Medford in 1905

MEDFORD. Population 3,000. Jackson County. Settled in 1884, incorporated as a city in [1885], in the Rogue River Valley, on Bear Creek and the Southern Pacific railway, 328 miles south of Portland, 443 north of San Francisco, and 5 east of Jacksonville, the county seat. Contains Christian, Baptist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist Episcopal and Methodist Episcopal South, Presbyterian and Catholic churches, public school, opera house seating 600, water works, fire department, electric light plant, two newspapers--Medford Mail (Republican, weekly),  Southern Oregonian (Independent, semi-weekly), two banks, the Medford roller mill, capacity 100 bbls.; the Hotel Nash is a prominent institution; a distillery, brewery and two planing mills. The Iowa Lumber Co. have their mills and factories here, and give employment to a large number of men. Annual rainfall 20 to 30 inches, averaging about 25 inches. Among the leading placer mines in the vicinity is the Sterling mine, which yields from $60,000 to $100,000 annually. A water canal ten feet on the bottom and sixteen feet on top is now being constructed from Butte Creek and Fish Lake, which is about half completed and when finished will be about 45 miles long, to furnish power and water for Medford. The land is fertile, suited to grain and fruit. Shipments, flour, fruit and livestock. Quartz and placer mining is extensively carried on. Telegraph Pacific Post and Western Union. Express Wells Fargo & Co. Mail daily. Alonzo M. Woodford, postmaster.
R. L. Polk & Co.'s Oregon, Washington and Alaska Gazetteer and Business Directory 1905-06,
page 293     Abbreviations spelled out to facilitate searching.

    Let us pause on this, the twenty-first anniversary of our beautiful city, Medford, and turn back the leaves of history for twenty years or more and think what we owe to those who, through much time and patience, have made it possible for us to enjoy the city's many privileges. Many of the original founders of our city have long since passed over the divide, but as I pause before the different business houses I note a remnant of that hardy, well and favorably known class still doing business at the old stand. Although old time has bowed their forms, dimmed their vision, they are still as enthusiastic and interested in the upbuilding, advancement and future development of their beautiful city as in days long since passed by. The foundation of Medford was laid out in the year 1883, as near as possible in the very center of the beautiful Rogue River Valley, on both sides of Bear Creek [the original townsite was on the west side only], a beautiful, crystal stream [other reports suggest Bear Creek water has always been murky], which divides the East and West Medford, with one of the most beautiful and substantial bridges in the county. Bear Creek drains the entire valley, a distance of thirty miles, from its source to where it empties in to Rogue River. Well may the city of Medford lay just claims to prominence over other sister cities for natural advantages. The future promises that she will be the principal city of Jackson County and the county seat, of which she is justly entitled to be. The city of Medford borders on and lies adjacent to all the leading grain, fruit and alfalfa fields, and the great stock and mining interests of the valley all center in Medford. As the shipping center of the valley, all the products naturally gravitate to the city of destiny, for the stock raiser, the orchardist and agriculturist have long since become acquainted with the cash market of the valley. The city is no one-man or one-street town, as some of our sister citizens and cities would have you believe. She has had no property boom, but [is] a city of slow of and steady growth, for her development did not take place until she was cemented with the outside world by the Southern Pacific railroad, and that steady development has continued with unabated vigor to the present day. The growth of the city is not only to be seen in the handsome business blocks and beautiful residences, but in the increased population from the last census. Medford has made herself famous for her hospitality in welcoming and extending the warm hand of friendship to capitalists to locate and share in the city's promising future, knowing full well that the many church steeples, telegraph and telephone lines of which our city is so abundantly blessed and all of which have their individual places, do not complete the makeup of a city, but the assistance of every legitimate business that may give life and attractiveness to all classes that may visit our city, thereby ensuring a healthy financial circulation for the upbuilding and improvement of our fair city.
    Medford is recognized and acknowledged as the center of education of Jackson County, pupils coming from adjacent counties to avail themselves of the high order of educational privileges the Medford schools so freely offer. Prof. Narregan, with his able corps of qualified teachers, spares no pains in keeping the educational status of the Medford schools in the lead. Medford school buildings, playgrounds and surroundings present such a clean, neat, attractive appearance, and the street and highways leading to the beautiful school building, which has no peer in Southern Oregon, is quite commendable to the resident owners. Medford streets are many and are wide and well drained, and her miles of sidewalks are exceptionally well cared-for and above all things clean. Medford today claims a permanent population of 2500 people. Although the youngest city of Rogue River Valley, she is fast forcing herself to the front as a manufacturing city of much prominence. She is an exceptionally healthy city, as our leading physicians will testify. The resident portions of the city walks are lined with beautiful evergreen, ornamental shade trees, and the yards are carpeted with handsome lawns, monthly [sic] roses and sweet-scented flowers that have the perennial bloom, each one vying with his neighbor in making his or home the most beautiful and attractive.
    We cannot in the space allotted give individual mention to all the business houses in the city, but will say that there are 150 businesses and professions being vigorously pushed in our city. How many are employed in these various industries and are made happy from them and what amount of wealth is gained from them? Yet if our beautiful city was settled as it might and ought to be there would be room for many times the number of business houses that now exist.
    With this brief introductory I present this not very interesting article to the many readers of the Medford Mail, hoping that
[it] may be instrumental in helping along the car of progress which runs so smoothly in our city of Medford.
Medford Mail, January 13, 1905, page 1

