The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1916

    We turn now into the Rogue River canyon and run east for miles, reaching Rogue River, thence through Rock Point, Gold Hill and Ray Gold. One of the first discoveries of gold was at Gold Hill. As we pass on we see the dam, on the east, which develops much of the power for the valley towns. The great flat-topped hill as we pass is Table Rock and beyond is Table Mountain. Mt. Pitt's snow-capped crest 9,760 feet high looms to the south among the lesser peaks of the Cascade Range.
    We here leave the canyon and enter the southern end of the famous Rogue River Valley containing in all 1,000,000 acres, of which one-third is under cultivation and lies between the Umpqua Divide on the north and the Siskiyous on the south, and the car window vista embraces thousands of acres of orchards and farms dotted with ranch houses in ideal surroundings.
    Here we reached Medford Station. Here the valley is 12 miles wide. Medford is the fruit shipping center of southern Oregon. Its prize apples and pears are shipped to all parts of this and European countries. Leaving Medford the line passes through Phoenix with orchard and laurel groves on either hand. Bear Creek flows on the east. As the train climbs the grade a grand view is had of orchards and farms which checkerboard the valley below here.
    We now reach Ashland, a railroad division point on this route, [with] natural attractions, including mineral springs with its curative properties. Ashland is situated in the foothills of the Siskiyous at the base of Mt. Ashland 8,000 ft. and its twin Mt. Wagner 7,000 ft. The waters of Ashland River flow from their snowbank sources through a picturesque canyon.
    Leaving Ashland the train commences its climb to the summit of the Siskiyous 4125 feet above sea level. The distance from Ashland is 17, and the trip takes one hour's run. Soon we come to Cougar Gulch; one tunnel crosses directly above another tunnel. The ascent affords successive views from car window and observation end that will never be forgotten, such is the view between Wall Creek and Siskiyous, looking to the northeast far down into and across the Rogue River Valley with the Cascades forming a barrier in the distance. After emerging from the tunnel at the summit the first view is had of Mt. Shasta, snow clad and towering in the distance to east above intervening hills. Pilot Knob, a prominent landmark, also appears as the train passes down the southern slope.
"Down West Coast: Mr. and Mrs. Huffman Tell of Wonderful Scenery Beyond the Rockies," The Warren Tribune, Warren, Indiana, February 25, 1916, 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 County, on the west by Josephine County, on the east by Klamath County, and on the south by California. The population is 26,484 (U.S. Census, 1910, 25,756) . Of these, 89 percent are United States born. Of the 11 percent foreign born, about one-fourth are Germans, the remaining three-fourths being made up principally of Canadians, English, Irish, Scandinavians and Austrians. The total area of the county is 1,779,662 acres. There are 58,125 acres unappropriated and unreserved, of which 55,885 acres are surveyed. There are 464,560 acres of O.& C. grant lands located in this county, that portion of which found suited to agriculture will be thrown open to homestead entry as soon as classified. (See "Oregon & California Land Grant Lands" in this report.) Of the assessed appropriated land, 128,500 acres are cultivated and 1,076,601 acres are uncultivated, of which about 300,000 acres are tillable. Cultivated land is assessed on an average of $78.93 per acre, and uncultivated land $9.45. The total assessed value of taxable property in the county in 1916 was $22,989,100; public service corporations, $3,505,405.26. These values represent 62 percent of actual valuations. There are 765 miles of public highways in this county, of which 15 miles are hard-surfaced, 15 miles macadamized and graveled and 735 miles of earth roads. The total amount expended for roads in 1915, produced by taxes, was $109,736.23, and provided for 1916, $70,399.97. A bond issue of $500,000 in 1913, together with an appropriation of $150,000 by the state, was expended upon the construction of the Pacific Highway in this county during the past three years. During a period of twelve years (1904 to 1915, inclusive) this county has expended an aggregate of $1,289,894.81 upon its public highways, segregated by years as follows: 1904, $17,428.31; 1905, $11,163.50; 1906, $12,413.02; 1907, $19,914.61; 1908, $41,746.33; 1909, $79,188.17; 1910, $100,309.76; 1911, $258,967.42; 1912, $65,172.28; 1913, $132,127.46; 1914, $441,727.71; 1915, $109,736.23.
