Medford in 1908


By A. J. Wells
 On thine orchards' edge belong
 All the brags of plume and song.
    Looking into an encyclopedia--one of the latest--to find the continental range of the apple, we were arrested quickly by the sentence: "They are also raised in Oregon and California." After that the range of information in the article seemed likely to be academic, and not edifying. There was a little flavor of the racetrack in the sentence we carried away, but that may have been a matter of associated ideas, caught from that thesaurus of wisdom, the daily newspaper, for we have not yet seen a horse race. But the announcement that in the apple race Oregon "also ran" will startle several sections of a state early known to fame as the "Land of the Big Red Apple." But that was in the days of untutored nature, over which came an eclipse. We planted the orchards and went fishing. Nature made the apple a thing of beauty to look at, but presently the worms captured it, and the unplowed, unpruned, unsprayed, uncared-for trees became a blot on the landscape.
    But the perfection of the pioneer apples was a hint of what cooperation would do and, joining hands with nature, Oregon has set long trains of such perfect apples following each other in endless processions across the continent on their way to the markets of the world that other apple growers, who fancied that the best apple must have winter in its blood, began to sit up and take notice. It was a new thing in horticultural annals, and when discriminating buyers began to give the preference to Oregon apples and to send them to the most fastidious markets in the world, across seas, and halfway across distant continents; when the western apple package and the keeping qualities of the western apple began to revolutionize the whole apple trade, then it began to appear that the western apple tree held a secret which it did not get from the North Pole.
    Medford has become the center of the Rogue River Valley district, and in apple and pear production has drawn the attention and excited the wonder of half the world. This has turned upon the quantity as well as the surprising quality of the product, the yield of the orchard in number of boxes per acre, and the price per box in carload lots being quite phenomenal. It is one thing to secure a crop of good, sweet apples, but when you have also richness of coloring, excellence of quality--juiciness, spiciness, high flavor--and withal fine keeping qualities, then you have a combination which means the envy of all apple growers and money in your purse.
    A yield in sordid gold coin of one thousand dollars an acre was thought to be the limit a few years ago, yet the Rogue River Valley has exceeded this in many cases, even climbing as high as fifteen hundred dollars an acre. Even the Ben Davis, an apple whose right to a place in good society is disputed year after year, has returned over $10,000 from twenty-two acres. The fact seems to be that, after making allowance for exceptional cases which in apple growing do not make or prove the rule, a bearing orchard around Medford will net the owner from three hundred dollars to five hundred dollars an acre, and you can figure the value you ought to attach to, say, twenty acres of such fruit. It probably multiplies the price paid for the land by two figures.
    It is believed that the Gardner spray engine was first used in this valley, marking a new era in horticulture. So successful, and successful in such measure for a series of years, has been the culture of the King of Fruits that merchants, tradesmen and mechanics are interested in orchard properties of their own, and Portland capital is grouped in a large number of orchards just south of the little city of Medford. The largest one of these has five hundred acres set to trees, the next in size having two hundred and twenty-five acres, seventy of which are in bearing.
    It may be that there are large areas that will produce equally good fruit, but they have yet to be discovered and proved; meanwhile, the districts where soil and climate seem to hold the secret of perfect fruit will be good places for investment. Mr. Darwin said that he found a town in Chile that was buried in orchards, and where the streets were but paths between apple trees. In that amazing region so sympathetic was the soil that a large apple bough cut off and thrust two or three feet in the ground took root and bore fruit the second year. Nothing is lacking in detail but the quality of the fruit, which is quite fundamental. Besides the commercial profit of a Rogue River orchard, the trouble of planting with care the grafted youngster from the nursery is nothing, and as for the streets losing themselves in avenues of orchard trees, that will take care of itself, and in time you will have to look for Medford with a balloon, so lost to sight will it be in a wilderness of orchards.
    Solomon wanted to be "comforted with apples," and was probably in a bad way at that particular time, but the average man has a sort of polyglot taste, and wants a "balanced ration" in the orchard as well as at table.