Showing Oregon to Visitors
    "This valley has never looked so well, and prospects for rapid and steady growth have never been so bright as they are today," said A. A. Davis, president of the Medford & Crater Lake Railroad, talking to the Journal about the Rogue River section of Oregon. "Jackson County has entered upon an era of permanent improvement. Her great resources, so long dormant, are being developed."
    The city of Medford, a clean, modern town in the broad and fertile Bear Creek Valley, high up in the foothills of the Siskiyous, 1,400 feet above Portland, is one of the most beautiful and healthful places in the world. There is not an unpainted house, nor a public ash pile, in Medford.
    "Medford has gained 500 or 600 population during the last year. She is now a city of close to 3,000 people," said Mr. Davis. It is said there has not been a time in the year when less than 15 or 20 new dwellings were under construction. The houses are substantial and modern, and on none of them is paint spared. It is a town of pretty homes set in beautiful green lawns, rose gardens, and orchards, bordered and well-kept board sidewalks. The main street, running through from east to west, is ten miles long. Traversing it the visitor passes the palatial residence of E. J. DeHart, the handsome houses of H. D. Wortman, George Faucett, Major Andrus, Dr. W. E. Jones, W. E. Bradshaw, William Angle, J. W. Ling, John Smith and many others, the high school, the Southern Pacific depot, the principal hotel, the leading business houses and banks. Bear Creek, spanned by a substantial iron bridge, meanders through the city from north to south, passing close to the business center.
    The new exposition building, costing $2,000, built through the enterprise of John D. Olwell, J. W. Perkins, F. H. Hopkins, Gordon Voorhies, the Condor Water Power Company, H. C. Lewis, the Iowa Lumber & Box Company, the Jackson County Bank, the Medford Bank, W. I. Vawter and other progressive citizens, was opened with a rose show. The building stands alongside the Southern Pacific railroad track, near the depot. It is a picturesque one-story structure, with large plain glass windows, and surrounded with electric lights. The interior is arranged to receive exhibits of fruit. Eagle Point onions, vegetables, woods and minerals, the products of Jackson County. They will be arranged so that passengers on trains may see at a glance the things that are produced in the highest perfection in Southern Oregon. The building is said to be the first of its kind in the state.
    The Rogue River Valley railroad line, from Medford to Jacksonville, will add a gasoline motor car to its equipment. The car will be operated over the six miles of this road on the livery plan. A telephone will serve to call the car at all times to any point on the line, to carry individuals or parties any desired distance. A similar car will be put on the line of the Medford & Crater Lake Railroad, now being constructed from Medford to a point 25 miles towards the headwaters of Rogue River. The road is graded for a distance of five miles from Medford, and a force of 60 men is at work on construction between that place and Eagle Point, to which the road will be completed and operated by October 1. Contracts for all bridge work are closed, and the work will begin this week.
    Dr. J. F. Reddy, who recently acquired a lease of the Nash Hotel, has changed it to the European plan, and made extensive improvements. A new bank, the Medford First National, will be opened within the next 30 days. Its president is Judge W. S. Crowell, and M. Alford is the cashier. F. K. Deuel is vice-president.
    Every business house in the city is occupied, and there is not a dwelling for rent. Large additions are being made to the orchards around Medford, and many new orchards are being planted in the hills eastward to the Antelope Valley. There is activity in the agricultural and fruit industry along the line of the new railroad to and beyond Eagle Point. It is estimated that Jackson now has 20,000 acres of apple orchards, 6,000 acres of which are bearing. Many peaches and pears are also being planted. There are about 1,000 acres in prunes. Almonds are arousing much interest, and it is predicted Jackson will become a heavy producer of the nuts.
    The question of good public highways that will permit transportation of the products of farms and orchards at all seasons of the year is one of the most important confronting the people of this county. In many parts of Southern Oregon a species of adobe known as "big sticky" is encountered. It is a soil of great fertility, and is regarded as one of the best apple soils, but in wet seasons roads that traverse it are practically impassable for any kind of vehicle. The county has purchased a rock crusher, and has a force of men at work macadamizing one or two of the main roads leading out of Medford. But the equipment is far short of requirements, and many years of constant work would be required before even a few of the most traveled roads would be improved by the machinery now in operation.
Oregon Journal, Portland, May 28, 1905, page 14

