The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1905

By Dennis H. Stovall
    Oregon has many rivers, but only one Rogue. This matchless stream could have had, perhaps, a more euphonious name, but not one more appropriate. The Indians called it "Trashit," which meant "Wicked Waters"; the French called it "La Riviere aux Coquins," or "River of Bad Indians"; the miners called it "Gold River," by reason of the golden treasures which were found along its shores. Later another French name, "Riviere Rouge," or "Red River," was applied to it on account of the reddish tinge of the waters. [This is a myth.] The English settlers, however, in view of the wickedness and always torrential character of the stream, called it "Rogue," which was an easy perversion from the original French, "Rouge." ["Rogue" is a translation of "Coquins."]
    From its source in Crater Lake Park to the sea the Rogue is one continual cataract, with but a pause now and then, as its waters widen to cross a valley, or to take new breath before another wild leap or rush down a rapid. The Rogue cuts a deep and winding slit through both the ranges of the Cascade and Coast mountains. Its waters leap and dance in the shadow of some of the grandest scenery on the American continent. Snow-capped mountain peaks, deep gorges, rock-walled canyons, rapids, and waterfalls characterize the Rogue throughout its journey.
    There is a stretch of forty miles, beginning at Galice, twenty miles below Grants Pass, and ending with the conjunction of the Illinois with the larger stream, that is an uninhabited wilderness. "Where rolls the Rogue, and hears no sound save its own dashings," would be an appropriate perversion of the familiar quotation if applied to the "wicked river" where it cuts its way through the Coast Mountains. Near Mt. Reuben there is a twelve-foot fall, the only sheer fall on the Rogue. Then the waters gurgle into a deep canyon and remain there for half a hundred miles. At one point the rock-walled banks tower nearly 2,000 feet above the river, and the waters are confined to a narrow channel but twenty feet in width. The one man who made the remarkable journey by boat through this gorge said that from down there on the black waters the sky is but a long blue strip far, far overhead, and but little sunlight filters through, even at noonday. Up till 10 o'clock the stars are visible. [This is an exaggeration.]
    From the mouth, or near the mouth, of the Illinois down, the Rogue is navigable, but on account of its swiftness only powerful, light draft steamers can be used, and these with difficulty.
    From Grants Pass a wagon road follows the Rogue to Galice, and leads through an American Switzerland. It passes Hell Gate, which is the White Horse Rapids of the Yukon intensified.
    From Gold Hill a wagon road follows the Rogue to its source, and this is one of the routes to Crater Lake Park. Four miles above Gold Hill, Table Rock, a great, flat-topped mountain, towers above the surrounding hills. Weather-scarred, bronzed, and moss-covered, Table Rock is as an old castle standing sentinel over the Rogue. A few miles farther up is Mt. McLoughlin, more popularly known as "Mt. Pitt." It is the Mt. Blanc of Southern Oregon, and is the most symmetrical mountain peak in Western America. Its cone, always snow covered, always glittering in splendor, is the pride of the Southern Oregonian.
    As the traveler ascends habitations grow fewer, the river grows swifter, the forests denser, and the mountains more rugged. At a distance of fifty miles from the railroad the Rogue's narrows are reached. This is the lower end of the gorge cut by the river through the Cascades. Through this gorge the river rushes at times down a steep declivity, then leaping impetuously from rock to rock, lashing itself into fury and foam, whirling its eddies or resting a moment in some protected basin before plunging over a cataract, only to pause again and repeat the same wild fantasies till the open valley is reached.
    Along the Rogue, in these wild solitudes, game is plentiful. It is a favorite haunt of the bear, deer, lynx, and bobcat. The upper river also passes through the finest forest of sugar pine in the world. These great trees are from eighteen to thirty feet in circumference and tower 200 and 250 feet.
    Farther up the canyon, and nearer Crater Lake, great columns, or pyramids, of cement arise from the bottom of the gorge to a height of 100 feet. Within twelve miles of the river's source evidences of volcanic action appear, heralding a near approach to Crater Lake. The character of the vegetation changes, and only those plants are found which can accommodate themselves to the higher altitudes. The Rogue now becomes a merry brooklet, and chatters nimbly over boulders of pumice and lava.
    One more mile and the source is reached. There it is! the lake, the lake! Here the traveler can well rest and stand enchanted on the brink of the once mighty cauldron, and gaze with silent awe into the green, peaceful depths of the sparkling waters that have forever cooled the heated furnaces of old Mazama.
The Pacific Monthly, March 1905, pages 166-170

Showing Oregon to Visitors
    "This valley has never looked so well, and prospects for rapid and steady growth have never been so bright as they are today," said A. A. Davis, president of the Medford & Crater Lake Railroad, talking to the Journal about the Rogue River section of Oregon. "Jackson County has entered upon an era of permanent improvement. Her great resources, so long dormant, are being developed."
    The city of Medford, a clean, modern town in the broad and fertile Bear Creek Valley, high up in the foothills of the Siskiyous, 1,400 feet above Portland, is one of the most beautiful and healthful places in the world. There is not an unpainted house, nor a public ash pile, in Medford.