    Among pears Medford makes a record that overtops her own apples. A carload of du Comice pears sold for $4622.80 gross in New York, which means about seventeen cents a pound at wholesale, or anywhere from ten to fifteen cents apiece for pears. Thackeray said that, as a boy, he very much wanted a chunk of taffy, but it cost a shilling and he didn't have the shilling. Afterward, when known to fame, he said that he "had the shilling, but didn't want the taffy." We outgrow some tastes, but a man is old and beginning to grow stale whose mouth does not water at sight of a luscious pear.
    Bartletts hold the most delicious nectar distilled in nature's laboratory, bottled in their skin; those shipped from Medford realized $5.05 per box in Montreal, Canada, and $4.60 on the American side.
    The Doyenne du Comice is a shy bearer elsewhere, but here yields prolifically. The Beurre Rose and the great de Anjou pear trees attain their highest excellence. For three years past the latter averaged nearly four dollars per box with no expense at harvest time save picking and packing.
    Peaches pay regularly from one hundred dollars up per acre, the hilltops furnishing ideal peach lands. The cherry is at home, and the upper valley of the Rogue has made a name for itself with this delicious fruit. The great canning cherry, the Royal Anne, is very popular, and its production is rapidly increasing.
    The Blenheim apricot, often a shy bearer, succeeds here, and has no better representative in any country. It can safely be chosen as a money maker, being popular everywhere.
    The Tokay and Concord grape have been tried here, and the hill lands are admirably suited, giving color and flavor. There is no reason why many European varieties should not thrive on these low foothills, the climate being dry, the air free from humidity, and the rainfall slight.
    Oregon produced last year apples to the value of $1,423,800, dried prunes worth $1,208,875, and other fruits sufficient to make a total of $4,275,185. This is an increase of 53 percent over the crop of 1906, and at the present rate of planting it will take but a few years to reach a value of $50,000,000.
    A market for Oregon apples is found in the East, in England, Scotland and Germany, and is being developed across the Pacific, several thousand boxes being sent annually to Vladivostok. Doubtless in time there will develop a great Asiatic market, as the people acquire ability to buy; permanent settlements and cities in Alaska, too, will want Oregon fruit.
    Will production outrun the market? Hardly. A hopeful sign of the times is the increasing consumption of fruit. As meat goes up and up by the exhaustion of the range and the increasing cost of feeding, fruit will take its place. As we become wise in the matter of dietetics, and in the management of what Carlyle styled "that diabolical arrangement called a stomach," we will use less meat and pastry and more fruit. As riches increase the demand will be for the best fruit, and the Deacon's "specked apples" will not be allowed in market; culls will make cider and vinegar and go to feed stock, and only the best fruit will reach the public. But the area is limited within which perfect fruit can be grown, and while prices may and will come down, the profit of orcharding in such a valley as that of the Rogue River will continue. That is to say, the best fruit will always command a good price.
    Transportation facilities will increase, and larger shipments will mean lower rates and the opening of new markets.
    Immediately around Medford first-class lands ready for the plow can be bought for one hundred and fifty dollars and two hundred dollars per acre, with an upward slant all the time. Farther-out land equally good can be bought for one hundred dollars, and a little farther out for fifty dollars. It is a matter of distance from the railroad rather than of the quality of the land or of water for irrigation. There are bottom lands of black loam lying along the Rogue and other mountain streams, and hill slopes which are not only fertile, but where the red-cheeked Spitz takes on a deep, dark, splendid red, and with the yellow Newtown Pippin makes a bouquet of color on the table. These lands have been tried, and it is known exactly what they will do, and transportation will take care of itself if a district so developed is away from the railroad.
    A fruit growers' association is here and will maintain a standard of excellence, while protecting the small grower. This is done by limiting shares to five, so that the big grower has no advantage over the little one, and is paid the same price per box.
    The very fact that this is and will continue a fruit center, known and sought for the quality of its output, opens a door for profitable industries of other kinds. A community of orchardists must be supported. The old-time shoemaker's children went barefooted, and the new-time fruit grower will produce nothing but fruit, and his family will want meat and milk, butter and cheese, berries and all kinds of "garden truck." Horses will be wanted, and cannot be grown in an orchard; hay will be needed by many who are virtually farmers but cannot produce hay. So all through, in proportion as a fruit district develops, will it make a market for the farmer's product. Increase of orchard area means a corresponding decrease of grain fields and hay meadows. More than that, it means a rapid increase in the local demand for grain and hay. Thus we shall see that while the local supply of grain and hay is decreasing because the land is being devoted to other crops, the demand is steadily and permanently increasing. Three horses do all the work on a grain farm of one hundred and sixty acres. When that one hundred and sixty acres has been cut up into twenty-acre orchards it will require sixteen to twenty horses to do the work on the same area of land. The remaining fields must furnish the oats and hay for five times as many horses, to say nothing of the cows the orchardists keep. It is a safe prediction that hereafter there will always be a live local market for all the grain and hay the valley may produce.
