The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1908

Medford, Oregon, Jan. 1908
Dear Unknown Friend,
    I was requested by our teacher, Professor Shirley, of the eighth grade, to write to you concerning our city and valley, which I will do to the best of my knowledge.
    Medford is located in the center of the beautiful Rogue River Valley. It is on the main line of the Southern Pacific railroad, 331 miles south of Portland and 442 miles north of San Francisco, in the southern part of Oregon. Its altitude is 1,374 ft. It is the western terminal of the Medford and Crater Lake Railroad. This railroad not only opens the gateway to Crater Lake National Park, but also makes it the point of concentration for all the timber of the upper Rogue River.
    All the public buildings and business blocks are of brick and stone, magnificent in design.
    The religious and educational advantages of Medford are of high order. There are nine churches representing all the leading denominations, all of strong congregations, and most of them having splendid places of worship.
    Medford has a fine school system. There are two large brick buildings. They carry a broad course of study, including drawing, watercolor work and music, under a special director.
    Jackson County, in which Rogue River Valley is located, lies at the southern end of the state. The climate is mild. During the coldest weather it seldom gets to 20 degrees above zero. The warmest weather is in July and August from 90 to 100 degrees. The nights are always delightful and cool.
    Rogue River Valley is the home of the the apple and pear and has been known and recognized throughout the East, and commanded the highest prices. All other fruits are raised in abundance. Among those raised are peaches, plums, apricots, cherries and prunes. Also almonds and walnuts. Berries of all kinds. Grains, wheat, oats, barley, rye and timothy. Alfalfa to perfection.
    This is the pioneer mining district of Oregon. Copper, gold and coal in abundance are found here. There are also fine timber regions. The territory of timber tributary to Medford extends far beyond the limits of Jackson County. While the forests of upper Rogue River is immense, sugar pine, yellow pine, fir, cedar, oak and laurel are in abundance.
    Hoping this will give you some information of our beautiful country and city,
Yours respectfully,
    Berna Roberts.
"Inter-School Letter System Started," Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Illinois, March 4, 1908, page 1

(Jacksonville, County Seat.)
    Jackson County lies in what is known as the Rogue River Valley in the southwestern part of the state. It is bounded on the north by Douglas, on the west by Josephine, on the east by Klamath counties, and on the south by California. The population from the 1905 census was 13,628; of these 89 percent are United States born; of the foreign 11 percent about one-fourth are German; the remaining three-fourths are made up principally of Canadians, English, Irish, Scandinavians and Austrians. The total area of the county is 1,779,662 acres. There are 48,183 acres unappropriated and unreserved, of which 47,155 acres are surveyed and 1,028 acres are unsurveyed. There are 199,183 acres reserved and 1,532,296 acres appropriated. Of the assessed appropriated land 81,069 acres are cultivated and 1,010,667 are uncultivated. Cultivated land is worth on an average of $58 per acre, and uncultivated $10.45. The total value of taxable property in the county in 1907 was $22,811,390. The expenses for the same year were $30,935.69. The surface is level, rolling and mountainous. The rock formation in the western part is pre-Cretaceous; in the eastern part it is a combination of Cretaceous and Eocene. The natural forest growth consists principally of oak, willow, yellow and sugar pine and fir. Fruit of all kinds, especially peaches, have been found to grow well on this soil, which is rich in all the essential chemicals. It is likely to be a very lasting soil. Its first need will probably be phosphoric acid. The soil is black and deep, ranging from ten inches to several feet. The subsoil is hard and white. The sugar beet, hemp, onions, sorghum and strawberries should grow well on this soil. The soil in the immediate vicinity of the valley consists of successive alluvial deposits of different geological periods and is very rich. Rogue River and its branches furnish excellent water power for milling purposes. The fuel used is wood and costs from $4.00 to $6.00 per cord. There are several mineral springs with good curative qualities in the county. The leading industry is farming. Lumbering is carried on extensively. There are fifteen sawmills, one saw and planing mill, one saw and shingle mill, one box factory, one saw and box factory, one saw, lath and shingle mill, one sash and door factory and three planing mills, employing in all 101 skilled men at a daily wage of about $3.15; 170 unskilled men at a daily wage of $2.25; two women at a daily wage of about $1.15. Mining is also an important industry. There are sixteen gold quartz mines yielding ore valued at $24.15 per ton, a number of placer mines, five asphalt mines, two copper mines yielding 30 percent ore, one iron mine, also quantities of asbestos, quicksilver and building stone. Among the industrial plants of the county are found brick yards, breweries, creameries, cold storages, electric light, flour and feed, fruit canneries, laundries, machine shops, printing, soda water and water power, employing in all 125 skilled men at a daily wage of about $3.75, and 160 unskilled men at a daily wage of about $2.25. The roads are in good condition. The climate is mild and congenial. The mean temperature during the spring months is 50.5 degrees, summer 61.1 degrees, fall 56.4 degrees, and winter 42.7 degrees. The mean precipitation during the spring months is 2.64 inches, summer 1.34 inches, fall 1.43 inches, and winter 4.21 inches. At the 1908 June election this county voted in favor of a local option prohibition law. The charter of Medford, however, exempts that town from the operation of the law.
Third Biennial Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Inspector of Factories and Workshops of the State of Oregon from October 1, 1906 to September 30, 1908, Oregon State Printing Department, 1909, page 132

Last revised September 30, 2017