grew out of the confines of its site and overflowed into the gentle hills. When the railroad came, its depot was three-quarters of a mile from the old town. Now, however, the city has spread over this intervening space and beyond in every direction.
One great feature of Ashland is the amount of ground about its residences, and there are gardens to every house, filled with flowers that would do credit even to California's Garden City.
There is no crowding at Ashland. The city contains probably 3,000 people, yet it occupies as much territory as many cities of 10,000. Its streets are wide, and from every side of the city run fine driveways through the most magnificent country.
Ashland is about 2,000 feet above the sea level, and above her tower great mountain ranges capped with snow. The spreading slopes of these mountains are covered with orchards. Further up they are clothed with fine forests. The mesas of this country are unequaled as pastures. Thousands of cattle and sheep range over them. The native grasses are wonderfully nutritious, and the beef and mutton from this district is esteemed above that from anywhere else in the markets of the West.
A CITY OF FINE RESIDENCES.Ashland contains scores of fine residences. Few are very large or pretentious at all, but all are comfortable and pleasant, and no stranger can look at the pretty and homelike cottages among the gardens without wishing that he might live in such a place. A more delightful town for a residence would be hard to find. Its summers are never hot; its winters are never excessively cold. It combines all the pleasant, healthy conditions of a country town with the most modern improvements and conveniences of a great city. As before stated, the advantages of Ashland were recognized many years ago.
The Rogue River Indians ranged all through this country in the early days, and they could not submit to have their favorite hunting ground wrested from them. They fought the settlers fiercely, and many white men filled unmarked graves in the beautiful valleys before the red men were at last conquered, and the garden of Oregon was given over to the settlers.
The Indian troubles over, the country prospered. The wheat planters succeeded the placer miners and raised immense crops. The fruit raisers recognized the value of the soil, and the country became what it is now--one of the greatest fruit-producing districts in all the world.
But in the absence of railroad communication the growth of that section was necessarily slow, and in 1885, when it was incorporated as a city, it had a population of less than 1,000.
For many years Ashland was reached only by stage routes hundreds of miles long overland, or from the seacoast at the mouth of Rogue River, where coasting vessels sometimes landed. [Access to the sea was at Crescent City, fifty miles south of the Rogue.] Then for some years the long gap in the railroad between Portland and San Francisco, from Roseburg, 140 [more like 95] miles to the northward, to Redding in California, 160 miles south of Ashland, made a wearisome stage journey of 300 miles necessary between the two railroads.
Ashland was always the most important point in the valley [not true], but that counted for little when it was so inaccessible.
RAILROAD FACILITIES.A year ago last December the two ends of the railway met in the mountains near Ashland and a continuous rail route between the two large cities of the Pacific Coast was established. The historic mountain stages have disappeared from the scene and the thrilling stage journey over the Siskiyous is now only a memory.
Even before the connection between the ends of the railroad was made Ashland was quite a city. The completion of the railroad from San Francisco to Portland still further quickened the life of the district. Many business houses were established, and today Ashland's merchants have a splendid trade.
In the last two years Ashland has doubled in population and experienced a corresponding increase in the volume of its business. Last year the building operations of the city aggregated over $265,000.
A good deal of attention is being directed to manufacturing, for which Ashland is admirably suited, and its expectations for future growth are based in a considerable degree upon manufactures. The greatest of Ashland's advantages in this respect is its magnificent water power.
THE FRUIT INDUSTRY.The soil and climate of Rogue River Valley, of which this country is a part, are suited to the production of such semi-tropical fruits as nuts, peaches, raisin grapes, almonds and walnuts. Last season almonds raised there brought one-fourth more per pound in the market than the product of any other district on the Coast. All of these things grow here abundantly, and many farmers have grown rich off of them. But the one fruit that the Ashland district is proudest of is the peach. Elsewhere peaches may be smooth, large and juicy, but here they simply pass all power of description. The word "peach" acquires a new significance when one tastes the product of the Ashland orchard. As to quantity, there are literally forests of peach trees. From an elevated point the orchards may be seen stretching for miles over the rolling hills.
With the increase of production that is rapidly developing, this land of peaches will become very well known, indeed, wherever juicy fruit is appreciated. As yet, most of the peach crop is shipped to market in a green state. This will continue, because there is always a demand for green fruit of such excellent quality, but as production increases there will be a larger amount of fruit that cannot stand shipping green, which will have to be preserved. This will give employment to canning and drying establishments, which will find ample occupation outside of the fruit season in handling vegetables, such as tomatoes, peas, corn, etc.
The fruit next in importance to the peach in the valley is the apple, large quantities of which are usually sent away to markets. All fruits not requiring a tropical climate can be successfully raised here.
OTHER PRODUCTS.The soil of Rogue River Valley is largely a granite loam four to ten feet deep. There is a greater area of this kind than any other, though in some places there is a strong adobe soil, making inexhaustible grain land. A clay loam is also found in some places. Under the influence of the warm climate the soil is a quick-growing one, and is favorable for most vegetable productions. It is the best corn land in Oregon. Wheat, oats, barley, buckwheat, hay, root crops and vegetables are among the products of the valley. Sweet potatoes, peanuts, sorghum and hemp can be successfully grown also.
The climate of the valley constitutes one of its chief natural advantages. The mean annual temperature of the past four years, as ascertained from the records of the United States Signal Service, which maintains an observation station at Ashland, is fifty-four degrees. The average mean temperature for January, the coldest month in the year, is thirty-eight degrees, and for July, the hottest month in the year, seventy-nine degrees above zero.
Ashland Creek never runs dry, but from year's end to year's end it can be heard all over the city as it churns and rushes down its steep rocky channel. The sound of this overgrown brook is never out of the ears of the residents of Ashland. The brook is as pure and cold as the snow that gave it birth back in the white-tipped range that looks down on the city. It starts from a living spring at the base of Ashland Butte and rushes down a picturesque canyon until it comes out near the city. All along its noisy way the stream passes under great pines, for the mountains on either bank are clad with timber to the very tops. Some of the scenery along its course is magnificent. But it is not the beauty of the stream alone that makes it valuable to Ashland. The fall of Ashland Creek is very great, and the power that is generated by it turns the wheels of two flouring mills, a woolen mill, a saw mill and door factories, electric light works and other works and factories. But not a thousandth part of the power it furnishes is taken. When the city grows the banks of the stream will be lined with mills and factories.
NEW WATER WORKS.Ashland gets its water supply from this creek, but her water works at present are inadequate and the city is putting in a new plant at a cost of $50,000. The pipe line will start about two miles up the creek. Twenty-five hydrants will be put in, and the fall of the stream is sufficient to give a pressure that will throw water over the highest building in Ashland.
There are many fine mineral springs in the neighborhood of Ashland. The sulfur and soda springs attract many visitors during the summer months both from Portland and San Francisco.
A SPORTSMEN'S PARADISE.It is a very paradise for sportsmen. The waters of Ashland Creek and the other streams in the vicinity are swarming with the gamiest of trout. Within a few months the pine-clad hills will be alive with quail, grouse and other small game. Deer are very numerous, and the ambitious hunter can, by going a little further into the mountains, find bear and mountain lions and even an occasional elk.
A large cannery and drier for fruit and vegetables is among the enterprises that are now under way at Ashland. The development of the fruit-growing and curing interests of the Rogue River Valley renders necessary the increased facilities for conducting that industry and they are being provided, and Ashland promises to become in a few years one of the most important fruit centers on the Pacific Slope. Ashland is the terminus of the Mount Shasta division of the Southern Pacific railroad. The company has built a large eating house and hotel, costing $35,000; also a large roundhouse, and the other buildings and shops usually found at termini of such importance.
The education of the children of Ashland is well provided for. The city has two public school buildings and seven teachers are employed. A State Normal School is maintained and liberally patronized. There are also three private schools, including a kindergarten. The city has a large public hall and six handsome church edifices belonging to the Roman Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Congregationalists and Dunkards. The Episcopalians have an organization and will soon build a church. Of fraternal and benevolent societies, there are lodges of Masons, Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias. The city has one of the best companies of militia in the state. A public reading room, under the auspices of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and the libraries of the different societies, place good literature within the reach of everyone. The Board of Trade numbers among its members the live business men of the city.
Ashland has two weekly newspapers--the Ashland Tidings, published by W. P. Leeds, and the Valley Record, of which E. J. Kaiser is the editor.
MINES AND QUARRIES.Last year Jackson County yielded more gold than any other county of Oregon. Since their discovery in 1852 the placer mines of the region have produced $25,000,000. There are quartz ledges showing rich prospects, but the want of sufficient capital has thus far prevented their development. Among the other minerals found are marble, limestone, granite, sandstone, coal, iron, cinnabar and kaolin.
The kaolin as well as most of the others has been thoroughly tested and found to be of excellent quality. An avenue 100 feet wide was recently made, leading from the business portion of the city to the Sulfur Springs at the base of the Siskiyou Mountains, three miles distant, and preparations for building a streetcar line out to the springs are now in progress. Many buildings of a substantial character are in course of erection.
As pretty a little opera house as any in the West is now nearing completion at Ashland.
All these facts, with the additional ones of pleasant and cultured society, and a wonderfully healthy location, ought to be enough to make Ashland within a short time the finest city in Southern Oregon if not in the whole state.
The population of Ashland is variously estimated at from 2,500 to 3,000. Within two years the citizens expect this will be doubled, and the more sanguine ones look for a city of 10,000 within four years.
San Francisco Examiner, May 27, 1890, page 5
OUR OREGON LETTER.
MCMINNVILLE, ORE., Oct. 20, '90.Editor Republican:
I promised to say something about Ashland, in Southern Oregon, where we had a delightful visit with some friends--former parishioners of ours in Hoosierdom.
Ashland is a beautiful little city of 3,000 inhabitants, nestling at the foot of the mountains, in the lovely Rogue River Valley. As one looks down upon it from the surrounding heights, it is indeed "beautiful for situation."
Ashland has splendid water works, supplied by the little creek which rises in the mountains, ten miles away, at an altitude of 7,500 feet. The water, being melted snow, is like ice water, piped into everyone's house and dooryard. Ashland has electric lights, good schools, numerous churches, two newspapers, excellent hotels and banks. There is fine water power here. Ashland Creek runs through the center of the city. Woolen mills, flouring mills, saw and planing mills do considerable manufacturing. Fruit culture is the chief industry of the city. Page & Son, of Portland, have a large packing and shipping business here.
The Rogue River Valley lies across the southern part of Western Oregon, extending from the Cascade Mountains to the coast, the entire length of Rogue River. The fruit in this valley is truly wonderful. Ashland is the center of the fruit industry of the valley. All kinds of fruit--peaches, nectarines, pears, apples, quinces, plums, prunes, apricots, cherries, grapes of all kinds, berries of every variety, and even almonds are in most prolific abundance, and of delicious flavor. The orchards are located in the rolling hills, anywhere not too steep to climb. They contain from three to ten acres each. The trees are set fourteen feet apart, and are cultivated just as you would cultivate corn. These orchards rise, one above another, until from the foot of the hills to the top the beautiful trees are seen. The yield of an orchard of five-year-old trees, well cultivated, is $250 per acre. These orchard lands, adjacent to the city, are worth from $100 to $400 per acre, according to situation. Back two or three miles, suitable orchard land can be bought for $50 to $100 per acre. For luscious fruit, pure water, beautiful scenery and delightful climate, Ashland surely is hard to beat.
My friend Patrick has lived in Ashland four years, and in that time he has killed 14 deer, and that with a No. 12 breech-loading shotgun, too, so don't be surprised if you hear of me bringing in a fine buck..
J. T. ABBETT.Warren Republican, Williamsport, Indiana, November 6, 1890, page 2
A Description of Our Beautiful Little City--Its Resources and Surroundings.
A volume descriptive of the state of Oregon is to be published by the state board of agriculture, to be distributed abroad and at the world's fair. The following description of Ashland has been prepared for the volume by C. B. Watson, Esq., of this place, at the request of the Ashland Board of Trade. (The weather tables are omitted because copy could not be obtained in time for this issue.)
It has been conceded by all who are most familiar with the Pacific Coast countries that Rogue River Valley, in climate, scenic beauty and the variety of its productions excels all others. Much has been written and said about it, and among homeseekers, tourists, travelers and those who are interested in reading descriptive literature there are very few who have not learned something of its attractions.
This valley is about fifty miles in length, irregular in shape, and in width varying from two to twenty-five miles, its general direction being from the southeast to northwest, its numerous streams falling into Rogue River, which courses through the northern part of the valley and takes its direction to the west, emptying into the ocean about thirty miles south of Cape Blanco. The southern extremity of the valley reaches a point in the Siskiyou Mountains about eight miles north of the California line. It is bounded on the north by the Rogue River mountains, east by the Cascades, south by the Siskiyous and west by the Applegate mountains, being thus entirely surrounded by rugged ranges of great height, many of the summits reaching into the altitudes of perpetual snow, from which hundreds of beautiful streams take their rise, and, coursing through the valley, ensure it that magnificent abundance of the purest water which is a never-failing guarantee of the excellent crops for which this valley has ever been noticed. The table made up from the weather reports, and accompanying this article, speaks more eloquently for the climate of this favored section than all else that might be said about it. Situated between the 42nd and 43rd degrees of north latitude, it has all the advantages of the north temperate zone, and is wonderfully favored by its location and surroundings. Reference to the table above mentioned will show that this valley has neither the humidity so objectionable to many further north, nor the extreme heat or droughts so prevalent further south. The climate cannot be classed as either hot or cold, wet or dry, but is a happy medium, in which not only animated nature but vegetable life as well seems to find the happiest conditions for a healthy and vigorous growth. Hence the character of its stock and animal products, fruits and vegetables, the cereals and the products made from them is becoming so well and favorably known in the markets of the country, even to the Atlantic Seaboard, that the label "Rogue River Valley" or "Southern Oregon" is a certificate of excellence.
Ashland is situated near the southern end, or head, of the valley, on the line of the Southern Pacific R.R. 430 miles north from San Francisco and 343 miles south from Portland in Oregon, and is the end of the second division south from Portland, and of the second north from San Francisco, and is therefore the central division station of the only line of railroad between the two largest cities on the Pacific Coast. It has a population of 2500 and boasts of many attractions and advantages. It is situated at the foot of the Siskiyou Mountains, which rise to the southward in majesty and grandeur to a height of eight thousand feet within ten miles, where snow may be found the whole year, and from which comes rushing and leaping and sparkling like "glad tidings of great joy" one of those beautiful mountain streams, the like of which poets and bards have delighted to describe and sing about from the earliest ages. This stream runs directly through this "little city of the vale," furnishing an abundance of water power and a supply for all purposes of the purest water in the world, fresh from the snows and the sparkling springs almost ice-cold in mid-summer. The people of Ashland know how to appreciate this great blessing, and have constructed a splendid system of water works at a cost of $57,000 for domestic use and all purposes, from which at more nominal figures every household, garden, shop or other place requiring it may draw to the heart's content. Ashland has justly acquired some fame for its facilities as a manufacturing site. It has an "Electric Light and Power Co.," which not only gives a splendid service in lighting the city, but is busily engaged in constructing electric light plants for cities and towns of both Oregon and California. It has two sash, door & blind factories, one large flouring mill, a woolen factory and other establishments where machinery is operated, and Ashland Creek furnishes all the power--not a stationary engine is to be found in the city. It has many beautiful residences, nearly all of which are ornamented with lawns and flower gardens, fruit trees and shrubbery, kept in excellent taste and trim, the admiration of all visitors--another of the blessings that flow from Ashland Creek, the pride of the mountains and joy of the valley and the town.