    "Medford has gained 500 or 600 population during the last year. She is now a city of close to 3,000 people," said Mr. Davis. It is said there has not been a time in the year when less than 15 or 20 new dwellings were under construction. The houses are substantial and modern, and on none of them is paint spared. It is a town of pretty homes set in beautiful green lawns, rose gardens, and orchards, bordered and well-kept board sidewalks. The main street, running through from east to west, is ten miles long. Traversing it the visitor passes the palatial residence of E. J. DeHart, the handsome houses of H. D. Wortman, George Faucett, Major Andrus, Dr. W. E. Jones, W. E. Bradshaw, William Angle, J. W. Ling, John Smith and many others, the high school, the Southern Pacific depot, the principal hotel, the leading business houses and banks. Bear Creek, spanned by a substantial iron bridge, meanders through the city from north to south, passing close to the business center.
    The new exposition building, costing $2,000, built through the enterprise of John D. Olwell, J. W. Perkins, F. H. Hopkins, Gordon Voorhies, the Condor Water Power Company, H. C. Lewis, the Iowa Lumber & Box Company, the Jackson County Bank, the Medford Bank, W. I. Vawter and other progressive citizens, was opened with a rose show. The building stands alongside the Southern Pacific railroad track, near the depot. It is a picturesque one-story structure, with large plain glass windows, and surrounded with electric lights. The interior is arranged to receive exhibits of fruit. Eagle Point onions, vegetables, woods and minerals, the products of Jackson County. They will be arranged so that passengers on trains may see at a glance the things that are produced in the highest perfection in Southern Oregon. The building is said to be the first of its kind in the state.
    The Rogue River Valley railroad line, from Medford to Jacksonville, will add a gasoline motor car to its equipment. The car will be operated over the six miles of this road on the livery plan. A telephone will serve to call the car at all times to any point on the line, to carry individuals or parties any desired distance. A similar car will be put on the line of the Medford & Crater Lake Railroad, now being constructed from Medford to a point 25 miles towards the headwaters of Rogue River. The road is graded for a distance of five miles from Medford, and a force of 60 men is at work on construction between that place and Eagle Point, to which the road will be completed and operated by October 1. Contracts for all bridge work are closed, and the work will begin this week.
    Dr. J. F. Reddy, who recently acquired a lease of the Nash Hotel, has changed it to the European plan, and made extensive improvements. A new bank, the Medford First National, will be opened within the next 30 days. Its president is Judge W. S. Crowell, and M. Alford is the cashier. F. K. Deuel is vice-president.
    Every business house in the city is occupied, and there is not a dwelling for rent. Large additions are being made to the orchards around Medford, and many new orchards are being planted in the hills eastward to the Antelope Valley. There is activity in the agricultural and fruit industry along the line of the new railroad to and beyond Eagle Point. It is estimated that Jackson now has 20,000 acres of apple orchards, 6,000 acres of which are bearing. Many peaches and pears are also being planted. There are about 1,000 acres in prunes. Almonds are arousing much interest, and it is predicted Jackson will become a heavy producer of the nuts.
    The question of good public highways that will permit transportation of the products of farms and orchards at all seasons of the year is one of the most important confronting the people of this county. In many parts of Southern Oregon a species of adobe known as "big sticky" is encountered. It is a soil of great fertility, and is regarded as one of the best apple soils, but in wet seasons roads that traverse it are practically impassable for any kind of vehicle. The county has purchased a rock crusher, and has a force of men at work macadamizing one or two of the main roads leading out of Medford. But the equipment is far short of requirements, and many years of constant work would be required before even a few of the most traveled roads would be improved by the machinery now in operation.
Oregon Journal, Portland, May 28, 1905, page 14

Land Prices, Climate, Opportunities and Everything Desired by Intending Settlers in Southern Oregon Explained in Detail--Advises People Who Are Comfortably Situated to Remain Where They Are

    Eagle Point, Jackson County, Ore., May 28.--(To the East Oregonian)--Cloudy, cold wind, occasional showers; has been so for some days. Thursday morning there was ice nearly as thick as window glass. People are cutting their first crop of alfalfa. It is hardly as mature as it should be and not very heavy, but the cool weather has encouraged the squirrel grass and weeds to grow at the expense of the alfalfa, and they are cutting thus early to get a clean second crop. They get two and sometimes three fairly good crops per year, without irrigation. Corn is up high enough for first plowing, but shows the effect of the long-continued cool weather. Everyone raises corn here, and it generally does well.
    In crossing the so-called desert between here and Medford yesterday, I found water flowing through three ditches where a few days ago there was not a drop. There are thousands of acres of this desert land which will make fine homes if they get plenty of water. I received a letter from a friend of Umatilla County a few days since, running about thus: "We would like to buy a small place where we can raise fruit and chickens; do not want to pay more than about $2000."
    I promised several of my friends to tell them about this country, and if you will kindly publish this, I can answer them all at once.
Combination Hard to Find.
    I came in here looking for about such a place, at about the same price, as my friends have asked about. I wanted a place where I could raise all kinds of fruit, lots of garden stuff, chickens and turkeys, and plenty of green grass for my cows, but I failed to find such a combination, and do not believe it is here.