    Medford enjoys a distinct advantage in being centrally located with respect to the large horticultural and farming interests of the Rogue River, or more accurately, Bear Creek Valley. It is 12 miles northwest of Ashland on the O.&C.R.R. of the Southern Pacific system. The town is situated on both banks of Bear Creek and is immediately surrounded by fine pear and apple orchards and rich farms. It enjoys an extensive trade, and is an important shipping point. There are numerous stores which carry large stocks of goods, and there are some substantially built business blocks. The town contains many attractive homes. There are extensive planing mills and lumber yards, but as elsewhere in the county, manufactures are limited, and there should be some good openings for business ventures in manufacturing in Medford. It is a growing town, with a population of about 2,500.
M. F. Eggleston, "Jackson Co. Oregon," brochure published by the Jackson County Commissioner's Court, June 1905

Medford's Progress.

    Have just returned home from an afternoon's stroll over a portion of the western part of our beautiful city. I made my maiden visit to Medford's green, cool, shady city park, a sweet, pure place of cleanliness, refinement, beauty and loveliness. Show me a place among our older sister cities in Rogue River Valley, unless made by nature, that can compare in the least with the few acres that have so recently been encircled and transformed into a place of so much loveliness and beauty. I gazed about until my eyes leaked and my neck became stiff and refusing to turn on its pivot, counting the foundations of new houses to be built, those partly built and those completed in the brief space of time of two months. I became so much interested in our city's growth I just sat down and said, Medford forever. She is forcing herself to the front in every capacity. She is asserting herself in superiority and knocking the persimmon. They cannot shut Medford off. Gold and silver, fruit and stock; the captivating location of the valley, the men of brains, vigor and originality; self-reliance and she is irrepressible. All eyes are turned upon her. Millions of hopes are staked upon her resources, her sunshine, and we venture they will all be realized. The rich man comes here to grow richer, the poor man to better his circumstances, the sick come for health and strength, and those that are discouraged and disconsolate come for the cheer and comfort and to enjoy the hospitable society our city is known to offer.
Medford Mail, September 15, 1905, page 1

Last revised June 18, 2022