    This splendid forage grass is growing luxuriantly here, and is credited with from two to four crops without irrigation. In one instance eighty tons have been cut from seventy acres, and the average maintained for twenty-two years without irrigation. On unirrigated land returns of from forty dollars to sixty-five dollars an acre are realized. One farmer has one hundred acres seeded and irrigated. He cuts four times and averages five hundred tons. Another has twenty-five acres and averages six tons per acre. All this is solid business, not speculation--not subject to fluctuations. Another feature of it is the production of seed. Alfalfa seed commands ten cents per pound at wholesale, and the net yield has in a few instances exceeded seventy-five dollars per acre. The first crop of the season is cut for hay, the seed crop is harvested, and then the field is pastured until about the first of December. The situation is like that in the lower Willamette Valley where clover is grown for seed, the vitality of the seed having made its own market in the East. The seed grown here is superior, the climate in all this wonderful Pacific Coast country getting in its work, whether it is onion seed in California, alfalfa seed in the Rogue River Valley, or clover seed in the Yamhill country. Between the seed and the hay, alfalfa lands are in demand, and, while commanding a good price, yield a good net profit without rest. The growth of Medford will provide a market.
    Everything there runs back into climate, the absence of snow making the winter feeding season short, and freedom from cold and storms allowing cattle and other stock to be in the fields all the year. Orcharding as a large industry opens a wide door for the dairyman, and the very situation of the valley between mountains, away from the coast and midway between San Francisco and Portland will necessitate home production of supplies of all kinds. This is always a good rule--produce what you consume, and to do so means creameries, canneries, drying houses, packing houses and wholesale curing and preparation of meats.
    A creamery is here, and a good dairy cow is worth about seven dollars a month, while the value of skim milk for hogs and poultry is considerable.
    Horses and mules will find a good market; the Angora goat is profitable in the hills, and poultry get busy and do well with a little care anywhere. The industrious hen goes with the alfalfa field as doth the little busy bee.
    It is a region of great natural attractions, and the charm of crystal streams in the hills answers to the beauty of blossoming or fruit-laden orchards in the valley. In time not the city only, but the farm houses will be lighted by the currents generated by the streams, and the mountains will look down by day and night upon a land of enchantment. Mill Creek Falls, near Medford, is one hundred and ninety-four feet in vertical descent, and with Rogue River rapids will generate, it is estimated, 75,000 horsepower, while other streams will furnish 205,000 more.
    One of the large power plants of the coast is in operation here, the Condor Water and Power Company, located ten miles from Medford on the Rogue. Their lines reach farms and mines as well as the towns of the valley. Power is available for pumping and irrigation, and will, no doubt, in time drive the trolley and perhaps freight and passenger trains in this region and beyond. The mines are finding electrical power cheaper than steam, and this saves the timber for better uses.
    For the true hunter and fisherman the woods and streams around Medford are a paradise. Quail, grouse, Chinese pheasants, duck and snipe are nearby; black-tailed deer are in the mountains, and farther back in the less-frequented regions the black and cinnamon bear are plentiful. A few silvertips may also be found, and cougars, gray fox and the coyote.
    Rogue River is a fine trout stream, and as compared with Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine and Canada woods and streams, the fisherman who is also a philosopher and a lover of the great and beautiful will greatly prefer these western wilds. The fact that here he can count on the weather, and the days are not rainy, the nights not muggy, and the streams not infested with gnats and mosquitoes, adds immensely to the enjoyment. It takes a good deal of enthusiasm--or grim resolution--to whip a trout stream and fight insects every instant, and then return to camp only to find a cloud of mosquitoes waiting your advent. Fishing involves toil, but it should mean enjoyment and not battle, and when the charm of these Pacific Coast streams is understood, the East will send many a representative of a noble brotherhood to try for trout and salmon in these hills.
