Medford in 1904

Looking east at Main and Front, 1904
Looking east at Main and Front in 1904

    Medford in Jackson County on the S.P.R., 328 miles south of Portland, also in the Rogue River Valley has 2500 population. Has 2 banks, large roller flour mills, distillery, brewery and 2 planing mills. Headquarters of the Iowa Lumber Co. Center of a great fruit region in which prices of land are rapidly rising. Good school, opera house, electric plant, four newspapers and eight churches.
Wallis Nash, The Settler's Handbook to Oregon, J. K. Gill Co., Portland, 1904, page 187

    Medford is a live, growing city of 3500 [sic] inhabitants; located about midway between Portland and San Francisco, on the Southern Pacific railroad, and is the shipping point and commercial center of the rich Rogue River Valley.
    The climate varies according to altitude, that of Medford being 1398 feet above sea level. The extreme limit of temperature in summer is 105 degrees although it seldom exceeds 90 degrees; while in winter it seldom sinks as low as 16 degrees above zero; the average for winter being 40 degrees above and for summer 70 degrees; the nights are always cool, ensuring refreshing slumber.
    The annual rainfall ranges from 20 to 30 inches, and irrigation is not necessary although it is beneficial. There are several irrigating ditches in operation, also electric pumping plants for irrigating.
    In its climate, this delightful region has all the advantages of other sections without the accompanying drawbacks.
    As a health resort it is unsurpassed; contagious and other diseases of an epidemic nature are almost unknown; pulmonary and chronic ailments are greatly benefited; it is a paradise for invalids and children, the climate being so mild as to permit of living in the open air the year around almost.
    The soil is [of] a volcanic alluvial nature, many feet in depth and of the same wonderful fertility that characterizes similar soil in the valley of the Nile, Egypt. No harmful alkali has been found in the Rogue River Valley.
    Wheat, rye, oats, barley, corn, alfalfa and other grasses yield well. Potatoes, beans, peas, melons and all kinds of berries and garden vegetables grow to profusion.
    Quite an industry is being started in the growing of almonds, English walnuts and figs.
    Apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, grapes and especially apples are the best-paying crops, and this valley has a worldwide reputation for its fruits.
    The choicest varieties of its apples are sold in advance in European markets. Surrounding Medford there are more acres in orchards and more acres being set annually in orchards than in any other portion of the three great northwestern states.
    The great timber and mineral districts surrounding get their supplies of hay, grain, fruits, butter, eggs, poultry and other supplies from Medford, thus ensuring good prices and a good market for products.
    Surrounding Medford in Jackson County are 1,658,880 acres of timber, grazing, mineral and agricultural lands; her vast forests of sugar and yellow pine, fir and other valuable timber, containing billions of feet of lumber, are as yet practically untouched, and this alone ensures millions of wealth to the country.
    Within a radius of ten miles of Medford over $20,000,000 in placer gold has been produced, and many rich placer mines are yet in operation, and the development of electric power plants now in operation ensure the working of many thousands of acres of rich placer grounds which heretofore could not be worked. A large dredger (the forerunner of dozens of others) is now in operation, turning out thousands of dollars of glittering gold monthly. Gold-bearing quartz ledges, the feeders of the rich placer grounds, are now being operated successfully on a large scale. Scores of rich gold mines are now in successful operation, and the cheap electric power means the successful development of hundreds of rich mines.
    As yet practically untouched are mountains of copper and iron ore, silver, galena, quicksilver and other metals, coal, quarries of limestone, sandstone, marble and granite, potter's clay and other valuable mineral products.
    There are yet many thousand acres of government land which can be homesteaded, also timber lands open for entry, and there are thousands of acres of railroad lands for sale on easy terms at reasonable prices.
    Prices of lands in the vicinity of Medford range from $40 to $150 per acre, orchard lands from $100 to $500 per acre. Within a distance of 25 miles land can be purchased for $5 per acre upwards.
