The Fish Lake Ditch
Now known as the Hopkins Canal. For more irrigation, click here.
We have another scare now on hand. Some of us were afraid that the S.P.F. Co. would empty the contents of Rogue River and its tributaries into Butte Creek and submerge all the country below here. But now the fears are that the Rogue River Valley Irrigation Co. will take all the water out of Butte Creek and leave us without any, and some are proposing to raise a purse to test the constitutionality of the law, while others fear the big reservoir they contemplate building at Fish Lake may give way and we have another Johnstown affair. But we will wait and see.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point News," Valley Record, Ashland, April 16, 1891, page 3
The people of Lake Creek are anxious for the success of the project to bring the waters of Little Butte Creek to Medford. A great deal of land in that section would be covered by the ditch, which is now unproductive on account of want of water.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 12, 1900, page 3
Chief Engineer McCray of the Rogue River Ditch Co. arrived from San Francisco a few days ago and has gone to Little Butte Creek to commence work on the preliminary survey of the ditch.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 19, 1900, page 3
The Medford and Butte Creek water ditch is again matter for discussion. There has never been a doubt in the Mail's mind but that the ditch would be built and now, when the promoters tell us that excavation work will be commenced within thirty days, we are not surprised--expected it all the time. The renewed interest manifest right now comes about by the visit of interested parties to the scene of action. On Sunday evening Messrs. C. D. Vincent, L. C. Williams and Vic McCray arrived in Medford, and early Monday morning the three started out over the line of the proposed ditch--the two first named gentlemen not having previously been over the line. Mr. Vincent is one of the firm, and Mr. Williams is a son of the Mr. Williams who is at the head of the firm and who was here several days last winter in the interest of the ditch. These gentlemen returned Monday evening and at once left for San Francisco to perfect arrangements for immediate work on the ditch. They were very much pleased with the surroundings and were in no ways averse to positively stating that the ditch would be built. Mr. McCray, the engineer for the company, will remain here and do some surveying preparatory to excavation work.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, May 11, 1900, page 7
Vic McCrary, engineer for the Medford Butte Creek Ditch Company, has been at work this week with a party of surveyors in the vicinity of Fish Lake. Mr. C. H. Williams, one of the members of the ditch company, arrived in Medford Wednesday evening and will go out over the line. The indications are growing brighter for this project every day. The Mail firmly believes the company mean business and will build the ditch--provided our people meet them half way.
"Additional Local Items," Medford Mail, May 18, 1900, page 3
C. B. Williams, one of the promoters of the Butte Creek-Medford water ditch, is busily engaged these days securing rights of way for the ditch. The contracts for the use of water are more difficult to close up. Now that there is an opportunity to secure the ditch those farmers who it would seem ought to be the most interested in securing the water for their lands are the slowest to take action. The way the ground lies now it is not at all improbable that the ditch will be extended south along the foothills from a point east of Medford to some point on the south, where it will extend down into the valley and furnish water for those farmers south and southwest of Medford. Should this be done a market will be secured for all the water the ditch will carry, and those north and east of here who are right now not interesting themselves to any substantial extent in the project would just naturally be left out.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 15, 1900, page 7
Mr. Williams of San Francisco, who has been promising to put Medford in water communication with Butte Creek by means of a big ditch, is among us again.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 13, 1900, page 3
The authorities of the city of Medford have made a contract with Mr. Williams, representing the Southern Oregon Irrigation and Power Co., to furnish the city with water from the Butte Creeks at the rate of four cents per thousand gallons for the first 250,000 gallons, two cents per thousand for the next 350,000 gallons, and 1½ cents per thousand for any amount above those quantities. It is said to be the intention of the company to commence work on the ditch very soon. The enterprise will prove quite important in more ways than one.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 16, 1900, page 3
With the present prospects of the big canal, property in Medford is going pretty rapidly. Parties wishing locations, and those also who have property to sell, call on York & Wortman.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 21, 1900, page 7
Active work on the Fish Lake Irrigation and Power Canal construction is practically certain to be inaugurated at an early date. Several months have elapsed since anything definite has been said regarding this great project, but the promoters have not been idle during this time. Conversely, the company has been quietly adjusting matters pertaining to a permanent organization and have made definite arrangements to commence work within a few weeks, according to letters received by Medford parties with whom the chief engineer is engaged in regular correspondence. He states that contracts for similar work in the Hawaiian Islands in which some members of this company were interested have been completed and that the parties have returned to San Francisco, and are only waiting for favorable weather to begin work. Without a doubt these gentlemen mean business and intend to push the matter to as speedy completion as possible.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, January 18, 1901, page 7
The arrival in this city last week of the prime promoters of the Fish Lake Irrigation and Power Canal, Messrs. Clark and Vincent, caused a renewed interest in this great project. While nothing definite regarding the preliminary program can be learned for publication at this time, it can be stated with certainty that arrangements for commencement of the work will be made at an early date. There are a great many vital matters connected with an undertaking of this magnitude which require adjudication before anything of a definite nature can be safely announced. These gentlemen are averse to making any statement which they may not be able to keep, hence their reticence at this time; but the fact that they are asking nothing in in the way of bonuses or other "grafting" concessions evidences their good faith. They ask the cooperation of the citizens of Medford and those residing along the line of the proposed canal in securing rights-of-way, which must be accomplished before anything of a definite nature can be done. Mr. McCray, the chief engineer, has taken up his headquarters in this city and will remain here permanently. Messrs. Clark and Vincent, who have extensive interests in California which require immediate attention, left for San Francisco Thursday, but they will return at an early date. The benefits to be derived from this canal cannot well be overestimated by the citizens of this valley. An opportunity is here presented to reclaim the large acreage of arid land in the county, of furnishing the farmers with an abundance of water for irrigating purposes, and of furnishing Medford with a water system unexcelled by that of any city in the state. All possible assistance should be generously accorded these gentlemen in their efforts to secure the necessary right-of-way. This accomplished, the immediate construction of the ditch is an assured fact.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 22, 1901, page 7
RIGHTS-OF-WAY SECURED.The Mail has always had great faith in the future of Medford and the Rogue River Valley. These columns have, during the past few years, drawn many pen pictures of the future in store for our people. Among these pictures which were to make our locality of more commercial importance was the probable discovery of coal. It is now very gratifying to know that the theories which we have ventured as possibilities are soon to be confirmed or disproved. One can hardly predict a future as brilliant as will be ours should there be found an abundance of coal. Then there is another great enterprise which is drawing closer to our door as time moves on--and that is nothing else than the construction and operation of an electric railroad from our city to the upper Rogue River country, the purpose and intent of which will be the hauling of those grand, giant sugar pine and fir trees to Medford for manufacture into useful articles of commercial and general use. With the consummation of this bit of prophecy Medford will be a truly great city of mills and shops. And, incidentally, the machinery in all these mills and shops would be operated by the power obtained from the same source as that which would propel the cars to and from the timber belt--and that power obtainable through the medium of the Fish Lake Ditch, which is now in course of construction, and which, aside from its capability as an irrigating ditch, will develop from five to seven thousand horsepower from its water as it flows over the 100-foot drop, which power can be transmitted by wire to any and every part of the valley. You may say all this is visionary, but we defy anyone to prove that it is not possible or feasible--and from a business point of view, that it is not profitable.
Fish Lake Water Company Very Successful in Securing Rights
to Construct Canal Across Lands Along the Line.
The representatives of the Fish Lake Water Company returned to Medford this week and have been busily engaged in adjusting their affairs preparatory to commencement of the work.
In an interview with one of the gentlemen he stated that on their part they are ready to commence building the ditch on April 1st. In beginning, the work will be done by day labor and not by contract, and they are in hopes of being able to secure all teams needed from parties living along the line of and in the neighborhood of the ditch, and if no unavoidable delay occurs they expect to have the ditch completed and ready for water as far as Dry Creek by the first of the year. He stated that so far they have had very little difficulty in securing most of the rights-of-way for the ditch line as soon as an application was made therefor. At this time eighty percent of the right-of-way to Dry Creek has been secured, and they hope to have the remaining rights by the first of April, so as not to interfere with the plans for the commencement of work on that date. He stated that there was but one important piece of right-of-way about which there is any serious question. This they hope to have satisfactorily arranged at an early date and to that end they are being assisted by prominent men in the city who are interested in the project. Should, however, they be unsuccessful in making arrangements for this right the ditch company will be compelled to institute condemnation proceedings, and the inauguration of the work will be deferred until an order of the court permitting them to cross the land can be obtained.
The gentleman stated that it was their earnest hope that such proceedings would not be necessary, as the ground, owing to the late rains, is in a very favorable condition for work at this time, and that by being enabled to start work on the date fixed it could be done much more rapidly and at a much smaller cost to them. Speaking further in regard to securing rights-of-way he said:
"As we are asking for no bonuses or financial assistance from the citizens of Medford or vicinity, we feel that we are entitled to the full support, in securing rights-of-way, of all such citizens as believe the building of the ditch will be a benefit to the county. This support of the general community is of the greatest importance to us; a land owner may not be willing to grant a right-of-way to our representative when considered as a benefit to the company alone, but when such right-of-way is wanted by his neighbors and the general community, for the benefit it will be to all, it puts the matter in a different light entirely. Where in crossing land any actual damage is caused, the company of course expects to pay for such damages, and if the amount cannot be mutually agreed on we are willing to settle by arbitration. It is the company's desire to avoid all litigation in such matters.
"We hope later to arrange with the city of Medford to supply both water and electric power, but whether such arrangement is made or not, it will not interfere with our present plans to build to Dry Creek during the year. As stated before, the only thing that will delay us building there will be the inability to get a complete right-of-way at once."
Medford Mail, March 8, 1901, page 2
In last week's Mail the statement was made that but one important right-of-way, about which there was likely to be any trouble, remained to be secured before the Fish Lake Ditch Company could begin work. This right has now been secured and we are reliably informed that work will be commenced April 1st, as previously stated. Mr. McCray, head engineer for the company, is on the ground this week busily engaged in making the final survey. The other interested parties state positively that they will be here March 20th, with all the necessary equipments for work.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 15, 1901, page 7
The indications that work on the Fish Lake ditch will be started on schedule time, as previously stated, become daily more apparent. The company's foreman, D. E. Morris, of San Francisco, arrived in Medford this week, and in company with the chief engineer, Victor McCray, has been going over the ground. Mr. Norris not a stranger to this section, he having been timekeeper for the Southern Pacific railroad during its construction through this valley. The right-of-way for the first sixteen miles of the ditch has been secured, but there yet remain some necessary rights to be secured which are of vital importance, and which must be obtained before the company feels justified in announcing just what it will be able to do. That there should be any serious objections to giving a right-of-way for an enterprise of this nature seems impossible. If the company were engaged in a grafting enterprise, were endeavoring to secure control of land for which the owners could expect nothing in return, it would be wisdom to give the question mature consideration, but the promoters of this ditch have repeatedly assured the citizens that they would ask no other concession than the right to construct the canal with their own money. Under these circumstances it would seem that there could be no reasonable objections to their offer. The Mail does not pretend to endeavor to influence the owners of the land along the proposed line of this ditch to enter into any agreement which would be detrimental to their interests, nor does it pretend to know what course would best serve their present and future welfare, but it does appeal to the citizens of the valley, and especially to those whose consent must be obtained before the ditch can be built, to aid the promoters in every way within their power, if it can be seen that by so doing they will be conferring a benefit upon their community and Jackson County generally.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 22, 1901, page 7
There are petitions in the form of a protest being circulated in this section protesting against the Fish Lake Ditch Company taking the water out of Butte Creek, as the farmers along the creek have to depend on the waters of that stream to irrigate their gardens and alfalfa. There will be an injunction filed, and the matter be tested in the courts.
"Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, March 29, 1901, page 5
On Monday of this week a carload of plows, scrapers and graders was received at the Southern Pacific depot in this city for the Fish Lake Irrigation Company, and the work of putting them together for use has been in progress since their arrival. Messrs. Clark and Vincent are expected here next Monday or Tuesday, and as soon as possible after their arrival work will be commenced in earnest. Messrs. Morris, the construction foreman, and Victor McCray, their chief engineer, have been getting everything in readiness during the last two weeks, and The Mail believes that the time is not far distant when this great enterprise will be something more than a conjectural affair. We have steadily maintained that these gentlemen have been acting in good faith, and that we have not erred in our judgment has been manifested by the developments of the past few days. Our only regret is that some few of our citizens have not shown a greater interest in the ditch, and been more liberal in their efforts to aid these gentlemen in arranging the preliminaries.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 29, 1901, page 7
Messrs. McCray and Vincent, of the Fish Lake Irrigation Company, were here last week looking up the amount of water used by the different claimants of water rights along Little Butte Creek.
"Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, April 12, 1901, page 5
Reports have been rife for the past couple of weeks that the farmers living on Butte Creek, near Eagle Point, had decided to file an injunction against the Fish Lake Ditch Company to prevent them taking the water from Little Butte Creek. It appears that there has been a misunderstanding in regard to this matter, and that those who have investigated the subject have decided to withdraw their objections. Those who have been using the water from Butte Creek cannot be disturbed in the full enjoyment of their privileges. The ditch company understands this well-established fact, and had no intention of infringing upon the rights of settlers. There is only one question which will be required to be determined in court, viz: What amount of water are those interested entitled to? For the purpose of determining this question a friendly suit will be filed against the Eagle Point Mill company by the ditch company; the court will pass upon the matter and the result will be accepted by both parties to the question. The ditch company, as stated has not now, nor has ever had, any desire or intention of infringing upon the rights of others; they have shown a conciliatory spirit throughout the whole transaction and whenever they have been permitted to make their position clear to those who were inclined to contest their rights all objects have been withdrawn. At present the company has a few men at work clearing the right-of-way for the ditch, but work in earnest has not yet been commenced because of the fact that the soil on the mountainside is too wet to be profitably and expeditiously worked.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 12, 1901, page 7
Lem. Charley, the Lake Creek farmer, was in Medford last week after a load of supplies for the Fish Lake Ditch Company.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, April 19, 1901, page 6
The Fish Lake Canal Company has twenty-three men now at work clearing right-of-way for the proposed canal. In about a week's time men will be at work drilling and blasting rock. Work was commenced on Lem Charley's place, and the right-of-way clearers are now at Chris. Keegan's place, on Osborn Creek. Engineer McCray is setting grade stakes on a portion of the right-of-way this side of Mr. Charley's land, the same having been cleared during the past winter. The fact that actual work has been commenced on the ditch will be good news to many people of the valley. This item will undoubtedly appear in Saturday's issue of the Enquirer--warmed over from The Mail.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 19, 1901, page 7
The Fish Lake Canal Company has twenty-three men now at work clearing right-of-way for the proposed canal. In about a week's time men will be at work drilling and blasting rock. The fact that actual work has been commenced on the ditch will be good news to many people of the valley.--Medford Mail.
"Local Happenings," Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, April 25, 1901, page 3
Progress of Work on the New Ditch.
Every resident of this part of the Rogue River Valley is anxiously watching for news of the progress of work on the Fish Lake water ditch, which is now assured.
Mr. D. E. Morris, who is superintendent of construction for the ditch company, came in from the work Wednesday and he has given us the following facts in connection with the present work and that which will immediately follow:
There are now twenty-odd men at work clearing the right-of-way--cutting the brush, grubbing out stumps and [illegible] timber, and otherwise getting the ground in shape for plowing, which work will be commenced about the 1st of May. Two ten-horse plows will be put to work at that time, and then will be kept steadily at this work until it is completed. One ten-horse Austin grader will follow the plows, and a second grader, similar in make and capacity, will be put on about the middle of May. These graders will remove the surface dirt, but the body of the dirt will be removed with the ordinary two-horse road scraper. Drill work on the rocky points will be commenced within ten days. A camp will be established on the line adjacent to where the body of work is being done. This camp will accommodate about fifty men and will consist of tents, ranges and cooking utensils, the equipage for which is now in Medford and will at once be taken to the scene of operation. Forty or fifty teams will be required to equip the camp for grading work. Thirty men will be steadily employed on the rock work at places where blasting is necessary and where scrapers cannot be used--and there are several such places.
From this on, work will be vigorously prosecuted until snow falls again, at which time it is expected the work will be far enough along to enable the company to have water in the valley for use next May.
The ditch, or canal, will be forty miles in length, and will have a carrying capacity of 10,000 miner's inches of water per second, but the amount which will be turned in at first will probably not exceed 5000 inches, as there will need be reservoirs put in at Fish Lake before the full carrying capacity of the ditch can be put to use. It is estimated that 5000 inches of water will amply irrigate 25,000 acres of land. The width of the ditch will be from eight to ten feet, with a varying width at the top of from twenty to twenty-five feet. Its depth will vary from four to fourteen feet, there being several cuts to be made which will necessitate this greater depth.
The first excavating work to be done will be near Lem Charley's place and will extend to head of ditch, near W. C. Daley's place.
The duties of superintendent Morris are becoming of such magnitude that an assistant will be put to work with him very soon.
Mr. Vic McCray, engineer for the company, is still here engaged in making maps, and when on the line in setting grade stakes and establishing levels. Both Mr. McCray and Mr. Morris are very fine gentlemen, and there is not a courtesy possible for them to extend to our people that is not forthcoming--when the best interests of their employers are not interfered with. Mr. Morris was a resident of the Lake Creek country twenty-four years ago, at which time he taught school in the Lake Creek district, worked in a sawmill and was a deservedly popular man in that locality at all social events. He also herded Chinamen, shoulder to shoulder with Charlie Wolters, when the Southern Pacific railroad was building through the valley.
Medford Mail, April 26, 1901, page 2
The Fish Lake Canal Company this week received at the freight depot at this place a large consignment of scrapers, plows and other material for constructing their canal.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, April 26, 1901, page 6
Mammoth Canal Project.The Fish Lake Irrigation Company has commenced the construction of the mammoth canal which will convey the waters of Little Butte Creek to the Rogue River Valley, says a Medford dispatch. A large gang of men have been employed the past month in clearing the right-of-way. Grading will begin about the first of May. A portion of the grading outfit has already gone to the head of the ditch near W. C. Daley's ranch on Little Butte Creek, where the work will begin. This outfit consists of two Austin road graders, four 10-horse plows and 24 slush scrapers, a blacksmith shop complete, and a wagonload of drill steel hammers. More of the outfit is still in the depot here. Fifty teams, and as many laborers, will be constantly employed until winter sets in, as the company intends to complete the ditch, so as to place water in the valley on or before April 15, 1902.
The main ditch will be about 40 miles in length, with a carrying capacity of 10,000 miner's inches of water. It will be 10 feet wide at the bottom and from 20 to 30 feet at the top, with an average depth of four feet, but owing to the condition of the ground in some places; the ditch will for short distances be as deep as 14 feet. About 7500 miner's inches will be carried the first season the water is used.
Valley Record, Ashland, May 2, 1901, page 1
A few GOOD two-horse teams and lead bars to be employed on Fish Lake ditch. Apply at camp, near W. C. Daley ranch on Little Butte Creek, eight miles above Brownsboro. Feed can be obtained from company at cost prices. Wages, team and driver, $3 per day.
D. E. MORRIS,Medford Mail, May 24, 1901, page 2
Walter Robinett, who is working in the blacksmith shop for the Fish Lake Ditch Company, was compelled to remain at home a few days last week on account of illness, but returned to his post this week.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, May 24, 1901, page 5
The recent smallpox scare on Butte Creek had the effect of interfering to some extent with the progress of the construction work of the Fish Lake Irrigation Company, which had been progressing very favorably for several weeks and which is again under full headway. The scare has entirely subsided, the supposed case having proven to be poison oak instead of the much-dreaded smallpox. The new grader which was recently received is working to the entire satisfaction of superintendent Morris. He has a ten-horse plow in operation and will put on two more next week, also twenty-five slip scrapers. They have thus far cleared twenty miles of right-of-way, twenty feet wide, and with three stump pullers in operation are progressing in this work at a rapid rate. They have between thirty-five and forty men now employed and can handle a few more at any time. They are also advertising for a number of good two-horse teams for the season's work, for which, with the driver, they will pay $3 per day. It is the intention of the company to bring the water to the valley by next May, and a force of men sufficient to carry out their program will be steadily employed.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, May 24, 1901, page 7
Last week the right-of-way camp of the Fish Lake Irrigation Company near W. H. Bradshaw's farm was entered and a number of picks, shovels and other tools was stolen.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, May 31, 1901, page 6
D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish Lake water ditch, was in from the camp last week. Last Friday was pay day in the camp, and $1800 was paid out for labor and $1000 for incidental expenses in the valley, such as material and supplies. He reports work progressing favorably, considering the character of the soil in which they were working--which was sticky and clay. One and a half miles of ditch has been completed during the month. This is from four to six feet deep and ten feet wide on the bottom. This particular piece of the ditch is thought to be the most expensive of construction of any piece on the line. Mr. Morris expects he will be able to make greater progress, by far, this month. The company has a large camp of tents established on the south fork of Little Butte, at a point where the ditch crosses that stream. Besides the company tents--five large ones--there are about twenty smaller ones owned and occupied by employees on the works. The camp has more the appearance of a picnic ground than a colony of working men. The company is giving employment to all men applying for work, and there will be work until the weather next fall compels a shutdown.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 14, 1901, page 7
Jas. Vanderkarr, of Medford, passed through here last Saturday on his way home from the big ditch, where he has been working. He was called home on account of illness in his family.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, June 21, 1901, page 5
Will Gregory has returned from working on the ditch and will commence haying.
"Big Sticky Items," Medford Mail, June 21, 1901, page 5
D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish Lake water ditch, was in the city this week upon business. He reports work progressing very satisfactorily on the ditch. The working camp was moved last week from the Daley place to the Klingle place, near Butte Creek and on the line of the ditch. The entire force is now employed on actual ditch work and is making good progress. By the middle of July the ditch will be completed to Osborn Creek, making in all between six and seven miles of completed ditch. A strike among the workmen in the rock gang was on last Monday, and the aggressors, fifteen in number, were discharged and given their time checks. The strike, it is thought, emanated from one man, who was a "straw" boss on the job and who had used his position to incite enmity toward those superior to him in command. The prompt action in dismissing the aggressors had a very wholesome effect in quieting the camp and little, if any, inconvenience was experienced by the company. The places made vacant by the discharge are open for good men, in fact, all good men applying for work will be accommodated.
F. M. Stewart:--"I was out at the big Fish Lake ditch this week .Water is now running in 2000 feet of the ditch and two farms are being irrigated with water from it. A splendid job of work is being done. It is substantial in every respect. The camp is well conducted, and the boarding house, run by H. B. Sample, is well supplied with good, fresh, wholesome food and only $3 per week is charged for board. The camp consumes an average of one beef a week .The ditch work is being handicapped in some respects by not being able to secure more teams and men."
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 28, 1901, page 7
C. Charley, of Brownsboro, was in the city Sunday, after material for the Fish Lake Ditch Company.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, July 5, 1901, page 6
There is now under way of construction one of the most extensive irrigating ditches in the state. The completion of this great enterprise means a great deal for the Rogue River Valley, and incidentally to Medford, for whatever is beneficial to the valley generally is either directly or indirectly beneficial to Medford. The construction of the ditch will make possible the cultivation of thousands of acres of unproductive and idle land; it will make more productive the thousands of acres of land which is now under cultivation, and it will render possible the accomplishment of many other things which could not otherwise be done.
"Entering a New Era," Medford Mail, July 12, 1901, page 2
C. D. Clark, of San Francisco, was in Medford last week .Mr. Clark is a member of the Fish Lake Ditch Company, and in company with engineer McCray drove out to the graders' camp on the ditch, where he made an inspection of the work done. He reported everything moving along very satisfactorily and left instructions to push the work with all possible vigor.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, July 12, 1901, page 6
The annual meeting of the stockholders of the Fish Lake Ditch Company was held in Medford on Monday of this week. I. L. Hamilton was elected president; M. Purdin, vice president; E. C. Williams, secretary and treasurer; Rufus Cox, director, V. T. McCray, manager. The business and work of the past year was carefully gone over and all matters appertaining thereto were voted entirely satisfactory and it was decided that the work now in progress should be pushed with all possible speed, consistent with the conditions and permanency of the undertaking.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 12, 1901, page 7
Lem Charley, who is in the employ of the Fish Lake Ditch Company, was in the city last week after supplies for the camp. He reports that things are just naturally humming all along the ditch line. The graders are now working on Osborn Creek, and in about a week's time the camp will be moved to his place, which is about three miles from the old camp. When there, eight miles of the ditch will be practically finished. The work so far has been in sticky and rock, but the next four miles will be in free soil, which will be easier to handle. There are now eighty men and thirty teams at work, and more men are being put to work nearly every day. The strike of a few weeks ago, he says, was a good thing for the camp, as it cleaned out a few disgruntled men, and their positions have since been filled by good men--and the camp is in a good-natured, happy condition and every man in it seems to be using his best efforts to further the work. There are about thirty tents in the camp, most of which are occupied by farmers who are working on the ditch. The ditch is making it possible for a great many farmers to earn money which would not be easily done had not this enterprise been put under way.
D. E. Morris:--"Everything is moving along nicely out at the ditch camp. Engineer McCray was crippled Monday by a horse stepping on his foot. It laid him up for a couple of days, but he's a nervy fellow and was hobbling around on it the third day. I leave this week for Klamath County, where I expect to purchase twenty-four head of heavy horses for the company to put to work on our ditch graders."
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 19, 1901, page 7
County Commissioner Riley has demonstrated beyond a peradventure that the desert land lying north and northeast of Medford, of which there are many thousand acres, will produce in abundance when irrigated. Mr. Riley's home is on Antelope Creek, near the edge of the big desert. Last spring while crossing the desert he discovered a few spears of alfalfa struggling for existence in the dry, parched soil, and the thought occurred to him that an opportunity was here presented to prove, or disprove, the value of irrigation on this desert land. He watered the alfalfa plants, and controlled the process at intervals when he thought necessary during the months of May, June and part of July. As a result of his experiment he cut, this week, alfalfa stalks that measured seven feet in length. It is unnecessary to say that henceforth, and forever after, from date even with this writing to a time when the general finish takes place, Mr. Riley is an irrigation enthusiast. One can very readily foresee, from Mr. Riley's experiment, what material benefit the Fish Lake irrigating ditch will be to the valley when water is running within its banks.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 26, 1901, page 7
A TRIP TO THE BIG DITCH OF THE FISH LAKE WATER CO.
A LARGE AMOUNT OF WORK DONE BUT NOT SO MUCH
AS REPORTED BY THE WEEKLY FAKIR.*
Will Be Some Time Yet Before Water Is Running
from the Creek into the Canal.
Owing to so many conflicting stories told and published about the work on the big ditch, and the public interest for reliable news in regard to it, we decided Saturday last to pay it a visit; go over the ground and give the public the facts in the matter and the company the credit they deserve. Accompanied by attorney W. E. Phipps Saturday afternoon, we drove to Lake Creek post office, some 22 miles east and north of Medford, near which place the ditch starts.
It might be well to state that the objects set forth by this company [are] for the purpose of furnishing water for irrigating purposes and water power; other purposes are also set forth, but will, we think, hardly prove feasible. The company is incorporated under the laws of Oregon and officered as follows: President, I. L. Hamilton; Vice President, M. Purdin; Sec'y. and Treas., L. C. Williams. V. T. McCray is chief engineer and manager in charge of the work, and J. C. Morris is master and foreman.
