The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1923

Also see the Bixby columns for this year.

The Rogue River Valley
    Southern Oregon includes the Umpqua Valley and Rogue River Valley with many lesser tributary valleys. Southern Oregon is a land of infinite beauty and charm. The traveler who approaches Oregon from the south by way of the Shasta Route over the Siskiyou Mountains looks down from an elevation of more than 2000 feet to the Valley of Rogue River, the most southern of Oregon's valleys. It is spread out before him like some titanic checkerboard, its alternate squares consisting of orchards and fallow land. The green of the orchard, the brown of the cultivated land, the yellow of the occasional stubble field make the valley look like some huge map laid off in tinted squares. Nestling at the foot of the mountains, like a cameo set in a mounting of pearls and emeralds, lies Ashland, a city green to its very doors.
    The Valley of the Rogue comprises an approximate area of 2300 square miles, of which there are over 500 square miles of rich valley floor and gentle hill slope. The soil of the valley is largely alluvial but you will also find disintegrated lava and a soil of granite formation. Much of the soil is black and deep, with here and there lighter colored soil formed of disintegrated granite. You will also find dark red soil, as well as gray and light yellow soil, and soil coarse in texture. This granite soil contains abundant elements of plant food, such as silica, lime, magnesia, potash and phosphoric acid.
    In buying land here, as well as elsewhere in Oregon, it is well to know exactly what you are planning to raise so that you will not later be disappointed, for you will find here sandy soil coarse in texture excellently adapted for early crops where rapid growing and early maturity are desired. You will find this soil ideal for strawberries or loganberries, but unsuited for orchards. Hence it is well to examine carefully and investigate thoroughly any place, wherever located, before you buy it. Much of the land in the Rogue River Valley not now being used for agriculture will in time become valuable, as its plant foods are readily available, and if humus, such as barnyard manure, is added to the soil, it will respond with good crops.
    The Rogue River Valley is best known for its pears, apples and peaches, particularly its pears. Pears from Medford and vicinity have brought top prices in almost every large city in Europe.
    The high prices received in the past for fruit caused the farmers to devote most of their attention to the orchard instead of the raising of corn and alfalfa, hogs and dairy cows. They have acted upon the principle of Pudd'nhead Wilson ; put all their eggs in one basket and have watched that basket. More and more, however, farmers in the Rogue River Valley are beginning to take up poultry, turkey raising, the growing of sugar beets, alfalfa and other farm crops in addition to orchard fruits. The red soils of the foothills now covered with a heavy growth of oak timber or mountain mahogany are especially adapted to  grape culture.
    At Jacksonville, one of the oldest towns in Southern Oregon, one may see splendid vineyards, orchards that have been planted for nearly fifty years and huge fig trees heavy with the weight of their ripened fruit.
    The Rogue River Valley in time will be settled by hundreds of retired farmers, merchants and professional men who want to work a small tract intensively and enjoy the mild climate, the pure mountain-born water and the scenic beauty of the Valley of the Rogue. The annual rainfall at Grants Pass is 32 inches, at Medford 28 inches and at Ashland 20 inches. Only 8 percent of the annual rainfall occurs in June, July, August and September, so that it is a sunnier district than the Willamette Valley or the Coast region.
Oregon for the SettlerSouthern Pacific, edition of August 8, 1923, page 17