    I will try to describe the country so one can get a general idea of conditions. From a few miles north of Tolo to a few miles south of Ashland, east to Jacksonville and west to and beyond Eagle Point is a locality known as the "Rogue River Valley," though nearly all the towns and S.P. railroad are on Bear Creek.
    To the casual observer, in the spring of the year the whole country looks like one productive field, but the facts are a very large part of it is partially or wholly unproductive, except for a few months in the spring.
    The weather is nearly or quite as hot in summer as Pendleton, but not nearly so cold in winter. It gets quite dusty, but no dust storms, and no alkali.
    The soil gets very dry, but being entirely surrounded by mountains at no great distance, there are many streams affording abundance of water for irrigating purposes, and the land being generally not much broken can all be irrigated.
    In fruit for the market, winter apples take the lead--Spitz and Newtown varieties being the only kinds considered profitable. To be remunerative they must be four or at least four and a half-tier apples, and localities that will develop such are not plentiful, and no man knows, not even those who have been here longest, just what the soil in a given place will do, until it is tried.
Must Spray Profusely.
    After finding your location "eternal vigilance is the price of fruit"--one must spray, spray and then some more, and then thin very severely. They estimate in average orchards it costs 45 cents per box to raise first-class apples, but if they are really first class the profit is about $1.00 per box, and the yield from mature trees from two to eight boxes per tree. I judge it takes apple trees here about seven years before they yield much profit. Winter pears come next; they will grow and do well anyplace an apple will, and many places where an apple will not. They come into bearing much younger, are not subject to so many pests, and require less care.
    Then come peaches. The peach belt is confined, apparently, to the vicinity of Ashland. It is quite precarious, as they may be killed by frost any time up to the middle of May. They are very perishable, must be marketed within a few days, without regard to prices, and is quite risky.
    A large part of the crop is killed this year, still some men have made money out of them.
    In prunes they raise nothing but Petites, no Italians, and for some time now prices have been low, about two and a half or three cents, which leaves no money for the grower.
Strawberries Must Have Water.
    In small fruit there is nothing raised except strawberries and Logans,and to be successful they must have water. With water they can be grown anywhere, without it, nowhere. I consider a genuine water right worth as much as the land.
    Now for locations. For health, good water, morality and society, I consider Ashland without a peer. It is quite hilly, and the soil is mostly a white granite, not suitable for apples or pears, but good for small fruit, or peaches.
    Anywhere in the corporate limits they have city water for all purposes and very cheap. On Bear Creek bottom is a limited amount of black loam--very rich and suitable to truck gardening--this sells for from $200 to $400 per acre without buildings. Talent and Phoenix are little towns, about like Pilot Rock and Adams. Medford is quite a little town, but on flat hardpan land with numerous "potholes," which holds the water near the surface until late, and produces quite a bit of malaria, and now and then a case of genuine "ague."
    Jacksonville is a very old town, but being missed by the railroad would die if it were not for the county seat being there. It is healthy and nicely located. Central Point is about like Athena in size and one of the most pleasant little little towns in the valley. Eagle Point on Little Butte Creek is a very small village, in a pleasant locality, but as the railroad is coming in here this summer we have great hopes. The country east of Talent, Phoenix, Medford and Central Point and some near Eagle Point is the apple and pear belt.
What the "Desert" Is Like.
    The promoters [Roguelands Inc.] profess great faith in the "desert" as a fruit country, when they get water on it, but that is problematical.
    This desert is a slightly elevated, nearly level country, of many thousands of acres, beginning in the vicinity of Medford and extending north and west out past Agate, Table Rock, Eagle Point and toward Big Butte.
    It is generally entirely open, or with low chaparral bushes. It is much like some of the land out toward Butter Creek, long strips of soil cut in every direction with slight depressions filled with small boulders. I think it is all hardpan land with a depth of soil of perhaps two feet on an average.
    The M.&C.L. railroad will run directly through it, and it may make a good country. As to prices, this country is having a boom in prices of land. Prices have doubled during the last 12 months, and now I consider them much too high. Will give a few samples to judge from: Near Ashland, one acre, all in strawberries, under water, small house, $1000; six acres, good house, no fruit, plenty of water, $2250; five acres, all in peaches, water, fair house, $3000; 14 acres near normal school, small house and stable, five acres in alfalfa, no fruit, fine place for chickens, $2000; six acres, all in peaches, good house and stable, no water except well, $4400; near Talent, 10 acres, good soil, good eight-room house, stable, windmill and tank, fruit enough for household, $2700; 10 acres in prunes, cherries and grapes, small house, $1600; 10 acres near Medford, good house and barn, windmill and tank, seven acres in mature apple trees (mostly Ben Davis), good soil, $12,000; 30 acres, fair house and barn, five acres in bearing orchard, six acres in young trees, five acres in alfalfa, $5000; near Eagle Point, land from $0 to $150 per acre.
Many Will Not Sell.
     I find that people who have good improvements and bearing fruit sufficient to make them a comfortable living do not want to sell out at all, but what is offered for sale is either bare land or land with poor and run-down improvements.