The proposed ditch is to be 56 miles in length, with a width at the top of from 12 to 20 feet and at the bottom of 10 feet, and its capacity is estimated at 10,000 miners inches. The ditch commences at a point on the north fork of Little Butte Creek about 1½ miles above its confluence with the south fork of Little Butte, and is by the road probably 24 miles from Medford. From there on up to Fish Lake where the company expects to build a dam and create a huge reservoir it is some 15 or 20 miles further, but as the creek bed will be used, no ditch work will be necessary to convey water from Fish Lake to the present head of the ditch.
From a personal observation we find the following work has been done: Commencing upon the property of W. C. Daley, about 40 rods from where the canal or ditch starts out of the creek, there has been completed some 3,500 feet of ditch. Between this point and the point of commencement on the south or east side of the south fork of Little Butte Creek, there is a gap of some 1,200 feet which will have to be flumed unless they go higher up, which engineer McCray says they intend doing; here it will take a flume some 500 feet in length. From there down to and opposite the Thumburg place the grading has been mostly done. This covers a distance of probably four miles in a direct line and possibly 8 miles by the winding route of the ditch. At this point it reaches a height of more than 100 feet above the creek. One cut they are now completing is 11 feet in depth and some 200 yards in length; in this there was considerable rock work. Much of the rock work yet remains to be done, and as a matter of fact it will take considerable more work before it will be possible to run water through where now graded.
But let us say in justice to the gentlemen in charge that the amount of work done so far is surprising and they are pushing it right along. Laborers are getting their pay in cash and as no complaints are heard from them one naturally takes it for granted they are satisfied as to wages and their employers.
They are now putting up a saw mill and have the logs cut and on the ground to saw into lumber with which to build the flumes. But the report that the company had water running in the ditch for some two miles is a "fairy story," the only water running in the ditch at any place is on the ranch of J. D. Culberson just above Lake Creek post office, and this is where Mr. Culberson's irrigating ditch, that starts from the South Fork, happens to be on the line of the company's ditch, which it follows for probably 40 rods.
At present there are some 60 men employed upon the construction work, and more are wanted, as well as heavy draft horses for use in grading. The management expect to put a much larger force at work soon, as harvest is nearly over and there will be more people looking for work. The company realizes the fact that they could secure on the outside all the help needed, but have confined themselves to employing almost exclusively residents of Jackson County, and which course has been of much benefit to our business men.
Now in summing the matter up and without knowing the intentions of the ditch promoters, but from the work they are doing, and the large sums they are paying out, it looks very much like they contemplate the completion of the ditch. They have so far this season expended some $50,000, and are going right along with the work every day and every week, which means hundreds of dollars more, and with crop conditions such as they are this year in Rogue River Valley, it is proving to be a great help to our laboring and business men. It is the intention to have several miles in operation by the time the winter season sets in, and work will be pushed on the saw mill so they can get the lumber for the innumerable flumes along the route. . . .
The camp of the ditch construction is situated on the land of S. Klingle on the south bank of the creek and is quite a little city of tents. Here the best of order prevails, as the camp is entirely free from any of the disorderly element.
Medford Enquirer, July 27, 1901, page 4 *The "fakir" is the Medford Mail, competitor to the Enquirer.
Mrs. Loar and family are out at the Fish Lake Ditch camp, where members of the family are assisting in preparing sustenance for the immense crowd of laborers.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 2, 1901, page 6
Work is progressing very nicely on the Fish Lake Ditch. The halfway point between Little Butte Creek and the drop at W. H. Bradshaw's place was reached this week. Eight miles in all have been graded. At Mr. Bradshaw's place a drop of 100 feet will be made, at which point it is proposed to establish a power house. With the amount of water which the ditch will carry and the drop it will have 2000 horsepower can be developed. Mr. Morris, superintendent of construction, returned from Klamath County last week bringing with him sixteen head of fine young mares, weighing from 1200 to 1500 pounds. The price paid was $75 each. These horses are not all broken, but will be put into harness at once and put to light work on the ditch and after the work is completed they will be put at work on the farm. On the 30th day of July, just passed, measurements were taken of the water running in Little Butte Creek, and there were found to be 7200 inches--actual and absolutely correct measurements. About 2000 inches of this amount is being used by parties in and around Eagle Point, leaving more water than will be needed by the ditch company for several years, and when this supply is backed by a large reservoir at Fish Lake there will be little danger of the ditch running dry. Ground was broken by the head plow gang this week on the line near Lem Charley's place, which is ten and one-half miles from the head of the ditch. The rock men and scrapers will follow after and soon close up the work on this stretch. Camp will be moved again very soon to Clay Charley's place, which will be camp No. 3. When the ditch is completed to this point the hardest part of the work has been finished, as the ground ahead lays better and is easier to handle, and the work will consequently move faster. The same force as is now at work will be retained until the wet season sets in.
The Fish Lake Ditch Company has purchased 1600 acres of land in the valley and proposes opening up a little farm--all on their own book--and all under the water from their irrigating ditch which they are now building. The land which the company has purchased is about six miles north and east from Medford and was purchased from the railroad company, and from Messrs. Crance, Harbaugh, Bryant and Curtis. The price paid was $5 per acre. The major portion of the land is desert, still there is some sticky; all, however, is, or will be, good farm land when water from the ditch is turned onto it. When the ditch is completed arrangements will at once be perfected for placing the land under cultivation and in shape to receive the water.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 9, 1901, page 7
Mr. W. A. Davidson of Medford, who has been working on the F.L. Ditch, came down last week to be treated by him [sic] for rheumatism.
"Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, August 16, 1901, page 5
Mr. and Mrs. A. Pool, of Eagle Point, were Medford visitors Monday. These people own and conduct the Eagle Point hotel, but they are desirous of disposing of it. The reason given is that they wish to move to their farm of 240 acres, which lies not a greatly way from Eagle Point, all of which will be under water supply from the Fish Lake Ditch. This water ditch, Mr. Pool avers, will be of great benefit to the farm lands along its route and nearly all of the farmers will use water. The fact is worthy of mention that these good people did not care to exchange their present vocation for that of farming until the assurance of a water supply was given them. This augurs good for the ditch company, and the Mail hopes every farmer who can possibly secure water will do so. It's a good thing and works out a big benefit to all parties interested.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 16, 1901, page 6
J. L. Wilson--"I notice you have had an item or two on the immense crops of alfalfa which are being grown around here. Those items were all good, but you ought to see the crop that Will Gore is harvesting, out on the Ish farm. It is the second crop, and the shocks are so close together that it seems almost impossible to drive a team between. No, it has had no water--only what Nature gave it--and that wasn't much this year. There are thousands of acres in the valley that are not now growing much of anything which will be good alfalfa land when that Fish Lake Ditch puts water on it."
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 16, 1901, page 7
Good Men Wanted.
Good men can get employment at the camp of the Fish Lake Ditch Company.
Medford Mail, August 23, 1901, page 2
Walter Robinett came down from the Fish Lake Ditch last Friday night and telephoned to Medford for a doctor for Fred Mitchell, who was taken suddenly ill caused by being jarred by a premature explosion of a blast.
"Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, August 23, 1901, page 5
A Mail reporter heard an argument put up this week that is almost too ridiculous to be worthy of mention, but as others may be interested in knowing the extent which some pessimists will allow their imagination to run, we will give it to our readers. We were speaking of the advantages which would be derived from the construction of the new Fish Lake Ditch when one of the party made bold the assertion that an irrigating ditch would ruin the lands of the valley to which it conveyed water, he claiming that the water would harden the soil so that grain could not grow and that it would eventually waste away. Medford people who have irrigated their gardens for the past ten or twelve years and have experienced none of the calamities predicted above will hardly believe that the farm lands of the valley will be made barren waste by supplying them with an occasional wetting.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 23, 1901, page 7
Rev. J. P. Moomaw, of Eagle Point, was in Medford last Saturday. The gentleman had but recently returned from the Fish Lake Ditch camp--and was saying all kinds of pretty words for that enterprising project. He says it is a grand affair, and there can be no calculating the good it will do the valley. The ditch pessimists, he says, are becoming scarce in his part of the country.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 30, 1901, page 6
The sixteen head of horses recently purchased in Klamath County by Mr. Morris for the Fish Lake Ditch Company were taken out to the ditch camp last week and have been put to work.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 30, 1901, page 7
D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish Lake irrigating ditch, reports that eleven miles of the ditch are completed with the exception of flume and a little rock work. The graders are now working on the thirteenth mile, and seventeen miles will surely be completed this fall, which will take it to the drop on W. H. Bradshaw's place. Mr. Bradshaw has about 800 acres of land which will come under this ditch. There is a natural slope to all parts of his land from the ditch. In fact, nature seemed to have planned the land especially to be watered from this ditch. Mr. Morris further stated that the lag in work occasioned by the warm weather had been replaced with new vigor and that things were now moving along very encouragingly. The new horses are breaking in all right, and some of them are now hauling hay from east of Medford to the lands which the company has purchased, for feeding during the winter. The company has purchased sixty tons of hay at $8 per ton. Speaking of prior water rights, Mr. Morris said every legitimate right would be respected, but that no mushroom propositions or rights instituted to hinder work or on "graft" principles would be countenanced. The company now owns about 3000 acres of land in the valley, comprising arid, semi-arid and productive soils--all of which will be made productive by water from the ditch.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 13, 1901, page 7
C. L. Vincent, of San Francisco, and one of the members of the Fish Lake Irrigating Ditch Company, arrived in Medford this week and is now out at the camp making an inspection of the work.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, September 27, 1901, page 6
MEN AND TEAMS WANTED.I can give employment to eight or ten good teams, at $3 per day, and to from twenty-five to thirty good men at $1.75 per day. Apply to me at the Fish Lake Ditch camp.
D. E. MORRIS,Medford Mail, October 11, 1901, page 2
Supt of Construction.
Mrs. V. T. McCray, who has been stopping in Medford for several months, left Monday for her home in Stockton, Calif. The good lady is the wife of engineer McCray, who is civil engineer on the big Fish Lake irrigating ditch. During her stay here she has made a great many friends, and all regret her departure. She is a very pleasant lady and one who makes fast friends everywhere--as a matter of fact she is a whole host and several entertaining guests, in a social way.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, October 11, 1901, page 6
D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish lake Ditch, was in the city this week upon business. He reports that work on the ditch has been retarded greatly since September 20th by the frequent rains. Now, however, since the weather seems to have cleared, he hopes to be able to catch up to some extent. To make this catchup it has been necessary to invest in additional machinery, and a new eight-horse plow and an Austin grader were taken from Medford to the camp this week. The plows and graders have broken ground to a point close to Ed. Mills' place, opposite the Brownsboro post office. With good weather for thirty days he hopes to reach the drop at Mr. Bradshaw's place. The two miles of unfinished ditch which has been left open during the rains will now be finished. Mr. Morris, in order to ensure the accomplishment of the work laid out for this fall, is offering employment to eight or ten good teams at $3 per day and twenty-five or thirty good men at $1.75 per day. If the drop is reached before the good weather ceases, then the teams will be put at work this side of the drop and work will thus be pushed beyond the company's expectation. A crew of thirty or forty picked men will be employed during the winter months in taking out the rock cuts, which have been left for the wet season. There are several of these cuts and rock points--in all probably three-fourths of a mile. The construction of a 600-foot flume across the south fork of Little Butte will be commenced about the 15th of this month if weather permits, and this one, together with the one across Lake Creek, of about the same length, will be hurried to completion. Several smaller flumes, together with head and waste gates, will be put in during the winter. Thirty kegs of nails and spikes, together with tools for use in this work, were taken from Medford to camp this week. A contract for hauling the necessary lumber from Clay Charley's sawmill, on the south fork of Little Butte Creek, has been let to John Willtrout. Looking at matters from all sides, the progress of the work and its continuation as mapped out are indeed flattering.
An Austin grader at the Eastern Washington Agricultural Museum.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 11, 1901, page 7
A. M. Clark, manager of one of the road graders on the big ditch, was down Sunday and reports work in progress as well as could be expected.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, October 25, 1901, page 5
Fred Mitchell came down from the big ditch last Sunday and reports everything progressing nicely with their work on account of the fine weather.
A young man by the name of John Foster, who is working on the ditch, had the misfortune to hurt his leg recently and an abscess has formed. Last Sunday Dr. Officer was summoned to give the young man treatment.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, November 15, 1901, page 5
All the vacant houses in town and vicinity are being occupied by families. The menfolks are working on the ditch line and the children are attending school.