All classes of mercantile houses carrying stock suited to the varying pursuits of the people and surrounding country are made attractive and prosperous by careful management and the airs are rather [more] metropolitan than those of a little city of only 2500 people. There are many elegant business and public buildings, among which may be particularly mentioned the Hotel Oregon, a structure of much elegance, three stories high, of an attractive style of modern architecture, complete in all its parts, constructed and furnished at a cost of $30,000--a source of constant pride to the people. It is built of brick, highly finished inside and out, and is the favorite hostelry for all traveling men between San Francisco and the north. There are two other excellent hotels; one known as the Depot Hotel, which belongs to the R.R. Co. and is kept and run in first-class style, and the Ashland House, the pioneer hotel of the city, also a substantial brick, well appointed, and where the service and accommodations are excellent. There are three other hotels and a restaurant of more modest pretensions. The Ganiard Opera House is one of the attractions--a three-story brick, which is of elegant appearance. The Bank of Ashland, one of the business standbys of the city, occupies a neat two-story brick. The Masonic and Odd Fellows' halls are also elegant two-story brick structures. McCall's Block, Johnson's Block, the Thompson and Billings blocks and Crocker's Block, all substantial structures of brick, and the city hall, a new building of brick, two stories high, well built and occupied by the various city officers, fire department, city jail, etc., are among the principal buildings. The various places of worship noticeable to strangers are the M.E. Church, the Presbyterian Church, Baptist, Congregational and Catholic church buildings. the S.P.R.R. Co.'s depot building is one of the largest and handsomest railroad buildings in the state. Trains stop here thirty minutes for meals going either north or south.
Among the institutions of Ashland of which its people are justly proud are its public schools, which, under the management of Prof. P. A. Getz for the past three years, have taken rank among the best public schools on the coast. The schools occupy three buildings, one at the north end of the city, another at the south, while a third is centrally located, thus affording convenient accommodations for the pupils in the several grades. These buildings are suitably furnished for approved modern school work, there being in the rooms for the primary grade tables for convenience in concrete work in number, and elementary work in "form and color." These are also provided with charts, ample blackboard surfaces and various other appliances for the work of this grade. Other grades have tables for sand modeling as well as charts, dictionaries, maps and globes appropriate to the age of the pupil and the character of their work. The high school has an ample supply of chemical and physical apparatus for classes in these sciences. The schools are organized into primary, secondary, grammar and high school departments. There are eight years' work (known here, for convenience of designating them, as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. grades) below the high schools, which affords a three years' course of an English scientific character. The methods of instruction and general conduct of the schools are under the supervision of a principal who has associated with him nine other teachers, all but one of whom hold the highest grade of Oregon state certificates. These pursue a study of the best methods of education, and, for that purpose, hold biweekly meetings known as local teachers' meetings. That these meetings contribute to the success of the school work is known from the satisfactory progress made by the six hundred pupils in attendance.
The country in the vicinity of Ashland is especially adapted to the raising of fruit, particularly peaches, prunes, plums, apricots, apples and pears, blackberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.; and the cultivation of these fruits has become the chief occupation. There are now in the immediate vicinity of the city hundreds of acres of bearing peach orchards alone, while each year sees a large acreage of wild lands reduced to the cultivation of fruits--peaches predominating. There is no country in America that in quality and flavor of the peach, the productive power of the soil and the adaptability of the climate for that fruit can equal the country about Ashland. It is essentially the queen of the fruit sections of the West, and its markets are the markets of the world. Even Australia and Europe are learning the excellence of Southern Oregon fruit (apples and pears), and many of the states and territories of our own country call for shipments of Ashland peaches during the fruit season. In this industry, again, the people of this favored locality are made the debtors of the surrounding mountains for the abundant supply of pure water that never fails them. Irrigation, however, is seldom resorted to, the soil and climate rendering it unnecessary in the matter of fruit. The great variety of other crops successfully raised render an enumeration of them out of the question in an article of this character. Suffice it to say that few countries in the world can excel this section in quality and quantity of a great variety of vegetables and garden stuff, as well as the standard cereals.
Another feature that must not go unnoticed is the mining interest. Since the earliest settlement of the coast, the rich placer gold fields of Southern Oregon have been particularly noted. It has been, however, reserved to the more recent operation of prospectors to startle the people by new discoveries of rich mineral-bearing quartz, and what for years has been only speculation is now a certainty by the recent development of the rich Patton ledge, which a few months ago was purchased a company of Portland capitalists who have been carrying on their work of development night and day as fast as men and money could do it, and now are more than satisfied with the result both in gold and silver. This mine is less than three miles from Ashland, and the work of developing no less than six other quartz mines in the vicinity is now rapidly progressing, one of which is within the city limits. All of these ledges are affording such prospects that the newly awakened interest in mining reminds the old miner of the days of '49. The mineral wealth of this section is not confined alone to gold and silver, but copper, iron, tin, lead, asbestos, cinnabar, coal, platinum, kaolin and other valuable deposits of minerals and metals are found. There has never been so much interest evinced in the direction of prospecting and mining as now. A coal mine is at the present time being opened within four miles of Ashland and with very flattering prospects.
In building materials, few countries can show better granite or sandstone. A large sandstone quarry has been operated six miles south of Ashland on the line of the S.P.R.R. for the past two years, which stone has been shipped to Portland and may there be seen in the construction of some of the finest buildings in that remarkable city of wealth and enterprise. The Siskiyou Mountains are wonderfully rich in granite, and within ten miles of Ashland can be found granite building material to supply the world for centuries, while the wealth of the forests that cover these same mountains in sugar pine, yellow pine, fir and cedar can scarcely be estimated. These forests have as yet been practically untouched, though at the present time capitalists who have grown rich in the now-exhausted forests of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan are rapidly acquiring titles to timber lands and seeking eligible sites for sawmills. By these people more than 100,000 acres of the finest timber land in the world, within fifty miles of Ashland, have been bought, and mills to cut it are being constructed. It would be impossible in the space allotted to this article even to glance at all that might be truthfully told in regard to the undeveloped riches of this section. A glance at the many attractions for tourists and sightseers cannot be thought of; hunting and fishing alone would fill a book. Our Crater Lake, seventy miles from Ashland--from which it is most accessible--is one of the wonders of the world, has been much written about, and has been set apart by Congress as a national park. To describe Crater Lake alone would require double the space allotted to this article.
The "Ashland park," the nearest point of which is only three miles from Ashland, which has been temporarily withdrawn by order of the President of the U.S. with a view of setting it aside as a park for the protection of the forests, the water, etc., has a road running to its very center, and has already become a place of resort for the people of this city and valley, where they can saunter, or fish, or hunt or lounge about in the shade by the beautiful streams in midsummer, read their daily paper only a few hours from the press, and sympathize with their sun-stricken brethren east of the Rockies.
Truly, this is God's country, and, like the "groves of Daphne," its charms are such that he who once tastes the sweets of this retreat seldom leaves but to come again.
Another feature not to be left unnoticed is the wonderful variety and virtue of the mineral springs in this immediate vicinity, where, bubbling from the mountainside, may be found the sweetest and the bitterest waters ever mixed in the bowels of the earth. Within ten miles of this little city are soda springs producing thousands of gallons of water daily as sparkling and palatable as Apollonaris or Wabashaw, one of which has been furnished with a bottling establishment, and "the trade" is not unacquainted with the Siskiyou mineral water. There are within fifteen miles of Ashland three soda springs fitted up as places of resort, and one gas spring which is held in perfect reverence and sanctity by the aborigines, and has been for time immemorial for its wonderful curative properties for rheumatism and catarrh. These curative properties are well known here and are not doubted. Gen. J. C. Tolman has purchased these springs and within the past year has expended several thousand dollars in erecting buildings, baths and making arrangements for the proper treatment of patients. White sulfur springs, with baths not inferior to those of Arkansas, are found within the city limits of Ashland and are patronized by thousands of people yearly, many of whom seek Ashland as a health resort, and a place to recruit wasted strength, to recover from sickness or to spend a few weeks and often months in recreation and pleasure.
Ashland Tidings, April 29, 1892, page 1
UP ASHLAND CREEK CANYON.
Ashland, Or., Aug. 4th, 1892.Mr. Editor, Sir: We thought perhaps the many readers of your paper could read with interest a short description of our visit up and along the beautiful canyon and pure, limpid waters of Ashland Creek. Last Thursday being a beautiful day, your correspondent and Mrs. B. Radcliff, Mrs. Judson Ganiard and mother, Mrs. Donihue, Mrs. Gettobolt, Mrs. N. Radcliff and Mr. and Mrs. Baer started for an all-day's feasting and sightseeing. There were four carriages of us, each loaded with plenty of provisions, well equipped for fun and pleasure. Our road leads us up and along a deep canyon, in many places only wide enough for a single wagon track, many times the roadbed sloping down to the water. Passing along, wondering where noon would find us, at eleven o'clock we arrived at Bell Prairie, once a mill site. Here we took our dinner. We soon constructed a cooking range of rocks, built a fire, steeped our tea, then spread our table and oh my! what a dinner! Why, the table of two-inch plank fairly groaned with such a feast. Cake, pies, chickens, turkey, beef, venison, bread, butter, cheese, pickles, jellies, honey, cabbage, salads, tea, fruits of all kinds, delicious; but such a dinner is just what one needs after riding over and up those rough places. You always want to remember to take plenty of dinner with you. You will need it.
Well, after dinner was over our curiosity led us farther on. We ladies hitched up and started for a drive to see the falls. We drove as far as Mr. Watson's place. Nestled there among those old somber mountains, from nature's surroundings, it is destined to become a great summer resort. If you please, we will name this beautiful home Glenwood. The mountains rise high on either side. Their eminences are cut up with deep, dark wooded dells, or ravines, through which flows Ashland Creek, pursuing its way to mingle its waters with the Pacific. After resting and eating a lunch with lemonade, we tied our horses and started for a stroll alongside of the mountains, going to see the falls. About one mile to the famous falls without a name. So we suggested for a name Minnehaha. There we seated ourselves amongst its solitude, wondering what the convulsions of nature had been to have thrown up such mountains and cascades. O, it is charming, this rough and rock-hemmed little gorge, tumbling, roaring, leaping, lashing, until it finally goes along without a murmur, through woods, rocks and fernbrakes. Unfold thy beauty, to thy own solitude.
Many deer and panther, bear and wildcat frequent these falls, but our party were brave, undaunted. We were out that day for pleasure and enjoyment, as time whiled away here could be made profitable in studying nature. But, looking at our watches, we see that the sun was fast disappearing behind the western horizon. We thought, however, we had time to catch some fish and cook them for supper--the lines were soon cast out. Behold one fine trout, then another, and another, until we had enough for supper. Our tea was soon made, our table spread under the boughs of a lofty pine. Poor old pine, its boughs fairly sighed at the sight beneath its branches. We hugely enjoyed that meal, and kindly thanking nature for this great dispensation of pure water, diversity of scenery, not forgetting the ingenuity of man in developing so beautiful a place for tourists and pleasure seekers. Hitching up our horses again, all aboard for home--a straight pull on the lines, a sharp lookout is now the most important business, for down, down, crossing fifteen narrow bridges, around sharp curves, swiftly we came all to our Ashland homes.
Mrs. P. Griswold.Ashland Tidings, August 19, 1892, page 1
ASHLAND'S FIRST CHRISTMAS,Ashland Christmas Herald.]
How the White Man's Civilization
Celebrated Mere the First Time in 1859.
Nearly two score years ago, before the shriek of the locomotive awakened the echoes of the pine-clad hills of Oregon, when the treacherous Indian skulked through the forest, when the the monarch of the hills roamed unmolested, before the sides of the beautiful Rogue River Valley were covered with fields of waving grain, the sturdy pioneers of fair Ashland celebrated the first Christmas in their new home.
True enough, nature was here in all her primitive beauty, but never before from the banks of the turbulent Rogue River to the snow-capped summit of the Siskiyous had the beautiful chant of "Peace on earth, good will to men" been sounded.
Like the Puritans they turned their backs on the noisy East and came to this beautiful country, where amid its quiet hills and peaceful valleys they might find a home and happiness. They faced. westward, and with their belongings piled high in oxcarts these sturdy men and women braved the perils of Indian massacres,and traveling many long and weary months, crossing deserts and fording rivers, they at last reached this haven of rest and comfort.
Although isolated as they were, they still preserved the customs of their faraway eastern homes, and on December 25, 1859, celebrated their first Christmas in Ashland. Though lacking in the gorgeous splendors of the festivities of the eastern states, it contained that spirit of true devotion and good will and fellowship which should enter into the commemoration of this, the birthday of the "Savior of mankind." These men and women were honest, God-fearing people, who came here to find a home rather than from a spirit of greed or adventure.
Ashland at that time was a village of probably a dozen houses scattered in widely different sections of the town. It might possibly be of interest to some to know that the small house standing in the corner of what is now known as the old Applegate place on Ssouth Main Street was the first store building in Ashland, the stock of goods belonging to R. B. Hargadine. The present site of Mills' store was at that time occupied by the residence of A. V. Gillette.
As near as we can ascertain the inhabitants or Ashland at that time numbered about twenty persons, consisting of the following families: R. B. Hargadine, A. D. Helman, Bennett Million, A. V. Gillette, John Sheldon, Eber Emery, and William Sampson. There was also a few single men here, "boys" as they were called at that time, one of whom was Pete Smith. Of these early pioneers of Ashland there remains only A. D. Helman, Bennett Million and the children of some of the other families.
On Christmas morning of the year of which we speak the usual devotional exercises of the day took place, which, it must be remembered, were held at the private residences, there being no churches or halls of public gathering.
In the afternoon all attended the "turkey shooting" which took place on Ashland Creek above the business part of town, but we were not able to learn the names of the men who won the turkeys. The weather on this day was unusually fine, but during the night a wind came up from the southeast and the next morning the ground was covered with a heavy fleece of snow.
In the evening Eber Emery gave a grand ball in the old Ashland House, which stood where the building that bears that name now stands. A good crowd attended, people coming from Jacksonville and Phoenix and even as far as Yreka. The music was furnished by Squire Berry's orchestra. which consisted of two violins and a banjo. Mr. Berry of Jacksonville placed first violin, Geo. Brown, the present Eagle Point storekeeper, second violin and Harry Hudson the banjo.
This was a model Christmas, everything passing off quietly, there being no disturbances of any kind to mar the pleasure of those who participated in the celebration of Ashland's first Christmas. The remembrance of that day will always be a pleasant thought to the founders of the "Eden of Oregon."
Quite a comparison could be drawn between the Ashland of this coming Christmastide and the Ashland of forty years ago.
The inhabitants at that remote time little thought that their then-small settlement,. numbering only a few houses, would eventually grow to be the pride of Southern Oregon, and be classed as one of the leading towns of the state.
Architecturally, Ashland today presents one of the finest of towns. Its situation is all that could be desired, its surroundings are beautiful, and its social advantages are of the highest order.