    To buy a home all ready to step into and go to making money, or even a living, will cost quite a sum; on the other hand, it will take time to get things in shape to earn much.
    With plenty of water, small fruit will begin to make some returns in one year, and in two years will be in full bearing. Pears and peaches require five or six years, apples seven to nine years. My advice to anyone, anywhere, is: If you are making a fairly good living, and you have health, stay where you are. If you have not health that alters the view.
    I came here largely on account of my health. The alkali dust in Umatilla County aggravated my catarrh very much. I have not been here long enough to know anything about it from experience, but careful observation leads me to believe this is a good climate for people who are suffering from catarrh. I am in the sawmill business and have no land to sell, though, of course, I would like to see people come in, buy land and build houses, but I would not like to see anyone come on account of false representations, and I shall be pleased to answer through the E.O. any questions in regard to the country anyone sees fit to ask, but make them specific so that I may know just what you wish to learn.
L. H. LEE.
East Oregonian, Pendleton, May 29, 1905, page 6

An Eastern Visitor's Impressions of the Rogue River Valley
on February 22--Wonders in Fruit, Grain, Vegetables and Grass.

D. R. McGinnis, in Indiana Farmer.

    I am writing this from the town of Medford, Jackson County, Southern Oregon, 329 miles south of Portland, Or., on the Southern Pacific Railway. It is the 22d of February, but I cannot realize the fact by the looks of this country. In fact I am pinching myself--hard--to convince me that it is not mid-May or nearly June, for am I not this blessed day at a place as far north as Southern Wisconsin, and yet the warm summer sky, the hot sun, the advanced state of vegetation of this chosen spot of comfort and happiness, the Rogue River Valley of Oregon, make me forget that this is by the almanac a real winter month. I have walked over the town and enjoyed the flowers and green grass of the yards. 1 have walked out in the country to the orchards and farms. I have talked with the farmers and fruit growers, and am truly filled with amazement at what I see. A mile south of the town I stopped at the farm of the Earhart brothers. They are big, husky farmer boys, with as fine a farm as ever eye looked upon. Their winter wheat was already five or six inches high; their comfortable home bore every evidence of thrift. But what drew my attention was not the wheat, fine as it was. It was a grapevine, not a mite over six inches through, that covered the house, ran along from tree to tree in the yard, and must have been over l50 feet long. This mammoth vine is the only one they have, and its yearly yield is over 500 pounds of luscious grapes. Such is the wonderfully prolific nature of this soil and climate that I find it hard to grasp the wonders that I see in fruit, grain, vegetables and grass.
*    *    *
    They tell me here that they can always tell an Eastern man by the big heavy coat he lugs around for the first day or two after his arrival. I knew before I came that the climate was mild, but did not realize that it verged upon the semi-tropical, but I see every evidence of that fact, incredible as it may look. I find the delicate plants and flowers of the semi-tropics actually growing here in the open air, and flourishing, too. I drove to the Britt farm, about seven miles west of Medford, yesterday, to see the plants and flowers which Mr. Britt has gathered together from the ends of the earth, he being an old settler and having a taste that way. What was my pleasure to see numbers of great fig trees; actually with figs yet clinging to them, for I plucked them from the trees myself. Here the fig tree was a real tree, 10 or 15 feet high. A fan palm was growing right out in the front yard, and it was at least 35 feet high. English walnuts, Japan persimmons and almond trees were all around, while I inspected a lusty California fig tree that was 42 years old from its setting, and at least four feet through and 80 feet high. I was shown a peach tree set out in 1858 that had never missed a crop in all that time. Mr. Britt told me the only trouble was that it had to be carefully thinned of its fruit every year or it would tear itself to pieces bearing so much heavy fruit.
*    *    *
    A mile east I stopped my team to actually go among and enjoy the cloud of blossoms in an almond orchard lately bought by a lady from Iowa. The almond is something like a glorified peach tree. Its blossoms are exquisite and the trees are very hardy in this climate, one being over 18 inches in diameter and more like a forest tree than a fruit tree. The great variety of fruits here must make it a housewife's paradise. A bareheaded babe was on the porch, and while I was talking to it the mother, who is from Iowa, came out of,the house. I said: "How do you like this warmth and sunshine?" She replied: "Oh, this is heaven. 1 would not for worlds go back East." This Rogue River Valley is a big country, and it is a mass of fine farms in alfalfa, orchards and wheat, and I have had the pleasure of seeing just as good dent corn, as sound and thoroughly matured as at the old Illinois home. The summers are so long here that corn is a decided success, and it is a paying crop, for it goes 30 to 40 bushels per acre, and is never less than 45 cents per bushel. While it is raised, it is not extensively so, for the reason that alfalfa and fruit bring very much larger profits to the farmers here.
*    *    *
    Some wheat is six inches high, some is just being sown. They sow wheat here most any time they get ready. The farmers are all at work in the fields, but it is in fruit and alfalfa that this country is making those immense profits that, though an actual fact, appear almost unbelievable to an Eastern man. Alfalfa is already several inches high and growing fast. It is cut three times a year without any irrigation, and four times when irrigated, for here the rainfall is all of 27 inches a year, and irrigation, while not necessary, is beginning to be practiced because it makes the crops still larger than they otherwise would be. Alfalfa land here brings the farmer about six tons per acre per year, and a money price of about $40 per acre per year. It is paying much better than that this year, as alfalfa hay is now selling at $10 to $11 per ton here in Medford.
