The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1904

    Jackson.--Population, 13,628. Jackson County has 199,183 acres in a public reserve, out of a total area of 1,779,662 acres. Of her total area, 1,273,529 acres have passed from the government, leaving a total of 306,952 acres of unappropriated land, of which 229,077 acres are surveyed and 77,875 acres unsurveyed. The latter is timber, grazing and fruit. There is some building stone in the county of an excellent quality. Mining for gold is extensively followed. The land is rolling, mountainous and level. Rogue River furnishes an excellent water power. The roads are good. Some coal is found. Pine and fir timber abound. Rogue River is used for floating logs and lumber. The fuel is wood, which brings from $4 to $6 per cord. Wheat is the principal product. There is a poor house, occupied by fourteen males. The general health is good. Climate fine. County seat, Jacksonville. R. P. Neil, of Medford, Oregon, cut 70 tons of alfalfa hay from 16 acres of land in Jackson County in July 1904. The ground is what is known as the black, sticky land. No irrigation. Jackson County peaches find a ready sale in New York and Boston.
First Biennial Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Inspector of Factories and Workshops of the State of Oregon from June 3, 1903 to September 30, 1904, Oregon State Printing Department, 1905, page 90

Southern Oregon and Northern California
Have Abundance of Magnificent Scenery.
E. S. VanDyke in the Evening Telegram Describes a Southward Trip.

    The never-ending glories of the Adirondacks have been told and retold by writers of fantastic humor and the dreamers of poetic dreams; the snow-capped peaks of the old world have been scaled and rescaled, both in poetry and in prose, and even here on our own Pacific Coast the beauties of the Yellowstone Park and the Yosemite Valley have already been presented many times to the public by vivid pen pictures snatched from some admirable brain.
    But of Oregon, with its snow-capped mountain peaks, its dashing mountain rivers leaving vast and unexplored canyons in their flow onward to the Pacific, little has as yet been written; and of Southern Oregon, the Italy of the state, comparatively nothing. Yet here in this secluded little paradise, with its Italian skies, its unanimity [sic--sublimity?] of climate, its vast mineral wealth of gold and copper, its abundance of all varieties of fruit, and, above all this its sturdy, resolute citizens, nature has displayed some of her grandest handiwork.
    Many inspiring bits of scenery such as the great gorge of the Rogue River, the giant caves of Josephine County, and that wonderful world-famous mirror of the Indian gods, Crater Lake, combine to give to this chosen district an enchantment in the minds of the old settlers. And especially are they dear, as they are nearly all hallowed with a crown of Indian lore.
    The Siskiyou Mountains, perhaps the grandest of all this charm of scenery, lie along the southern boundary of the state, and may be said to bind Oregon and California together, since they extend partly into Northern California, and thus form the connecting link of the two states.
    Leaving Grants Pass, a thriving little city of about 4000 inhabitants, nestled close on the bosom of Southern Oregon hills, at about noon, we begin the journey which, during the course of the day, is to take us over the Siskiyous on down into the state of California.
    For about ten miles the railroad follows the bends and curves of Rogue River, a mischievous little stream, laughing and chattering like a child at play on its way seaward, and now we begin to catch occasional glimpses of rare beauty.
    Here at our left arises a gigantic cliff, perhaps 1000 feet high, its sides showing the warring and beating of the elements on its surface for thousands of years. Its top is as smooth as marble, and here is the famous council table of the Rogue River Indians. We can almost see the mighty chieftains as they meet there night after night, with their strange customs and dances, either to smoke the peace pipe or to listen to the wild harangue of one of their number inciting them to war with the Klamaths in the south.
    For a moment the huge rocks of a canyon obstruct our view, but now we are out in the glorious sunlight again, and right before us is Jackson County's metropolis--Ashland, the last city on the Southern Pacific lines in Oregon. At Ashland our train takes on new engines of a much larger type than those of the valley country, massively and powerfully built.
    Now we begin the ascent in earnest, and the three engines on our train as they puff, puff, puff seem like some great monster Titans as they wearily toil up the slope of their Olympus. One almost pities them, for as the huge drive wheels push on and on, at the pulsations of their mighty hearts one can almost hear them groan with their gigantic labor. But now we are nearing the summit, and as we look hundreds of feet beneath us on either side we can see in horseshoe bends and curious circles the winding tortuous way over which we have made our climb.
    There to the east is a pretty little valley, with a farm house almost overgrown with the fields of alfalfa; here a modest farmer lives, to all intents and purposes eking out a scanty existence from his little farm and bringing up his family to follow in his footsteps. Little does he know of the maddening rush and hustle of the busy world beyond his narrow sphere--yet "where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."
    Now we have reached the summit of the mountains, a little over 4000 feet above the sea level, and can look away in all directions upon a perfect sea of mountain peaks beneath us. At the summit stands the little station of Siskiyou, a picturesque little place built right over a cliff, and in this isolation one or two families must spend a part of their lives.
    We are on the down grade and can hear no more the labored breathing of the engines, and we give a sigh of relief that their trouble is ended. A long wail from the whistle reminds us that we are nearing the wonderful Siskiyou tunnel, and almost before we can realize it we are plunged into the bowels of the earth.
    Once more into daylight, and we are whirled along over high steel trestles that make one shrink with terror, until the sound of the whistle again tells us that we are nearing a little station. As the train draws up--back on the hills, and almost surrounded with mock orange and its native forests of pine and fir, stands a rustic little summer resort called Colestin. Here the people of Southern Oregon come to spend their summers and to build up their physical bodies with the health-giving waters of the springs. Around the train are gathered perhaps 100 people from the hotel and camps who have come down to witness the one excitement of the day--the arrival of the train. A few miles on again and in the distance we see--Shasta, the most beautiful of mountains. Clear, cold and white as a specter, it rises before us, and seems to pierce the ethereal dome above it with its regal head; 14,444 feet above the sea level, it stretches its kingly crown to meet the empyrean above it, and its lofty efforts cannot but inspire its observer with a feeling of wonder and admiration, and cause him to long to emulate its magnificence and purity.
    But now we have crossed the line, and are rapidly nearing the Sacramento Valley; so as this stretch is only to portray a little of the scenery of Southern Oregon, we still stop at the summer resort of Shasta Retreat, while in the hazy distance the train dashes along toward the sunset city of the West--San Francisco.
Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, August 18, 1904, page 1

Last revised February 16, 2018