    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 yellow and sugar pine, and fir. Fruit of all kinds, especially peaches, apples, and pears, has been found to grow well on this soil, which is rich in all 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 four planing mills and one saw and planing mill. Mining is also an important industry. There are sixteen gold quartz mines, 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. (Mineral products, .1915, page 105.) Among the industrial plants of the county are found brickyards, Portland cement works, creameries, cold storages, electric light, flour and feed, fruit canneries, laundries, machine shops, printing, soda water and water power. The roads are in good condition, one road leading direct to Crater Lake, the scenic wonder of the world. 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 normal precipitation per season is: Spring, 6.40 inches; summer, 4.36 inches; fall, 5.70 inches; and winter, 12.46 inches; total annual, 28.92 inches. A large percentage of the Rogue River Valley has been put under irrigation.
    Ashland (O. H. Johnson, Mayor)--Ashland is situated on the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad, 230 miles south of Portland. The altitude is 1,960 feet. It covers an area of about 2,240 acres, and has a population of 6,000. The assessed valuation of city property is $2,880,640, with a total general bonded indebtedness of $219,692.25. The city has a Carnegie library, model hospital, a sanitarium, and an armory that cost $36,000. There are twelve churches--Baptist, Catholic, Christian, Christian Science, Congregational, Dunkard, Episcopal, Free Methodist, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian and Spiritualist. Two schoolhouses are valued at $60,000, and a city hall at $15,000. A fine new high school building cost over $75,000. Thirty-three school teachers are employed, receiving salaries of from $65.00 to $138.00 per month. The chief of police receives $75.00 per month, and assistant $65.00. Common labor, $2.00 to $2.50 per day; skilled labor, $4.00; and man and team, $5.00 per day. An electric light plant is under successful municipal ownership, but there is also a large corporate power and light plant. The gravity waterworks system is owned by the city and pays a profit. Private families are given a flat rate of $1.00 per month. Fruit growing, lumbering, stock raising and mining are the principal industries. A carpenter shop, creamery, electric light plant, waterworks, steam laundry, planing mill, ice works, broom factory, fruit cannery and iron foundry are located here. There are good opportunities in fruit growing, dairying, poultry and swine. Ashland is a division point on the Southern Pacific system, and due to this fact quite an extensive payroll is monthly disbursed here. It is also a Chautauqua center, annual sessions of the Southern Oregon assembly being held amid ideal surroundings. Ashland's extensive and beautiful parks are gaining widespread reputation. Bonds to the amount of $175,000 were authorized to pipe into the city for free public use the waters of a number of valuable lithia, soda and sulphur springs, which abound in the immediate vicinity of Ashland. This is believed to be the beginning of the making of Ashland a famous watering place and resort city, favored as it is in the way of climate, scenery and general environment, as well as the greatest variety of desirable mineral waters to be found at one place in the United States.
    Butte Falls (H. D. Mills, Acting Mayor)--Situated on the P.&E. Railway and Big Butte River, 38 miles from Jacksonville, the county seat, and 30 miles southwest of Medford. Population, 500. Has one church (Presbyterian), graded school, a bank, two hotels, one hardware store, one dry goods store, two general merchandise stores, two groceries, two lumber companies.
    Central Point (W. A. Cowley, Mayor)--Settled in 1884; 325 miles south of Portland on the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad; five miles northeast of Jacksonville, the county seat. Bear Creek runs through the town. It was newly incorporated in 1908. Covers an area of 600 acres, and has a population of about 1,120. The altitude is 1,298 feet. The assessed valuation of town property is $536,000, with an indebtedness of $135,000. One schoolhouse is valued at $20,000, and twelve teachers receive salaries ranging from $65.00 to $166.50 per month. Five churches--Baptist, Christian, Christian Science, Methodist and Presbyterian--are valued at $10,000. Town hall at $100.00 [sic]. Y.M.C.A. building valued at $12,000. Common labor is paid $2.50 a day; skilled labor, $4.00; and man and team, $5.00. An electric light plant, private ownership, furnishes the public on a graduated scale of 15 cents per 16-candlepower light per month. Dairying, fruit culture, mining and lumbering are the chief industries. There is one hotel, three blacksmith shops, implement house, harness shop, furniture store, two hardware and two general merchandise stores, livery stable, three cigar and notion stores, two jewelry stores, dentist, two drug stores, tinshop, two barber shops, newspaper, flour and feed mill, and a cement pipe and block factory. There is a great need of a cannery and a cold storage plant. The city has recently installed a water system, furnishing most excellent drinking water and complete fire protection. It has also put in seven miles of sewer, and has paved the main street with asphalt pavement.