*    *    *
    Here in this vale of mildness and sunshine is the home of the Spitzenberg and the Newtown Pippin apple. These are the big money-makers here. Hundreds, yes, thousands, of acres of orchards cover this valley and its encircling foothills, and more are being set out every spring. And I have nothing to show these orchardists in the manner of handling their orchards. I have never seen such system anywhere, or orchards in such perfect thrift and condition, in all my travels. Over this valley of verdure, I have not seen one neglected orchard. It is perfection in orchard management. With apple ripening autumn, buyers from London, New York and Chicago come to compete for these apples of Hesperides, and the competition is keen. London wants the golden Newtown Pippins, and New York the Spitzenberg. The Newtowns have sold for as high as $2.50 per box right at the tree. This would be the equivalent of $5 per barrel, as there are 50 pounds in a box and 100 pounds in a barrel. The Spitzes bring a hardly less price. Of course, the profits are away up in the hundreds of dollars per acre, as much profit from one acre here in apples as you would get off a 40-acre field of heavy wheat in Minnesota or Dakota. The Southern Pacific fosters the fruit industry by a rate of 26 cents per hundred for fruit in car lots to Portland and 25 cents on all vegetables.
    And do you think this is out of the world? Hardly. The farmer here has his rural mail delivery, he talks by phone with Portland, San Francisco or Los Angeles, and here over this wide valley anywhere and everywhere is a network of electric wires from the big water at Tolo, so that the farmer has electric lights in his barn and houses, and electric power on his farm for pumping, grinding and every other need, and at a cost which is simply absurd in its cheapness, for water power is all over this country, and it is cheap power in this mild climate, where ice never bothers the turbines.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, June 2, 1905, page 6


Pilgrims' Heads Whirl with Impressions.
Southern Oregon Opens Its Heart to Portlanders.
Bright Sunshine Adds to the Pleasure of the Visit
to the Hospitable Cities and Towns of the Section.


    ROSEBURG, Or., Nov. 15.--(Staff correspondence.)--In the bright sunshine of a glorious winter day, the Portland business men have seen and conquered Southern Oregon. They already knew about its luscious fruits, its productive mines, its fertile fields and its magnificent timber, but they had, for the most part, learned of them from the literature of the professional boomer. Their physical view of Southern Oregon had usually been taken from the windows of a Pullman car as they passed through on their way to or from California. If, perchance, they journeyed along the Rogue River by night, they had to be content with the knowledge that all these wonderful things were there, even if they did not see them.
    It was a mistake to let Southern Oregon go so long without a formal interchange of courtesies. It is another mistake to try and do so much and see so much in so short a time. However, the purpose of the business men's visit is to let the people here know that they are interested in them and in all they do, and to make sure that Oregon, as a whole, shall forever be united, if Portland can help to do it.
    Everybody here is satisfied and even delighted to see so many influential representatives of Portland's commercial community and to take them by the hand. In every town and by every community the visit has been made a great festive occasion. There have been ceremonies, formal and informal: speechmaking, good, bad and indifferent, and banquets and luncheons always of the best. Portland has heard what the people of Southern Oregon want, what they are trying to do, what they have done, and something of what their grievances are.
Tired and Delighted.
    The excursionists got back to Roseburg tonight, tired, pleased and profoundly impressed with the pleasing experiences of the day. But the mind of the average Portland man is in a good deal of a whirl. The variety of his impressions is so great that it is useless for him at present to try to classify them.
    The day began at Ashland, the paradise of peaches, took in Medford, center of a beautiful apple and pear district; Jacksonville, with its golden traditions and tender memories of Oregon pioneer days; Central Point, in the midst of splendid orchards; Gold Ray, location of a $700,000 electric power and light plant; Gold Hill, local point for important mining interests; Grants Pass, a thriving lumber manufacturing and mining center; Merlin, Glendale, Riddle and Myrtle Creek, and wound up at Roseburg, where the night is to be spent.
    Arrival at Ashland was at 3 o'clock a.m. promptly on schedule time. The citizens of that active and picturesque city, nestling in the foothills of the Upper Rogue River Valley, were alive to the importance of the occasion, and they gave the visitors a hearty greeting. They took it for granted that the people of Portland know all about the development and prosperous present conditions of the fruit industry, and all about their fine climate and wide-awake people.
Guests Taken to Normal School.
    On that account, they devoted a large part of the two hours at Ashland to conducting their guests to the Ashland State Normal School. They talked much about the deserts of that interesting institution. The school is located about two miles south of the city. President Mulkey, under whose capable direction the work of the school is being done, made an address to the Portland people, in which many things that they did not know about normal school work in general, and the work of this school in particular, were set forth.
    It is well known that the appropriations for all state normal schools have been held up by the referendum. When the dilemma of no funds from the state was presented to the anxious people of Ashland, they at once began to devise ways and means to keep the school doors open. In a short time a fund of $8000 was subscribed for payment of salaries and for other expenses for the current year.