    When the Medford and Crater Lake Railroad is completed, this great cobalt blue lake, in the heart of the forests and the bowels of a volcano, will attract many visitors. There is nothing like it in any country. A volcanic mountain, great as Shasta, that in mid-action, spouting flame and lava, choked with its own fury and blew its head off, is a phenomenon. But to leave a vast, glowing pit of fire more than twenty miles in circumference, to have this subside, and the pit become a lake of clear, blue water shut in by the fire-scorched walls of the ancient crater two thousand feet above the surface of the water--this is the miracle of these Oregon hills. There is no apparent outlet, and the source of the water remains a mystery. Lowell's fine line recurs: "Burned-out craters, healed with snow," but here what magic opened cooling springs to quench the heart of fire, and leave in place of terror a vision of beauty for all time? The mountain has disappeared, and in its place is this giant bowl; the water in it pure and cold and sweet, a lake six miles long by five miles wide, inaccessible save at one point, and from two thousand to six thousand feet deep.
    It is reached from Medford by wagon, the road itself a delight all the way, following the wild torrents of the Rogue as it struggles to escape from the hills.
    Shall it be an orchard in the valley, with the scent of blossoms, the aroma of the ripe fruit, and visions of ducats, or a tent by the laughing stream, the campfire with its pungent fragrance, and a trout broiled in the coals; a bed of boughs, the morning bath, and leisure to find yourself in the tranquil solitudes of the forest, away from the friction of civilized conditions? Happy the man who can have both the orchard and the tent in the forest!
Sunset magazine, November 1908, page 677

Medford Growing Fast.
    If you want to move this summer you had better begin to look for a house right now. The only chance you will have to get another house will be to locate someone who is going to move out, then make an ironclad contract or you may lose your chance. A canvass of real estate men fails to show a house listed for rental. And when one is vacated it is immediately taken up by other parties.
    Expressions from different realty agents show it to be the belief that at present there are at least 150 residences in the course of construction throughout the city, and many more are contemplated. The principal business done by agents at present is the sale of small building lots, and nine out of ten of the lots sold, the buyers contemplate building. Where one large ranch is sold 5 building lots change hands, and dealers state that they expect a constantly increasing business during the summer.
    Just as soon as the city completes a few of the projects under way at present, such as the paving of Seventh Street, the water system and the like, a tremendous impetus to the realty business is expected. Strangers are arriving daily, and the majority of them are on the lookout for suitable sites for homes.
    The P.&E. railway, the coal mine and other industries contemplated and under way in Medford and vicinity will bring a host of men to Medford, and the majority of them are home-seekers and will in the course of time own their own homes. The town has got to the place now where it is going to grow without any hard pulling on the part of its citizens, but hard pulling will hasten its growth. So if you are thinking of moving you had better "get busy."
Medford Mail, March 20, 1908, page 4

    Next to Portland Medford has by far the largest number of licensed automobiles of any city in Oregon. The facts are interesting, and it is a curious comparison when the figures are presented showing the automobiles the different towns in the state can boast of. Up to date Portland has 552 licensed automobiles and Medford has 48. There are about 1,020 automobiles in Oregon, according to the license books in the secretary of state's office. After Medford comes Salem with 28 automobiles, although it is the next largest city in Oregon. After Salem is Pendleton with 27, and Grants Pass with 26, Baker City with 23, La Grande with 22, Astoria with 18, Albany with 13, Union with 13, and Roseburg, Eugene and McMinnville each with 12 automobiles.
"State and County News," Ashland Tidings, July 2, 1908, page 2

    Rip Van Winkle returned from his long sleep looking fresh as a daisy and made his way to one of Medford's leading barber shops, not only because he needed a haircut and a shave, but also because he wished to catch up on the news.
    "Let's see," he said to the barber, after he was safely tucked away in the chair. "I've been asleep twenty years, haven't I?"
    "Yep," replied the tonsorialist.
    "Have I missed much?"
    "Nope, we bin standin' pat."
    "Is Seventh Street paved yet?"
    "Is the new electric [rail]road in yet?"
    "Do we drink water from a gravity system?"

    "Is the city cleaned up yet?"
    "Are the sidewalks fixed?"
