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

    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

Last revised November 25, 2011