"Brownsboro Items," Medford Mail, November 15, 1901, page 5
A. M. Clark was in from the ditch camp yesterday for repairs, having broken one of the big graders.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, November 15, 1901, page 6
Messrs. C. B. Williams and Joseph Belser, of San Francisco, two heavy stockholders in the Fish Lake Irrigating Ditch Company, arrived in Medford this week and on Tuesday morning started out to make an examination of construction work done on the ditch. They expressed themselves as being well satisfied with the progress being made and the general substantial manner in which the work is being executed. They have every reason for being satisfied. The work has been pushed with all possible dispatch consistent with thoroughness. The management has been handicapped to some extent by the non-arrival of machinery at dates expected, but aside from this few drawbacks have been experienced since work was commenced. Ground has been broken on the entire length of the ditch from its head to the Bradshaw "drop," a distance of seventeen miles, and is practically completed--except two and one-half miles on this end upon which two large Austin graders, six large plows and fifteen or twenty slip scrapers are now at work. If the present good weather continues for ten days all the work will be completed, except the rock work, which will be taken up as soon as this grading is finished. Two gangs of men, probably forty in all, will be kept at this work during the winter. The flume across the south fork of Butte Creek, which is to be 600 feet in length, is well under way and will be completed within ten days. Construction work has been commenced on the flume across Lake Creek, which is 600 feet in length and from four to fifty feet in height. It is quite probable that if good weather continues the graders and plows will be put to work below the drop, but whether or not this is done, the work is now far enough along to ensure the running of water into the valley through the ditch by the first of next May. There are now 102 men at work on the ditch and flumes. The drop referred to above is a fall in the ditch of 100 feet, and it is at this point where the company propose generating power for operating manufacturing machinery in the valley, should there be a demand for it. This drop is but fourteen miles, in an air line, from Medford. Should it be deemed advisable to transmit this power to valley points it will be done by electricity.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 15, 1901, page 7
Mr. Clark, boss of the rock gang on the big ditch, was down last week and reports work progressing rapidly.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, November 29, 1901, page 5
J. R. Howard was down from the Fish Lake Ditch this week. Mr. Howard has been in the employ of the ditch company since it first commenced doing business, and he likes it so well that he is praying for a few more weeks of good weather. That's the kind of a man Mr. Howard is, and that's the kind of people which composes the ditch company.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, November 29, 1901, page 6
This thought is not fathered by a delusion, neither is it impracticable or impossible--an electric railway from Medford to the vast belt of timber on upper Rogue River. The Fish Lake Ditch Company will be in a position to supply all necessary power to operate such a line, while the cost of construction would be very slight as compared with the cost of a regulation railroad. Medford people, we believe, would be willing and anxious to subsidize a proposition of this kind--with one condition--that the lumber be brought to Medford in the log. You say this would necessitate the hauling of a great amount of worthless timber? That is not so. Every particle of the wood itself could be, and would be, manufactured right here in Medford into useful articles of commerce, while the bark could be used for fuel. This is no pipe dream but a matter of sound logic and a condition which may be brought about to the profit of our growing little city--and as well to the men who have gumption enough to grasp a good thing when they see it.
Medford Mail, December 13, 1901, page 2
Engineer Vic McCray came in from the Fish Lake Ditch this week for a few days' business stay in the city. He returned Wednesday, accompanied by F. M. Stewart, a notary public. They will visit several farmers along the line of the ditch and secure their acknowledgments to a number of ditch contracts and rights-of-way.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, December 13, 1901, page 6
D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish Lake Ditch, was in Medford this week accompanied by Mrs. Morris, who will remain in the city a few days. Mr. Morris tells us that the grading work on the first seventeen miles of the ditch is completed, and all the teams will be laid off except a few which will be employed in hauling lumber for fluming purposes. The camp is being moved this week from near the drop back to the head of the ditch, where winter quarters will be established. A force of about forty men will be kept at work for about sixty days on the rock cuts, in which time it is expected all this work can be completed. The flumes across the south fork of Little Butte and Lake creeks, the two principal flumes on the line, are practically completed. There are a few flumes of lesser proportions across gulches and small streams which will be put in during the winter. All work on the entire seventeen miles of the ditch is so far along and so nearly completed that assurance is positively given that water will be carried to the valley the middle of May 1902. Both the engineer, Mr. McCray, and Mr. Morris have been anxiously, and with some apprehension, awaiting the coming of the first hard rains of winter. There was a possibility that at some of the more critical points on hillsides and where excavations were heavy there might be a slump of the banks, but since the recent heavy rains a thorough examination of these places has been made and they are found to have withstood the strain without a suspicion of a break any place.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, December 13, 1901, page 7
Mrs. V. T. McCray and mother, Mrs. Harrington, of Stockton, arrived in Medford Sunday. Mrs. Harrington will remain until after the holidays and Mrs. McCray will remain for several months, or until her husband's work as engineer for the Fish Lake Ditch Company is completed.
T. J. West and son, Robert, were in from Brownsboro Saturday. As regards the Fish Lake Ditch, Mr. West is very enthusiastic. He says the camp is near his place and that the working gangs are cleaning up all work as they go now and that water will follow them in the ditch. He says the company intends pushing work and that all hands feel sure there will be water brought into the valley by the ditch by next May.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, December 27, 1901, page 4
Medford Mail, January 3, 1902, page 2
Roy Nichols has gone to Brownsboro to work on the big ditch.
J. C. Pendleton, "Table Rock Items," Medford Mail, January 3, 1902, page 3
L. C. Charley was down from Brownsboro yesterday. He reports that water is running in the Fish Lake Ditch from Big to Little Butte creeks, and that work is progressing finely.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, January 3, 1902, page 6
Engineer McCrary and his assistant, Thos. Hart, were in town last Monday night. They were running a survey for a branch ditch from the main line to the south side of Butte Creek in this section. If this ditch is a success it will be a great thing for Eagle Point, as there will be sufficient fall to run all machinery needed to carry on any enterprise that may be undertaken, and before many years our town would be one of the leading manufacturing cities of Southern Oregon.
"Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, January 10, 1902, page 5
C. E. Tull came in from the irrigating ditch this week. He has been employed on the ditch since early last fall and says there are quite a number of men and teams still at work.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, January 17, 1902, page 6
There is now under way a ditch designed to be some forty miles in length, bringing the waters of Butte Creek into the valley proper. Eighteen miles of this ditch have already been completed, and the projectors expect to have water within a few miles of Medford by the middle of May next. This ditch will cover thousands of acres of land hitherto useless for anything except grazing purposes, but which, with water, is capable of producing large and varied crops.
Medford Mail, January 24, 1902, page 6
John Duggan returned from the big ditch last week, having been there the longest of any man with a team, and proposes to return when work begins in the spring.
J. C. Pendleton, "Table Rock Items," Medford Mail, February 14, 1902, page 3
The two winter months just past have been very propitious for work on the Fish Lake Ditch. The rainfall has been very light and the weather generally has been good and during this time work has been pushed with almost marvelous rapidity. The two largest rock cuts have been finished. One of these is on the Culbertson place. It is 2000 feet in length, and through this a ditch five feet in depth has been blasted. The other cut is at Sidley Gulch and is 800 feet in length. These two are the most extensive rock cuts on the entire length of the ditch. There are several other cuts yet to be made, but they are only trivial affairs in comparison. The flume across the south fork of Little Butte is practically completed, and the Lake Creek flume is well advanced. These are the two principal flumes on the ditch. The camp, which has been pitched on W. C. Daley's place, will soon be moved about eight miles further down the line, the ditch having been practically completed to that point. There are a few obstinate, though small, rocky points to blast out yet, and a few minor flumes to be put in, and with the present force of fifty men this work can be done in about forty days of good working weather. The ditch so far has withstood the strain of wet weather without a break, and no further anxiety is felt from landslides or "cave-ins." All the team work was completed some time ago, and the company's stock has been in winter quarters at the Peterson place, which the company purchased. A new lumber contract has been made with Henry Ratrie for the delivery of flume lumber, and that gentleman is now getting out the lumber---3000 feet a day--and no further trouble is expected from a shortage of lumber. The above item of general county news is furnished us by Mr. D. E. Morris, superintendent of ditch construction work. The foreman of the rock workmen is F. H. Chamberlain, a mining expert, who came to Southern Oregon from San Francisco with a view to an investigation of some of our mines.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 14, 1902, page 7
WILL SOON BE FINISHED.
Irrigation Ditch Near Medford Will Be 65 Miles Long.
MEDFORD, Feb. 17.--The Fish Lake irrigation ditch will be completed by the first of May. The ditch starts at a point on Little Butte Creek, about 30 miles north of Medford. The most difficult part of the work is now completed. The two largest rock cuts have been finished, the first being 2000 feet in length and the second 800 feet in length. A ditch five feet in depth has been blasted through these rocks. The ditch is 65 miles long. The flume across the South Fork of Little Butte is practically completed, and the Lake Creek flume is well advanced. A new lumber contract has been made, and 3000 feet a day is being sawed for the company. All team work is completed, and the company stock has been placed in winter quarters. If the good weather continues, about 45 days more will be required to complete all of the work and supply Rogue River Valley with water for power and irrigation purposes.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, February 18, 1902, page 4
Mr. and Mrs. V. T. McCray left Tuesday for Chico, Calif., where they will remain for about six weeks. Mr. McCray is engineer in chief for the Fish Lake Ditch Company, but he is about three months ahead of the actual construction work on the ditch, which fact has given him an opportunity to do a little work on the side and during his absence he will put in a complete sewage system for Chico. Both Mr. and Mrs. McCray have made a great many friends during their stay in Medford, and all are hoping their sojourn in California will not be of longer duration than the allotted six weeks.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, February 28, 1902, page 6
There seems to be renewed activity among the ditch men. They are hauling hay up to the ditch, and men are going up to commence work.
"Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, March 14, 1902, page 5
D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish Lake Ditch, was in the city a couple of days this week. He reports that work on the upper end of the ditch is completed for a distance of nine miles. Last week camp was moved from near Lake Creek, where winter quarters were established, to the Cook place, near which there are a few rock cuts to be worked out. During the recent very heavy rains there were a few landslides on the ditch, but as a whole the work withstood the storms very satisfactorily, and better than expected. The only material damage done was to the camp, in which the tents were blown down by the heavy winds, and all within fifteen minutes' time. All the damage has been repaired, and the work is now going merrily on. The work still to be done on Section No. 1 of the ditch is the cutting of three or four heavy rock cuts, which, with good weather and the present force, can be completed by the middle of April. The next new work will be on Section No. 2, from the drop near the Bradshaw place to the Rader place, a distance of six or seven miles, and from there across the desert to the Peterson, Crance and Bryant places, which are now owned by the ditch company. This will be mostly team work, and much better headway will be made than on Section No. 1. This new work will commence as soon as the dirt is dry enough to move and will be pushed to the fullest extent of all the teams which may be obtainable. It is the intention of the company to put water on their own land this spring. The general lay of the land on Section No. 2 of the ditch is more favorable for rapid work than on Section No. 1, and the work will progress much faster.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 14, 1902, page 7
George Martin, brother of Joseph Martin, who came here from Washington a short time ago, went up to the Fish Lake Ditch last week to work.
"Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, March 28, 1902, page 5
Mr. and Mrs. D. E. Morris were down from the Fish Lake Ditch camps Tuesday.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, March 28, 1902, page 6
C. D. Vincent, a member of the Fish Lake Ditch Company, is expected to be in Medford about the first of April, at which time arrangements will be made for further work on the ditch. Engineer McCray will also return to Medford about the first of April.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, March 28, 1902, page 6
The Mail has been asked by one of our city councilmen to print for the benefit of recent arrivals in our city the following facts regarding the situation of the city and the water ditch company, as it stands today and as it has stood for the past several months. The old ditch company at one time, during the administration of a former board of councilmen, made a proposition to supply water to the city at four cents per thousand gallons. Afterwards the ditch company was reorganized and the new company would not countenance the four-cent proposition, but made a new one as follows: For the first 100,000 gallons used per day, seven and one-half cents per thousand; for the next 100,000 gallons, five cents per thousand; for the next 100,000 gallons, three cents per thousand gallons, and all over the amount two and one-half cents per thousand, but this proposition was afterwards withdrawn and at the present time there is no proposition before the board. The city has never used to exceed 200,000 gallons of water in any one day, and the average daily use throughout the year is 50,000. If there were 200,000 gallons used each day the cost per thousand would be six and one-fourth cents, according to the exact wording of the proposition made by the ditch company, but as only 50,000 are used per day the cost to the city would be seven and one-half cents. No proposition, we are told, was ever made the board for furnishing lights for the city by the ditch company. The Mail regrets very much that negotiations are not now under way whereby the city can one of these days use this Fish Lake water. It would surely be an improvement over the water we are now using, and the further benefit which would accrue to the city from the construction of the ditch to a point near Medford would manifest itself in many instances. The Mail believes the present board of councilmen have no object in dealing otherwise than fair with the company, and believing this we are going to suggest that the councilmen get together, figure out just what price the city can afford to pay for water, and say to the ditch company we will guarantee to use a certain number of gallons of water and for this we can afford to pay a certain price per thousand gallons. There would be no complaint entered if the council contracted for water at a figure but little less than the city would receive for it from consumers. The better quality of water would prevent any vigorous protests, and again there would be much more water consumed than there now is. This is a proposition which ought to be entertained and if possible a contract made. On the other hand, the ditch company ought not to expect the city to enter into a contract which cannot be lived up to without embarrassing the city financially, or one which, when effective, will be so at a loss to the city.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 28, 1902, page 7
Oscar Rodgers has gone to the Fish Lake Ditch to work.
"Beagle Items," Medford Mail, April 4, 1902, page 3
MEN WANTED.Few good men, accustomed to rock work, can get employment at the Fish Lake Ditch camp, three miles above Brownsboro. Wages $1.75 per day; board $3.25 per week.
D. E. MORRIS,Medford Mail, April 4, 1902, page 3
Superintendent of Construction.
J. G. McCallister was in Medford Monday after supplies for his store which he is conducting near the ditch camp, below Lake Creek.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, April 11, 1902, page 6
C. E. Tull has returned to the ditch company's ranch, after hauling a load of hay to their encampment near Brownsboro.
"Big Sticky Items," Medford Mail, April 18, 1902, page 5
Mrs. E. R. Harris returned Wednesday from a visit at Ashland with Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Wiley. The lady was met there by her husband, and on Thursday morning both left for the Fish Lake Ditch camp, where Mr. H. is employed.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, April 18, 1902, page 6
D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction for the Jackson County Improvement Co., is in Medford, accompanied by his wife. He reports the big ditch progressing satisfactorily.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 24, 1902, page 5
D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish Lake Ditch, reports for sure that 5000 inches of water will be running in the first seventeen miles of the new ditch between the 25th of May and the 1st of June. Fifty men are now at work, and Mr. Morris is still wanting more good men. Twelve or fifteen teams will at once be put to work hauling lumber for the completion of the flumes, and the finishing of this flume work will be pushed with all possible vigor. Mr. Vincent, a member of the company, is daily expected to reach Medford from San Francisco, and work on another section will then be laid out and men and teams put to work on it. Mr. Morris is going to put up a little barbecue to the people on the day water is turned into the new ditch. He will have roast beef, pigs and chickens, and other palatable edibles, and he is extending an invitation to everybody to happen around that day. Notice as to exact date will be given in these columns.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 25, 1902, page 7
W. C. Daley, of Lake Creek, was in the metropolis Tuesday. Mr. Daley is putting in the flumes for the Fish Lake Ditch. He reports that some trouble is being experienced in securing lumber necessary for the rapid progress of the work.