    "Has Congress done anything yet?"
    "Platt resigned yet?"
    "Bryan been elected yet?"
    "Carnegie poor yet?"
    "Any trusts busted?"
    "Portland won the pennant yet?"
    "Had a war with Japan yet?"
    "Well say," said Rip, rising up in the chair, "never mind shaving the other side of my face; I'm going back to sleep again."
Medford Mail, July 10, 1908, page 3

    F. E. McCullum, a representative of the Sunset magazine, has been in the city for several days. Of Medford he says:
    "After looking over the cities from Frisco north, I find a real clean city of enterprise, with stores stocked to do credit to a city of 20,000. It is my first stop in Oregon and am more than favorably impressed. Your population, according to voting records, has increased in two years from 720 to 1152, making an increase of population of over 2160. Good enough!"
Medford Mail, October 16, 1908, page 10

    The Rogue River Valley is essentially a fruit district, for there is to be found the happy medium between dryness and excessive moisture. It has a soil that is described as a rich sandy loam, which, in places, is made up of decomposed granite and is rich in fertilizing properties. In other places is to be found a rich vegetable mold, similar to the black soil that is familiar to the farmers in the eastern states. Apples, peaches, pears, plums and prunes are in the lead among the products grown in abundance, and fine wines are produced in some parts of the valley. Of the apples the variety known as the yellow Newtown pippins is probably the best known, and these are shipped as far east as London, England every year, along with large Bartlett pears. The apples and pears from this district go to all of the large cities in the eastern states and the peaches are sold readily throughout the entire Northwest. There is an apple orchard near Central Point, consisting of 160 acres, from which the net returns for a recent season were $20,000."
Chicago Record-Herald, quoted in "Deluged with Many Letters," Medford Mail, October 23, 1908, page 1


Tom Gillan Returns from Northwest
Visited Rogue River and Sacramento Valleys and Tells of Conditions
    Tom Gillan, who left here a few weeks ago to visit Oregon and the Pacific coast and to look up some reported placer properties, arrived home last Thursday, and he was mighty glad to get back. He traveled over 3,000 miles on his trip, and while he enjoyed it he is free to say that he saw no better country than Utah in his travels, although he says he saw some beautiful spots of realty.
    He went direct to Portland and from there to the Rogue River country. He stopped several days in Medford and saw the country surrounding it. He noticed its advantages and its disadvantages. One thing that struck him particularly was the many idle men all through the Northwest. At Medford there is a surplus of real estate dealers and no factories of any moment to supply a means of livelihood.
    He had a pleasant visit with Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Williams, who have a nice place about two and a half miles east of Medford. They have planted out a large orchard this spring and seem to be doing well. Mr. Williams is still at work on the Morning Mail and makes the distance to the office and back morning and evening on foot and is looking better than he had ever seen him.
    What struck Mr. Gillan forcibly was the number of places for sale in Medford. He says that nearly every place has a notice, "for sale," tacked in a conspicuous place, and this does not appeal to him as an evidence of prosperity. There are automobiles galore owned by the real estate men, and when a train arrives there the men with the appearance of being well-to-do are carried to any point by the real estate men, while they show an utter indifference to the man garbed for labor.
    All through the Rogue River Valley there is a dearth of moisture except what rises from the earth in the night time and appears in the form of dew in the morning. There is little rain there, but there appears to be a surplus of underground water, as one has to sink but a few feet in order to strike water. This is not of a very good quality, but it is evidently the source from which the trees and other vegetation draw their sustenance. There is a project on foot for a canal and irrigating system, which will add much to the value of the country when completed.
    From Medford Mr. Gillan expected to prospect along the coast range of mountains, but he was disappointed in this as the snow was deeper than it had ever been known in that country. He met many prospectors who were unable to reach parts of the range where they had good prospects, owing to the depth of the snow.
    Mr. Gillan thinks the Sacramento Valley offers the best inducement for homeseekers of any place along the coast. That valley presents the appearance of a flower garden at this season. Flowers and trees are blooming everywhere. The trains for the Northwest are crowded with homeseekers at present, so that it is impossible to get sleeper accommodations on any of the westbound trains out of Ogden or Salt Lake. Summing up this trip, Mr. Gillan says he would rather have Utah than the country he visited.