    Under the state law a tuition fee of $25 per annum is charged against each student. The sum of $4000 approximately will be realized this year from this source, so that the normal school has an available resource in money of about $12,000.
Devotion of the Faculty.
    There is a faculty of 11 teachers, and the running expenses of the institution aggregate considerably more than that amount. With uncommon patriotism, all members of the faculty, from President Mulkey down, said that they would be willing to accept half pay in cash until the fate of the normal school appropriations shall be decided by the referendum next June.
    There is no serious expectation here that the vote of the people will be favorable to the appropriation, and it is probable, indeed, it is certain, that in that event the normal school will be conducted next year under the same auspices as at present. It may be added that the people at Ashland and the self-denying teachers think it likely that the Legislature will ultimately afford relief for the unpaid portion of their salaries.
    The general opinion here is that the war on the normal schools was not particularly directed against this institution, but that suspension of the appropriation for Ashland was merely incidental to the general outcry against legislative logrolling. This is all no doubt true enough. The people of Ashland are extremely sensitive about any statement to the effect that their normal school, like other Oregon normal schools, is a mere high school for their particular town. Ashland has an excellent high school of its own in a fine new brick building and with a large attendance.
Students from Thirteen Counties.
    The students of the normal school are gathered from 13 counties of Oregon, a few of them coming from so far as Portland. Graduates of the institution are among the state's best public school teachers.
    Ashland has 5000 people, is growing steadily, has a progressive population, a highly cultivated adjacent territory and much vacant land yet for the intending settler. It is going more extensively than ever into the fruit business, and its shipments of peaches and apples and other fruits will undoubtedly grow heavier year by year.
    Starting from Ashland at 10 o'clock, the train came back to Medford, where there was a change of cars, and the little Rogue River Valley Railroad was taken for the historic town of Jacksonville. Jacksonville is for the most part a memory. It was the center, more than 50 years ago, of an immense mining excitement, and it had a population more than four times its present size.
    Jacksonville is the home of the Beekmans, Camerons, Prims, Colvigs, Reamses, Linns and of many other honored citizens whose names are prominently identified with Oregon's history.
The Wit of W. M. Colvig.
    The welcome was most picturesque and touching. There were at the station such old timers as C. C. Beekman, Todd Cameron, W. M. Colvig and many others, including the sons and daughters of many of Oregon's finest families. Under the direction of Mr. Beekman the party was taken to Oddfellows' Hall, where an address abounding in wit and humor was delivered by Mr. Colvig. It is no reflection upon the many excellent speeches that have been made on this journey to say that Mr. Colvig's little talk surpassed all in interest, aptness and fluency.
    "Some of our pioneer citizens," said Mr. Colvig, "came here in the mad rush for gold in 1852. November 15 of that year the snow was 20 inches deep on a level in our streets. It was the beginning of the hardest winter ever recorded in Oregon. Gold was found in fabulous quantities. Provisions were sadly wanting. Blackjack tobacco was $1 per ounce, and four bits a drink for whisky of such a quality that one drink thereof would embolden a Belgian hare to spit in the eye of a bulldog. Salt was weighed out in gold scales, your gold on one side balanced by an equal weight of salt on the other.
    "We love this old historic town. Many of us pioneers hadn't a dollar when we came here, and we have held our own ever since. Some of us, more thrifty than others, did get a little together, but during the past summer we got afraid that you Portland men might not call on us, so we went to your city and 'blowed' it all in on the Trail."
Just Like Members of the Family.
    Mr. Colvig produced uproarious laughter by more humorous sallies of this kind, and wound up by inviting Mr. Beekman to show the way to the banquet room, "while the band plays that old familiar tune, 'See the hosts of sin advancing, Satan leading on.' " A very toothsome luncheon of fresh native Jackson County wine and bushels of delicious cake was served by the good women of Jacksonville.
    Jacksonville, because of the action of a railroad which years ago left it at one side, may not have kept up with the procession, but its people are the salt of earth. They were delighted to receive and entertain the people of Portland, and they made them feel as if they were spending a happy half hour in a great family gathering under the old rooftree. It may be said parenthetically that every guest had in his pocket when he went away a bottle of wine given to him by some fair woman, with strict instructions to take it home to his wife, if he had any, or to his sweetheart if he had one. Several gentlemen took two bottles.
    The return to Medford found the citizens of that town en masse at the station. The Gold Hill ladies' silver cornet band had come up from that enterprising town and was playing a lively refrain as the train pulled in. Mayor Pickel made an excellent address of welcome, in which he told many things of interest and value about Medford.
Apples Sent Across the Sea.
    Medford is in the heart of the greatest fruit district in the Northwest. There are more Yellow Newtown apple orchards tributary to Medford than in all the rest of Oregon. There are more acres of Spitzenberg apples In the Rogue River Valley than in the remainder of the state. Three thousand acres of apples and pears were planted last winter. Cars of Comice pears were shipped from Medford and sold in New York in 1905 for $7.70 per box, or more than 15 cents per pound.