    Gold Hill (J. R. R. Morelock, Mayor)--Gold Hill was incorporated in 1895. Covers an area of 290 acres, and has a population of 555. It is located on the main line of the Southern Pacific and on the Rogue River. The altitude is 1,109 feet. The assessed valuation of town property is $280,000, with no indebtedness. Two school buildings are valued at $25,000. Seven teachers receive from $60.00 to $130.00 a month. One church, several denominations, is valued at $2,000. The city marshal is paid $50.00 a month. Daily wage of common labor is $2.50; skilled labor, $3.50; and of man and team, $5.00. The electric light plant is privately owned, but the city owns its waterworks system. The cost of light service is $1.50 a month, and of water $1.00 a month for domestic purposes. Mining, stock raising, fruit culture and farming are the principal industries. Hardware store, three general merchandise stores, hotel, restaurant, a livery stable, one blacksmith, a machine shop, furniture dealer, three barber shops, one jeweler, one tailor, a carpenter shop, telephone office, a butcher shop, a confectionery store, a pool room, two soft drink places, one light lunch place, one drug store, implement and hardware stores, one lawyer, one newspaper, one moving picture theatre, one photograph gallery, a cement plant, a bank, one flour and feed store, three rooming houses that serve meals, a planing mill and box factory, a lime kiln, a hospital, a market gardener are the leading enterprises. Splendid camping, hunting and fishing grounds, climate adapted for all-the-year residence. Hay fever and asthma are quickly relieved by residence here. There is good opportunity for a cannery, a pottery plant, a meat packing plant, a good hotel and a general merchandise store.
    Jacksonville (E. Britt, Mayor)--Settled in 1852. It is 322 miles south of Portland and five miles from Medford. County seat of Jackson County. Incorporated in 1860. Has a population of about 1,000. The altitude is 1,568 feet. The assessed valuation of town property is $350,000, with a bonded indebtedness of $45,000. One public schoolhouse is valued at $20,000, and six teachers are employed at salaries ranging from $60.00 to $120.00 per month. Three churches--Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic--courthouse, Masonic and Odd Fellows' halls aggregate a value of $60,000. It is the western terminus of the Rogue River Valley Railroad, with hourly electric car service with Medford. This line is now extending from here into the timber two miles distant. Logging operations will commence about February 1. The city marshal receives $75.00 a month. The daily wage for common labor is $2.50; for skilled labor, $4.00 and up; and man and team, $4.50. The electric light plant, owned by a private corporation, furnishes service to consumers at 10 cents maximum rate per kilowatt hour. The waterworks system is owned by municipality, and is among the best in the state outside of Portland. Mining and fruit culture, both in the early stages of development, are the chief industries. Jacksonville has a sawmill, two general merchandise stores, and five other stores of varied classes, one 30-stamp quartz mill, one brick and tile factory, one cyanide plant, rock quarry for pavement and from which quarry all the roads of the county are being constructed; two banks and one newspaper.