Richfield [Utah] Reaper, May 6, 1908, page 3

Tells of the Glories of New Home
Medford in the Rogue River Valley is Great Fruit Country--
Improvements Planned for that City
    Editor Reaper:--Agreeable to promise made you and a number of others before I left Richfield to let you hear from me, I will undertake to give you my impressions of this section of country and to give a little data and description which may serve to "fill the bill."
    To begin with I will say I like the Rogue River Valley, and the more I see of it the more I like it. Conditions right now are not very favorable for landscape viewing either. To one not personally acquainted with this state, mention of Oregon always first suggests a region in which the people constantly wear a raincoat and umbrella and rubbers. How they would be undeceived by a visit here now. To the uninitiated this looks like a semi-desert region, except where the hand of man has transformed it into a state of verdancy. The natural vegetation is drying and withering under the scorch of a hot summer sun.   
    A person looking at the country now with untrained eye, a person who generally measures a country by a cursory glance at its scenery alone, this valley at the present time probably would not prove very attractive or inviting. I am told, however, that beginning about the first of September fall rains begin--not continuously by days and weeks at a stretch, but light fall rains just sufficient to bring back to life all that now seems dead, to change each hill and slope and plain from a mat of gray and yellow sear to a carpet of emerald hue, and to give the final touch of perfection to the fruits which are beginning to make the fame of this region.
    But what attracts me--as they do all strangers who stop and make even a casual investigation--are the almost boundless and almost matchless resources and natural advantages which this country afford. Its development can truly be said to be only in its infancy. Not until a few years ago did the people who had resided here for years begin to learn the wonderful virtues of this valley for fruit growing.
    Experiments have demonstrated beyond any controversy that the soil and climate here are ideal for diversified farming, but more especially for fruit growing. Nowhere else in this country do certain fruits reach the state of perfect color and flavor and quality that they do here in the Rogue River Valley. Especially is this true of certain apples, pears, peaches, cherries, prunes, berries and Tokay grapes. The Spitzenberg apples are purchased wholly each year for the New York market, and the entire Newtowns [apples] are contracted for England. Through thorough and efficient care, disease and pest are practically unknown.
    The fame of the Rogue River fruit has been spreading rapidly during the past few years all over this country and extending even to Europe. As a natural consequence many people have been attracted hither and each day brings new people in here with a view of settling or investing. Old-time farm tracts are being cut up into small fruit tracts. Unimproved lands are being taken up and cleared to be set out to fruit trees and berry bushes. These choice orchard lands do not altogether lie in the flat of the valley, but the best fruit lands are the hill slopes, and all over the rolling hillsides can be seen ground cleared for or already set to orchards.
    Now as to a few figures. Last year 400 carloads of fruit were shipped from Medford alone. This year the output will be about the same. The yield is not quite so heavy this year as last, but the acreage is larger. Six years ago the assessed valuation of this (Jackson) county was about four and a third millions. This year it is nearly twenty-three millions, an increase of 430 percent in six years.
    Good unimproved or partially improved lands, somewhat removed from towns and settlements, can be had for from $25 to $50 an acre. There is a lot of good government land, however, which can be had for the usual government price. Lands more or less cultivated nearer to towns are valued at from $50 to $100 an acre, and improved farm lands and land close in runs from $100 to $200 an acre. Suitable orchard lands run from $125 to $200 an acre; lands with one- and two-year-old starts of fruit trees command $250 to $400, with four-year-old starts $300 to $500, and with good bearing orchards from $500 to $1200. The prices for fruit lands to you in Utah may seem very high, but when you take into consideration that orchards here bring in a revenue of from $300 to $1500 an acre year after year, the prices are far from unreasonable.
    When I say orchards bring in returns running over $00 an acre, I am not dealing in fancies. There are several here that did that last year and will do it again this season. In one or two instances as high as $2000 an acre has been realized.
    About Medford. This city is in the heart of the valley. This is sufficient to explain some of the phenomenal things about Medford which I am now going to mention.
    This is a city growing and advancing with rapid strides. A majority of the businessmen are practically newcomers, and they have that spirit of push, energy and activity which would make a splendid town of any community with less advantages than this has.
    Medford has doubled its population in the past five years, and I am willing to venture the prediction that it will double the present amount inside of the next eight or ten years.