    Medford Bartlett pears netted to the grower more than $3.25 per 50-pound box this year in Eastern markets. Medford holds the record for the season's sale of  Anjou pears--$5.36 per box in New York. The Rogue River Valley now sends out an average of 300 cars of winter apples to the Atlantic seaboard, and 75 carloads of fancy pears per annum.
    London is the great market for Rogue River Newtown apples, where they net to the Oregon shipper fully $4.50 per box, selling there at 24 shillings. Much more might be said about the splendid horticultural resources of Medford and vicinity, the irrigation possibilities, its adjacent timber and the construction of the Medford & Crater Lake Railroad, but time and space do not permit. Sufficient to say that the entertainment at Medford was royal, and the visitors left for the remainder of their southern journey with regrets and a large box of apples apiece.
    There is a lot of wide-awake citizens at Medford, among whom may be mentioned W. I. Vawter, Dr. Pickel, Dr. J. F. Reddy, Dr. J. M. Keene, John D. Olwell, J. E. Enyart, A. A. Davis and Holbrook Withington.
Great Light and Power Plant.
    Ten miles below Medford on the Rogue River is the seat of one of the great power and light plants in Oregon. Here the river has been dammed, and ponderous machinery installed at an expense of $700,000, through the enterprise and pluck of Colonel Frank Ray, of New York, acting locally through his brother, Dr. C. R. Ray. The plant represents four years of the hardest kind of toil, under obstacles that might well have dismayed a less persevering capitalist than Dr. Ray.
    Already about 1800 horsepower has been developed, and within six months it will be increased to 4800 horsepower. The purpose of the Ray establishment is to supply both light and power to the towns, villages and farms of the entire Rogue River Valley and the mines of its adjacent hills. To that end 60 miles of transmission wires have already been strung from the Greenback mine, 30 miles down the river from Gold Ray, to Ashland at the head of the valley.
    It has been found that the power resources of the present site may prove to be inadequate, and a new location for another immense dam and power plant has been secured at Prospect, 30 miles up the river from Gold Ray. This one single investment well illustrates the fact that Southern Oregon is a region of great things. At Prospect, it will be possible to develop 200,000 horsepower, and the day very likely will come when all will be needed.
Known for Its Mines and Pines.
    Grants Pass is widely known for its mines and for its sugar pine. It has more: It has 2500 bright citizens, who know how to please and interest all kinds of visitors. The Portland party was met at Medford by Mayor George Good. When they arrived at Grants Pass they were at once escorted to the Opera House, where a fine address was made by the Rev. J. B. Travis, pastor of the First Baptist Church. Among the things his hearers learned from Mr. Travis was that Josephine County has something like 9,000,000,000 feet of timber, and untold resources in gold, silver and copper. The sugar pine industry has been developed at a rapid rate, but from what Mr. Travis said, it will take something like 5000 years to exhaust the timber of Josephine County, unless the business is conducted on a more extensive scale.
    The Takilma smelter, some 30 miles distant, has done much to convert the virgin products of the Josephine County mines into copper matte. Another smelter is being erected at Grants Pass, and a new sawmill, so that the chief resources of the town and county are being utilized in very enterprising fashion.
    The women of Grants Pass gave to the Portland people an elegant lunch, of which the piece de resistance was fresh strawberries. W. S. Duniway and Tom Richardson both made speeches. in which they told the Grants Pass people many things that they seemed to be pleased to hear.
Cordial Greeting at Gold Hill.
    There was at Gold Hill a stop of about 15 minutes, during which an address of welcome was made by Mayor Hammersley. Mr. Beeman, a well-known miner, in a very earnest talk invoked the aid of the Portland people to secure satisfactory freight rates from the railroads and to bring about a reform in the Southern Pacific's method of handling its mineral lands.
    At Glendale a brass band regaled the train with choice music, and at Myrtle Creek and Riddle citizens came out to tell the pilgrims that anything they wanted was theirs. Roseburg was reached at 9:30 and everybody retired for the night. There will be something doing here tomorrow morning.
    I should not close this letter without further mention of the cordial character of the welcome extended to Portland everywhere by everybody. It is evident that the people of Southern Oregon regard this invasion as an event of moment to them and to Portland. At every town, without exception, there has been a great outpouring of citizens wearing badges, extending the glad hand of fellowship and offering the best they have for the entertainment and pleasure of the visitors. Every brass band in the southern part of the state has been called upon for music They have responded nobly.
Oregonian, Portland, November 16, 1905, page 1

    If all the members of the delegation of Portland business men who recently visited Southern Oregon found as great surprises in the development of the country as did the writer while on a recent trip to Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties, they must certainly have a fuller and more complete realization of the almost infinite resources of the state of Oregon than they ever had before. While it is true the writer had never spent any portion of his time in the southern counties, that is to say south of Grants Pass, and he was therefore unable to note the wonderful changes of the past few years as one would who had known this country before the era of development came upon it, yet he could not fail to recognize the fact that there were not only great possibilities lying at the doors of the several very important towns of that district, but also most wonderful probabilities or even certainties for the future.