Dr. J. D. Hullinger Describes Trip.
    Dr. J. D. Hullinger of this city, who is traveling in the West, writes
the ADVERTISER the following letter from Medford, Oregon:
    From Portland we pass many fertile ranches where fruit of nearly every kind is grown. We traverse the Willamette River, with its wide valley and prosperous farmers. We pass the capital at Salem and state's prison, also the state hospital. At Eugene, a place of 10,593 population, is located the University of Oregon. The buildings are large and commodious and 2,000 students are enrolled. Further we pass through Roseburg, division point of the S.P. on [the] "Shasta Route." This is an attractive little city, situated in a bend of the Umpqua River surrounded by dairy farms, orchards and timbered hills.
Cow Creek Canyon.
    A few miles south, we enter Cow Creek Canyon, which is followed for 35 miles. This picturesque ravine is held within steep walls which rise more than 1,000 feet above the tumultuous stream; the scenery is simply charming. Mountains rising either side and covered with towering pines, fir, laurel, and madrone delight the eye, while the silence of the wilderness is broken only by the music of the waters in their rocky bed below. Here one is sure "Back to Nature." The stream comes down in a succession of rapids and the angler finds good sport all along its course. Near West Fork, alt. 1036, two prominent peaks rite above the skyline, Gray Back, 4138, and Panther Butte, 3517 feet. After leaving Cow Creek Canyon we pass the Umpqua and Rogue River Divide, this crest forming the county boundary between Jackson and Josephine counties, alt. 1441 feet, to Ray Gold, where one of the first discoveries of gold was made and where gold mining is still carried on on a paying basis. At this place a dam has been built across Rogue River and power for several valley towns is generated. Mt. McLoughlin, with its snow-crested peak looms up here, 9,706 feet high.
Rogue River Valley.
    The Rogue River Valley is the most fertile region of which I know. All these valleys are fertile but I know most of this one. Peaches, pears, apricots, apples and even prunes are raised, when the orchards are irrigated, most successfully. This is a god season and when you pass any of these "ranches," trees are propped up, all the larger branches, to prevent breaking from [the] weight of the fruit. Grain and all kinds of garden vegetables grow wonderfully fine. Flowers, of same variety, grow much larger here than seen anyplace.
    We snowballed at Crater Lake, alt. 8,156 feet, and in three hours were eating native ripe figs off the tree in Medford. Sure great country.
    Rogue River Valley is 41 miles long, about 13 wide, has ten towns, Medford, population 5,756, being the largest. It is the fruit shipping center of Southern Oregon, and about 20 cars of Bartlett pears are now shipped from here every day.
    I was shown through several "packing houses" where the fruit is wrapped in paper, boxed, [and] prepared for shipping. The pears, picked green, are handled like eggs, to avoid bruising. They are dumped on endless carriers and the employees assort them as they pass along, grading them as to size and quality. They are handled from orchards in boxes holding about ½ a bushel. Trucks haul them from all directions and carry big loads.
The Fruit Industry.
    The fruit industry is an important one here and the products of these valleys are shipped all over the world. The quality is of the very finest and brings fancy prices wherever sold.
    The soil is surprisingly productive and the ordinary farm, or as called here, ranch, is 5 to 10 acres.
    Medford is an attractive modern city, good substantial business houses and public buildings. It has modern residences and good hotels. It is the northern entrance to Crater Lake, a national park, situated some 90 miles to the east [sic]. We visited Crater Lake and saw the greatest natural wonder of our lives. Some detail should interest everybody.
    Centuries ago Mount Mazama was a huge volcano. He belched for ages and the molten rock is seen, on the sides, just as it ran down and cooled, layer on layer. Finally it became hollow and the weight of the peak caused the whole top to tumble in, leaving a lake seven miles across and over 2,000 feet deep. The top of the volcano, however, still is above water, is called Wizard Island, and the original crater is present in this island and can be entered and descended into for over 300 feet. The size is sufficient for a secret lodge to put on an initiation in the crater, as they did some time ago. At many places on the sides the remains of the fire and melted rock, inside [the] original volcano, still are plainly visible.
The "Rim."
    We drove around the "rim." The distance is 35 miles and at several places were snowbanks on August 16th. The water is 1,000 feet below the rim and the sides are so steep that it cannot be ascended except on a "trail," which has been made S-shaped, down one side. The water is an intense blue and the reflection of the water is so perfect that you cannot tell the wall from the reflection into the water, so intensely blue in its unbroken circle of 24 miles. A dense growth of pine surrounds the lake and the government has set apart 159,360 acres here, as a national park. Wild animals, bear, elk, cougar and deer are common sights. We saw a fawn which crossed the road in front of us and which stopped and looked at us, like a tame calf, at 40 yards.
    From the rim at an altitude of 8,165 feet we could see for more than 100 miles in all directions. To the south Klamath Lake 45 miles away is a noted resort, and to the north Diamond Lake, another hunting and fishing resort. Many high and lofty peaks could be seen. Near Diamond Lake are Mt. Thielsen, 9,178 feet, Bailey, 8,256, and Diamond Peak, over 9,000 feet high.
    Many tourists visit these resorts and accommodation can only be secured by telephone days in advance. The road through immense pineries of fir, pine and a few cedars is traveled by campers only and it winds around mountains, over streams, through canyons, and is very picturesque. There are places where it is impossible to pass cars on the sides of the mountain road and one has to "horn" often and use every precaution. The up-going car has right of way and they sometimes meet where one has to back up or down. Accidents, however, seldom happen.
Clinton Advertiser, Clinton, Iowa, August 28, 1923, page 12

Last revised March 3, 2021