    This city was recently bonded for $365,000 to establish a new water supply and distributing system. The mains are already laid and it is expected to have the water--fine, pure, cool water, direct from the mountain snows--ready for use by next June.
    Blocks and blocks of cement sidewalks--good wide sidewalks--are being laid this summer, and as soon as this is completed the main business thoroughfares are to be paved. A general sewer system is soon to be installed. In a couple of weeks the people are to vote on granting a franchise for a street railway and interurban line.
    Medford was the principal factor in contributing to the wonderful increase in valuation noted above. Increase in post office receipts, express, freight hauling and general business has been along similar percentages. Nice business blocks, beautiful homes, attractive yards, with here and there a towering pine or spreading oak undisturbed as it sprang from the wilderness, all make a charming effect.
    As you step or ride into the suburbs of the city, you begin to note little orchards or berry and vineyard tracts here and there, and you are not more than a couple of miles from the business center until you find yourself among the regular orchard lands.
    All of the things above recited have determined me to locate here. I might go on and add and elaborate and while it would not become tiresome to Reaper readers this is about as much space, I am sure, as can be allowed for the present.
    There is but one criticism to offer about this country, and to one who has seen the practical work and effects of irrigation as practiced in Utah, it is the one thing that readily strikes such a visitor. The wonder is that it has not been adopted here. It would not be necessary to store the water here as in Utah. The Rogue River would provide an ever-flowing stream sufficient to water this whole valley, hill slopes and plain.
    It is coming. People who know what irrigation means are getting hold of lands and they are beginning to stir this matter up. Irrigating enterprises are already under way of promotion, and it will not be many years until this valley will have canals extending along both sides. And when that time comes, I cannot imagine a more perfect condition for what is now making, and will in the future make, this one of the most ideal farming and horticultural sections of the globe.
Richfield [Utah] Reaper, August 20, 1908, page 8

Iowa Against the World
John L. Wilson, Centerville
    This time last year I was on my way to the Pacific Coast country, the so-called great promised land of the fruitgrower, where all fruitgrowers get rich quick and nobody ever dies, according to some of the boom booklets from there.
    I had read everything in print on the resources of Washington, Oregon and California, and was worked up to the highest point of enthusiasm and anticipation, and did not know but what I might pull up stakes and leave old, frost-bitten Appanoose County and pitch my tent on the great Columbia River, or down in the milder climate of the Rogue River Valley in Southern Oregon. But alas! Someone has said that anticipation is greater than realization, and I sometimes think it is.
    I had made up my mind that my main points for investigation would be Hood River, Oregon, on the Columbia River, and the Rogue River Valley in Southern Oregon; and that I would travel by day and put up at some town overnight, all the way going and coming back, and see as much of the country as possible. . . . my stops were short and uneventful until I reached Medford, in the Rogue River Valley, in Southern Oregon.
    This was the main objective of my trip, and it was here that I expected to find and did find some of the greatest pear and apple orchards in this country. But to take these orchards with all that goes with them, I soon found out that they were not what I wanted, and not for me.
    The people of Oregon and Washington are spending enormous sums of money advertising their country[, to the extent that almost every train that stops at Medford unloads from one to five people looking for some of their prosperity. Of course, they don't all stick. Only about one in ten or fifteen sticks, but that makes everything boom; and the unimproved land values have raised from ten and fifteen dollars to four hundred dollars per acre.
    Just think what Centerville or Washington, Iowa, could do with the same advertising; it would double the price of our land in five years.
    Iowa men and Oregon men differ as much as day and night. You meet an Oregon man and he will boost his state, county or town with all his might; he will tell you of all the good things in his neighborhood and probably never mention any of the drawbacks.
    Did any of you people ever hear of the famous Perkins pear orchard at Medford, Oregon? This is the finest orchard I ever saw; but if you are a reader of the Western Fruit-Grower, and you ought to be, for it is one of the best fruit papers published, you know all about this for they have published the same [illustration] of it every year for the last three years, with a detailed description of it in 1906. This pear orchard is one of the greatest decoys in the Northwest. There are thousands of dollars spent every year, holding this place along with others up before the people of the East. As evidence of the truth of what I am saying, just look at the October number of the Western Fruit-Grower, or other fruit or agricultural paper, and note the amount of advertising, both direct and indirect.