C. B. Williams, one of the members of the Fish Lake Ditch Company, arrived in the city Sunday and is now out on the ditch looking over the work.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, May 30, 1902, page 6
Gus Morris, who is doing rock work on the Fish Lake Ditch, spent Sunday at home.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, June 6, 1902, page 3
Will Enlarge Ditch.
The Fish Lake Ditch Co. discussed plans the other day with a view of enlarging the capacity of the ditch. While it may not be enlarged at the present time, the company desires to know if it could be enlarged any future time without interfering too much with the flow of water. Owing to the demand of prospective consumers it is believed it will be necessary to increase the supply in another year or so, and the company desires to be in shape to do it with the least trouble when the time comes.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 12, 1902, page 4
B. F. Peart, who has been doing blacksmithing for the Fish Lake Ditch Company, came in after supplies this week.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, July 4, 1902, page 3
Gus Morris, who has been employed on the Fish Lake Ditch the past year, spent several days at home last week..
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, July 11, 1902, page 3
GOOD MEN WANTED.
Good laborers and teamsters can secure employment at any time at Fish Lake Ditch camp, three miles above Brownsboro. Wages $1.75 per day; board $3.25 per week.
D. E. MORRIS,Medford Mail, July 11, 1902, page 3
Superintendent of Construction.
T. J. West, of Brownsboro, was in the city Wednesday upon business. The gentleman reports the hay and grain crop a big yield in his locality this year, while the fruit crop is immense--could not possibly be better. The Fish Lake Ditch passes through Mr. West's land, and by it he and his son will be enabled to irrigate 200 acres of land, which, in his opinion, will add materially to its productiveness. He says the ditch company has fifty or sixty men at work now finishing certain portions of the ditch, and every effort seems to be put forth to have water running in it as soon as is possible.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, July 18, 1902, page 6
The work which has been in progress on the Fish Lake Ditch for the past month has been that of enlarging the ditch from the headgate to Eagle Gulch, a distance of fourteen or fifteen miles. The heavy cut, the largest on the line, on the Clay Charley ranch, which is being excavated to a depth of fourteen feet and for 450 feet in length, is practically completed. This leaves only about two and one-half miles of uncompleted ditch--on the lands of James Miller and Bert West. About thirty days' time will be required to build this section of ditch to the 10,000-inch standard. The flume gang, working under foreman W. C. Daley, resumed work last Monday, and it is not thought there will be any further interruptions, as there is plenty of lumber now on the grounds. The completion of all flumes will require about six weeks' time. Water will be turned into each flume as soon as completed, this being necessary to preserve the flumes.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 18, 1902, page 7
Henry Ratrie, of Lake Creek, brought T. B. Evans and family and household effects to Medford last Sunday from the Fish Lake Ditch camp. Mr. Evans was a foreman on the ditch work, but gave up his job and goes to Klamathon, where he has been offered a good position in the grading camp of the new railroad being built from Klamathon to Pokegama.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 25, 1902, page 7
Mr. and Mrs. D. E. Morris were down from the Fish Lake Ditch camp Sunday.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, August 1, 1902, page 6
T. J. West, of Brownsboro, reported that the Fish Lake Ditch camp has been moved to his place, and that the ditch, including the fluming, is completed to Eagle Gulch. The camp is now pitched within 100 yards of Mr. West's house--and superintendent Morris has pitched his tent in the thickest of the thickly settled tent city.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 8, 1902, page 6
D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction work on the Fish Lake Ditch, reports to the Mail that with the exception of a few rocky points at the lower end of the ditch the work is completed to the drop on Bradshaw's place. There are now 1000 inches of water running in the ditch from the intake, on the north part of Butte Creek to Eagle Gulch. This amount of water only covers the bottom of the ditch, proving beyond the question of doubt that during the summer months the ditch will be capable of carrying all the water that flows in Butte Creek. The distance of completed ditch is 13½ to 14 miles, leaving 3 or 4 miles, which, by the way, is almost completed, and will be completed during the present month. The company is still short of good men, which will be required to hasten the completion of the ditch. They are paying $2 per day for good rock men. The men will undoubtedly be employed all the fall on the construction of one of the several branches to be put in below the drop. The construction of the ditch has cost the company more money than was estimated it would, owing to the immense amount of rock encountered in the construction work, much of which rock was below the surface. This, however, has not deterred the company in its determination to complete the ditch, but it has materially interfered with the construction work.
L. C. Charley, of Brownsboro, was in the city last week, accompanied by his daughter, Miss Edna, who was here for medical treatment. Mr. Charley's land is on the line of the new Fish Lake Ditch, and he is laying plans for the use of quite an amount of water from the ditch. The ditch so cuts his place as to make it possible for him to irrigate fully 200 acres of land. He is now making his lateral ditches and is sowing fifty acres of his land to timothy and clover, and next spring he will so 150 acres more land to [the] same grasses. He will also put in a few acres of alfalfa. While it is true that only one crop of timothy and clover can be cut during a season, it is also true that the meadows, a few weeks after cutting, will afford an abundance of excellent pasturage for a great number of cattle. Mr. Charley will increase his herd materially and will depend upon his meadows to properly prepare them for market. With plenty of water to irrigate with, the grass can be kept growing during the entire season. Regarding the progress of the work on the ditch, Mr. Charley said that water was now running to his place, and that it would surely be running over the drop this fall. The team work is about all completed, and the teams have all been laid off, only those belonging to the company being kept to work. Water is now running in the ditch for a distance of eight or nine miles. Good ditch men, he says, have been scarce and hard to get. Mr. Charley and his family have rooms at the Halley house, where Miss Edna has been quite seriously ill for several days, but she is now very much improved and will without a doubt soon be able to return to her home. Wednesday she was very sick and her chances for recovery were not encouraging, but relief came to her on the evening of that date, since which time she has gradually improved. Dr. Shearer is in attendance.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 5, 1902, page 7
D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction for the Fish Lake Ditch Co., has returned to camp. Mrs. M. will remain a few days.
C. B. Williams of San Francisco, one of the prominent members of the Jackson County Improvement Co. and the Fish Lake Ditch Co., is in Medford. He has just returned from a tour of inspection to the scene of operations.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 11, 1902, page 3
Mr. Rogers, of the camp hotel, who was on the sick list for a few days, has recovered, and was at Medford during the first of the week buying supplies.
Mr. Williams, the president and business manager of the Fish Lake Ditch Co., is making his headquarters here, and is one of the boys among the hands on the ditch.
Dan Morris, the superintendent of construction, has his hands full giving grades on the ditch, looking after the work and keeping the company's interests well in hand.
The Fish Lake Ditch camp is now located one mile west of Brownsboro on the West farm. A part of the camp is at the drop which is on Bert West's and Bradshaw's land. The water is coming slowly but is an absolute certainty.
"Brownsboro Items," Medford Mail, September 12, 1902, page 5
P. M. Williams returned Monday evening from a month's stay in the vicinity of Mt. Sterling, where he has been prospecting for gold, but unfortunately without any good results. The gentleman is now out at work on the Fish Lake Ditch.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, September 12, 1902, page 6
J. R. Howard moved his family back to Medford this week from the Fish Lake Ditch, where he has been employed with seven teams for the past year and a half.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 12, 1902, page 7
Mr. Rogers, who has had charge of the Camp Hotel of the ditch company, has left with his family for McCallister Springs and Fish Lake, where they will rest and camp until October, then return to their home in Sams Valley.
The water in the Fish Lake Ditch is now running to Eagle Gulch, within two miles of the drop. There is a good force at work blasting out the few high places, under the direction of a competent foreman, and the work is moving ahead with an earnestness that assures a speedy flow of water at the drop.
"Brownsboro Items," Medford Mail, September 19, 1902, page 5
At a recent meeting of the directors of the Fish Lake Ditch Company, held in this city, I. L. Hamilton was elected president, L. C. Williams secretary and treasurer, and C. B. Williams and W. I. Vawter directors.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, September 19, 1902, page 6
Ralph Gregg, foreman of the rock and powder gang on the ditch, reports that all drilling and blasting will be completed to the drop by September 30th.
The steady demand for land is causing prices to move up a little each month. Land in the vicinity of Brownsboro has increased in value 25 percent in the past six months.
Mr. Clark, secretary of the Fish Lake Ditch Company, is here, and in company with the president, Mr. Williams, is making a careful inspection of the work on the ditch. Water is now running in the ditch to Dead Horse Gulch, on Mr. Miller's place, and in a few days will be running over the drop on the West ranch.
"Brownsboro Items," Medford Mail, September 26, 1902, page 3
E. D. Clark, of San Francisco, a member of the Jackson County Improvement Company, arrived here Sunday evening and left for the construction headquarters of the Fish Lake Ditch on Monday. He will be here several days inspecting the progress of the work.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, September 26, 1902, page 6
There was a landslide out on the Fish Lake Ditch one night last week, and much trouble and expense resulted therefrom. The slide occurred opposite Dr. Reiter's place, about ten miles from the intake. Water has been running in the ditch past this point, which is upon a mountainside, for the last month or six weeks, and it was thought that there was no possibility of a slide. The first slide which occurred took out four or five acres of land from near the foot of the hill and a second slide took out equally as much land higher upon on the hillside--600 to 700 feet from the base--and with it went about seventy feet of the ditch. The land all slid down into Dr. Reiter's field, covering quite a quantity of his agricultural land. The land slid fully 250 feet and took with it from 200 to 300 pine and oak trees, from 6 inches to two feet in diameter. Many of these trees are now standing, and are alive, but they are hardly as straight up as they originally were. The work of repairing the damage done to the ditch has been commenced. In order to repair the ditch line it will be necessary to go back into the hill thirty or forty feet and then reestablish the line again. The water, however, will be carried around this point temporarily in a flume--until the slide is permanently settled. The cost of this repair work will amount to fully $3000.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 3, 1902, page 7
H. L. Holgate, of Washington, D.C., arrived in Medford Tuesday morning. Mr. Holgate is connected with the census bureau, and his mission here is the investigation of irrigation matters in Southern Oregon and Northern California. The census bureau and the U.S. Geological Survey works jointly in matters pertaining to the reclamation of lands, and the work Mr. Holgate has to do is in estimating and reporting on needed irrigation and enterprises for that purpose already in operation. His special mission in Medford is to make a report on the Fish Lake Ditch.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, October 10, 1902, page 6
GOOD MEN WANTED.
Good laborers and teamsters can secure employment at any time at Fish Lake Ditch camp, three miles above Brownsboro. Wages $2.00 per day; board $3.25 per week.
D. E. MORRIS,Medford Mail, October 17, 1902, page 6
Superintendent of Construction.
D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction on the Fish Lake Ditch, reports that the work of making over the ditch where the big slide occurred a few weeks ago is about completed, and the water will soon be running past that point as it did before the mountain took its unannounced slide downward. The slide necessitated the putting in of 250 feet of flume. The damages sustained by the slide were not nearly so great as at first thought they would be, the expenditure of not more than $1000 being required to make the ditch as good or better than before the accident. Superintendent Morris is now taking a ten days' layoff and is enjoying a hunt in the mountains. Alford Gregg is superintendent of the works during his absence.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 24, 1902, page 7
The damage done by the big slide which took away considerable of the Fish Lake Co.'s ditch not long ago, not far from Brownsboro, has been repaired. A substantial flume, about 250 feet long, replaces it. Work on the main line is progressing nicely.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 30, 1902, page 1
Mr. and Mrs. D. E. Morris were down from the Fish Lake Ditch camp this week .Mr. Morris reports that the work of repairing the damage to the ditch by the recent landslide is about completed, and that within five days water will be running the full length of the ditch again.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, October 31, 1902, page 6
Gus Morris, who has been employed at the Fish Lake Ditch the past year, was in after supplies the first of the week.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, November 14, 1902, page 3
Work on the Fish Lake Ditch is practically suspended for the winter. The work of repairing the slide has been completed, and now 200 feet of fluming, built on solid ground, carries the water over this point. A few good men will be employed all winter. These will constitute a patrol force, and their duties will be to strengthen the embankment where required and to remove any high bars that may be found in the ditch. The company's stock is now engaged in plowing on the Harbaugh place, which place was acquired by the company a few months since. Three gang plows have been purchased, and these are all at work when the weather will permit. The company expects to put in 400 acres of grain this winter and will experiment also with growing alfalfa, timothy and orchard grass. This place is about seven miles from Medford, and about twelve miles of ditch will be built in the spring which will carry the water from the end of the ditch which is now built to this land. It is expected this piece of work will be completed in time to put water on the land when needed next summer. There are two or three miles of side hill along which this stretch of ditch will be built, but aside from this the land is comparatively smooth. Supt. Morris has now moved to the Harbaugh place and will remain there during the winter.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 21, 1902, page 7
The skeptical ones who have been thinking--and some of them saying--that the Fish Lake Ditch Company would never have water running over the drop on the Bradshaw place are now informed that they were very much in error as to their thinks and their says [sic]. On Tuesday of this week 1500 inches of water came over the drop--and is still coming in that quantity--and the said water came through the Fish Lake Ditch for a distance of sixteen and five-eighths miles--and was taken in at the head of the ditch--from the north fork of Little Butte Creek. The amount of water taken in was 2000 inches, making a loss of 500 inches in traveling the full distance, and the time required in travel was forty-eight hours. The drop at the Bradshaw place is 125 feet, at which place the company expect to eventually put in a large dynamo for generating power, which power will be conveyed by wire to any part of the valley where there may be a demand for it.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 28, 1902, page 7
D. E. Morris, superintendent of the Fish Lake Ditch, was in the city Saturday and said: "We have tested every portion of the ditch with 7500 inches of water and find it in first-class condition. The ditch has been repaired around the slide which occurred in the fall, and that portion of the work was included in the tests. I thought we might have a little trouble from the excessive rains, but in spite of the fact that Butte Creek has been higher on two occasions than at any time last year, we had no trouble with the ditch. There is now no question but what we will be able to run the ditch to its full capacity in the spring." Work has been suspended for the winter but will be resumed as soon as the rainy season is over.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, December 19, 1902, page 7
LITTLE DAMAGE TO THE BIG CANAL
The Fish Lake Ditch Is Not Badly Damaged by the Recent Big Flood--
Walls Blown Out with Powder, Prevents Damage.