    The price of staple articles of food and clothing is practically as cheap here as in the East. Building material is cheaper and on account of the mild climate comfortable houses can be built very cheaply.
    Carpenters' wages are $2.50 to $3; masons, $3 to $5; laborers, $1.50 to $2.50, per day; farm hands $25 to $45 per month. We have yet to see a thrifty, energetic man without work in Medford or vicinity.
    Medford can well be proud of her magnificent school buildings and schools which rank as the very highest in the country; over 800 children are in attendance.
    Almost all denominations are represented among the churches, most of which are in a prosperous condition with handsome buildings.
    Nearly all the different orders and secret societies are represented and are flourishing.
    There is plenty of game--bear, deer, grouse, pheasants, etc., in the mountains nearby. Splendid fishing for salmon, salmon trout, mountain trout in Rogue River, 10 miles distant.
    Numerous summer and health resorts with mineral springs of soda, magnesia, iron and sulfur charged with natural gas.
    Prices of lands are steadily advancing due to the great development going on in the country. Now is the time to get in "on the ground floor," grow with our growth, prosper with our prosperity.
    We have a progressive, hustling, up-to-date, hospitable people, who cordially invite you to come and investigate, assuring you that the many varied resources, advantages and charms of this favored valley and climate will ever after bind you fast.
Further information cheerfully and promptly given by the
                Medford, Oregon.
    J. W. Merritt, of Central Point, Or., sold 1,641 boxes of apples from three acres for $1,863.75, an average of $621.25 per acre.
    J. P. Hoagland, of Medford, Or., received $823.00 as proceeds of the sale of watermelons from his six-acre tract in 1903. Rogue River watermelons are exceptionally fine and command high prices in the Portland, Oregon market, and are more eagerly sought after than the product of any other section.
    J. Huger, of Medford, Or., packed 12,000 boxes of apples from 25 acres, and sold the entire lot for $1.10 per box, and upwards. In the same season, he also sold 18,000 boxes from 40 acres of pears, and sold this fruit at $1.15 per box and upwards. The average profit per acre in each case was upwards of $600.00.
    S. L. Bennett, of Medford, Or., received $942.10 for 751 boxes of apples grown on a trifle more than one acre of land in 1903. These were the famous Newtown Pippin apples. Mr. Bennett also sold 400 boxes of Ben Davis apples from one acre of his land the same season, receiving $280.00.
    J. E. Nute picked 305 crates of apricots from one-half acre of orchard in 1903, and sold them for $481.00. This is an average of $962.00 per acre.
    W. H. Norcross, Central Point, Or., received $3,119.80 for the sale of 966 boxes of Spitzenberg, and 1,852 boxes Ben Davis apples, from four acres of Rogue River Valley orchard in 1903.
    Clay & Meader, of Medford, Or., received $2,000.00 for 20,000 pounds of almonds, grown on their property in 1903. They also sold 3,000 boxes of apples for $2,250.00 and 2,640 boxes pears fro $3,115.20, picked from 30 acres. The 20,000 pounds of almonds were from trees just coming into bearing, and the showing made is excellent. Nuts are grown to fine advantage in this valley.
    Roberts Bros., Phoenix, Or. (just south of Medford), sold five tons of onions from one-half acre of ground, for $100.00. Three acres of land produced 20 tons, and sold for $250.00; two acres watermelons brought $265.00, while one-eighth acre of blackberries yielded 40 crates, which sold for $30.00.
    Olwell Bros., Central Point, shipped 55 carloads of 600 boxes each apples and pears from their 160-acre orchard in 1903. This total number of 33,000 boxes brought on an average $1.50 per box. About 120 acres of this orchard in bearing.
    Add. Helms, of the Rogue River Valley, sold $5,604.50 worth of apples from his Newtown Pippin orchard, containing seven acres. This is an average of over $800.00 per acre.
    M. L. Pellet, of the Rogue River Valley, sold from his 30-acre orchard of Newtown Pippins $13,574.50. Only a portion of this orchard is in bearing.
    W. H. Bradshaw, of the Rogue River Valley, gathered and sold from 250 trees of Newtown Pippin apples, planted on 3½ acres, $2,512.55 worth of fruit.
Booster letterhead reverse side, found on letterhead of Dr. I. D. Phipps, Medford, Oregon

