The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1910

    By J. G. Martin.
    I was made the recipient of a most delightful surprise Friday morning in the nature of a kind thoughtful invitation from my unexpected friend, visitor to the city, Mr. A. D. Wilde of Pasadena, Calif., to accompany him for a few days' ride to the Antioch country, where he has land interests that he wished to investigate. We left the busy city of Medford at 5 a.m. wrapped in its morning nap, and in order to get all the pleasure of sightseeing and enjoyment possible from our limited time our route led us out on the smooth Jacksonville road that we might make a circuit of the Rogue River Valley proper, and give my California friend an early morning glimpse of our earthly paradise, dotted on the right and left by cities whose church steeples could be seen in the distance glistening in the early sunrise, with modern city and farm residences nestling among groves of ornamental trees and clean fruit orchards, surrounded by alfalfa and grain fields, with the valley checkered with endless lanes and newly improved county roads, which my California friend acknowledged, though with some reluctance, surpassed Southern California for pure air cleanliness and thorough cultivation.
    We had a remarkable fine clear view of Jacksonville, our beautiful historical county seat, from the Hanley Butte nestled among the shady groves of the foothills 5 miles west in the distance whose place and name will always hold the key to Southern Oregon's pioneer history.
    Our next place of importance was suburban city of Central Point, which from the many newly painted business and residential buildings, cement walks, new steel water tank and a general development of the surroundings the traveler would be led to believe he was passing through a new city of a few years building, which my friend remarked was the most centrally located place for a big city he had seen in the valley. This remark caused a little coolness between us, for I at once thought of my home in swift Medford, 5 miles in the distance.
    But the most attractive fascinating sight to be seen by us and one that caused us to halt was the big, clean, thrifty, heavily loaded apple and pear orchards on Bear Creek, one mile north of Central Point, whose surface seemed to be as clean smooth as a fashionable house carpet, for there was a perfect sameness as far as the eye would carry you. We noted many new houses being carved out of the chaparral and oak grub thickets, by some ambitious Missourian, we supposed. We halted in the middle of the Bybee bridge that spans the beautiful Rogue, that my friend might see her clear crystal water and get a glimpse of her speckled trout. We found the Modoc Orchard and Development Company of the north side of Rogue River making many permanent improvements and changes on their newly acquired property by planting out 50-acre pear orchard, removing old landmarks of plum and brier thickets, dilapidated worm fences, grading and encircling their entire tract with a post-and-wire rabbit-proof fence, with a new farm residence, barn outbuildings under construction, and with the extinction of those old familiar scenes in our absence of 3 months makes us feel as a stranger in a strange country. We found the stretch of adobe county road leading around the base of north Table Rock, once noted for its many cuss words and breakdowns, is in a fine smooth condition for travel.
    In our many brief calls during the day at the pleasant farm residences in upper Sams Valley, where cheer, comfort and productiveness appears to abound, we never saw nor heard of any fruit-blight, but the little red-cheeked apple, purple plums, pear, promising fields of grain, corn and hay were much in evidence of our country's prosperity.
    We reached Medford at 6 p.m., tired and travel-stained, but felt well repaid for our strenuous day's trip of sightseeing, with my California friend completely infatuated with what he saw of the famous Rogue River Valley.
Jacksonville Post, June 11, 1910, page 4

From W. H. Lind, an Old Magnetic Springs Boy,
Who Is Now Located at Ashland, Oregon.

Ashland, Oregon, April 16, 1910.
    Friend George:--Well, how are you? Here we are again, but I have changed my field of operations. I am on the road again and in the passenger service, but I am running from Ashland to Red Bluff, in California. I run over the Cascade and the Siskiyou Mountains. I have a long division this time, a distance of 206 miles, but through the most beautiful country on the West Coast. Ashland is in the famous Rogue River Valley, noted for its fine fruits, especially apples and berries of all kinds.
    We start out of the Rogue River Valley then over the Siskiyou Mountains and then into Shasta Valley and around Mt. Shasta, a height of 14,445 feet, then over the Cascade Mountains, then into the gorge of the Sacramento River, which we follow for one hundred miles, then to the foothills of the Sacramento Valley. My run stops 135 miles north of Sacramento, at the head of the valley, but it is the most beautiful country out here.
    It is called the "road of a thousand wonders," and it surely is. You cannot get out of sight of Mt. Shasta; it is covered with snow and the snow stays all summer, making a most beautiful sight. We also pass Mt. Lassen, an extinct volcano, also covered with snow, but only 10,000 feet high. You can see Mt. Shasta from Sacramento on a clear day with the naked eye by getting in the dome of the statehouse. Shasta is just 300 miles from Sacramento, so you see the air is very clear. The dome of the capitol building is 240 feet high from the sidewalk. You can see the cities and towns all over the valley, a most imposing sight especially for one from our level country.
    The West Coast is at its best right now. It is not hot enough to burn everything up yet, the fruit is abundant and ripe now, but after a while it will be so hot that everything will be burnt brown. The fruit crop was immense this season.
    Oregon and Washington are counting very much on James J. Hill building a main line down through Washington and Oregon to California and opening up a country unsurpassed for fertile valleys. He is building this way and someday in the near future will be in San Francisco. Frisco is a little quiet at present. It built a little too strong to commence with, but the West Coast in general is good.
    The freight and passenger traffic is immense. The grade over the Siskiyou Mountains is a four percent grade and calls for five engines on their freights, so you see the grade is fierce and now the fruit trains are thick, thousands of cars being shipped East. California is counting on getting the Panama exposition for San Francisco. They count on beating New Orleans. When I can get a picture of the new Mallet compound engines I will send you one. They are ninety-six feet long with immense tonnage. Well, George, I guess I had better ring off for this time; will try and let you hear from me again. Will have to write Ed. Moore and Joe Embrey in a few days, so goodbye and be good.
Yours as of old,
    W. H. Lind.
The Richwood Gazette and the Marysville Republican, Richwood, Ohio, June 30, 1910, page 2