The Success was favored with a call Thursday from D. E. Morris, superintendent of construction for the Fish Lake Ditch Company, the company that is putting in the big irrigating and power canal that has its beginning at Fish Lake up near Mt. Pitt and which extends down to the Rogue River Valley. In regard to the damage the late flood did to their ditch, Mr. Morris stated that there was no washout of any consequence to the banks of the ditch, but the danger was so great from the tremendous pressure of the water that he was compelled to have several sections of the wooden walls chopped out, and he also had some of the stone embankments blown out with giant powder. These openings relieved the pressure and saved the canal from more extensive damage by the flood.
Profiting by this experience Mr. Morris states he will put in a better system of headworks to hold in check any future flood. No work is being done upon the canal at present, but as soon as spring is fairly opened Mr. Morris will put in a big force of men, with the intention of completing the canal by fall.
Medford Success, February 6, 1903, page 1
Fish Lake Ditch.We learn from good authority that all the damage done to the ditch by the late storm has been repaired, the extent of which was covered by an expenditure of about $500. The damage consisted mainly of emergency openings having been made in the ditch by order of Supt. Morris, in some places, to relieve the strain on the ditch by the excess of water caused by the flood. There were also a few minor slides in the upper bank, but all of the embankment or constructed work in the building of the ditch stood the strain of the flood, which filled the ditch in many places to overflowing, without the least sign of weakness. This being the second winter that most of the work has stood the storms, there remains very little apprehension as to the stability of the work.
It is rumored that Supt. Morris has been recently surveying some lines from the drop towards Eagle Point and also from the drop towards and onto the Bybee or Ish desert, and the probabilities are that some work may be done along these lines during the coming spring.
Medford Mail, February 27, 1903, page 6
Will Extend Ditch.The Jackson County Improvement Co., better known as the Fish Lake Ditch Co., has water running on its property northeast of Medford, and are now figuring upon the proposition of extending the ditch to Medford. Some preliminary work in this line has already been done by Superintendent McCray, and as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made, construction work will likely be commenced. The building of this ditch into Medford will not only prove a good thing for the town, giving it an ample supply of water for irrigating purposes; but will be of great benefit to the farmers along its route, as has been clearly demonstrated by the experimental irrigation done this year by the company.
Medford Mail, July 29, 1904, page 8
New Trail to Fish Lake.A new government trail has been laid out from McAllister Springs to Fish Lake, and work will be commenced upon it early in the spring. Forest Supervisor S. C. Bartrum was up from Roseburg last week and personally superintended the laying out and surveying of the new route.
The old trail wound about on the ridges and was very rough and steep. The new route will be at least one-third shorter and have a better grade; in fact the grade will be better than that of the upper portion of the wagon road to McAllister Springs. Three miles of this trail is as straight as a section line, not a curve in it.
The trail when completed will be eight feet wide and will, in connection with other trails, form the shortest and easiest route to Klamath County.
It is the intention of the government to fence a pasture at Fish Lake for the accommodation of the rangers' horses, as has already been done at other stations. This pasture will also be large enough to permit its use by campers also.
Mr. Bartrum is making a good record for himself as a forest officer. Besides being an energetic and competent official, he is a very pleasant man to meet, and is always courteous and obliging to those with whom he is brought in contact in the discharge of his duty.
Medford Mail, November 10, 1905, page 1
The largest and most comprehensive system now in operation in the valley is that of the Fish Lake Water Co. In the year 1900 this enterprise was first definitely commenced and now the company has a ditch line twenty-five miles in length from the intake on the headwaters of Little Butte Creek to the present end of the ditch on the company's farm a few miles northeast of Medford. This ditch has a capacity of 5,000 miner's inches and is so constructed that its capacity can be increased at any time as the demand for water may require. The waters of Butte Creek are sufficient during most years--up to the latter part of July at least--to fill the ditch, but in order to be sure of having an ample supply, the company has secured from the government the right to make a storage reservoir at Fish Lake. This lake lies at the base of Mt. McLoughlin, one of the snow-capped peaks of the Cascades, and is a mile and a half long by a quarter mile wide, varying in depth from four to eight feet. It is fed by a number of ice-cold springs gushing out of McLoughlin's sides and is the source of the north fork of Little Butte. At its outlet the mountains come close together forming a narrow gorge through which Butte Creek rushes on its way to the valley. At this point precipitous bluffs of solid rock face each other and here the Fish Lake Water Company purposes to erect a mighty dam, which will confine the waters of the lake and raise its surface at least thirty feet above its present level. This will give them an immense storage reservoir two miles long by half a mile wide and thirty feet in depth in the shallow parts. The head of the ditch is some twenty miles from the lake, but no more ditch need be built, as when the water begins to run low, all that will be necessary is to open the gates at the lake and let the water come down through its natural channel to the point of diversion.
At the present time 50,000 acres of the most productive lands in the valley are covered by this ditch, and work is now going on making an extension of nine miles, crossing Bear Creek just north of the city limits of Medford, and which will cover 10,000 acres more of land, much of which is now non-productive, but which under the revivifying effects of water will produce bounteous yields of fruits, grains and vegetables. The Fish Lake Company is the pioneer public irrigation enterprise in the valley, and its work has resulted in a great deal more interest being taken in irrigation than ever before.
"Irrigation Is Coming," Medford Mail, March 9, 1906, page 13
Fish Lake Ditch Extension.Today (Friday) work will be commenced on the extension of the ditch of the Jackson County Improvement Co. (the Fish Lake ditch) to cover a large area of ground between the northern limits of this city and the Hopkins orchard at Central Point. Surveys of the proposed line have been in progress for some time and all is now in readiness for active work.
Messrs. C. D. Vincent and Jack Belsher, of Stockton, Calif., are here to aid in the commencement of the work.
The primary object of the extension is to get water upon the Hopkins (formerly the Olwell) orchard, and the company has entered into an agreement to deliver the water by July 1st. The new ditch will cross Bear Creek at the McAndrews ford, in the northern part of Medford, will cross the Ish tract north of town, go through the DeBar place and terminate--for the time being--at the Hopkins orchard. It will involve the construction of some ten miles of ditch and with only six weeks in which to complete the work there will have to be some hustling done. Incidentally the ditch will cover a large area of land, which is comparatively unproductive now, and for the irrigation of which the company has no contracts, but they are confident that it will not take the owners long to realize the benefits of irrigation and that eventually they will all take water. Mr. Hopkins, in whose interest alone this extension is undertaken, is one of those men who do things. Not content with having a good orchard, he is determined to make it better, to increase the yield of fruit, to make it more uniform, and to ensure a crop every year. To accomplish this he must have water, and the Jackson County Improvement Co., which has always been eager to advance the interests of the county, have agreed to furnish it to him by building ten miles of ditch.
Medford Mail, May 18, 1906, page 1
SOLUTION OF THE WATER PROBLEMThere has been some talk in effect that the Fish Lake Ditch Company would at no time be able to supply the amount of water which will be necessary to irrigate any great amount of land in the valley, or for city uses. This does not seem to be quite true. In fact it is very far from being true. Since the company has secured a right to the water in Four Mile Lake there ought to be no further doubt as to ample supply. The water in Four Mile Lake added to that of Fish Lake will give a sufficient supply to properly and amply irrigate fully 50,000 acres of land and besides this there would still remain enough to supply all the cities and towns of the valley. These estimates have been made by engineers who have made measurements of the water in the lakes and of the streams feeding them at the very driest time of a very dry season. The work of bringing the water from Four Mile Lake and emptying it into Fish Lake is an engineering feat which is not considered in any sense an impossibility. But it is instead considered a very easy task and one which can be performed with but little expense.
Project Now in Contemplation Assures an Abundant Supply for All Uses.
The Fish Lake Ditch Company has made all the necessary filings for the water in the Four Mile Lake and for a ditch right-of-way across that part of the Crater Lake reserve which will be necessary to traverse in connecting the two lakes, and the company expects to commence work on this ditch early next season.
It is not improbable that some move will be inaugurated which will have for its object the bringing of the water from these lakes into Medford for city uses. This would seem to be the quickest and most available system which could possibly be installed. There may be other means by which water can be secured, but this appears to better fit the needs than any which are now being talked of--to this paper's knowledge.
It is true that the water would have to be piped some distance, say from the Bradshaw drop. It is estimated that a pipe line could be put in covering the distance from Medford to the drop, about twelve miles, for not to exceed $30,000. This would include a reservoir and filterer to be put in on the hill east of Medford. There is talk of organizing a company with the object in view of constructing this line--conditioned, of course, that the city would enter into a contract to use the water at a stipulated price. The ditch company will take stock in such a company, but they will not put in the line themselves. They want to feel that there are men here who are sufficiently sanguine of the success of the project to put some money into it. There are many in Medford who undoubtedly believe this project to be a good thing and would be a profitable investment of money, but the company will insist that this be backed by something more substantial than a mere belief.
The present water system, or rather the water supply, has been proven to be inadequate to meet the demands of the city--and these demands are constantly increasing. There is no better time than right now to take this matter up and devise means for bettering our condition. It must be done. There is nothing to do but get more water. Just how to get it and from where is a matter open for discussion.
Medford Mail, November 30, 1906, page 1
TITLE OF FISH LAKE COMPANY PASSES
TO CUMMINGS AND ASSOCIATES
WILL SPEND $2,500,000 IN PLACING ROGUE VALLEY UNDER IRRIGATION
PATRICK WELCH, WELL KNOWN CAPITALIST OF SPOKANE,
IS PRESIDENT OF THE COMPANY
After expending $150,0000 in preliminary work and surveys, Fred N. Cummings of this city and his associates have taken up the option they have held since March, 1900, on the Fish Lake Ditch Company and the Jackson County Improvement Company, the title passing to them. The purchase price was $425,000. By the terms of the purchase Mr. Cummings and his associates must expend $150,000 additional on construction work within the next 12 months. When completed the project will represent an expenditure of $2,500,000 and will have placed 55,000 acres in the Rogue River Valley under irrigation, aside from 7000 acres the company plans to reclaim on what is known now as "the desert." The deal is the greatest in the history of Southern Oregon.
For the past year and a half Mr. Cummings has been indefatigably working on his plans to give the Rogue River Valley a first-class irrigation system. He secured an option on the Fish Lake Ditch Company holdings and then began the task of enlisting capital. In this he was successful. Recently the Rogue River Valley Canal Company, with a capital stock of $1,500,000, was incorporated to carry on the work of the Fish Lake Ditch Company and Roguelands, Inc., with a capital stock of a like amount, to supplant the Jackson County Improvement Company. Both are close corporations.
Comprehensive Survey First Made.
After securing the option on the Fish Lake Ditch Company, Mr. Cummings began a comprehensive survey of the valley, and in this work expended $30,000. One of the terms of the option was that Mr. Cummings should continue construction work on the system. This was done, and to date no less than $150,000 has been expended.
The Officers of the Company.
The officers of the new company are: Patrick Welsh of Spokane, president; R. K. Neil, vice-president; F. N. Cummings, sole manager; Irving Worthington, chief engineer, and Porter J. Neff, local attorney. Isham N. Smith of Portland heads the legal department. To Mr. Smith's ability is due much credit for the successful conclusion of the deal.
Within the next few months the company will have all of that land under what is known as the Hopkins Canal, comprising 2700 acres, under water.
Will Expend $2,500,000 in Valley.
When Mr. Cummings and his associates have completed their plans they will have expended $2,500,000 and will have placed 55,000 acres of land in the Rogue River Valley under irrigation. To complete this task five years will be necessary, although they expect within two years to have three main conduits completed. When completed, the system will be one of the most comprehensive found in any section of the Northwest and will consist of approximately 350 miles of distributing laterals, aside from the main canal from the intake on Little Butte Creek to the Bradshaw drop, which, when enlarged and completed, will have a capacity of 250 second-feet of water. The undertaking is a gigantic one, and it is the greatest individual undertaking in this section.
Are Now Expending $10,000 a Month.
The company is now expending about $10,000 a month in construction work and surveys. They are also locating what will be known as their high-line canal, which will follow the foothills around the valley above the 401 ranch, Hillcrest and on south to Talent, from where it will swing around the valley back of the Burrell orchards on to the Jacksonville schoolhouse and on to the foothills west of Central Point. An intermediate canal is also under way. This canal will be between the Hopkins, or low-line, canal and the high-line, and will skirt south and circle in just south of Medford. The Hopkins canal is now being enlarged. From these three main canals innumerable laterals are to be constructed, so that each 40-acre tract in the valley will be placed under water.
To Utilize Horse Power.