Valley Record, Ashland, December 24, 1896, page 1
OUR OREGON LETTER.Dear Republican:
We are now fully settled in our new home--Ashland. This is the southernmost town in Oregon, on the main line of the Southern Pacific railroad, about 15 miles from the California line. Ashland is a beautiful city of 3,500 inhabitants, surrounded by lofty hills. Its situation, surroundings and climate render it a most delightful place to live. The city has an electric light plant and a most excellent water system. The water comes from the melting snow on Ashland Butte, a mountain 7,500 feet high, ten miles southwest of the city. The water mains are laid in Ashland Creek two miles up the canyon, and ice water is distributed over the town at the nominal charge of one dollar per month. Ashland Creek comes dashing through the center of the town, furnishing excellent power for woolen mills, flouring mills, planing mills, creamery, etc. Ashland is the most flourishing town in Oregon at this time. There is not a vacant house, either for business or residence, in the city. A great amount of building is going on. The lumber yards are taxed to their utmost to supply the local trade. The proverbial healthfulness of Ashland is attracting many people from all sections of the country. It is expected that in the next few years the present population will be doubled. If, from a delightful atmosphere a charming and cheerful prospect in all directions, scenery as varied and beautiful as any in the Swiss Alps, any elements of health can be drawn, surely here is the place to come. There are hot and cold sulfur and other mineral springs in and about Ashland in great numbers--curative both as bathing and drinking waters, and they are yearly being more generally resorted to by health-seekers.
It is in fruit culture, however, that Ashland excels. This in enlightened advancement and almost in a state of perfection, centers in and around the city. All fruits--peaches, nectarines, pears, apples, quinces, plums, prunes, apricots, cherries, grapes of all kinds, berries of every variety, and almonds and other nuts--are most abundant and very delicious in flavor. Peaches are the most lucrative crop. Orchards are situated in the rolling hills, anywhere not too steep to climb. The western and southern port:ons of the city lie on the sloping hills, rising higher and becoming more precipitous as they extend back. These hillsides, facing east and north, some of them rising to a height of 600 feet, are covered with fine peach orchards. Not all the orchards are on such hills, but these are utilized because of their proximity to the city.
The soil of these hills is decomposed granite, and very coarse. There is a belt of this "granite soil" at Ashland, some twelve miles long, and containing about 25,000 acres. It is the very best soil for peach growing. Thus nature has done her best for peach raising here, but intelligent culture has also done much. The pruning, to which trees are here subjected, may be called heroic. When the tree is first set out it is cut off some eighteen inches from the ground, and then it is cut back year by year during its bearing life, which I think is three times as long as in the east. Trees twenty years old have borne about as prolific and as fine a crop this year as any other trees. The average precipitation at Ashland is 20 inches, and yet these very abundant fruit crops are raised year by year. We appreciate the very kindly service the Japan Current renders in giving us our mild winters, but its greatest service is performed, and its benefits most freely bestowed, in our dry summers. Ashland is also noted for its intellectual and moral tone. It is the seat of the Southern Oregon Chautauqua Association, which brings annually to us men and women who are among the talented of the nation.
The city has three public schools, the North School, the South School and the Central or High School. At the edge of the city is the Ashland Normal School, a state institution which is ably conducted by Prof. W. T. Van Scoy, and his able faculty. There are eight churches in the city, namely, Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Christians, Baptists, Episcopalians, Catholics and Dunkards. Thus it will be seen that the intellectual and moral welfare of our citizens is well provided for.
We have been warmly received by our people, and the outlook is very favorable. Our church is to have the honor of entertaining the Oregon Conference at its next session. Bro. Jenkins was returned to Grants Pass for the fourth year.
J. T. ABBETT.Ashland, Ore., October 11, 1899.
Warren Republican, Williamsport, Indiana, October 26, 1899, page 4
OUR OREGON LETTER.Dear Republican:
Another conference year has nearly ended. How time flies! It is now ten years since we left Williamsport to make the long journey to Oregon, to take up the work of the Master and make our future home.
The coming session of the Oregon conference, to be presided over by Bishop Andrews, is to be held in Ashland. Ashland is one of the most beautiful towns on the Pacific Coast. The Southern Oregon State Normal School is situated here. They have beautiful grounds and buildings. The Chautauqua Tabernacle and grounds are quite a feature of the place. This pleasant summer resort and the strong program put upon the platform each season [line of type cut off] last month was the very best and most successful in the history of the institution. Hon. Charles B. Landis, Congressman from Delphi, Ind., gave us three excellent lectures. He made a good impression and won many friends The other speakers, readers and singers were well sustained.
Chautauqua grove is a beautiful place. The parson and his family have been "camping" there for the past two weeks. Ashland Creek runs through the grove and through the center of the city. It comes tumbling down over the rocks, through the gorge in the mountains, from the snow-peaks of the Siskiyous, only twelve miles away. The canyon, as everybody calls it, presents to the eye as beautiful scenery as can be found anywhere. The swiftly flowing stream of ice-cold water and the dense shade of the alder trees keep it always cool. The sides of the canyon are very steep and high. The fall of this little mountain stream is remarkable. Two miles above town water is taken out for the city supply, and the purest and best of water is furnished for house use and for irrigating lawns at a very moderate cost. What water power it furnishes! At the electric light plant, the drop is two hundred and forty feet.
Ashland has a population of about 4000 and is growing very rapidly. Over one hundred substantial buildings went up last year. We have four school buildings, beside the Normal School; the new one of stone and brick is just being completed. The cost is $18,000. The enumeration of school children this year is 1012--boys 506 and girls 506. The payroll of Ashland is over $20,000 per month. The Southern Pacific R.R. pays half of that amount to its employees who reside here. One hundred and seventy-five men are employed here by the company. In the roundhouse are kept ten extra engines--five "hogs" for mountain climbing, which weigh 110 tons each and two of which are able to pull immense trains over these steep Siskiyou Mountains. The five "monkeys," which weigh 65 tons each, are kept for lighter work.
We have just completed some improvements on our church property, new windows, papering, painting, new pulpit and carpets--aggregating about $400. We are anticipating a grand time at conference. We will have nearly or quite two hundred guests for a week. Will send you a copy of the "Conference Number" of the Pacific Christian Advocate. We are all well, and our work is prospering. Our oldest son, Earl, has just come home for a few weeks' visit from Spokane, Wash., where he has been for the past year, as clerk in the general office of the Great Northern R.R. No more at present. Greetings to all our old friends. With best wishes, Mr. Editor, for yourself and family, I am
Sincerely yours,Ashland, Or., August 6, 1900.
J. T. ABBETT.
Warren Republican, Williamsport, Indiana, August 16, 1900, page 2
Several days ago we received a letter from A. E. Sims, formerly of this city, now of the firm of Sims & Anderson, Ashland, Ore. Mr. Sims says: "I am still in Ashland, and still in the mill business, and in a country where there is an inexhaustible supply of fine timber. We have one of the most up-to-date mills on the coast, and people of Indiana would wonder how anyone would put a mill, as we have, up a canyon of such ascent, but I got it there all through my own management. The mill is a very heavy one. My partner is G. N. Anderson, whose father was born and raised in Greencastle, Ind., and left that place in 1849, and came to this country when gold was cheaper than flour. There are some gold mines in operation around Ashland, but as I know very little about mining I can give you nothing of interest, but I can say I have sawed some of the largest logs I have ever seen. I sawed one log that weighed 43,000 pounds, and had 4,179 feet of lumber in it, and I was just three hours sawing it, but most of our logs are of nice size to mill. I have visited some of the largest mills on the coast, and ours is as good as any found."
Progress-Examiner, Orleans, Indiana, January 21, 1904, page 3
City of Ashland.One of the Mail representatives paid the neighboring city of Ashland a visit the other day and while sojourning there he made the following observations:
The Southern Pacific people are paving their depot grounds and making a nice park around the depot grounds. The city fathers have decided to cooperate in this good work and will lay concrete walks and macadamize the streets in that immediate neighborhood. The portion of Main Street lying between Hillman and Fourth streets, some 2600 feet, will also be macadamized. To properly do this extensive street improvement work, the city fathers have purchased a fine rock crusher and a big steam roller, investing $7,000 in the same. Had this investment been made years ago it would have proved quite a saving in the long run for the city, as all improvements heretofore made have, for the most part, been only of a temporary nature.
Ashland has five saloons which pay license of $800 each per annum, and City Recorder Eggleston informed the Mail reporter that those places were kept in a very orderly manner and that whenever there was any noise, or trouble of that kind, the license was promptly revoked, as has been the case with one party. Notices are posted on the premises, warning minors not to enter the saloons. No "rough houses" are tolerated. In fact, having saloons is a new idea with Ashland, and they are now on their "good behavior." Apparently they were voted in on the score of providing more revenue for the city. Just what course will be taken in regard to them in the future is only a matter of conjecture.
"Yes, we have a pretty city," remarked one prominent citizen, while conversing with the Mail man, and then he very frankly added: "But you Medford folks are going to have the largest business, for you have a much larger territory tributary to your city. You will have the business metropolis of Southern Oregon, while we will have a city of homes, where health and happiness will prevail. Yes, both cities will grow and prosper, and there is a place for each of them to fill."
Speaking along a similar vein, a leading resident took occasion to say: "We know that the people of Medford want to see our normal school live and prosper and we have positive proof that Mr. Vawter worked most valiantly for the appropriation bill and we honor him for it, but we were puzzled to see a certain little paper published over there in which he is reported to have an interest [in] doing all in [his] power against the Southern Oregon Normal. But we have learned that said paper is not representing the people of Medford, but that it is the mere tool of a little coterie of would-be politicians, whose days for 'doing politics' in Jackson County are numbered. We are surprised, however, that the Medford people will permit such a sheet to so misrepresent their fair city, for the utterances of that paper are doing harm to your city in its relation to the outside communities."
Ashland, like Medford, boasts a skating rink, which pays a big city license and is not permitted to run on Sunday. Now that the summer weather is near at hand, the rink will probably be closed until the fall season.
As an indication of the good feeling which prevails in Ashland toward Medford, it might be noted that recently, President Mulkey of the normal school brought a party of 38 students to Medford to hear Hanford in "Julius Caesar." In fact, delegations of students and people take advantage of many good entertainments that may be given in Medford and they do not "stand back on ceremony," as the saying goes.
The Mail news gatherer enjoyed sharing a talk with City Recorder Eggleston relative to the water supply and sewer system, of which Ashlandites are justly very proud. Mr. Eggleston had all the information at his fingers' ends and gave facts and figures of a convincing nature with as [much] ease as though it was an everyday occurrence for him to tell about the work being accomplished.
"For some twenty years our city has been owning its own water system," spoke Mr. Eggleston, when interrogated by the reporter, "and the longer we go the better pleased we are with the plan. Indeed, when you find a man anyplace who does not favor the municipal ownership of water and lighting systems, you will discover, when you get down to the facts of the matter, that said person has some personal reason for taking such a stand. Either he has some money to invest and knowing that there is no possible better investment than in furnishing the city with water and light, he assumes the attitude of being strongly opposed to all such ideas, or else he has a friend who wants to gobble up the fine chance for securing a good thing. Yes, if they profess not to believe in the plan, you may just put it down that they have a method in their madness.
"We have a plant which stands the city $73,000, of which $27,000 was expended in obtaining the riparian rights, and this will give us an inexhaustible supply of moisture for all time to come. Although we have an indebtedness of $73,000, yet I am convinced that if a private corporation had this plant it would be paying dividends upon an investment of half a million dollars capital. Within the next two years we will have reduced this indebtedness by at least $1,000 and then we will refund the remainder of the debt at a much lower rate of interest than we are now paying.
"We charge each family one dollar per month, minimum rate, adding ten cents for each bathtub and a like amount for each toilet. This rate will, in my estimation, be very materially reduced within the next few years. We have no meters, but make a flat rate, and the superintendent is instructed to shut off all customers who fail to pay in advance for their water on or before the tenth day of each month. This rule has been rigidly enforced, and we have had very few exceptions to it. Everybody now pays up promptly and we have no bother along this line.
"By conducting the affairs on purely business methods we have been successful in building a very nice plant. Indeed, there is no reason why the city should not make money as well as the private corporation, if only proper attention is paid to the conduct of affairs."
In speaking of the matter of electric lights, Recorder Eggleston stated that at present the city had such a very good contract with a private company that it was hardly necessary for the city to invest in a plant of its own. However, the city can and will put in a plant in case it should become necessary.
Ashland is building a lot of new sewers. Last year four miles of mains were laid and now two more are being built. They are being made of the very best material to be had and the city authorities take advantage of the Bancroft act in their construction, whereby the cost is assessed to the owner of the abutting property that is directly benefited. In case the assessment amounts to $25 and over, the owner can pay for the same in ten annual payments of equal amount, with interest at six percent per annum. No funds are taken out of the general fund for the purpose of laying these sewer lines, but the money is produced by the foregoing plan.
The Ashland Commercial College is having a most prosperous session. More commodious quarters will be needed for the next year and the present indications show a still larger attendance than last year. The courses of training have been strengthened by adding up-to-date features, and others of proved merit will also be added. The graduates of this institution are in demand. Mr. Albert Owen accepted a position with the Ashland Creamery and recently Miss Francis Mulit entered the service of Page & Lawton, of Medford.
Medford Mail, April 26, 1907, page 4
STORY OF THE OLD FLOUR MILLWith "The Passing of a Landmark, Held Almost Sacred in Memory of Many Pioneers: The Old Mill" as his theme, Judge C. B. Watson read a very interesting paper before the assemblage of pioneers at the Chautauqua tabernacle this afternoon. He said:
C. B. WATSON REVIEWS THE PASSING OF A LANDMARK.
And Suggests Building of a Pioneer Memorial on its Site--
Southern Oregon's First Manufacturing Enterprise.
"To the observant, tragedy is seen stalking hand in hand with celebration, merry-making and progress. Each meeting of the pioneers discloses vacant seats. In fact, in the evolutionary course of things, it is difficult to tell just what is tragic and what is dramatic. They are mingled everywhere and on most occasions are leavened with comedy. The universal tendency is to greater refinement, and the grandest culminations of either individual, or collective effort, we reckon as marking an epoch in the stirring progress of the times. Fifty or sixty years in the ordinary course of events is considered but a small span when being recorded on the pages of history. And yet, in the growth of the great western civilization there has been a greater advance, in the past sixty years than in the earlier stages of history making it was possible to accomplish in centuries. We are all actors, and the things we do as individuals count for little, except in the aggregate results of many acting together. Man and woman are working out a grand destiny, the culmination of which is in the dim and misty prospect of ages upon ages hence, while men and women live but a small span and go hence leaving only a composite impression, only the spirit of which shall be felt in the centuries to come. While on the stage our greater efforts seem to be directed to material acquisition which can be enjoyed by using our material senses alone. We construct great institutions, buildings, cities and governments, which, like the human ants that in sweat, heat and eager effort are engaged in their apparently self-imposed tasks, must, too, be gathered into the darkness that closes in behind it all. The pioneers are passing, one by one, and so, too, are the material structures of their handiwork. Buildings and institutions which were a necessity to the pioneer in the early, troublous times, and in the construction, use and contemplation of which they took much pride, are now, in these more rapidly progressing days, made to give way to the wants and necessities of a new spirit that has added lightning and wings to more ambitious flight.