(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 is 25,756; 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 64,215 acres unappropriated and unreserved, of which 61,355 acres are surveyed and 2,880 acres are unsurveyed. Of the assessed appropriated land 103,511 acres are cultivated and 1,076,601 are uncultivated. Cultivated land is worth on an average of $68.40 per acre, and uncultivated land $12.30. The total value of taxable property in the county is $23,801,700. 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 seven sawmills, three saw and planing mills, one box factory, [and] five planing mills, employing in all 86 skilled men at a daily wage of about $3.25; 100 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 115 skilled men at a daily wage of about $3.75, and 158 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.
Fourth Biennial Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Inspector of Factories and Workshops of the State of Oregon from October 1, 1908 to September 30, 1910, Oregon State Printing Department, 1911, page 137

Rogue River Valley's Health-Giving Climate
By Dr. E. H. Porter
    "What is the character of the climate of Rogue River Valley?" is a question asked by every newcomer and prospective resident of Medford and vicinity.
    What are the prevailing diseases, the source of your water supply, and above all, is it healthful? Do you have electrical storms or wind storms? Is the valley a good secluded section for semi-invalids?
    There are many factors which must obtain if one is seeking climate for residential, health, comfort or business purposes. Those factors are temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, purity of air, latitude, altitude and local conditions, i.e., nearness to main towns, nature of soil, irrigation, cultivation, population, smoke, etc. The amount of sunshine, so important in the consideration of any climate, is governed largely by the humidity.
    As the Rogue River Valley enjoys about 300 days of sunshine yearly, and as the sun's rays are one of the most powerful disinfectants known to science, it naturally follows that this section is free from many of the diseases which are common to less-favored sections.
    The valley is free of the sudden changes of temperature so common east of the Rocky Mountains. During the winter the thermometer not often goes below freezing, and the hottest summer day rarely brings the mercury to 100 degrees.
    The heat is tempered by cooling northwest breezes, making the climate a most delightful one for the most delicate patients.
    While the humidity is great during the winter months, the shortness of that season, the lack of high winds and equitable temperature make the winter months as enjoyable as the remainder of the year.
    Climatologists would place this section in the category of climates as inland, medium altitude, both a sedative and stimulant, free from winds, electrical storms and sudden changes of temperature, a most ideal combination of conditions, one which is unequaled in the United States.
    The physiological effects of this section on the newcomer consist of increase in respiration and cardiac functions, increase in appetite and stimulation of the nervous system, and in an increase in both quantity and quality of blood.
    Burney Yeo, a former professor of King's College, London, in speaking of this section, is very enthusiastic and refers to its mild winters and cool summers, without extremes of heat or cold, making an ideal health climate.
    Owing to the mildness of this climate, the absence of extreme degrees of heat and cold, Rogue River Valley is suitable for a greater variety of invalids than is any other of similar size in the world. There is no climate in the world which has not its drawbacks, but fewer climatic disadvantages are found here than any other country in the world.
    For pulmonary diseases this section cannot be surpassed, and it is predicted that the time is not far distant when a a sanitarium for the treatment of diseases of the lungs will be established in the southern end of the valley.
    Pneumonia, the great killer of the eastern states, is neither common or very fatal in this section. Rheumatism, another disease which in the cold, wet sections of the East claims its yearly quota of victims, is rather uncommon.
    The water supply of Medford is one of the purest in the world, being derived from Fish Lake, a sparkling body of water at the foot of Mount McLoughlin.
    No human habitation is near to contaminate lake or river flowing therefrom.
    While there have been some cases of typhoid fever in Medford, without an exception almost, the source of infection can be traced to numerous old wells from which the water supply of many families was secured before the advent of the present water system. In many instances a few feet from these wells was to be found the family outhouses. Contamination from one to the other was an easy matter and very commonly occurred, producing intestinal diseases.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1911, page B5

Last revised April 23, 2024