From the Bradshaw drop around to Yankee Creek the company will [be] building a high-line canal. In Yankee Creek they will construct a powerhouse, utilizing the fall which they can attain there to lift water into the high-line canal, which will pass through the Owens gap and hug the foothills until Talent is reached. The acreage which this canal will place under water is shown by the fact that it will pass back of the 401, shoot through over the Hazelrigg divide, across the upper end of the Merrick orchard, pass above Hillcrest, cut across Westerlund and swing around the valley about the north line of the Mountain View orchard, near Talent. This will give an altitude high enough for the canal to pass back of the Burrell orchard and cover that immense tract. This canal, when completed, will run close to the Jacksonville school and from thence on north to Central Point.
Will Reclaim Seven Thousand Acres of Land.
In addition to the irrigation plans the company will reclaim some 7000 acres of land known as "the desert," which is shown to be productive when water is placed upon it.
Taken all in all, the undertaking is a gigantic one. Before putting a grading outfit in the field, the company expended nearly $30,000 in making a contour map of the valley showing the elevation of every tract. It is proving the greatest individual enterprise in Southern Oregon and one that will mean much to the valley.
Fish Lake Company Organized in 1900.
It was in 1900 that the Fish Lake Water Company was organized by Hollister, Cal., people, induced so to do by the report of V. T. McCray, who had, as engineer, filed upon the waters of Fish Lake at the southern base of Mt. McLoughlin. The original members of the company were C. D. Vincent, William Palmtag, J. H. Belser, C. B. Williams (since deceased), Leon and Fred Williams, of Hollister, Cal., I. L. Hamilton and V. T. McCray, M. Purdin and the late Rufus Cox of Medford.
Primary Object of the Company.
The primary object of the company, which is now being carried out by the new owners, was to bring a canal around the foothills so that any portion of the valley north of Talent might be irrigated. They began work on their canal in 1901 and in 1903 had completed 16 miles of ditch to the Bradshaw drop, from which place, the next year, they offered to deliver free to farmers beneath the ditch all the water needed. At first opposition was met, residents claiming that water was not needed, but since that time orchardists have become more or less educated, and over 60 miles of laterals have been constructed.
Realizing in 1907 that the demand for water would be much greater in the next few years, Mr. McCray conceived the idea of bringing the waters of Four-Mile Lake, lying on the east side of the Cascade divide. By building a dam of probably 40 feet high across a narrow gorge it was estimated that the water could be carried over a low place in the divide between the two lakes and utilized to increase the water supply for the Rogue River Valley. The proper representations were made and the right to the waters of Four-Mile were assigned by the government to the Fish Lake company, which assures their successors of water in plenty for all time.
In the passing of the Fish Lake company, a corporation which has done much to develop the valley merges into one which may do even more; still it was necessary for the pioneer to come and "show" those who came afterward.
Statement to Water Users.
For the benefit of the water users in the valley, Mr. Cummings, manager of the new company, has issued the following statement, which gives in a concise form the purposes of the new company, together with its proposition to the public:
"To the water users of the Rogue River Valley.
"The Rogue River Valley Canal Company, a corporation duly incorporated under the laws of the state of Oregon, has completed surveys and plans for the enlargement and extension of the Fish Lake Water Company's canals, which it has acquired.
"The project when completed will serve all that part of the valley lying between the foothills on both sides of Bear Creek, from Talent on the south to Rogue River on the north--a total area of approximately 55,000 acres.
"It is the company's intention to diligently prosecute the work of construction already commenced. and to be in a position to meet all demands made for irrigation service at as early a date as possible.
"Lands lying under the Hopkins canal can be supplied with water for the season of 1911, and the company is now prepared to execute contracts for perpetual water rights on any part of this area.
"That construction may not be delayed on canal lines yet to be built, the company desires an expression from the land owners of the valley as to their needs for water, and to this end will appreciate applications being made so that requirements for construction may be anticipated.
"The cost of a perpetual water right will be $50 per acre, payable one-fifth (1/5) in cash, the balance in four (4) annual installments, bearing six percent interest.
"The annual maintenance charge for water delivery will be $2 per acre, per annum, payable at the company's office on or before January 1st of the year in which service is required.
"Payments on both water rights and maintenance become due and payable only after actual delivery of water to the land.
"FRED N. CUMMINGS, Manager."
Medford Mail Tribune, July 15, 1910, page 1
FIFTY MEN BUILDING DAM AT FISH LAKE
J. T. Sullivan, manager of the Rogue River Canal Company, has returned from a trip to Fish Lake. He traveled by auto, reaching the dam at the west end of the lake. This is the first time an auto has ever made the trip.
Manager Sullivan reports that fifty men are now employed on the construction of the dam and that within the next ten days or two weeks the force will be increased to 150. The dam will be completed by the time snow flies.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 13, 1915, page 6
Coin Shower Deluges Workmen.Workmen employed on the ditch of the Rogue River Canal Company set off a charge of dynamite under a stump and then the air was filled with dollars and half dollars. The blast uncovered a money cache that had apparently been buried there since the early sixties. Most of the coins were of the mintage of the fifties, and when the fall of coin began there was a wild scramble for it. The cache contained about $500, according to some; others placed the amount as high as $2,500. Some Spanish coins were found among the United States coins. How the money came to be beneath the stump, or why or when is a mystery.--Ashland (Ore.) dispatch to Los Angeles Times.
Beloit Daily Call, Beloit, Kansas, January 8, 1916, page 3
The Rogue River Canal Company is pushing its work on the Willow Springs extension as rapidly as possible, but is short of men. There is no excuse for the presence of an idler in this valley at this time. There is work for every man who desires it. Even the farmers are heard to complain of the scarcity of help this year. Usually the reverse is true. No one has offered a generally satisfactory reason for the existence of that condition at this time, unless it be that the prohibition law has driven the loafers out of the state, as well as workmen of good repute who prefer larger privilege socially and, being footloose, have gone where they can enjoy it.
Water was turned into the Phoenix segment of the Rogue River Canal Company's irrigation system Saturday to test the substantiality of its construction. The test is being made specific. The canal appears to be firmly constructed and carries a great volume of water without a break. Only 1500 acres under that ditch have been listed in the subscription acreage for water this year. The ditch, therefore, will not be taxed to its capacity to carry the quantity required for that acreage.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, March 20, 1916, page 2
Final details regarding the Fish Lake dam for the storage of water for the Medford Irrigation District were outlined in Portland this week at a conference with State Engineer Cupper, by D. C. Henny, consulting engineer for the Medford Irrigation District; Theodore A. Garrow, project engineer, and H. M. Chadwick, engineer for the Rogue River Valley Canal Company. The project involves the construction of a rock fill dam with concrete base for the storage of some 14,000 acre-feet of water in Fish Lake near the head of Little Butte Creek.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, March 25, 1921, page 2
The mayor and city councilmen held a special meeting last night with representatives of the Medford Irrigation District and the Rogue River Canal Company, at which the city government insisted that in the building of the district system the district and contractor amply protect Medford's water pipe system and right of way in the Fish Lake and Lake Creek section from any injury or likely injury, and the promise was made that the irrigation system thereabouts would be constructed in whatever way the city officials desired. A special council committee will visit the scene of operations Monday and make the council's wishes known.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, June 4, 1921, page 2
There have also been several truckloads of lumber and supplies of different kinds taken through here to the Tom Farlow place where the Fish Lake Ditch Company are putting up a large warehouse to store their supplies for future use while they are at work on the lakes, and the roads are so that they can haul over them. There have been quite a number of men with beds and bedding going up in that country, and every indication is that there will be quite a quantity of work done this summer and from appearances there will be considerable work done on the Pacific and Eastern railroad between now and next Christmas.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail Tribune, June 9, 1921, page 6
In response to advertisements inserted in a number of western Oregon newspapers by the Rogue River Canal Company, there has been an increase in the number of transient working men in the city. The men are being sent to the camps recently established by the canal company at Fish Lake and Four Mile Lake.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, June 22, 1921, page 2
The Rogue River Canal Company has completed the west side section of its canal, which extends from Phoenix to a point below Madden's ranch in the Central Point district, where it enters a coulee, and the surplus water flows into Bear Creek. This section of the canal is composed of 17 miles of main ditch and approximately 50 miles of laterals, all completed and ready for the water. All the equipment and camps have been moved to the east side sector, which extends from Phoenix to Bradshaw Gulch, work on which will be finished this fall. The water will be turned in next spring. The construction work as it stands at present is ahead of schedule.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, July 7, 1921, page 2
REGARDING FISH LAKE
To the Editor: I was interested in your editorial regarding Medford's water supply and heartily approve. In addition to a reserve reservoir and enlarged pipe line to southwest Medford, there should be a careful examination of the effect of raising Fish Lake and the clearing of land covered by water. The purity of Medford's water supply must be protected. A SUBSCRIBER.This suggestion is timely and the matter warrants careful examination, but we believe there is no cause for alarm at present. Members of the city council have already taken up the question unofficially with representatives of the Rogue River Canal Company, and officials of the company have given assurance that if the responsibility is theirs they will guarantee that Medford's water supply will be protected in every way.
The city has already started proceedings to have the Fish Lake watershed placed under control of the National Forest Administration, and City Attorney Mears has just received a letter from Congressman Hawley, declaring that HR5686 has been favorably reported by the Department of the Interior.
This question, like the question of a reserve reservoir and increased city pressure, should be the subject of thorough examination by some competent engineer, and the entire plan of protecting and bettering Medford's water supply should be worked out in detail in the near future.
Opinions differ as to what effect the raising of the water in Fish Lake will have upon the city's water, but the water will not be raised for another year, and in the meantime the city council can be depended upon to go into the matter exhaustively, and see that Medford's interests are fully protected.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 15, 1921, page 4 Medford's interests were NOT protected. The forest inundated by the higher water level was not cleared, forcing Medford to spend a million dollars to find another water source.
TO SPEED UP WORK ON DAM RESULT OF TRIP
Best Known Engineers on Pacific Coast Inspect Work at Fish Lake--
Every Effort to Be Made to Get Water in 1922.
Officials of the Medford Irrigation District at exerting every effort now to see that there is no slip-up in securing water for the 1922 season. Yesterday one of the most imposing bodies of hydraulic experts ever seen in Oregon traveled to Fish Lake to look over the situation and render their opinions.
The party included State Engineer Percy Cupper, ex-state engineer John H. Lewis, R. H. Thompson, ex-city engineer of Spokane, Leonard Carpenter, director of the Medford Irrigation District, R. W. Rea, district engineer, Pat Welch and Ray Moran of the Rogue River Canal Company, H. M. Chadwick, engineer for the canal company, Pat Daily, chief in charge of the steam shovel construction, and Herman Powell, assistant engineer of the irrigation district.
An exhaustive examination of the new dam now under construction was made, and it is believed that as a result of the inspection the work will be speeded up so that the long-deferred hope of the people of Southern Oregon for water will be realized next year without fail.
D. C. Henny of Portland, recognized as one of the foremost hydraulic engineers of the country, went to inspect the Fish Lake dam today, accompanied by R. W. Rea.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 28, 1921, page 8
There has been several truckloads of light railroad rails go through here for Fish Lake to be used in the construction of a large dam, being put up by the Fish Lake Ditch Co.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail Tribune, September 9, 1921, page 7
CANAL CO. ESTABLISH THREE MORE CAMPSMedford Mail Tribune, October 28, 1921, page 1
The Rogue River Canal Company is establishing three more construction camps near the town of Lake Creek, which are strung along the line of the ditch. Fifty men will be employed all winter at each camp in enlarging the old ditch and in putting in the small diversion dams at the north and south forks of Little Butte Creek.
This will make in all eleven camps employing 450 men which the canal company has strung along the ditch between Little Butte intake and Medford. Of this number 150 men are employed at the Fish Lake dam.
WORK PROGRESSES CONCRETE WORK FISH LAKE DAMMedford Mail Tribune, December 9, 1921, page 3
Reports from Fish Lake show that the pouring of concrete in the valve tower is progressing satisfactorily. The emergency gate and service gate frames have been set and concrete has been poured to a height of about six feet. The reinforced concrete outlet conduit is practically finished. The rock fill part of the dam has been brought up to full height, and the remainder of the dam has been brought to such a height as will ensure sufficient storage for the coming season.
The reinforced concrete diversion dam and intake works on the South Fork of Little Butte Creek are finished.
Work on the canals is progressing rapidly despite inclement weather. Coal for the steam shovels, gravel, lumber, metal and other materials were all hauled in in dry weather, therefore steady progress can be assured throughout the winter. Work on the North Fork diversion dam and intake works has been started, and considerable concrete lining work is in progress on the Main Canal.
Every effort is being made to complete the system for delivery next season.
Chief Engineer Chadwick of the canal company and District Engineer Cowgill have arranged for an inspection trip to Fish Lake Monday.
WATER ASSURED FOR IRRIGATION SEASON OF 1922Medford Mail Tribune, December 21, 1921, page 1
President Medford Irrigation District Makes Public Statement Regarding Water Situation--Contractor Leaves Fish Lake Today.
"The contractor moved the camp from Fish Lake today, and the Medford Irrigation District will have water for irrigation during the year 1922," said J. A. Perry, president of the Medford Irrigation District, today. "The dam is completed up to 20 feet, and the gates are all in, gate tower completed, so that we can store water sufficient for our needs during the next year. The work on the main canal is nearly completed, and the work of enlarging the canal above the Bradshaw drop, and the Phoenix lateral are progressing very well, and will be completed by early spring.
"Land owners in the district however should get their land in shape to put the water on. We would advise them to get their ditches laid out and head ditches made as early as possible, so that they may be operated with the least possible trouble. It is no small matter to put water on your land for the first time, and unless the land owners are all ready to take the water when it is given them, they are not going to get the best results, and there will be more or less grief for everyone.