On the occasion of these pioneer meetings the mind runs in retrospection, and the past passes in review. In the spring of 1851, 58 years ago, there was perhaps not a settler in Rogue River Valley; though white men had passed through between the older settlements of California and Oregon and the possibilities of this wonderfully beautiful region came as after-dreams to the less phlegmatic of these sturdy travelers. In 1850 Isaac Hill passed through from the mouth of the Columbia, where he had arrived in 1849. In 1853 he returned here with his family and settled on the place now known as the Kingsbury farm seven miles above the present site of Ashland, and the marriages of his daughters have given us the families of Patrick Dunn, A. V. Gillette and James H. Russell. In 1851 E. K. Anderson passed through the valley and its possibilities and beauty haunted him until he became a resident at his old farm near what is now Talent, in 1852. In the fall of 1851, Major H. F. Barron, James H. Russell, John Gibbs and Thos. Horn located the "Mountain House," since known as the "Toll House." There were no wagon roads then, but these pioneers saw the future importance of the pass, then a trail, afterwards a rude wagon road, then a toll road and stage line and destined later to become the pass to be sought and occupied by one of the greatest railroads in the world. Such appropriations marked the genius of early settlements. Prior to the "Mountain House" there was not a settler in this valley above Wagner Creek. The late Thomas Smith also settled near the Dunn place in 1851. In the early days of 1852 "Bally" Dean settled at Willow Springs, Tom Cavanaugh near Rock Point on Rogue River, Ed. Stone where Talent now is, and in the fall of 1851 Clugage and Pool came from the neighborhood of Yreka with a band of horses and mules and settled on Jackson Creek, and in the spring of 1852 Pool discovered gold on Rich Gulch. The news of the gold discovery spread north and south and inspired that flood of immigration that soon built up settlements in the most eligible spots of the valley.
In February of 1852, E. K. Anderson went to the Willamette Valley for seed and brought from what is now Yamhill County the first wheat that was sown in Rogue River Valley. About the same time James H. Russell went to the Willamette and brought out the first seed potatoes.
During the summer of 1852, A. D. Helman, Jake Emery, Eber Emery and James Cardwell settled on Ashland Creek, within what is now the corporate limits of the city of Ashland and built the first sawmill in Jackson county. Many of us remember the old sawmill.
Jacob Wagner, A. G. Rockfellow and J. M. McCall came in about May, 1852, and settled at Wagner Creek and Wagner bought out Ed. Stone. Mt. Wagner (Wagner Butte) was named for Jacob Wagner who, during his long and eventful life here, proved himself to be one of nature's noblemen and left his manly impress on the institutions now characteristic of this beautiful valley. He was a man to whose memory such a monument as Mount Wagner is a fitting tribute. May it forever so remain!
In 1852 E. K. Anderson raised wheat enough to supply his neighbors of the valley, who gladly paid him eight dollars a bushel for it, and with the potatoes brought in by James Russell faces brightened in the thought of a more luxurious living. Early in 1853 Eber Emery built the first hotel on the present site of the Ashland House, their new mill furnishing the lumber. It was then that plans for a flouring mill were arranged and its construction planned and commenced by A. D. Helman, Jake Emery, Eber Emery, and [Madison B.] Morris. This mill was completed in 1854 and is the real subject of this paper, for upon its site less than two weeks ago a bonfire was made of the rubbish after tearing the old mill away. In the fall of 1854 the first flour was made there, from wheat raised by E. K. Anderson and J. F. Anderson on their homestead, the first flour ever ground in Oregon south of Roseburg.
It was a great event. A ball was given in the mill and wheat ground for the banquet and celebration. The wheat sold for $5.00 per bushel and the flour for fifteen cents a pound; but what joy and rejoicing spread throughout the valley from Rocky Point to the "Mountain House."
Why should it be wondered at that these hardy, yet weary, travel-stained men, women and children, a little band surrounded by Indians, sometimes friendly and sometimes hostile, an uncertain and horrible danger always menacing them, should now, after fifty-five years have rolled by, with the friendly portals of the old mill smiling welcome and plenty, shed honest tears and make protest at the destruction of this old landmark? Here they ground their first wheat and they ate their first biscuit. Here they sought its friendly walls for shelter from an Indian outbreak in 1855. It was the first manufacturing institution erected in Southern Oregon, and from it, by pack train and wagon, hundreds of tons of flour were shipped east, west, north and south. It was the nucleus around which clustered the little granite city that has grown in beauty and importance to the Ashland of today. Built in the wilderness on the banks of a beautiful stream, in the edge of a virgin forest that was filled with savage animals and more savage men, it, next to the pioneer's log castle, was the most sacred spot. While its wheels and burrs slowly turned they knew they should not suffer from hunger. All men were charitable in those days; every heart beat with generosity and mercy was a ruling passion. No man nor woman should feel ashamed of the sentiment that causes the tear to drop silently as the old mill passes. Yet it seems a fit and proper thing that it, like the pioneers themselves, should be laid away awhile yet there are tears in the fountain. I would that a beautiful monument should be erected on its site to the pioneers of Oregon; not of Rogue River, nor Southern Oregon alone, but to the memory of all the pioneers between the Columbia and Northern California. Its site is being made into a beautiful park, almost in the center of a city that is destined to be one of the most beautiful resort cities in the world, and a proper memorial built from the granite taken from the mountain at the foot of which the old mill stood would mark an important epoch in the history of this great state. But I must tell something more of its history.
In those days and among these people, there were no millionaires. The fact of common poverty was a bond of friendship and unity. Money was scarce and running the mill was expensive. People rapidly flocked to the mines, and located farms, and the demands for flour increased until this old mill was the busiest place in the valleys of Southern Oregon.
During the year of 1854, E. K. Anderson and J. F. Anderson traded wheat for a one-fourth interest in the mill, which now became the property of A. D. Helman and the Anderson Brothers. The power was not sufficient and various devices in the way of wheels were resorted to. These were not satisfactory and E. K. Anderson went to San Francisco for the irons to build an overshot wheel, which when built gave the necessary power. While at San Francisco, he bought a pair of French burrs and had the irons for the wheel and the burrs shipped by schooner to Scottsburg on the Umpqua River and returning, he on horseback and two young men with an ox team went to Scottsburg for the machinery and burrs. Anderson reached Ashland on his return ahead of the team, which after reaching the north bank of Rogue River went into camp. That night the Indians attacked them, run off the oxen and scattered the two men. Notice of the incident reached Ashland and Anderson at once went to the rescue. He found the cattle on Evans Creek, recovered the wagon and freight and brought it on here. The overshot wheel was constructed and was a success, still operating the old mill within the memory of many of us who came later, in fact until the mill was purchased by W. J. Virgin in 1891.
In 1855 E. K. Anderson traded his interest in the mill to his brother Firman, for his brother's interest in the farm. Firman Anderson sold to A. D. Helman. There have been many changes in the ownership of the mill, and its record is not free from judgments, sheriff's deeds, mortgages, etc. In 1857 James H. Russell came into part ownership by purchase from Helman. John T. Savery and Jacob Wagner became owners in the mill in 1858. One W. W. Fowler came into part ownership through a sheriff 's deed in 1858 and sold his interest to J. M. McCall in 1859. Jacob Wagner sold an interest to J. M. McCall in December, 1859. In July, 1860, James H. Russell sold to Jacob Wagner and W. W. Fowler certain interests. In 1861 John McCall sold a one-fourth interest to Jacob Wagner, and in 1865 a further interest to C. K. Klum. In 1867 Jacob Wagner and C. K. Klum sold an interest to A. G. Rockfellow. In 1868 C. K. Klum sold to J. M. McCall. In 1873 McCall sold to E. K. Anderson. In 1874 A. G. Rockfellow sold a one-third interest to Heaton Fox and W. H. Atkinson. In 1876 Fox and Atkinson sold to Jacob Wagner and E. K. Anderson. In 1879 Jacob Wagner and E. K. Anderson sold an interest to W. H. Atkinson. In 1881 Atkinson sold back to Anderson and in 1883 Anderson sold a two-thirds interest to Jacob Wagner. In 1884 Jacob Wagner sold to Fordyce Roper and then for the first time in its history no pioneer was interested in the mill as an owner. From 1858 to 1884 Jacob Wagner was continuously an owner in the mill and at times sole owner. In 1891 Fordyce Roper sold to W. E. Jacobs and W. J. Virgin. In 1895 W. E. Jacobs sold his interest to J. E. Pelton and R. P. Neil and in 1898 Pelton sold his interest to Neil and in 1899 Neil sold his interest to W. J. Virgin. This gave the whole title to Virgin. On June 27, 1906, Virgin deeded the mill, the land on which it stood, the water rights and all appurtenances to the City of Ashland, and on the 17th day of December, 1908, the people of Ashland by a vote of more than five to one dedicated the old mill site forever for a city park.
In this rapid review of ownership, it has not been expedient to give the history leading up to the transfers, not to make mention of matters of litigation which at times involved the property. The earlier litigation was carried on at Roseburg, as there was no court nearer. (The first court held in this county was by Judge Deady, September 5, 1853.) It is interesting to note that the rates of interest sometimes ran as high as 7 percent per month (84 percent per annum). The records recited ''Oregon Territory."
Mr. E. K. Anderson tells me that at one time in 1855 Mr. C. C. Beekman, then carrying express between Jacksonville and Yreka, stopped at the mill and said he was authorized on behalf of Rogers Bros. of Yreka to offer 13 cents a pound for 75,000 pounds of flour. He and A. D. Helman then owned the mill and were in great distress for money, but after considering the matter refused to take less than 15 cents. Rogers Bros. declined to pay so much. Helman and Anderson then paid four cents a pound to have the flour packed over to Yreka; they paid storage all winter and sold for eight cents the next summer. It was not an unusual thing to see fifty or a hundred Indians around the old mill with their pack ponies taking cargo for the Klamath country.
But this paper has reached sufficient length. The purpose was to give as a memorial the history of the old mill that until a few weeks ago has remained the most familiar object from pioneer days to the present, and to emphasize the important part it has played in the building up of Southern Oregon.
Monuments are built to the memories of loved ones that pass. Why not build, on the site of the old mill, a monument dedicated to the pioneers as suggested above? Such a monument would have an appropriate beauty in the beautiful park and would always commemorate the events which you are now here to celebrate. In times to come, long after the pioneers are all gone and several succeeding generations have passed, this beautiful monument would stand guard over this historic spot with its unparalleled environment and hand out its fragment of history through the centuries to come.
Ashland Tidings, August 26, 1909, page 1
ABOUT ASHLANDThe latest issue of Arthur Brown's Rogue Magazine has the following to say of Ashland:
What the October Rogue Magazine Says of It
In the extreme southern portion of the Rogue River Valley is the city of Ashland, built on the slopes of the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains where Ashland and Bear creeks mingle their waters together.
Ashland Creek receives its waters from springs and the melting snows of Ashland Butte and Mt. Wagner and comes hurrying down through rocky canyons laughing and singing all the way.
It is this creek that gives Ashland its supply of pure and sparkling water.
The water system comprises about twenty-eight miles of pipe lines, and the pressure is great enough to afford efficient means of fire protection.
Ashland is a division point of the Southern Pacific railway. It is the city of homes, churches and schools. It is the home of the Southern Oregon Chautauqua Assembly, which assembles yearly for about ten days. Here brilliant lecturers, teachers, musicians and educators are brought to instruct and amuse the people. The Chautauqua grounds comprise a beautiful and picturesque spot, centrally located in the city, a sylvan park along Ashland Creek, that is thronged with campers during the Chautauqua season. The unique assembly hall has a seating capacity of 2000.
The hotel conditions of Ashland are unsurpassed in any city of its size along the Pacific Coast. The Hotel Oregon is the largest, is nicely furnished with a first-class dining service. It is centrally located and is built upon a knoll giving a splendid view of the surroundings. The proprietors, Burdic and Cunningham, are genial hosts and are ever on the lookout for the welfare of their guests: There are several other good hotels. The Ashland; The Park Hotel and The Vendome, all of which are doing a profitable business.
The city of Ashland is growing rapidly, and this year it exceeds in improvements any year previous. A mile of bitulithic pavement is practically completed; thousands of feet of cement walks have taken the place of the old board walks. The First National Bank building is a new brick block, the old one not being large enough to supply the demand of their increasing business. The B.P.O.E. have about completed a three-story concrete building; Susie B. Allen and J. S. McNair have started a modern two-story pressed brick 56x100 feet. This building will contain two store rooms below and eighteen sleeping rooms above. Peterson & Swenson have erected a two-story concrete building; Sanderson & Co. have nearly completed a two-story concrete building; H. C. Stock, Louis Werth and P. W. Paulson have each built one-story concrete store buildings. G. S. Butler has built a two-story brick block; the G.A.R. have put up a two-story concrete building, and many beautiful dwelling houses have been erected.
There are many mineral springs in and around Ashland. The Helman's White Sulphur Spring within the city has been for years a popular place for the sick and the well. This spring has an average temperature of 80 degrees Fah. and is fitted up with bath tubs and an eighty-foot swimming pool. There is also a beautiful park here where one can find rest and contentment.
The Ashland Mineral Springs Natatorium has just been built by some of the spirited citizens of that city and will be open to the public October 30th. This is one of the largest natatoriums on the Pacific Coast, the building being 100x225 feet; two immense pools with a depth of from two to eight feet will be filled with the waters of five white sulphur springs. There are twelve individual tub baths and a Turkish bath room with two apartments. Large dancing parlors with splendid polished floors are also in connection.
There are many peach orchards in and around Ashland and the soil being particularly adapted to this fruit which is unsurpassed in size and flavor. Thousands of boxes are shipped annually to eastern markets; also numerous apple and pear orchards, together with the other fruits for which the Rogue River Valley is famous.
Ashland has a live commercial club composed of energetic business men who know the worth of the city and are keenly alive to its welfare.
The scenery around Ashland is bewildering in its beauty--words cannot describe it--yon must see it, then you will know.
Here is what Henry Watterson, editor and proprietor of the Louisville Courier Journal, of Louisville, Kentucky, says about Ashland: "To me the little city nestled among the crags--a very eagle at rest in a bower of enchantment--will always possess an exceptional meaning and interest. Mrs. Watterson shares this feeling and joins me in hearty gratulations. If we should ever cross the continent again we shall be cheered on our journey by the thought of looking in upon the Chautauqua Assembly and of sitting under the trees by.the beautiful stream that waters the wooded wilds beyond. Present our cordial regards to the many charming and lovely people we had the pleasure of meeting during our all-too-brief sojourn."
Ashland Tidings, November 1, 1909, page 2
"ASHLAND, MY ASHLAND"
Max Pracht Tells of its Past, Present and Glorious Future
Room 424, Treasury Department,Ashland Commercial Club, Ashland, Oregon.
Washington, Feb. 19, 1910.
Gentlemen:--The receipt of two beautifully gotten up and artistically printed booklets from your secretary has made me homesick, and I cannot help letting you know how much I appreciated your efforts in advertising our unapproachable climate and unique little city. When in December, 1887, I arrived in Ashland to help celebrate the driving of the last spike as one of Mr. Crocker's guests to the ceremonies which finally linked Oregon and California, I looked over the scattered village of Ashland, took cognizance of its 1800 inhabitants, drank of the mineral waters running to waste in the streets, was enchanted with its reposeful setting in the outstretched arms of hoary old Siskiyou and felt the spirit of prophecy setting upon me and I straightaway told the old-timers that here would be built a city of ten thousand people, but there were many to scoff and few believed.
