Medford in 1887

"Don't Amount to Much."
    Bro. Nixon, of the Yreka Journal, says, "Medford don't amount to much, there were a few lots sold at first." Well, perhaps it don't amount to much to a man who has lived in a dilapidated mining town. But let us see; we have a railroad with daily trains, a fine depot, large warehouses that send out 20 carloads of grain daily, a telegraph office, the finest brick hotel between Red Bluff, Cal., and Salem, Or. Besides this, we have another large brick block 75 feet front by 70 feet deep, two stories high; and to these we must add five one-story brick business houses, all in active use. Nor is this all; we must still swell the list by an addition of 25 or more frame business houses occupied by persons as well skilled in their several callings as can be found in any place (outside of Yreka, of course). We suppose our worthy cotem means by the "few lots at first sold," the parcels of land whereon the three hundred residences and business houses which comprise a portion of our town have been built. We have a large public school, employing three teachers, and two private schools. Come down, brother, before you attempt to write us up again; come over and see us, and take a look at our well-graded streets and broad sidewalks, our fine location, and the rich and fruitful country around us. Yes, come over, and we will show you round, and dine you at the Riddle House.--[Monitor.
Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, January 7, 1887, page 1

    Medford is on the main stem of the Oregon and California Railway, about midway between Portland and San Francisco. It has had a growth that is both substantial and permanent, and is today a wide-awake, thrifty little city. Situated, as it is, in the midst of the best and most attractive portion of Southern Oregon, in the heart of Bear Creek Valley. where the soil, climate and water are the best, there is no tangible reason why the prosperity and progress of Medford should not continue.
"A Promising Region," San Francisco Chronicle, August 11, 1887, page 7

Its Steady Growth and Prosperous Condition--Orchards and Bank Checks--
Development of the Fruit Interest.
MEDFORD, Or., Oct. 13.
    By telegram on Saturday the tens of thousands of readers of The Oregonian were apprised of the departure from this city of a train of ten cars freighted with fall and winter apples gathered from the orchards in this neighborhood. It was sent, and it is referred to here, as illustrating the fact that Medford is in the midst of the great and growing fruit region of Southern Oregon, and the natural and acquired shipping point for all this valley. This fact has made Medford a city of the first commercial importance in Southern Oregon. The supremacy of Medford's position in this respect cannot be denied. In the common meaning of the word, Medford has not had a "boom," though for the past year, and especially during the past four months, a steady growth that is both substantial and permanent. The railway company has raised a little flurry within the last ten days by instructing their agent here, J. S. Howard, to advance the price of city lots. Aside from this, the price both of city lots held by private parties, and lands adjacent to the city, has not been advanced from the reasonable figure of half a year ago. Rents have not advanced, though the influx of citizens during the past month has entirely absorbed the empty houses. It is possible that the action of the company in this matter, which is taken as significant of some unusual interest in Medford, may inaugurate a boom. Situated, as Medford is, in the very heart of the best and most attractive portion of Southern Oregon, in the midst of Bear Creek Valley, where the soil, climate and water are the best, there is no tangible reason why the present degree of prosperity should not continue, irrespective of any boom. The development of immense tracts of valley and foothill lands, all adapted to grapes and the fruits of the temperate zone, and tributary to this city, is almost limitless. There is enough in sight, to say nothing of the undeveloped coal, mining and timber interest, to support this theory of prosperous growth.
    Since August, the business men and the farmers adjacent to the city have maintained a board of trade of sixty member, and as an element of organized effort, it has resulted in great benefit already and promises richly for the immediate future. This board is making a thorough cleanup of the city, adopting the dry earth box system for a purification of the soil and to retain our present good health, putting streets into fine condition, opening and beautifying a public square, looking after all newcomers to see that they are fairly and honestly treated, holding public receptions for excursion parties, and judiciously advertising the city and valley.
    All this has resulted in our getting a steady increase of population and attracting outside attention to this valley and its marvelous resources. Upwards of a dozen families have been added to the population of this city during the past two weeks, and scores of farms in the immediate vicinity have been sold to actual locators. The majority of the newcomers are from California. Half a dozen very wealthy men are among the number of new residents. It is worth a note here that the moral tone and sentiment of Medford is exceptionally high. Perhaps there is no town or city of its size in this state more morally clean and quiet. The church and school interests are dominating ones.
    The greatest change in this valley is in relation to the fruit-growing interest. The fact that orchard owners hereabouts have been getting $600, $800, and even $1000 checks for the products of three, four or five acres of fruit this season, instead of having it wasted or fed to hogs in order to keep it from a total loss, has given a wonderful stimulus to this feature. Almost every farmer in this valley is setting out hundreds of trees; in many instances thousands, to replace old ones, and on every hand new orchards are being started. It is a comforting thing to know that this fruit-growing cannot be very well overdone, for in a year or two more this entire valley will be devoted mainly to the growing of fruit. The area of fall-sown grain this season will be fully 25 percent, less than last, and this decrease will in future be in correspondence with the increase of this fruit interest. The present low price offered for wheat has had something to do with this.
    All through this valley, houses designed to keep fruit for the winter and spring markets are going up. Mr. J. D. Whitman and J. H. Stewart, both of whom came here since '85, were the fist to build. Others are following. The fruit houses are built with double walls, filled with sawdust, and have about five feet space overhead filled with hay. The temperature inside these houses is many degrees cooler than that of the outside, and will, it is believed, preserve the fruit for winter use.
    Just now we are in the enjoyment of magnificent weather, the skies are hazy, there is something of the russet and brown tone in the landscape, but it is in the wonderfully inspiring atmosphere which incites a flow of health among our people, than in the subdued echoes as though over the dead summer nature kept silent watch until winter, that we mark and measure the character of our splendid climate.
SEE BEE SEE.       
Oregonian, Portland, November 3, 1887, page 6