"So get to work at once and prepare to use the water to the best advantage. The board of directors realizes that there are very few people in the valley who have had any experience in irrigation, and we are arranging for a few public meetings to be held during the next month as an educational campaign. We will have the cooperation of the Oregon Agricultural College, C. C. Cate, county agent, and F. C. Reimer, of the experiment station. These men, together with men who have had large practical experience in using water, will address these meetings, and we hope all the land owners will attend these meetings and get all the information they can.
"We believe you will get the best results if you have your irrigation ditches laid out by a competent engineer, otherwise you may find when the water is turned into your ditches that they are not properly located, and before you can get them relocated and ready for the water the water will have been turned down to your neighbor. So be sure you have your ditches in the right place, and everything ready, before the time comes to turn in the water."
A large number of workmen employed by the Rogue River Canal Company on construction work at Fish Lake have arrived in the city, being forced out by the heavy snow.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, December 23, 1921, page 2
Mr. E. G. High of Ashland, was here in the interest of the aviators, and Roy Lewis came in Saturday evening with a six-horse team from Fish Lake and spent the night at the Sunnyside on his way to Talent. He had been working on the Fish Lake dam all summer and as the work was shut down for the season, was bringing out some of the things. J. D. Patrick, another member of the force who had been working on the Fish Lake dam, a carpenter, also came out and spent Friday night with us.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail Tribune, December 30, 1921, page 6
COMPLETION MILLION AND QUARTER DOLLARMedford Mail Tribune, June 9, 1922, page C1
IRRIGATION SYSTEM MEANS WATER WILL
EVENTUALLY BE PUT ON SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND ACRES IN ROGUE RIVER VALLEY
A million and a quarter dollar irrigation system for Rogue River Valley, irrigating 10,000 acres in the valley this year and with a ditch covering more than 20,000 acres, has just been put into operation. The storage reservoirs are not yet complete but 4100 acre feet of water is in storage for use this season. A $41,000 dam is to be constructed at Four Mile Lake, a $166,000 dam is 80 percent complete at Fish Lake, a $100,000 connecting canal between the two lakes is to be completed this summer. The 15.8 miles of main canal have been completed at a cost of $150,000, and 45 miles of district main canal have been completed at a cost of $385,000 In addition to a 200-mile system of laterals at a cost of $140,000. The final total storage capacity of the reservoirs now under construction will be 31,300 acre feet. Inestimable improvement in crop yield is predicted for the valley as a result of the full capacity operation of the system. Maximum cost per acre $125. Water turned in May 15, 1922.
Irrigation Started in 1850To tell correctly of the benefit of irrigation to the Rogue River Valley one would be compelled to fill volumes. To tell correctly of the fight which preceded the formation of several irrigation districts in the Rogue River Valley would fill more volumes. Suffice it to say that irrigation has been practiced in this vicinity since the '50s and numerous water rights have a priority of 1854.
Within the next two years the six large irrigation projects in the Rogue River valley will be watering approximately 80,000 acres of land. Adding to this the numerous small projects and the privately owned ditches, the total irrigated area will likely reach 75,000 acres.
The vast increase in crop yields cannot be estimated at the present time but it is known that it will be of immense proportion. The possibilities of the valley can only be imagined; time alone will tell. With a wonderful climate, and varied soils properly irrigated, it is only a question of time until the anti-irrigationist will cease to exist, and therefore cease to knock.
The Medford DistrictThe Medford irrigation district canal covers 20,000 acres of land in the heart of the valley. Only 10,000 acres of this land can receive water. 9550 acres have been signed up for water. When the last 150 acres have been signed up completing the 10,000 acres there will be no more water. Time will undoubtedly tell who is right, the landowner with the water or the landowner without.
Unit number one of the great system comprises Four Mile Lake. This beautiful body of water is about two and one-half miles long by about three-fourths mile wide and lies on the summit of the Cascade Range north and east of Mt. McLoughlin. It is said to have a depth of 200 feet and has been found to be deeper than 120 feet in several places. It is stocked with excellent, gamey trout and if fished properly will easily satisfy the most ardent fisherman's desire.
The old dam built by V. T. McCray, engineer for the old Fish Lake Ditch Co., is to be torn down and a new dam of earth and rock with a concrete facing will be erected. The dam is to be 25 feet in height and tower, outlet and spillway will be concrete. The calculated storage capacity is 16,300 acre-feet with a 20-foot depth of water above the outlet pipes. The amount set aside for the construction of the new dam is $40,000.
Four Mile Lake CanalUnit No. 2 is a connecting canal between Four Mile and Fish lakes. This canal diverts the water from Four Mile Creek about 300 feet below the dam and follows around the mountain to a low saddle on the Cascade Range. At this point the water is dumped into a natural drainage channel on the mountainside from which it is picked up by a canal one-half mile in length which carries it across the summit of the Cascades into a natural channel which leads directly into Fish Lake.
A portion of this canal was completed in 1910 and about 22 percent in 1920. The canal company expects to complete the canal this summer and is preparing to put a steam shovel on the job. The amount which has been set aside for the construction of this canal is $100,000.
Fish Lake is unit No. 3. Located at the head of the North Fork of Little Butte Creek and just south of Mt. McLoughlin, Fish Lake is approximately the same length and breadth as Four Mile Lake, and is the second storage reservoir for the system.
Dam 80 Percent CompleteThe dam is now estimated as 80 percent complete and is holding more than 4,100 acre-feet of water for this season's use. As soon as the irrigation season is over the work of completing the dam will be resumed. When completed the dam will be approximately 40 feet high. It is constructed of earth and rock and will have concrete tower, outlet and spillway. The reservoir will have a storage capacity of from 12,000 to 15,000 acre-feet depending on the final height of the dam. Work already done on this dam has amounted to $141,000 and it is estimated that the remaining work will cost about $15,000, making the total cost of the third unit in the neighborhood of $166,000.
Concrete Diversion DamsUnit No..4 consists of the main canal which is diverted from Little Butte Creek at the Zundell ranch above Lake Creek. Water from the South Fork of Little Butte Creek is diverted into the main canal through a canal one-half mile in length. The diversion dams are of concrete and are well built. The main canal has a capacity of 175 cubic second-feet from the intake to Bradshaw Drop, a distance of 15.8 miles. All flumes are of metal with concrete transitions and will compare favorably with those of the best projects in the country. At the drop there is a concrete bifurcation where the water is divided between the District canal and the Hopkins canal. The cost of constructing the 15.8 miles of main canal and the one-half mile of auxiliary canal from the South Fork of Little Butte Creek to the main canal was approximately $150,000.
The Main CanalUnit No. 5 is the District Main Canal. The district accepts delivery of water from the canal company at Bradshaw Drop. This canal is approximately 45 miles in length ending on the west side of the valley just west of Central Point. Many miles of this canal are built through solid rock. The capacity is 90 cubic feet per second at the intake and is gradually reduced toward the end of the canal. There are numerous cuts, fills, flumes, city pipe lines, crossings and two long siphons, the latter being of creosoted fir 44 and 48 inch diameters with concrete inlets, outlets and footings.
The cost of this canal, which was first put into use on May 14th of this year, was approximately $385,000.
200 Miles of LateralsUnit No. 6 is the distribution system which is composed of a large number of small lateral canals totaling about 200 miles and delivering water to about six hundred different landowners. This system of laterals is exceedingly complicated and the expense of construction has been approximately $140,000.
The above figures are approximate estimates and the overhead has not been figured in making the estimates, the actual construction cost being the only factor taken into consideration. Canal company officials state that the overhead, such as trucking, payment of office force, etc., will likely add 20 percent to the cost of each unit.
Was a Long, Hard FightThe final attainment of irrigation in Jackson County reads like a Horatio Alger story of the rewards of persistence. No hero of a juvenile novel ever suffered more disappointments than the proponents of irrigation in their long fight to get water on the land. Many times the attempt was abandoned only to be resumed when the far-sighted and public-spirited land owners realized that Southern Oregon could never achieve her rightful destiny until insurance against drought was obtained. And the only insurance was to put water on the land.
Campaign after campaign was put on by the Rogue River Canal Company to secure sufficient acreage for an extension of their system, but they all failed. Finally shortly after the opening of the European war an active campaign was inaugurated to form an irrigation district, and with a few active and aggressive leaders and the aid of the newspapers, the property owners finally voted on September 15, 1917, by an overwhelming majority to form a district, and later also by a large majority the district was bonded for $1,250,000,
Leonard Carpenter was the first president of the irrigation district and under his direction and active leadership the pioneer work was done with W. A. Folger and E. G. Coleman of Phoenix as capable assistants. Later Mr. Carpenter resigned, his place being taken by J. A. Westerlund, J. A. Perry having been elected president of the district some months before. At the expiration of Mr. Westerlund's term the property owners elected N. S. Bennett, the present board consisting of J. A. Perry, president, E. G. Coleman and Mr. Bennett, directors. E. M. Wilson has acted as secretary, Ralph Cowgill is district engineer succeeding R. W. Rea, and Lincoln McCormack has been attorney for the district.
To all these men the people owe a great debt of gratitude, for all of them have worked most unselfishly and loyally to give Medford the best irrigation system attainable; they have sacrificed time and money for the good of the district, and the present system will stand as a monument to their good citizenship and devotion.
PEACE NEAR IN HOPKINS DITCH WATER BATTLEMedford Mail Tribune, April 9, 1929, page 1
Agreement Signed Between Corporation and Users--Water District to Be Formed--Owners of Land to Operate Ditch.
Steps toward the settlement of the long-standing controversy between the Public Water Corporation and landowners under the Hopkins Lateral Ditch were taken yesterday with the signing of an agreement between the irrigation concern and the water users.
The agreement, according to Ray Moran, provides that the water users form a water district, and upon the completion of this formality the ditch will be turned over to the landowners for operation, by direct purchase of water rights and ditches.
The landowners agree to dismiss the two cases against the Public Water Corporation last summer.
The amount involved represents approximately $200,000, according to the irrigation company.
The land affected lies in the Central Point district, and portions of the Table Rock area.
The agreement was signed by the following committee representing the landowners: John H. Carkin, Mike F. Hanley, Donald Clarke, Victor Bursell, Frank E. Upton and Ross Kline.
It is understood that immediate steps will be taken towards the formation of the water district.
HOPKINS LATERAL USERS WILL SEEK WATER DISTRICTMedford Mail Tribune, June 4, 1929, page 4
A petition asking that a water district be formed for the acreage under the Hopkins lateral ditch will be filed with the county court tomorrow at the regular meeting, and the petition will come under the provisions of the new law, effective today, providing for the forming of water districts. A considerable sum will thus be saved the water district in advertising.
It is expected that the election for the forming of the new water district will be called for the first week in July.
A drainage map showing all the acreage involved is now being prepared, and will be filed with the county court. The acreage extends from the northern city limits of Medford to Rogue River.
The new water district will be in a position to take over the management of the ditch from the Mt. Pitt irrigation district by next year, per agreement signed two months ago with the irrigation company.
There is a maze of detail to be worked out in this step, the work being in charge of a committee composed of F. E. Upton, Victor Bursell, John Carkin, Mike Hanley and Don Clark.
HOPKINS DITCH USERS ACT TO FORM DISTRICTMedford Mail Tribune, April 14, 1929, page 1
Approve Option Made by Committee, at Meeting Yesterday--Circulate Petitions at Once and Landowners to Operate Next Year--Many Benefits.
Landowners under the Hopkins lateral ditch, in the Central Point district, embracing 4900 acres and 200 water users, Saturday afternoon unanimously approved a recently signed option, by a committee taking over operation of the irrigation system from the Public Water Corporation.
Petitions for the formation of an irrigation district will be filed within the month. It will operate under the 1927 irrigation law, which provides for general, instead of individual liability, differing in that respect from the Medford Irrigation District, whose general organization the new district follows.
Formation of the new district will be completed for the 1930 season. The Public Water Corporation will operate the system this year.
The deal quashes legal action pending in the courts, between the company and the landowners, by the terms of the option.
John H. Carkin explained the terms of the agreement to the 75 landowners present at the meeting held in the Hotel Medford. He said the change would involve a financial consideration of approximately $60,000; end several lawsuits; assure the satisfaction of personal management, eliminate costly overhead, and in time a lower maintenance fee, now $6.50 per acre. He said Medford banks had promised financial aid in the formation of the district.
Victor Bursell, county commissioner, and a member of the committee, also explained the agreement details, and said "the step would end the turmoil of the past few years."
More or less contention for some months has centered about the irrigation system, the landowners protesting via an injunction, the maintenance fee asked.
The committee in charge of securing the option were continued to complete the details. They are: Victor Bursell, chairman; John H. Carkin, Ross Kline, F. E. Upton, and Don Clark.
HOPKINS WATER BALLOT COMINGIn the middle of February--probably the 14th--an election will be held to decide once and for all whether or not the property owners along the old Hopkins ditch will have an irrigation district of their own.
The option upon the holdings of the Pat Welch Canal Company, generally known as the Public Water Company, which has been approved by the state irrigation board, will then be voted upon, and there seems no doubt that it will be taken up.
Not only will affirmative action mean control of their own water system by the ranchers in this fertile district, but it will also mean a reduction in water costs, and under the new law, which controls, those under the ditch who keep up their payments will not be liable for any delinquencies forced on the district by others.
There are nearly 5000 acres in this district extending from Berrydale to the Agate district, and water has increased the productivity there by over 100 percent.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 8, 1930, page 3
FISH LAKE WATER MADE AVAILABLEStorage water from the Fish Lake reserve was released Wednesday morning, according to Edward Leach, manager of the Medford Irrigation District. It will probably take three days for the water to reach the floor of the valley, he stated this morning.
Water users are urged to make as economical use of water as possible, and should desist from undue use and waste. The supply which is being released will last about seven weeks.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 12, 1930, page 3
Last revised July 30, 2023