I had already purchased, as a flyer, while on one of my overland stage trips between Alaska and San Francisco, the land of which the Peachblow Paradise Orchard is now a part, but having faith in my own prognostications I immediately bought more and more of the lands in the district now known as East and South Ashland, and selling our my holdings in Alaska became a working citizen of Ashland. It was hard work at the outset; the mossback was still glooming the atmosphere and glowering at the cheechako, the newcomer, the tenderfoot, he who dared to invade his blissful repose, improve the city and by making improvements increase values, and to the everlasting sorrow of the mossback, thereby increase the taxes. The opening of the Boulevard, the best move Ashland had till then made, to a degree scattered the forces of the pullbacks; some gave up their contrary ghosts, others moved away, and a few stayed, and were converted to the gospel of progress. We had to take one of the leaders into court and by open offers of more than he himself had figured his land was worth overwhelmed him with our generosity, but he would not stay, our blessings following him. From that day to this, barring the political setback during the period 1893 to 1897, our city has progressed, the newcomers have been made welcome and become assimilated, Ashland has expanded, bloomed and fructified, its fame heralded by its wonderful fruit, has gone the length and breadth of the land, even Alaska has sent a colony to follow up my lead, and today there is not a more prosperous, healthful or desirable little city on the Pacific Slope, and how near my prophecy is to its fulfillment, the six thousand happy and contented citizens, active pushers and boomers all, can testify.
When the first settlers creaked into the mining camp on the creek, where now the plaza opens into Chautauqua Park, way back in the fifties, their faith and endurance was rewarded in the promises of peace and plenty in a land of sunshine and perfumed forests and many of them settled down to a life of ease and comfort, satisfied with the surfeit of good things nature had provided, happy in their own companionship, and it was not until the railroad pierced the granite walls of the Siskiyous and brought men and money for planning and developing that Ashland began to find herself and, today, radiating out from the original miners' business center like a senorita's fan, the spirit of Ashland smiles at the overlapping mountains north, east and west, and is bringing to her feet the seekers after health and education and a competence. The new Carnegie Library building, on the spot where stood John Gum's barn and blocked the way of progress, accentuates the fact that Ashland has burst into full bloom, her ever-increasing charms bringing to her embrace the cultivated men and women of all the union.
Ashland, my Ashland, how sittest thou upon thy everlasting mountains and glorifies the rising sun! My heart is with thee ever.
MAX PRACHT.Ashland Tidings, February 24, 1910, page 1
A. D. HELMAN JOINS MAJORITY
ONE OF ASHLAND'S FIRST CITIZENS ANSWERS FINAL CALL
Took Up Site of Ashland as a Donation Claim in 1852--
Was First Postmaster and Held Position for 27 Years--Long Life Ended
Capt. A. D. Helman, one of Ashland's first citizens, upon whose donation claim a large portion of the city is located, who was the first postmaster and who was instrumental in naming the place Ashland in honor of his native county in Ohio, and in building its first industries, passed peacefully away at his home on Helman Street in this city, Saturday morning, lacking a little more than a month of having passed the 86th milepost in the long journey of life which fell to his lot.
A man of remarkably good physique and robust health, Mr. Helman, though marked by the years, was as active at 70 and even at 80 and 85 as many a generation younger, but several months ago there was pronounced evidence of a breakdown of the rugged life machinery.
His last appearance on the streets was to vote at the regular city election in December. He walked to the polls on Fourth Street from his home, many blocks distant, against the wish of his family, refusing a carriage. That exertion overtaxed his strength, and he never regained it, failing gradually until the end, which was preceded by a comatose condition of many hours, during which the faithful but helpless watchers by the old pioneer's bedside patiently waited for the final dissolution.
Mr. Helman was the last survivor of the very first settlers of Ashland. His donation claim and those of Hargadine and Pease (afterwards the Applegate place, now covered by [the] Railroad Addition) and Wright were located about the same time and were contiguous. Mr. Helman's claim, however, took in the land upon which the principal part of the old town is located, the lines running north and south along what is now First Avenue above the Chautauqua grove and west on what is now Nutley Street, thence north almost through the old North School grounds nearly to Bear Creek. At the time of his death Mr. Helman lived upon a portion of the north part of the claim, embracing perhaps ten acres of land.
He was instrumental with several others of the earliest settlers in building the first sawmill on the banks of Ashland Creek and the first flour mill on the site near the center of the city, which is now devoted to park purposes. These enterprises were really the nucleus around which the town of Ashland was built and expanded.
Mr. Helman served on the school board of this district for years and during the time of his service did much to advance the efficiency of the public schools of this city.
During the Indian disturbances in this section in 1855 and 1856 Mr. Helman took a part, being assigned to fort duty at Wagner Creek.
----Abel D. Helman came from substantial German stock and was born in Wayne, now Ashland, County, Ohio, April 10, 1824, where his father, John Helman, was engaged in agricultural pursuits. Fourth child in a family of seven children, he grew to man's estate on the home farm. Obtaining his early education in a subscription school, he was a pupil in the pioneer log schoolhouse, with its puncheon floor and rude slab benches, learning to write with a quill pen. Subsequently learning the carpenter's trade, in Wooster, he followed that in connection with the trade of cabinetmaker until he was twenty-six years old. In January, 1850, anxious to join the gold hunters, he sailed in the steamer Ohio to Aspinwall, and then proceeded on foot to Panama, where he waited a month for a vessel to take him to California. Arriving in San Francisco in April, 1850, he went to Weaver Creek, where he was engaged in mining for a time, working also at his trade in Sacramento for some time. In 1851 Mr. Helman made a trip over the mountains to the Willamette Valley, driving a mule team from Yreka to Salem, on the way crossing a part of the tract of land that he afterwards took up as a donation claim and upon which a large portion of Ashland is now built. Returning to California, Mr. Helman resided in Yreka until January, 1852, when with others he came to this vicinity and took up land claims where Ashland is now located. He made a trip back to Ohio, and returned with his wife and children, and Ashland, Oregon, named after the old home in the Buckeye State, became their permanent home from that year, 1853.
Mr. Helman's first wife was Martha J. Kanagy, to whom he was married in Wooster, and eight children were born to them: Mrs. Almeda L. Shepherd, of California; John K., of this city; Mrs. Mary E. Niles, of Adin, Calif.; Mrs. Martha Jane Carter, of this city; Abraham Lincoln, now residing in Idaho; Benjamin Butler, of this city; Ulysses Grant, of Petaluma, Calif., and O. O. Helman, of this city. The first Mrs. Helman died many years ago. His second wife, Mrs. Sue Rockfellow, to whom he was married in this city a number of years ago, survives him and has been his faithful companion in his declining years.
A. D. Helman was Ashland's first postmaster and for 27 years, or from 1855 to 1882, he served the small from but growing community in this capacity. In the year named the salary had grown to the munificent sum of $600 per year.
Mr. Helman's name is conspicuous in the history of Odd Fellowship in this city, county and state, having attained the highest honors in that order. One of the first members of Ashland Lodge No. 45, I.O.O.F., he filled chairs of honor in the lodge for years. In 1892 he was grand master of the Grand Lodge of Oregon. A member and past patriarch of the Pilot Rock Encampment, he was also Grand Patriarch of the Grand Encampment of Oregon. For two years he was grand representative from Oregon to the Sovereign Grand Lodge sessions. He was also a prominent member of the Rebekah degree auxiliary of Odd Fellowship.
Funeral Tomorrow.The funeral of the late Capt. A. D. Helman will be held at the First M.E. Church, of which the deceased was a member, tomorrow, Tuesday, afternoon, at 2:00 o'clock, conducted by Rev. H. J. Van Fossen. The burial service at Ashland Cemetery will be conducted by Ashland Lodge No. 45, I.O.O.F., Past Grand Master W. I. Vawter, of Medford, officiating.
Ashland Tidings, March 7, 1910, page 1 Helman's biography is excerpted and edited from information in Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon, Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904, pages 791-792
At the Foot of Mt. AshlandTo one in search of an ideal locality in which to pass a holiday or to spend the remainder of a lifetime, Ashland, Oregon, presents attractions rarely equaled and, in the opinion of many, unsurpassed. Climate is ever an asset of value. When enhanced by the natural advantages which pertain to business conditions, climate becomes of greater worth. Diversity of soil has made the Rogue River Valley noted for the variety and excellence of its fruits. That fruit-growing is a science is here given ample demonstration. Aided by proper altitude, the right aridity of air, days of bright sunshine, nights cool and crisp, and a temperature that is always mild, the soil brings forth a yield that gives to the Ashland section a just preeminence.
Ashland, Oregon: A Noted Resort, and the Home and Fruit Center of the Famous Rogue River Valley
By JOHN SCOTT MILLS
The city of Ashland is the largest in Jackson county. It is three hundred and forty-one miles south of Portland and four hundred and thirty-one miles north of San Francisco. It is the junction of the Pacific and Oregon systems of the Southern Pacific Company, and in addition to being division headquarters, is an important railroad point. The city has an elevation of one thousand nine hundred and forty feet. The winters are mild, there being no extremes of cold, and the temperature of the summer months is delightful. The weather record for the last eighteen years shows a mean average of 51.8 degrees. The mean temperature of Florence, Italy, is 58.8. The healthfulness of Ashland is proverbial. The figures of the weather bureau, while significant, fail to show the geniality of the air of this region, its rare exhilarating quality, its freedom from violent, irritating or depressing winds, and from dust and insect pests, or to explain the softness of the light or the deep blue of the sky. Another life-prolonging factor is the water, pure as the snow which forms its source on the perennially snow-capped mountain peaks and glacial defiles of Mt. Ashland.
Because of its increasing importance as a health resort, the great development in the volume of business and the rapid growth of its population, Ashland has recently entered upon an era of public improvement, supplemented by extensive private investments of a semi-public character, which involves the expenditure of more than five hundred thousand dollars for new buildings. Among these are a public library and a public hospital. Many handsome homes, costing five thousand dollars and more, are under way. Street paving costing over seventy-five thousand dollars is being done.
Comprehensive plans for the improvement of the city's park system have been instituted. Beginning in the heart of the city, the system extends through Ashland Cañon amid woodland scenes of wondrous beauty from which the flavor of the wilderness has not entirely departed. Through a changing panorama, weirdly picturesque, the trail leads thirteen miles to the top of Mt. Ashland at an elevation of eight thousand feet.
Homeseekers are looking for locations in the Pacific Northwest, and Ashland is fully prepared to meet the requirements of the man who wants a location, be it a small farm, or a tract which will enable him to engage in diversified farming or fruit-growing. There is, perhaps, no particular spot in the world where a greater number of products can be grown. Many varieties of apples may be produced, but the Yellow Newtown Pippins and the Red Spitzenberg of the Rogue River Valley are the most popular, the one because of its color, the other because of its keeping qualities, and both of them for their fine flavor. These apples are shipped from the valley every fall, in carloads, to the marts of the East, the Middle West and to the cities of the Old World. In England the Rogue River Valley apples are as well known and justly celebrated as in cities and communities close at hand.
Peaches, pears, cherries and berries yield enormous crops. All cereals are grown and mature here. Melons are always a certain crop. English walnuts are produced in large quantities. Bee culture is profitable, and the locality is ideal for poultry. There is always demand for good horses, and stock-raising from many points of view should appeal to the Eastern farmer. Native grasses are abundant, and alfalfa yields heavily, three and four crops being cut each season, averaging four to seven tons an acre. The indoor feeding season is short, owing to the mildness of the winters. The raising of Angora goats is another industry which appeals to many. The animals lend valuable assistance in the clearing of brush lands, and there is a constant demand for mohair.
Truck gardening is deserving of especial mention. An Ashland gardener tells of netting three hundred dollars an acre on a twelve-acre tract. Tomatoes give a minimum return of ten dollars a ton; onions do exceptionally well, instances being quoted where three acres had netted five hundred dollars each. The soil seems particularly adapted to the growing of asparagus, peas, beans, celery and squash of all kinds.
Ashland and the Rogue River Valley offer inducements to the settler which cannot fail to appeal to the person in search of a locality where a large return is certain for a minimum of labor. It is especially an attractive section to the person who desires to live where there are such superior climatic conditions coupled with the multiplicity of other good things of life. These abound in Rogue River Valley, with Ashland, Oregon, as the chief point of distribution.
Sunset magazine, June 1910, pages 705-706
Pioneer Resident Vividly Recalls Early Days in Ashland
C. B. Watson
In the early '70s Ashland was a small pioneer hamlet with very few sources for the entertainment of the young people, yet I doubt if there is so much of enjoyment and happiness now, with all of the varied sources at hand. There was no railroad and the daily stages drawn by six horses and commanded by that important factotum, the stage driver, who generally had some story of adventure to regale the crowd that invariably gathered at the post office for the day's event, filled the want that is now supplied by the daily paper. In the wintertime dancing, spelling schools and weekly singing school were attended and enjoyed, while everybody attended church at the school house. When I came the oldest inhabitant exploited his experience, proud of the fact that he had been here for twenty years. His experiences with the Indians; adventures with grizzly bears, mountain lions and such things because of the modesty of the narrator [omission].
During the warm Sunday afternoon, Granite Street, which extended a little above where the auto campground is now located, was the line of parade of the happy young people, who would stroll to the Hargadine sawmill located there and back along the "Hargadine grade" which is now, in different dressing, the drive from the auto campground back into town. It was a joyous walk. Where the Chautauqua auditorium now is, Hargadine had a small orchard with a high rail fence about it. We always climbed that fence and came to the bank of the mill race, which now tumbles its water over the bank into the park near the Plaza. The old mill then stood there, and a high flume conducted the water to and above the great "overshot wheel," where it lent its force to assure us of bread. We then walked out on the flume to the door that opened into the upper story of the mill; thence the stairway was utilized to reach the front door and the street.
Our real gala days were those when a crowd rustled up the best "rigs" in town and hied away to Soda Springs, where we were sure of a splendid dinner to be prepared by "The Old Lady Caldwell," who presided at the enjoyable hostelry. We always found something to interest us and occasionally were thrilled with a runaway on the way home. These were really enjoyable days, and the girls in no land were as beautiful and sweet as the Ashland girls, nor more happy.
In the spring of 1872, "Bill" Daily, a carpenter, who now lives on Butte Creek, proposed to me that we build a trap and catch fish at the Hargadine dam at the foot of Oak Street and where the road reached Bear Creek. There was a heavy run of steelheads and I had spent all the time I could sitting on the bank and watching the fish jump over the dam. It was a great sight to me. "Bill" knew how to build the trap, and I was eager to help and have an interest in the enterprise. We got a long fir pole and peeled the bark off and placed it just above and a little in front of where the water plunged over the dam. We then riveted some slats, such as were made for fence pickets; made a frame, V-shaped frame, about three feet deep and eight feet long and nailed our slats for the ends and sides. It was open at the top and about three feet wide. This trap we swung with straps to the pole so that it would swing just below and a little behind the fall. We tied a rope to each end so that we could draw it out and return it to its place again. We put it in place in the evening and returned to it the next morning, after a restless night, because of my anxiety for the venture. In attempting to scale the falls the fish would generally have to make several efforts before they succeeded. Each failure would of course result in their falling back, and our plan was that they would fall into the trap. When we got to the trap the next morning a wonderful sight met our gaze; we had about 50 beautiful fish in the trap, many of them two feet long, some more than that. It was a job to get them up to town, where we gave them away right and left. While the run lasted we practically furnished the town with fish. We charged nothing for them, but required that they must carry them home themselves. Every morning we were sure of plenty of company. In those days Ashland Creek furnished a good many steelheads, and far up the brushy canyon we were sure of an abundance of trout.