    Medford (V. J. Emerick, Mayor)--Incorporated in 1885. Altitude, 1,337 feet; area, 1,717 acres; population, 10.500. Is 329 miles south of Portland, and 434 miles north of San Francisco, on the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad; five miles east of Jacksonville, the county seat, and is the present western terminus of the Pacific & Eastern Railway, now in operation to Butte Falls, in the midst of the great timber belt in the Cascade foothills, 35 miles to the east. Is also the terminus of the Rogue River Valley Railroad, in operation to Jacksonville, and junction point with the Southern Pacific. Assessed valuation of city property is $3,104,128; bonded indebtedness, $1,192,050. Four brick public school buildings and one brick high school building aggregate a value of $150,000; also a private school (St. Mary's Academy), managed by the Catholic Sisters, and a business college. There are twelve churches --Adventist, Baptist, Catholic, Christian, Christian Science, Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, German Lutheran, Free Methodist, Methodist (South), and Presbyterian. Skilled labor receives $4.00 per day and upward, and common labor, $2.50 to $3.00 per day. Paid fire department with equipment, including auto fire truck costing $15,000. Electric and gas plants privately owned. Gravity water system, installed at an expense of $400,000, and furnishing a water supply sufficient for a city of 25,000, is owned by the city. Fruit growing, diversified farming and mining are the principal industries of the surrounding country. Gold, copper, cinnabar, iron and asbestos mines exist in the county, but the mining industry, except gold mining, and some copper and coal mining, has been at a standstill for the past several years. There are two first-class hotels and several others, grocery stores, hardware stores, general merchandise stores, etc., sufficient for a city of its size, with planing mills, brick yards, three lumber yards, blacksmith shops and garages, also sufficient; cigar factories, two ice plants and precooling station for fruit. Public library that cost $35,000 and federal building to house the post office. United States forestry and pathologist's offices, and United States weather bureau, all located here, at a cost of over $100,000. United States Court holds term of court here once a year. Public market built by the city; space furnished free to farmers, where splendid exhibits of varied products of surrounding country may be seen. Has two daily newspapers and four banks, two national and two state. Also a fine public park in the heart of the city. Also a natatorium and amusement place, with plunge and tub baths, dancing floors, skating rinks, etc., under private ownership. Canning factory for fruits and vegetables has recently been built. Jackson County has spent $500,000 bonds for building of permanent highway which passes through Medford. Crater Lake National Park, one of Nature's most marvelous scenic creations and situated about eighty miles northeast, at the summit of the Cascade Range of mountains in Klamath County, is within easy auto and other vehicle stages from Medford.
    Phoenix (E. G. Coleman, Mayor)--Situated on the S.P. Ry. and the Pacific Highway; was incorporated in 1909; area, 30 acres; population, 400. The assessed value is $210,000; bonded for public water system pumping plant, $22,000. There are two public school buildings; manual training and domestic art and science taught. Eight teachers are employed at salaries from $65.00 to $110.00 per month. School property valued at $20,000. Electric light secured from California-Oregon Power Co. at rate of $1.00 per month for four 16-candlepower lamps. Wages: Common labor, $2.25; skilled labor, $3.00 to $4.00; man and team, $4.50 per day. There are two churches--Christian and Presbyterian. Phoenix has two general merchandise stores, one hardware and implement house, one blacksmith shop, one drug store, one livery stable, one hotel, one barber shop, one cigar store, one meat market. There is a ditch of water capable of developing 30 horsepower going to waste. A bank, cannery, and manufacturing generally would pay well. Farming, grazing and fruit growing are the principal industries in the surrounding country.
    Rogue River (W. P. Weatherell, Mayor)--Population, 450. Situated on Rogue River and the main line of the Southern Pacific Railway, nine miles east of Grants Pass. Altitude, 1,025 feet. Has one schoolhouse and employs six teachers at salaries from $75.00 to $125.00. Has one church (Presbyterian), bank, one drug store, two general merchandise stores, two hotels, one hardware store, one meat market, one livery stable, two blacksmiths, one restaurant, one doctor, one confectionery, one barber shop and one feed store.
    Talent (Wm. H. Breese, Mayor)--Incorporated in 1910. Altitude, 1,637 feet; area, 640 acres; population, 500. Situated on Bear Creek and main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad, twelve miles southeast of Jacksonville, the county seat. Assessed valuation of town property is $165,000, with $20,000 bonded indebtedness. Seven teachers in the public schools receive from $65.00 to $125.00 per month. City marshal receives $50.00 per month. One school building, grade and high, has a value of $30,000, and city hall is valued at $2,000. There are four churches--Baptist, Christian, Dunkard and Methodist. Daily wage of common labor is $2.50 to $3.00, and for man and team, $4.50. Electric lighting service is furnished by private corporation at the rate of 10 cents per kilowatt hour, and water system is owned by the municipality, and the rate of service is 15 cents per 1,000 gallons. Lumbering, dairying, fruit growing, truck gardening and poultry raising are the principal industries. The town is provided with hotels, blacksmiths, mercantile establishments, bakery, livery stable, confectionery store, drug store, pool hall and theatre. Good opportunity is offered for investment in development of mineral resources.

State of Oregon, Seventh Biennial Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Salem, 1916, page 144   Phoenix, Rogue River and Talent figures from 1914 report. No corrected data for 1916 obtainable.

Last revised February 23, 2014