    One who passes through Western and Southern Oregon, or for that matter, any portion of Oregon, on the railway lines, carries with him a very slight knowledge or realization of what the country, through which he passes, really is. What he sees from the car windows is but a fleeting glimpse, scene chasing scene, and new view following view so rapidly, that it is impossible for him to recognize anything but a very small portion of the value of the country through which the train carries him. It is necessary to step off the train at the cities, then leave their corporate limits behind and stretch out into the country; to see the thousands of acres of fruit and vine, the broad fields of alfalfa, the evidences of most excellent and up-to-date agriculture everywhere. He must see the mines and the samples of their output. He must visit the factories where lumber is being manufactured into boxes, where the vegetables of the garden are being canned for shipment abroad, where the grape is being made into wine and the ripe fruit is being packed for distribution throughout the world. These things are necessary, for him to begin, even, to know what the Southern Empire is.
    Aside from the fact that it has no political boundaries, from the fact that no man ever responds to the title of governor, that there is no state treasurer hoarding up the money raised by taxation for the maintenance of the hundreds of employees of the state, there is no capitol building with its rounding dome; aside from that fact that these are absent, Southern Oregon in point of extent, of length and breadth, of richness and of natural resources, is not only a state, but a nation. It is a country!
    When one drops through the canyon of the Comstock, the train debouches into the valleys of the Calapooia, Umpqua and the Rogue, one realizes that he is in a territory apart. Its people are the same, they speak the same language so far as having learned it from the same spelling books, and its definitions from the same dictionary, is concerned, but they speak of different subjects. With them it is not what is the price of wheat in Liverpool, and what are the prices of ships' charters today, what is the price of hops and "have you sprayed for the louse?" These subjects of conversation common to the streets of the Willamette Valley towns are far from the minds and thoughts of the Southern Oregonian. There it is fruit, rich pears which yield a revenue of a quarter of a million every year and which sell in New York City for $7 per box. It is mines with their many dollars to the ton or their hundreds of ounces at a single cleanup. These are the things of which they speak in the "Southern Empire," a name well bestowed on all that great country by that brilliant correspondent, John H. Stevenson, of the Portland Telegram.
    The towns of Southern Oregon, one should say the metropoli [sic] of Southern Oregon, show the spirit abroad in the Southern Empire. They are full of energy, go-ahead-ativeness. Every man you meet is a business man. If he has recently sold property he is investing money in something else. If he has money he is looking for an investment. If he has passed the age when labor seems necessary to him and he feels desirous of rest, peaceful rest, he places his house upon the hill and sits on his front porch and gazes out over the peaceful valleys than which no sun ever shone on fairer. They are all more or less new, these towns. They show the newness, but they also show a solidity which is creditable in the extreme.
    Ashland with its normal school demonstrated its character recently when misguided men through the abuse of the law known as the referendum held up the appropriations made so justly by the state legislature and circulated a petition with a subscription attached, among its business men, with the result that in two days' work $9000 stood pledged to support this normal school. The writer visited the school and for him to say that its influence will be felt all over Southern Oregon, and even so far away as some of the cities of the Willamette Valley and in the far-off inland empire, he simply states what he recognizes cannot fail to be the case. The influence of a school of this character is not confined to the city where it is located; it reaches out to all that country whence it bringeth those who come in search of mental pabulum, to its doors.
    Medford, a few miles away, the terminus today of two railway lines, and situated on another transcontinental line, capital of the heart of Jackson County and the Upper Rogue River, when the proposition to build a railroad to Crater Lake was presented before its citizens, seeing that the money could not be raised otherwise until a step had been made by its own backers, subscribed the money within two days, which paid for the steel rails in bare cash to lay a dozen miles of this road. A town of twenty years' existence, yet showing the spirit of activity and the confidence in itself which some day will make it great.
    Grants Pass, the center of the gold mining industry, another town of twenty years' existence, with its acres of brick blocks, its enormous mining business, its rich agricultural shipments, county seat and metropolis, can well boast of being in "the country that God remembered." Two thousand men draw high wages and salaries from the mines near Grants Pass. Great loads of apples seek for a market from this center. Melons are shipped from Grants Pass to supply the entire Willamette Valley during the season. The future of Grants Pass, like the future of Josephine County, is full of optimism.
    Because these towns are mentioned should not lead one to believe that they are the only towns in Southern Oregon. Jacksonville, oldest city of the Southern Empire, made famous by the many great men who have held places in Oregon's early history, by the wealth of gold sent out by the old overland stage which made that its principal stopping place, has grown into an air of quaintness which one cannot call decay because Jacksonville is yet a busy place, but there is much of interest in the old buildings and the old haunts of famous men that still stand. Central Point, Gold Hill, Phoenix and other towns add to the wealth of business marts one encounters in this great empire.
    What the future of this empire may be can only be prophesied in the light of history, as can the future of any other country. Its mountain streams filled with latent power, its fertile valleys only beginning to realize the fullness of fruition, its mines at the thresholds of discovery, it is impossible to see, as it is impossible to place a limit on, the future. Suffice to say it is a great country and full of the glory and richness of the world.
Statesman Journal, Salem, November 24, 1905, page 2

Last revised December 14, 2023