Deer were plentiful, and the hunting was good within the present city limits. Bear frequently wandered into town, and sometimes an old grizzly would carry off somebody's calf or shoat. There was no game or fish law to hinder nor restrict the sportsman, and many tales of adventure were reported. "Them days is gone forever."
Ashland Daily Tidings, April 30, 1924, page 3
Ashland Has Had Steady and Consistent Growth
Early Pioneers Showed Remarkable Foresight and Industry When City Was Established
The early pioneers of the Rogue River Valley have with singular unanimity and earnestness borne witness to the sensation with which their hearts were thrilled when they first set eyes upon the fair region of their dreams.Ashland in Retrospect
Those tired and travel-worn men and women had set out for the Pacific shore as for a land of promise, and throughout the long and terribly wearying journey had traveled slowly toward the setting sun, intent only upon reaching the country so often but dimly described, and from whence such romantic and charming accounts had come. The desolate never-ending plains, the drought, the imminence of death from thirst and hunger, and the ever-present fear of hostile Indians weighed upon the souls of even the strongest, and many laid down their heavy burdens and sank to rest far from the goal they had struggled to reach. Perhaps there never lived a class of men and women of such a strong and self-reliant character as those early pioneers.
Six Months TripAfter the straits to which a six-months land journey across the most desolate part of North America had brought them, how welcome to their vision must have been the sight of the grassy plains, the wooded slopes and tree-fringed watercourses of Southern Oregon. The country was one of primitive wildness, yet of obvious fertility and production. The wild grasses grew in profusion, covering everywhere the land as with a garment of the softest and most luxuriant verdure. The rich soil, as yet unimpaired in fertility, sent up the stalks to the height of a man or of a horse. Wild berries flourished, and the clear mountain streams, clear as glass, ran unpolluted by the dirt from mines. The wild deer and elk grazed undisturbed in the open meadow, or sought the shade of their leafy coverts and gazed out upon their quiet world. The hilltops, now mainly covered with dense thickets of manzanita, madrone and evergreen brush, were then devoid of the bushes and trees because of the Indian habit of burning over the surface to remove obstructions of their seed and acorn gathering. In the streams roved the trout, the salmon-trout and the salmon, a favorite sustenance of the Indians.
Scattered VillagesSome scattered villages of natives formed the only fixed population of the beautiful Rogue River Valley, which were located near Table Rock, on Ashland Creek, Little Butte Creek, and a few other points, where in after years they struggled manfully against the incoming tide of white settlers.
Such was the aspect of the lovely valley of Rogue River when first beheld by the immigrants at the close of their arduous journey. The current of emigration which, setting at first for the vale of the Willamette, had been partially diverted toward the gold fields of California, suffered a still further change by the beginning of 1852, when the gold placers of the Rogue River country were discovered and the town of Jacksonville was founded.
In the year of its discovery, a considerable number of people entered Oregon, passing through the Rogue River Valley, the line of travel entering at the head of Bear Creek and following the old California and Oregon Trail from the Siskiyous down Bear Creek to the Rogue River.
Jackson CountyIn 1851 began the settlement of Jackson County, or more properly speaking, it then began to be looked upon as a possible home for settlers. In the spring and summer of that year three houses or stations became occupied permanently by white men, these being the three ferries on Rogue River, namely, Long's, Evans' and Perkins'.
Shortly after, Judge A. A. Skinner came to the valley in pursuance of his duties as Indian agent and took up his residence southeast of Table Rock, on a donation claim, supposed to have been the first taken in Rogue River Valley, for that matter. His house was the first one built on Bear Creek and was a small log structure. With Judge Skinner resided the government interpreter, Chesley Gray. Moses Hopwood came with his family and settled upon the well-known Hopwood farm on Bear Creek. Several other settlers came in at nearly the same time, and early in the year 1852 Judge Rice occupied the location next to Skinner's and brought his wife and small family, the lady probably being the second of her sex to locate permanently in the valley. Mrs. Lawless possessed the distinction of being the first white woman settler, coming sometime in 1852. In December 1851 Stone and Poyntz took up their land claim at the crossing of Wagner Creek.
Take Up ClaimsAt the upper end of the valley the Mountain House claim was taken up, and here resided Barron, Russell and Gibbs. On the Tolman place were Patrick Dunn, Thomas Smith and Frederick Alberding. The following white persons were residing in the valley on New Year's Day 1852: Major Barron, John Gibbs, Russell, Thomas Smith, Patrick Dunn, Frederick Alberding (R. B. Hargadine came to Ashland in January), Samuel Colver, Judge Skinner, Chesley Gray, Sykes and two others residing at Skinner's; Moses Hopwood and two sons, N. C. Dean, Bills and son, Davis Evans and one or two others at Evans' ferry; Perkins, and probably one assistant. Total, 27 or 28 persons, all males.
In January 1852, the placers on Jackson Creek were discovered by Sykes, Clugage, Pool and others and there began active progress and development of this county. The seat of trade and activity was Jacksonville.
A great many land claims were taken up in the year 1852, and nearly all the bottom lands of Bear Creek and vicinity were claimed, and a large number of settlers had gathered here and found occupation. In the following year, 159 wagons came to this valley via the southern route, accompanied by 400 men, 120 women and 170 children. These pioneers brought 2600 cattle, 1300 sheep, 140 loose horses and 40 mules.
Jackson County was organized by an act of the legislature passed January 12, 1852, and its affairs were managed by a board, and one of its first acts was the establishment of a precinct at Emery & Co.'s sawmill at Ashland.
By 1854 two flouring mills upon Bear Creek were built, one by the Thomas Bros. and the other by Helman, Emery & Morris of Ashland, which later was owned and conducted by Jacob Wagner.
----The town of Ashland was incorporated October 13, 1874, having then a population of 300. The first officers were: Jacob Wagner, F. W. Ewing, J. R. Tozer and H. C. Hill, trustees; C. K. Klum, recorder; W. C. Daly, marshal; and J. M. McCall, treasurer.
On the sixth of January 1852, R. B. Hargadine and Pease settled on the land recently known as the Applegate farm, but now occupied by the railway depot buildings. On the eleventh of the same month, Eber Emery, Dowd Farley, J. A. Cardwell, A. D. Helman and A. M. Rogers also came and settled nearby.
The first house built was the dwelling of Hargadine and Pease. The second was the sawmill built by Eber Emery, J. B. Emery, J. A. Cardwell and Dowd Farley.
It was commenced in February 1852 and finished June 16 of that year at a cost of $8,000 in money and labor, and was named the "Ashland Sawmill" in honor of Ashland, Ohio, Mr. Helman's former home, and also in honor of the home of Henry Clay, Ashland, Kentucky, the majority of the company being Whigs. The third building was the residence of A. D. Helman and the fourth that of Eber Emery.
Flour MillsIn 1854 the Ashland Flouring Mills were built by A. D. Helman, Eber Emery, J. B. Emery and M. B. Norris at a cost of $15,000 and were dedicated by a grand ball on the night of August 25 of that year. These mills became the nucleus of the coming city, which was now laid out with the mills occupying the south side of the plaza, around which part of the business of the town is now built, and the name of the sawmill, "Ashland," was transferred to the town. Simultaneously with the mills the first blacksmith shop was built by the mill company.
Quite a number of other buildings were soon erected, as follows: A hotel, by J. R. Foster; a butcher shop, by Marion Westgall; carpenter and cabinet shop, by Buckingham and Williams; a wagon shop, by John Sheldon, and a store by R. B. Hargadine.
Ashland school district number 5 was now organized, and the first school was taught near the residence of Mrs. Erb two miles east of Ashland, by the Rev. Myron Stearns. The first school of the town proper was taught in the house of Eber Emery in the year 1854-5 by Miss Lizzie Anderson, who later became the wife of Gen. McCall.
Nothing more of special interest transpired until April 5, 1858, when Dr. Sisson was killed. This homicide is a dark page in the history of Ashland, and cast a shadow over the community which was not easily dispelled. Many theories regarding the crime were advanced, but the murderer was never apprehended nor the cause of the assassination brought to light.
Ashland HouseThe hotel known as the "Ashland House" was built in the year 1859 by Eber Emery at a cost of $3,000, by whom it was kept for 10 years and then sold to Jasper Houck for $6000.
The first public school house was built in 1867 on a lot donated by R. B. Hargadine. It was a substantial frame building 18 by 20 feet on a solid foundation of cut stone, at a cost of $2000.
In this new building a school of nine months in each year was taught by the best instructors the country afforded, from whence 250 scholars in its several departments drew their educations.
The next enterprise was the marble sawmill and shops built by James H. Russell in the years 1865 and 1869 for the purpose of utilizing the native marbles of the country. To Ashland belongs the credit of the first marble works in Oregon south of Portland. The sawing department of this mill was destroyed by fire in 1879.
The planing mills and cabinet shops of Marsh & Company were projected and partly built by H. S. Emery in 1868. In 1874 they were purchased by Messrs. Marsh and Valley for $1,400.
Normal SchoolThe Ashland college and normal school was inaugurated bin 1869 at a quarterly conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church held at Ashland in June of that year. Rev. C. Alderson, president of this meeting, proposed the enterprise. Plans and specifications were made out by the Rev. J. w. Kuykendall, and a contract was closed with Messrs. Blake and Emery for the erection of the building. Before its completion, however, funds failed and the enterprise was suspended. In 1872 Reverend J. H. Skidmore, by the help of many friends, completed and furnished the building and commenced the school as a private enterprise. Heavy debts so embarrassed him that he was obliged to turn the school over to his creditors, from whom it was redeemed in 1878 by its friends and placed again under the supervision of the above church as a college and normal school. Professor L. L. Rogers, A.M., was chosen president. Unforeseen complications, however, arising, it was soon in the dust of humility; patrons forsook it, friends became disheartened and Rogers resigned his position. Though the case now seemed almost hopeless, the trustees resolved to make one more trial and on August 26, 1882, Rev. M. G. Royal, A.M., was appointed to the management, and since his installation the course of the school was onward and upward, and the state made it a branch of its normal school system.
Woolen MillsThe Ashland Woolen Mills was originally established by a joint stock company consisting of 30 members, with J. M. McCall as the leader. It was inaugurated in 1868 under the name of the Rogue River Woolen Manufacturing Company with J. M. McCall as president; C. K. Klum, secretary, and John Daly, superintendent. The mill was completed and equipped with one set of cards, one spinning jack, four looms and some machinery at a cost of $32,000. It was sold after three years to G. N. Marshall and Charles Goodchild. During the second year of this administration James Thornton became a partner in the business, and in 1878 he bought the entire stock of the concern. In the same year W. H. Atkinson, Jacob Wagner and E. K. Anderson became partners with Mr. Thornton, when the name was changed to "Ashland Woolen Manufacturing Company." In 1881 Mr. Wagner retired and Capt. J. M. McCall again became interested in the business.
The planing mill and cabinet shop of Daly & Co. was built in 1878 at a cost of $3,000. It was situated at the junction of Mechanic and Helman streets, and the power used was the water of Ashland Creek, acting on a turbine wheel. The proprietors were W. C. Daly, J. R. Tozer and H. S. Emery.
The extensive nursery of Orlando Coolidge was established in 1868, and was the most extensive of its kind in Southern Oregon. It contained almost all varieties of fruits, nuts, shrubs, flowers and ornamental trees to be found on the coast.
Public LibraryThe public library was organized in December 1879 under the name of the Ashland library and reading room, of which J. M. McCall, M. Baum, W. H. Atkinson, W. A. Wilshire, James Thornton, H. C. Hill, J. P. Walker, H. T. Chitwood, W. H. Leeds, W. Nichols and others were members.
The Ashland Bank was incorporated Feb. 9, 1884 with a capital stock of $50,000. The incorporators were J. M. McCall, W. H. Atkinson and H. B. Carter.
Population of the town in 1854 was 25; in 1864 was 50; in 1874 was 300 and in 1884 it was 1000, and probably no town in Oregon has evinced such refined and elevated sentiment as Ashland.
Ashland Daily Tidings, February 26, 1927, page 5
PROF. I. E. VINING
At the annual pioneer reunion, being held today in this city, Professor I. E. Vining is presenting the following history of early Ashland--Ashland pioneers--Ashland development. Mr. Vining has graciously granted The Daily Tidings the privilege of publishing this interesting "history in brief" of Ashland. It will be presented in four installments.
Ashland in Retrospect
By PROF. I. E. VINING
Ashland was incorporated as a town October 13, 1874, approximately 57 years ago. Its population at that time was estimated at 300 persons. The first officers to function in this city were: Jacob Wagner, F. W. Ewing, J. R. Tozer and H. C. Hill, trustees; Charles K. Klum, recorder; W. D. Daly, marshal; and J. M. McCall, treasurer. The early settlement of this southernmost town of Oregon dates back to the 6th day of January 1852, when R. B. Hargadine and Pease, his partner, settled on the land later known as the Applegate farms and at present occupied by the Southern Pacific Railroad depot buildings. Five days later Eber Emery, J. B. Emery, Dowd Farley, J. A. Cardwell, A. D. Helman and A. M. Rogers settled nearby. Having decided to make their homes in this locality, the first house built was the dwelling of Hargadine and Pease.
Then followed the sawmill built by Eber Emery, J. A. Cardwell and Dowd Farley. The mill was started in February 1852 and finished on June 16 of that same year at a cost of $8,000. It was named the "Ashland Saw Mill" in honor of Ashland, Ohio, Mr. Helman's former home, also honoring the home of Henry Clay, Ashland, Kentucky. The majority of this company being Whigs, they paid this compliment to their great leader, Henry Clay. The third building was the residence of A. D. Helman, the fourth that of Eber Emery.
Two years later, 1854, the Ashland flouring mills were built by A. D. Helman, Eber Emery and M. B. Morris, at an estimated cost of $15,000. The building of this flouring mill was an outstanding evening in Southern Oregon history, and was dedicated by a grand ball the night of August 25, 1854. These flouring mills became the nucleus of the coming city and were located on Ashland Creek on the site at the entrance of what is now Lithia Park. A plaza was laid out in front of them, around which the principal business part of the town was built.
These mills were later purchased and operated by Jacob Wagner. Under his able management, they served the entire valley, farmers bringing their produce from all sections, and the finished product serving the entire Southern Oregon community.
The name of the sawmill, "Ashland," was given to the town. This same company also built a blacksmith's shop, and immediately there followed a hotel built by John R. Foster, a butcher shop by Marion Westfall, a carpenter and cabinet shop by Buckingham and Williams, a wagon shop by John Sheldon and a store by R. G. Hargadine.
Ashland's school district was organized, and the first school was taught by Rev. Myron Stearns. This school was located two miles east of Ashland near the old Erb place. The first school in the town proper was taught in the house of Eber Emery in the years 1854 and 1855. Miss Lizzie Anderson, later the wife of J. M. McCall, was the teacher.
Thus we see that Ashland in the early fifties was developed as the manufacturing center of the valley, with Jacksonville a thriving and prosperous mining camp adding to its population and riches, and with little or no contact with the outside world except by pack train from Scottsburg on the Umpqua [and Yreka and Crescent City]. It was necessary and profitable for the valley to produce and manufacture as many of its necessities as was possible. The rapid growth of these early manufacturers in Ashland exemplifies the enterprise, enthusiasm and practical ability of these early pioneers. In every instance their judgment proved well founded, and they prospered abundantly in their endeavors as well as fulfilling an outstanding need in their community.