    Central Point and Medford are new and thriving towns on the railroad near the central part of the main valley spoken of above. The latter is at present the principal shipping point of the valley; and both are towns of considerable aspirations. Their central position in the valley, it must be admitted, is quite a feather in their caps.
"Southern Oregon,"
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, December 22, 1887, page 1

MEDFORD, Or., Dec. 26, 1887.
    Medford is on the main line of the O.&C., about midway between Portland and Sacramento, and in the midst of the famous Rogue River or Bear Creek Valley, the choice portion of Southern Oregon. It is the commercial town of this region and the chief shipping point for Southern Oregon fruit, being in the midst of the fruit belt. It is surrounded on all sides by miles of rich grain, grape and fruit lands. Its climatic conditions are superior in their relation to grain and fruit growing, and exceptionally so as to health and comfort. Medford has a resident population of about 1000 people, mostly from the eastern states. The moral sentiment and tone of the city is probably higher than that of any other town of its size in Oregon. Church and school interests dominate. It has four church organizations. The Baptists have a handsome brick church, erected this year, at a cost of about $4000. The Presbyterian people built a handsome frame church this year. Medford has the banner Sunday school (numerically) of Southern Oregon. It sustains a splendid graded school, employing four teachers. The manufacturing interests of Medford embrace a large planing mill, broom factory, tile and brick making. A weekly newspaper is well sustained by the people. The city maintains a board of trade of sixty members, which is the organized effort of the place. This organization, acting with the city council, has established the dry earth and box system; procured a block for the public square from the railway company; is making provisions for water works for use in case of fire, and inaugurated other important measures. Medford has shipped 1000 tons of fruit this season, nearly 100 tons by express. The warehouses are filled with wheat, waiting higher market rates, and there are several hundred tons of baled hay in store here. The brick is being burned for one three-story brick, one two-story building, and there are contracts let for ten new frame residences. At this writing there are eleven new houses in course of erection. During the year two large churches have been completed and occupied. The cost was $4000 for the Baptist and about $2000 for the Presbyterian. The citizens of Medford have put upwards of $10,000 in residence buildings during the last half year. About twenty-five have been erected during the year. During the year Medford has received about 400 cars of freight--sixty-two for November and nearly seventy-five for December.
Oregonian, Portland, January 2, 1888, page 10

    Medford is situated on the O.&C. Railroad, four and three-fourths miles east of Jacksonville, and is the depot for that town. Its population is about 600. It has two churches and a large public school house. Its mercantile and business houses represent nearly every line of trade. The town has been built since the completion of the O.&C. Railroad.
"Jackson County," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 6, 1888, page 1

Last revised April 18, 2022