The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1920

    Medford is situated in a rather narrow but very pretty valley, at an altitude of 1,300 feet. But not by any means a farming valley equal to the Yellowstone. The second week we were here we were guests at the weekly luncheon of the Chamber of Commerce and listened to a very interesting talk by Reimer, the head man from the state experiment station located between Medford and Ashland. Mr. Lindauer had already made the remark that he never before had seen a country with as many different kinds of soil; yet we were surprised to hear Mr. Reimer say that there was 43 different kinds of soil in Jackson County, and of course a great many of these practically worthless without certain fertilizers, and even then they must have irrigation for best results. Alfalfa is the main crop here where fruit is not raised. Grain does not seem to do as well as alfalfa, and that does not produce well here without sowing sulfur with it. There is a small percent of the valley under irrigation. However they are putting in another project now at a cost of from $100 to $125 an acre. This with the first cost of the land which runs from $150 to $200 per acre makes it too expensive for anything but fruit raising. However, there are two small areas near here where the soil is excellent and very good crops can be raised without water, according to the county agent, and we find that it is in one of the areas that Baker Yarbrough has bought. They have a very nice home equipped with electricity and only five miles from Medford.
    Medford is a town of about 7,000 people and very nicely improved with a good many miles of paved streets, and the climate is sure fine. We can't wonder that the Rogue River people boast of their climate. Medford by rights ought to be the county seat of Jackson County, but the voters of the county did not so decree it. The capitol of the county is located at a little town called Jacksonville, five miles from here. It is a very old town built in the early '50s. In 1850 [sic] gold was discovered in the hills back of it and a wild rush was made for it and Jacksonville sprung into existence. I wish my descriptive power was great enough to make you see the town as it is. It is really amusing to think that it is the county seat and that the voters out of jealousy could not see fit to have it removed. In the first place it is five miles from the railroad and nestles in a beautiful spot close up against a small mountain. The streets are very narrow with shade trees on each side that cross their branches over the streets. The business part was built before the Civil War and now the stores unused are boarded up. They look as though if they could only speak, that they could tell wild stories of earlier days. There is left a grocery store, a kind of a drug store and a bank, or rather there was a bank until a few weeks ago. There is not a place in the town to get a meal. It has been years since mining operations there ceased after taking millions out of the hills and since then there has been nothing to keep up the town. When the Southern Pacific was built through, Jacksonville offered no inducements and instead it took in Medford and left Jacksonville out. But it still continued to live by having the county business. There was a fine old man in the town, president of the one bank, honest and held in high esteem. This last year [sic] he died and in the vaults were found many sacks of gold dust left to his care by early miners in the wild rough days of the town and were never called for, and the old man kept them all these years for the boys who never returned.
    We drove up on the bluff and looked down at the town, and our friends who were with us, the Drs. Carlow, remarked that they had a friend from the East here, who after viewing it exclaimed: "A duplicate of Irving's Sleepy Hollow." And so it was named and named well.
    Medford was much disappointed in the fall election because she failed to get the required number of votes to move the court house and now it will be another four years before it can be voted on again. We expect, if the weather permits, to leave here soon for California.

Respectfully yours,
"Mrs. G. F. Lindauer Writes Interesting Letter of Trip," Laurel Outlook, Laurel, Montana, January 5, 1921, page 6

Last revised December 9, 2021