A dark and mysterious page now enters the early history of the city. On April 5, 1858 an outstanding citizen and community leader, Dr. Sisson, was mysteriously killed. At the same time a fire destroyed valuable city records, and the community, stunned by this calamity, was never able to solve the mystery of the killing while much confusion resulted from the destroyed documents. The year following this tragedy, 1859, witnessed the construction of the Ashland House, a hotel built by Eber Emery, who managed it for 10 years, at which time it was sold to Jasper Houck, under whose management it became an outstanding hostelry for the passing traveler. The first public school house was built in 1860 on land donated by R. B. Hargadine. This land is now occupied by the H. G. Enders store and adjoining community property. This school served the city until 1867, when an addition was added, and in 1880 a new and commodious two-story building was erected at a cost of $2,000 on the same site.
The new enterprise of note in this manufacturing center of the valley was the marble sawmill and shops built in the years 1865 and 1869 for James H. Russel for the purpose of utilizing the native marbles of the county. This mill turned out magnificent slabs, wrought into monuments and other appropriate uses by Mr. and Mrs. Russel. The sawing department was destroyed by fire in 1879, but Mr. Russel, wife and son continued their operations, utilizing local and Italian marble. On the death of Mr. Russel, Mrs. Russel continued her work almost to the time of her death. Thus to Ashland belongs the credit of the first marble works in Oregon, south of Portland.
In 1868 the planing mills and cabinet shops of L. S. P. Marsh & Company were built by H. S. Emery and operated for many years on the location of what is now a part of Lithia Park. Ashland College and Normal School was inaugurated in 1869 under the supervision of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Plans and specifications of the school were made out by the Rev. J. W. Kuykendall, and the contract was let to Messrs. Blake and Emery for the construction of the building. Before the building was completed the finances were found to be insufficient, and the enterprise was momentarily suspended. Three years later the institution was turned over to the Rev. J. H. Skidmore, who completed and furnished the building as a private enterprise. Many of our native sons and daughters hold this kindly and reverend schoolmaster in highest esteem. Mr. Skidmore was finally compelled to abandon the school and turn it over to his creditors. In 1878 it again came under the supervision of the church and was placed under the direction of Prof. L. L. Rogers as a college and normal school. For a time it flourished auspiciously, then unforeseen complications arose and Mr. Rogers resigned his position. On August 26, 1882 the Rev. M. G. Royal was placed in charge, but once more, after flourishing for a brief period, the school was closed and was later occupied by J. S. Sweet as a business college, and following that was used by the city for their high school plant. The location is now occupied by the Washington School.
Perhaps the most outstanding enterprise in Ashland's history was the establishment of the Ashland woolen mills by a joint stock company of 30 members, of which Capt. J. M. McCall was the leading spirit. It was started in the year 1867 and began operations in the following year under the name of the Rogue River Woolen Manufacturing Company with J. M. McCall, president; C. K. Klum, secretary and John Daly, superintendent. This enterprise involved capitalization of about $35,000. It was operated with profit to its stockholders though changing hands many times. Connected with its management through its period of existence were the following esteemed early residents: James Thornton, who in 1877 bought the entire stock of the concern. In the same year W. H. Atkinson, Jacob Wagner and E. K. Anderson became partners with Mrs. [sic] Thornton. The name was then changed to the Ashland Woolen Manufacturing Company. New machinery was added, and the products from this concern became famous throughout the territory. These products included underwear, hosiery, shawls, blankets, et cetera. Native wool was largely used, and about 30 skilled employees kept the plant in operation day and night, the year around, Sundays excepted. A part of this plant is now occupied by the Ashland Ice & Storage Company.
In 1878 a planing mill and cabinet shop owned by Daly & Company was erected on Ashland Creek near the woolen mills. The plant turned out a wide range of cabinet and carpentry work and was operated by Daly, Tozer and Emery.
In noting the early industries of Ashland, the extensive nursery of Orlando Coolidge should be mentioned. It was established in 1868 and was the most productive of its kind in the entire valley. There was an indefinite variety of fruits, nuts, shrubs, flowers and ornamental trees. The banquet tables of the early pioneer gatherings were adorned and enriched by products from this famous nursery. The owners took pride and won favor in their produce. This nursery was but a harbinger of the vast orchards which today carry the fame of the Rogue to all parts of the world.
A most interesting feature in early history in any community is the character of the press at that time. Jacksonville, with its Table Rock Sentinel, and Ashland with its Tidings, served the people in the early Southern Oregon days. The initial issue of the Ashland Tidings was dated June 17, 1876. The editor and publisher was Mr. James Sutton. His equipment comprised a used Washington hand press and the proverbial "hatful of type and working tools." The press had been brought to Ashland by Welborn Beeson, who had hauled the press to town with his team and wagon from Roseburg. The first issue of this paper was eagerly awaited by the Ashland villagers, and there was a wild scramble for the first sheet to come off the press. Mr. C. B. Watson and Clark Taylor were the fortunate recipients of the initial press. Mr. Sutton, the editor, discussed the topics of the day in his editorial columns and expressed his convictions, without fear or favor, in very smooth English. Much valuable historical data is contained in the early editions of this paper, while Indian legends and scenic descriptions are also to be found. The advantage of Ashland as a home center was properly extolled, and the booster spirit was everywhere in evidence. Mr. Sutton's health having failed, the paper was taken over temporarily by J. M. McCall and Company. In a few months the name of O. C. Applegate and Company appeared at the masthead, and being a fluent writer and especially well-versed in Southern Oregon history, Mr. Applegate's contributions along these lines are unrivaled and of great value to the seeker of early Oregon historical data.
A Washington hand press.
In 1879 two ambitious young men purchased The Tidings. They were William H. Leeds and Corlies Merritt. Mr. Leeds became the sole owner in a few months. He remained the directing head and editor of the paper for many years. His forceful presentation of community life made a deep impress upon the thought of his day. When elected to the position of state printer of Oregon in 1894, Mr. F. D. Wagner, who had "grown up" in the Tidings office, was taken in as partner and became active manager. Mr. Wagner later bought out Mr. Leeds' interest and continued as publisher and editor until March 1911.
The Tidings still maintains its pioneer spirit of independence and forceful presentation of community affairs and is in itself a real pioneer of Southern Oregon progress.
The Ashland bank was incorporated February 9, 1884. The capital stock of $50,000 was divided into 500 shares at $100 each. The incorporators were J. M. McCall, W. H. Atkinson and H. B. Carter. This institution flourished and grew as did the community it served, now being represented by the First National Bank of Ashland. Honorable E. V. Carter, the present president of the First National Bank, is a son of the original founder H. B. Carter, and is the oldest living member of the Oregon Bankers' Association.
An outstanding enterprise was established by Mr. W. C. Myers in 1865, namely the Myers stock farm, located a short distance north of the city of Ashland. In the year 1870 he brought to this location a number of outstanding Percheron horses. His success in this venture was outstanding, and the demand so great that new importations followed. To his herd of horses were added Jersey cattle and Shetland ponies of prize-winning fame. Stock from this farm was sent to all points on the Pacific Coast, and descendants from the cattle herd have been among the best butter producers in the United States. It is to be regretted that modern enterprise does not emulate the endeavor of Mr. Myers, as today we boast of no such outstanding cattle farm in our community.
Ashland, from its very inception, evidenced a deep interest in spiritual and cultural affairs. The permanent organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Ashland took place in July 1864, with Rev. P. M. Starr of [the] Jacksonville circuit in charge. The members enrolled were: David P. Walrad and wife, A. G. Rockfellow and wife, Mrs. Jacob Wagner, Mrs. Mary Myer, William Jaquett and wife, W. C. Myer and wife, Heaton Fox and wife and D. P. Brittain and wife. This has been an outstanding organization in the city since the time of its foundation. The present church building was erected in its original form in 1875-76. The membership at that time was about 50, and the Sabbath school attendance was in the neighborhood of 60 pupils.
The First Presbyterian Church of Ashland was organized August 28, 1875. The Rev. Thomas Frazer, missionary agent of the synod of the Pacific, officiated. The original members were: Mrs. M. A. Gillette, E. Giddings, M. Jacobs, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Kentnor, Mrs. Woodson, U. Ewing, J. Buick, A. H. Russell, M. M. Dunn, B. Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. C. Neil, Mrs. Well, Mrs. Samuel Grubb and Miss Sarah Grubb. The society was incorporated in 1878. The district school house served as a meeting place originally, the church being erected on its present site in 1878.
The Baptist organization was begun in 1877 under the name of the First Baptist Church. The first meetings were held in the school house, later in the Presbyterian Church until their own building was completed.
Among the early fraternal organizations were found the Odd Fellows, Masons, Order of the Eastern Star and Good Templars. Ashland Lodge No. 45 Independent Order of Odd Fellows was organized July 23, 1873. The early records of this order were burned and a portion of the early history was lost. A fine building, Odd Fellows Hall, was constructed at a cost of $6,000 and is still utilized by the Order. Ashland Lodge No. 23, A.F. and A. Masons was organized in June 1875 by the Grand Lodge of Oregon. The Masonic Hall was built in 1870 at a cost of $7,600. Their first building was destroyed by fire during the first year. Alpha Chapter, Order of Eastern Star, was founded March 13, 1880 by authority of the Grand Chapter of the United States. This was the earliest established in Oregon. These early fraternal societies have played an important part in the fraternal life of this city and have grown steadily in membership and fraternal relations.
From this brief summary of the early activities of our pioneer citizens we become aware first of Ashland's importance as a manufacturing city. The products were almost entirely utilized by local consumption, and not until the competition inaugurated by the coming of the railway did they feel the pressure of lowering prices where cheaper labor and quantity production made it difficult for them to continue. They served their community efficiently and well and reaped a satisfactory return on the investments and labor involved.
Ashland has maintained its atmosphere of moral, cultural and spiritual endeavor. With the natural beauty of its environment, this atmosphere has permeated its people, and the eternal verities of life are prized even beyond its economic possibilities.
With Jacksonville as the center of mining activities of the Northwest and Yreka on the south, Ashland served both communities as host and neighbor with the output of its manufacturing plants.
A fine heritage is ours, a heritage of enterprise and achievement, the spirit to carry on as did the pioneers of old. With a wider horizon, we must broaden their scope of vision as far as our activities are concerned. But the will to do, the urge to achieve and spirit that holds its faith to build as did our forefathers of the early fifties, the charge and the challenge that comes to us this day when we meet to commemorate and pay homage to their beloved memories.
Before the coming of the white man, Ashland Creek was the site of an Indian village. Those early tepees were the forerunners of a favored homeland. Here we live the abundant life, extending its activities from the camper's tepee by the brookside to the banquet halls of a palatial hostelry.
Ashland Daily Tidings, October 8, 1931, page 6 Serialized October 8 through October 12.
To the Editor:
I have been interested in the articles "Ashland in Retrospect" by Irving E. Vining, which you have published in the Daily Tidings.
In part 4, printed Monday, Oct. 12, was a sketch of the founding of the First Presbyterian Church. Because the names of some of the charter members were omitted I would like to give the list found in the minutes of the session of the local church.
All charter members joined the church on August 28, 1875. Those transferring membership from Jacksonville, Ore. were: Mrs. Jeannette Buck, Mrs. Mary Dunn, Mrs. Harriet Ewing, Mrs. Ellen Giddings, Mrs. Martha Gillette, Mrs. Elizabeth Grubb Sr., Samuel Grubb, Sarah J. Grubb, Mrs. May Jacobs, Mrs. A. H. Russel, Mrs. Betsy I. Taylor, Mrs. Martha Wells, Mrs. Laura I. Woodson, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Kentnor, and Mr. and Mrs. Claiborn Neil.
The following were not recognized as charter members until October 11, 1879. The minutes of that date, signed by W. H. Atkinson, clerk of the session, state that "Evidence being furnished that H. Ralph and others whose names are not now on the roll were received into the church at its organization, the clerk was authorized to place the following names upon the roll--C. Goodchild, E. Goodchild, Mrs. Helen Ralph and Mrs. Jane S. Marshall." Mrs. Nancy E. Applegate also joined on August 28, 1875, according to the records.
Hugh T. Mitchelmore
First Presbyterian Church
Ashland Daily Tidings, October 13, 1931, page 2
Rogue River Valley's Early History ReviewedThe "Mountain House" district south of Ashland was settled first, before the town started. Gen. James Clark Tolman crossed the Siskiyou [sic] Mountains into Rogue River Valley with a portion of an emigrant train in August 1852, bringing the first families to the valley from across the plains direct.
By VENITA DALEY
Ashland Site Settled Early
Most of them located on large farms and took up stock raising and general farming in that mountainous district.
Besides Tolman and Thomas Smith, early land owners there were Patrick Dunn, J. R. Russell, ------ Gibbs, H. F. Barron, Fred Alberding, John Murphy, Joshua Patterson, Claiborne and Leander Neil (on Neil Creek), W. C. Myer, R. B. Hargadine (sheep raiser), and others. A few of these fine old farms are still owned by members of their families.
Sawmill Town FirstThe city of Ashland on Upper Bear (Ashland) Creek had a very humble beginning as a sawmill village. A. V. Gillette erected a sawmill there in 1852. A. D. Helman settled nearby. The first building erected was the dwelling of Hargadine and Pease. The second was a sawmill for Eber Emery, J. B. Emery, D. A. Cardwell and Dowd Hurley (or Farley), costing $8,000. The third was a home for A. D. Helman, and the fourth was a home for Eber Emery.
Four or five men argued the question of a name for the place; finally it was called Ashland Mills, after Helman's former home in Ashland, Ohio, and Henry Clay's home, Ashland, Kentucky. A. M. Rogers was also among the first to settle there.
The first hotel was built by John R. Foster. A butcher shop was built for Marian Westfall and a carpenter shop for Buckingham and Williams. John Sheldon had the first wagon shop and the first store was opened by R. B. Hargadine. The mail, which came very irregularly, was carried by pony.
The immigration of 1853 brought many settlers. A considerable amount of wheat was raised in the valley in 1853, so in 1854 two flour mills were erected in Ashland Mills. The first, "The Eagle Mill," was built by the Thomas Brothers and later owned by Farnham heirs, at the foot of the hill north of the town.
The buhrstones for grinding the flour had to be freighted from Roseburg, a job contracted by Williston Hamilton and his partner (unknown).
En route back to Ashland Mills they camped for the night near Rogue River, south of Gold Hill. Next morning, while preparing their breakfast of coffee and flapjacks, an Indian approached them. Believing him to be friendly and hungry, Hamilton flipped a warm cake towards him. Misunderstanding the action, the Indian attacked them. Hamilton was killed. His partner escaped by quickly entering some nearby brush and finally made it on foot to a settlement, where he reported the affair.
The buhrstones were brought on to Ashland Mills later by others; the team of horses, having been taken, were never recovered from the Indians. This grist mill was used as a place of refuge for the women from nearby farms during one phase of the Indian wars.
Second Mill BuiltThe second mill was called "Ashland Mill" and was erected in 1854 also, at a cost of $15,000 by Helman, Emery and Morris, and was later owned by Jacob Wagner. The mill's first blacksmith shop was built by the mill company. Siskiyou County, California, was a large consumer of Ashland's flour.