    Medford was incorporated in 1885. Is situated on the west bank of Bear Creek, on the line of the Southern Pacific Railroad and has a population of 2,500. The business part of the town has well-built brick and stone buildings equaling in size and cost the business centers of many towns twice its size. All branches of trade, industry and all professions have able representatives. It is a city of churches, there being nine comfortable church buildings. A large public school building, water works, electric light plant, four mill, two banks, two hotels and a large number of business houses. Most of the business men are from the East and Middle West, and are bright fellows who have a good trade and carry large stocks of goods. Medford, lying as she does in the heart of the valley, has naturally become the chief trading point for a large country. There are opportunities for a man who has money to invest, in and about Medford. Fruit canneries, dyers, manufactories and almost any kind of business would pay, and in many cases pay well.
    Do not come to Oregon and expect to find a snap. The rush of homeseekers is beginning to arrive--most of them men of moderate circumstances. Many of them have an idea that land can be bought very cheap here and when brought to the realization that good land is not sold for a song, they fold their tents and silently steal away. Now and then an Eastern farmer drifts into town with his pockets full of money. If he has the price he can find the land that is all right; but mind you, it would take several New York State farms to buy a good one here--I mean a good improved farm of 160 acres near Medford; one that a farmer could go onto, commence farming and make a good living from the start. Real estate agents are thick as the hair on a dog. They always have just what you want; the land will grow almost anything from hay to oranges, and on account of sickness of the owner they will sell it to you for almost next to nothing. If you ever come West look out for yourself; look well before you buy land; take your time, look around and do not buy the first thing you see because some fellow says it is cheap. There is lots of land--a little good and a whole lot of it no good at all. You are expected to pay more or less for climate, but look out that you do not buy all climate. There are many good chances for the Eastern farmer and young business man in Oregon. Do not expect too much or any soft soaps, as there were people here ten years ago looking for the same thing.
Excerpt, Frederick A. Thomas, "Valley of the Rogue River," Pulaski Democrat, New York, May 18, 1904, page 4

    This town occupies a position in Jackson County, Oregon, similar to that of Montague in Siskiyou County, and Redding in Shasta County, California. These three towns represent the chief centers of railroad traffic for their respective counties, and, singularly enough, each has superseded, at least to some extent, an old-time mining town situated in each case six or eight miles from the railroad, and to the west. Yreka is still the center of commerce for Siskiyou County, and Jacksonville has also managed to hold her own quite well. These towns were able to do this by building short branch railroads to the Southern Pacific line. But the old town of Shasta in Shasta County was handicapped from doing this because of the natural and topographical conditions. Medford, like Redding, has seen phenomenal growth.
    Medford should be ranked as the best business point in Jackson County, and further than that is declared by some unbiased people to be the town of greatest energy and enterprise in Southern Oregon. It is the center of an excellent fruit, stock, dairy, hay and grain district, and is by no means inclined to allow the mining resources of Jackson County to go unnoticed either.
    The famous Olwell fruit farm, whose apples are alike noted in Europe and the Orient, is located within four miles of Medford. The fruit possibilities of this district have only recently been brought much to light, and it is an easy prediction that this locality will someday be rated with the best fruit-producing section of the Pacific Coast.
    The stock, hay and dairying industries are all being developed, and as already implied, the geographical situation of Medford marks it for one of the coming interior towns of the state of Oregon.
    The business men are alive also to the timbering resources of eastern Jackson County, or all that district drained by the upper Rogue River, and occupying the western slope of the Cascade Mountains. It is evident that the business interests will unite, if necessary, to extend an electric road to tap that territory. Toward the establishment of a big lumber and box factory now operating at Medford, the business men went down into their pockets and contributed the sum of $3,000. Toward the establishment of a foundry and machine shop they did the same for $1,000. A prominent business man told the writer that the town could be depended upon to raise $10,000, if necessary, to land the Blue Ledge railroad at Medford. All this shows an excellent spirit for a town of scarce 3,000 people. It is this spirit that has made Medford what it is and has given it its high standing among the Coast's interior towns.
Mineral Wealth, Redding, August 1, 1904, pages 4-5

Last revised September 7, 2021