Ashland's first school was an abandoned log cabin. Its furnishings were logs split for seats, an old fireplace for heat and one or two slates. A little later District No. 5 was organized by the Rev. Myron Stearns at Mrs. Erb's residence, two miles east of the town. The district was later divided. The first school taught in Ashland Mills proper was in the Eber Emery home in 1854-55 with Miss Lizzie Anderson, teacher.
Bennett Million's farm covered a portion of the townsite in 1854.
The first church was held in the dining room of the Sampson Tavern.
Wheat crops had increased throughout the valley, flour was then 4 cents per pound and Rogue River Valley vegetables were sold in great quantities in Yreka during 1855. Jackson County was then Oregon's foremost, and as soon as the Indian wars were over the following spring, new firms were established at various points and all business was quickly resumed.
The Ashland House was built by Eber Emery in 1859 at a cost of $3,000. It ran two years under his ownership and then sold to Jasper Houck for $6,000. The business section of the town had been moved up from the sawmill district to the plaza square.
First School in 1860The first public school building in the town was a substantial frame building 18x20 feet square on a stone foundation. It cost $600 and was built in 1860 on a lot donated by R. B. Hargadine. An addition of about the same size was put on the following year.
By 1860 the building of log cabins and even hand-hewn log houses had about ceased. Sawmills and carpenter shops were turning out enough lumber to build all new buildings of sawed, finished lumber with a smooth side for painting. The best hand-hewn log houses in the valley were being sheathed over with sawed lumber and painted.
In the towns many small log cabins were torn down to make room for sawed-lumber ones. Within a short period of a few years many fine homes were built, some of which have survived and are still in use today. "Gingerbread" Carpenter Gothic, a fancy decorative finish of Elizabethan and Tudor English origin in architecture, was added to Ashland's better homes by the contractors and builders who erected the new homes of the later 1860s, 1870s and early 1880s.
Many beautiful examples of those homes are to be seen yet in Ashland's residential district. The use of cemented cut stone and brick for foundation and building materials was also being steadily employed.
The Methodist Church of Ashland was organized in July 1864 by the Rev. P. M. Starr of the Jacksonville circuit.
Marble Works in 1865A marble sawmill and shops, utilizing native marble, were built in the years 1865 and 1869 by James Russell. They were the first marble works in Oregon.
The planing mills and cabinet shops of L. S. P. Marsh and Co. were built by H. S. Emery in 1868.
The extensive nursery of Orlando Coolidge was established in 1868 and was the most extensive of its kind in Southern Oregon. It contained many varieties of hardy fruits, nuts, shrubs, flowers and ornamental trees. Mr. Coolidge was the fruitman, and Mrs. Coolidge was the florist.
Sheep were being raised in the valley to a considerable extent then. In the foothills east of Ashland Mills, on property of Robert Hargadine; W. C. Daley, Steven Hamilton and J. R. Tozer, Ashland Mills carpenters, built the largest sheep barn in the county.
In 1867 the Ashland Woolen Mills was established by a joint stock company of 30 members, with J. M. McCall, leader. The building was built by John Daley, William C. Daley, Eber Emery and Company, on a cemented cutstone foundation. Operations began in 1868 under the name of "Rogue River Woolen Mfg. Co." S. M. McCall was president; C. K. Klum, secretary, and John Daley, superintendent.
The building cost $32,000; it was four stories high and the largest building in the county. After three years it was sold to G. N. Marshall and Chas. Goodchild, and after five years to James Thornton, associated with W. H. Atkinson, Jacob Wagner and E. K. Anderson, and changed its name to "Ashland Woolen Mfg. Co." Its capacity was 16,000 pounds of wool per month and it operated day and night, Sundays excepted. Underwear, hosiery, shawls, blankets and woolen goods were manufactured.
The company maintained a retail store in Ashland Mills and shipped its first produce to San Francisco and later supplied Rogue River Valley, Klamath and Siskiyou Co. The mills were run by water power supplied through a ditch from Ashland Creek, acting on a 26-inch turbine, with 32 ft. pressure. When the ditch was being dug, an Indian skeleton, with a large abalone shell over its head, was unearthed.
Mill Burned in 1901This mill furnished employment for many men and women, running continuously until it was destroyed by fire in 1901.
Gillette's sawmill and a candle factory were operating along Ashland Creek at about that time. A soap factory opened also.
Ashland College and Normal was inaugurated in 1869 at a quarterly conference of the Methodist Episcopal church, at which Rev. C. Alderson proposed the enterprise. Plans and specifications were made by Rev. J. W. Kuykendall and the building was built by Blake and Emery and finished in 1872 under direction of Rev. J. N. Skidmore.
The Ashland Lodge, No. 45, Independent Order of Odd Fellows was organized July 23, 1873, and the Odd Fellows' Hall was constructed at a cost of $6,000.
In 1874 the planing mills and cabinet shops of L. S. P. Marsh and Company were sold to Marsh and Valpey and additional machinery was installed to the value of $8,000.
Ashland Mills changed its name to Ashland and was incorporated October 13, 1874. The first officers were: Jacob Wagner, F. W. Ewing, J. R. Tozer, and H. C. Hill, trustees; Chas. K. Klum, recorder; Wm. C. Daley, marshal, and J. M. McCall, treasurer.
Methodists Build in 1875The Methodist church was erected in 1875 at a cost of $3,500 and was 36x56 feet square [sic].
Ashland Lodge 23, A.F.&A. Masons, was organized June 1875. The society possessed the Masonic Hall built in 1870 at a cost of $7,600.
The First Presbyterian Church of Ashland was organized August 12, 1875 by Rev. Thos. Frazer. The church was erected in 1878 at a cost of $3,200.
Ashland's Baptist organization began February 1877 with the Rev. J. F. Bradford as first minister.
The W. C. Daley, J. R. Tozer and H. S. Emery planing mill and cabinet shop was built in 1878 at a cost of $3,000, at the junction of Mechanic and Helman streets. Its power was water from Ashland Creek acting on a turbine wheel. It turned out a large amount and variety of carpentry and cabinet work annually. When the survey for the railroad was made through Ashland this mill was on the right-of-way, so that company sold to the railroad company and their business closed.
The public library of Ashland was organized December 1879.
In 1880 a two-story building, 36x50 feet, was erected near the school building at a cost of $2,000. This was to accommodate the increasing number of pupils.
The Alpha Chapter of the Eastern Star was founded there on March 13, 1880 and was the earliest established in Oregon. Its meeting place was the Masonic hall.
Templars OrganizeAshland Lodge No. 453 Independent Order of Good Templars was organized November 9, 1883 with their meeting place in the Odd Fellows' hall.
The Ancient Order of United Workmen, Ashland Lodge No. 66, was also organized.
The Ashland Bank was incorporated February 9, 1884 by J. M. McCall, W. H. Atkinson and H. B. Carter.
The population of the town in 1854 was 25; in 1864 was under 300; in 1874 was approximately 500 and in 1884 was 1,000.
G. A. Walling (1884), historian, paid Ashland the following compliment:
"Architecturally, Ashland is one of the finest of towns. Its situation is all that could be desired: its buildings are really creditable; its surroundings are beautiful; and its social advantages are of very high order."
Ashland has been Southern Oregon's educational center. It has produced some fine artists as well as high business officials. Its natural park was first the camping place for visiting Indians (Klamaths) who often came to trade at Rogue River Valley stores, after the Indian wars had been forgotten. Then, with some artistic development, it became the gathering place for church conventions, Southern Oregon Chautauquas and summertime festivities.
Many SpringsThe natural mineral and soda springs in and near Ashland, including Helman Sulfur Baths, Jackson Hot Springs, Buckhorn Mineral Springs on Emigrant Creek, where Tolman built a tavern, Indian Camp Soda Spring on Sampson Creek, Wagner Soda Spring (old spring house and bridge still in use over Emigrant Creek), Kingsbury Soda Spring at Klamath Junction and Colestin Soda Spring (old hotel gone) on Siskiyou Summit, were patronized by Indians before the coming of the emigrants and became very popular resort places for the pioneers.
A number of the descendants of the pioneer families are still residing in Ashland.
Mt. Ashland Chanter of the D.A.R. shared with Crater Lake Chapter D.A.R. in erecting "The Trail Blazers' Monument"--picture shown in Part I. Their name did not appear on the monument because they were in the act of organizing when the monument was erected.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 31, 1948, page 12
Cornerstone Yields Sketch of Old Ashland
By Joe Cowley
Mail Tribune Staff Writer
ASHLAND--A small, wooden town jail rarely was occupied in Ashland's early days, according to a paper buried in the cornerstone of the old Masonic building on Ashland's downtown Plaza.
Writer of the brief sketch of the settlement, growth "and present condition of the town of Ashland" was W. H. Leeds. His paper was dated Aug. 4, 1879.
Delbert "Tiny" Jones, manager of the Ashland office of California-Pacific Utilities Company, found a copy of the cornerstone paper while moving some desks and files around.
The author also noted that Ashland in 1879 had "as many rosy-cheeked children to the number of adults as any town in the United States, and no Chinese inhabitants." Population of the town then was 600, and total assessed valuation then was $197,733. This compares to today's population of 15,123 and valuation of $217,082,142.
Ashland was a thriving town in 1879, according to author Leeds.
"It has two neat wooden churches, one built by the Presbyterians and the other by the Methodists. Each will comfortably seat 200 people, or more.
"It also has one woolen factory, making up raw wool into about $30,000 worth of wearing material every year. One flouring mill makes about one million pounds of flour annually. Added to that are one college and normal school, two planing and sash, door, blinds and furniture factories, two hotels, four stores for sale of general merchandise, one drug store, one saddlery and harness shop, two shoe shops, four blacksmith and two wheelwright shops, one millinery store, one livery stable, one butcher shop, three medical doctors, no lawyer, one regular preacher, no saloons, a telegraph office, a number of 'acoustic telephones' with which persons may carry on ordinary conversation at a distance of a half mile, one dancing hall and one newspaper."
Leeds also related that the first permanent settlers came to Ashland from California in the winter of 1851-52. R. B. Hargadine arrived about the last of December, 1851, and Eber Emery, J. B. Emery, A. D. Helman, James A. Cardwell and Edward Hurley arrived Jan. 9, 1852.
"They found upon the present site of the town an Indian 'rancherie,' occupied by 20 Rogue River Indians under a chief called 'Tipsee.' The Indians remained here about one year after the settlement, and then departed, going east of the mountains to the territory now embraced by Lake County."
Hargadine built the first house 600 yards northeast of the present business district.
The Emerys and Hurley started building a sawmill as soon as they arrived. In June, 1852, that mill turned out the first lumber of any mill in the Rogue River basin.
In the summer of 1854, a flouring mill was built in "the settlement, and still stands as the older portion of the fine flouring mill about 150 feet southeast of this hall [the Masonic hall]," Leeds wrote.
"In 1854 the first building used as a public house in Ashland was built about 100 feet east of this hall, and in 1860 Eber Emery built the hotel, which with many improvements and additions stands today as the Ashland House," Leeds wrote.
Hargadine built and opened business in the settlement's first store "some distance east of this hall" in 1859.
The first school house was built in 1860 on the easterly border of the town.
In June, 1855, a post office was established with A. D. Helman as postmaster. At first the mails were carried between Sacramento and Portland by horsemen, "passing through Ashland only once in two weeks."
"Now we have a daily mail from the north, south and to and from Lake County, east of the mountains," Leeds wrote.
"The village of Ashland increased in size slowly until the year 1867, when an enterprise was begun which gave an impetus to settlement, and was followed by a rapid growth of the town," Leeds continued. "A joint stock company was formed with a paid-up capital of $30,000, raised in Jackson County, for the building of a woolen mill, which today does much toward the maintenance of the town," Leeds said.
He also noted that "an academy building" was begun in 1870. It was finished three years laster, "and in this year is to be made a college and normal school."
"On the Fourth of March, 1879, the present year, a conflagration burned a large portion of the business part of the town. This apparent calamity has already resulted in the erection of better buildings than were burned. The building of this hall was made necessary, also, by the fire," Leeds concluded.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 26, 1978, page D1
A town once full of pools now is home to relics . . .
Bathing GhostsASHLAND--Big, colorful railroad posters in the early 1900s described Ashland as "The Venice of the West."
By JOE COWLEY
Mail Tribune Staff Writer
The advertisements referred to five swimming pools fed by mineral springs. Almost 80 years later, Jackson Hot Springs is the only surviving public pool in or near the city.
The Heritage Bank recently ordered the Twin Plunges swimming pools filled in so that a new building can be erected at that First and A streets site.
The five public bathing pools which gave Ashland its early recognition were Buckhorn Springs, off the Dead Indian Road; Colestin Springs, by the old hotel of the same name south of Ashland; Helman Baths, off Otis Street; and, of course, Jackson Hot Springs and Twin Plunges.
Crowds of tourists, usually from Portland, would hurry off the Southern Pacific railroad passenger trains of the early 1900s to cool off in the Colestin Springs pool. The 1876 "flag stop" is still marked south of town.
Tourists chose the Colestin Baths. But local families preferred the Helman Baths. The huge barn-like building housing the baths still looms over the Helman School and adjacent Quiet Village subdivision in the north part of town.
During the early 1900s, the older people soaked aching joints and muscles in the heated mineral spring waters toward the front of the building. Water flowed in through a pipe from an outdoor holding tank in front of the building. The springs form a marsh in a field in front of the old Helman home.
The young people used the large pool farther back in the building. Water from mineral springs flowed between the rocks which formed one end of the pool.
John Billings, an Ashland resident for more than 50 years, remembers the baths. He and his friends would run up the stairs at the back of the building, jump and grab the trapeze-like swings dangling from the roof peak. They would swing out over the big pool and drop, sending geysers of water up from the big pool.
Or they would hurl their bodies down the long slide extending from near the ceiling to the water below.
Accidents did occur. For instance, young Roy Parr caught and mangled his hand in a swing chain. His hand was amputated. Several years later he became superintendent of what was then the Talent School District, a few miles north of Ashland.
"The big pool was 2½ feet deep at the shallow end," Billings said. "For 35 cents you would be furnished a towel and swimsuit. Admission to the baths was 25 cents."
"Grant and Otis Helman, my two uncles, took on the project of developing the springs, " said Almeda Coder, daughter of a third Helman brother, John. Mrs. Coder has lived in Ashland for 70 years.
"Years and years before that Indians from all over the area used to go there and bathe in the warm water," Mrs. Coder said. "They camped around there for days at a time."
Her grandfather and grandmother settled a donation land claim on the former Indian campground. The old home and barn built by her grandfather still stand.
During the days of the former Chautauqua where the Oregon Shakespearean Festival now is located, visitors to that exposition camped in the maple and evergreen groves near the baths.
After a few years, Grant Helman sold his interest in the baths to his brother Otis. Grant moved to Petaluma, Calif., where he raised 3,000 big white leghorn laying hens.
During the 1930s, Otis Helman died. His widow tried to operate the baths for a few years. Then she sold out.
The local historians can't remember who bought the baths from Mrs. Helman. Present owner of the Helman Baths is Mrs. Ali Eggert, who lives in Eureka most of the year, but spends her summers in Ashland.
Lois and Robert Wenker, co-owners of the Ashland Sanitary Service, remember swimming in the Helman baths when they were in high school. By that time the pools had been closed for some time.
They still are. They form a landmark of an almost forgotten era, when mineral springs were considered more beneficial to the human body than vitamins.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 29, 1979, page 8
Last revised September 4, 2020