    This pear orchard is located about four miles east of Medford, Oregon, and on the land that the people call red sticky; it is just like the red clay found in the center of some of our roads, on certain hillsides around Centerville; just red, sticky clay that you can't walk over when it is wet. This land has to be plowed and cultivated at just the right time, and those little cubes of red clay have to be turned over and over continually all summer long so as to hold the moisture, as there is practically no rain there during the summer.
    I am of the opinion that the mere fact of this orchard being on the stickiest of the red clay accounts for its not blighting; and the continual stirring of the soil keeps the trees growing just a little and causes them to bear good fruit. The best pears from this orchard last year sold for $8.00 per box in New York City, and were a variety called Comice, a variety unknown east of the Rocky Mountains. But most growers out there claim that the Bartlett is the best pear for them to grow; while they do not bring as much money as the Comice they bear more bushels, which more than makes up for the difference in price.
    They work their orchards out there almost continually, winter and summer; in fact their orcharding puts me in mind of when I was a young man at home; we nearly always put in a patch of navy beans and tended them mostly with a hoe and threshed them out with a club, and I think that for every $1.00 worth of beans we got we spent $1.05 worth of labor.
    If we Iowa people would put the same amount of intelligent labor on our orchards that the Oregon people do, we could beat the world growing fruit; but we people in Iowa just set our trees out and expect them to grow wild, and club our apples off the trees, and throw them into sacks, and sit on the sacks as we haul them to town, and if our merchant buys them at all, the price is so low that we say fruit-growing in Iowa does not pay.
    And Oregon has a lot of the same kind of fellows; you can see dilapidated trees and orchards on every hand, only they are much worse-looking than I have ever seen in Iowa. They have more diseases and more insects than we do, and they have a whole summer of dry weather and a whole winter of wet weather. The long summer causes the ground to bake and get so hard that the trees can hardly live; I saw trees of the famous Newtown pippin and Spitzenberg that were not cared for, with apples hanging on them last December, not larger than Siberian crabs [crabapples], in great clusters like haws [hawthorn berries]. Then when the winter comes, the six months of fog and rain causes moss to grow on the trees to such an extent that if they do not have this continual care, they soon become covered with moss.
    Now, when we speak of Oregon timber, we are apt to think of nothing but tall pines and firs, but there are thousands of acres of scrub oak not as thrifty as our Iowa scrub oak; and no wonder, for they are covered with moss of two or three kinds, some of it ten inches long, and some trees are almost breaking down with mistletoe; this mistletoe looks ugly to me, the great bunches or clusters hanging to the limbs put me in mind of large ticks hanging to dogs' ears, literally sucking the life out of those poor, old, knotty, scrubby oaks, and you would think that in Oregon, with all its timbered resources, that wood would be cheap, but not so; wood was selling at $10.50 per cord in Medford when I was there, and while it does not get cold enough there to freeze apples, lying out under the trees on the ground all winter, I nearly froze to death by the fire in my room; and coal from a newly opened mine, three miles from town, was selling at $10.00 per ton.
    I made up my mind that I could better stand the colder weather in Iowa, where the coal was selling at $2.50 per ton and wood at $4.00 per cord.
    We often wonder what has caused this wonderful development of the fruit business in the Northwest, and I think I can tell you. In the first place it is not a good general farming country, and man in his desperation has found out that by intensive methods and by everlasting persistence and by packing and selling methods, originated by themselves and never attained to by any other section of the country on earth, they have been able to overcome all obstacles and lead the world with the quality of their pack and the prices obtained and can thus make the fruit business pay well.
    Iowa methods of fruit growing followed out in Oregon would lead quickly to starvation. And I am satisfied in my own mind that Oregon methods followed out in Iowa would beat the world.
Abridged from Proceedings of the Southeastern Iowa Horticultural Society, Held at Washington, Iowa, November 18, 29, and 20, 1908, page 311

    Medford is situated in the center of one of the richest fruit-growing sections of the United States. Land about Medford pays $1000 a year annually. The city has been founded 23 years and has grown in that time from a sagebrush plain to be a modern city, with modern conveniences. The assessed valuation of Medford in 1906 was $1,048,959, and in 1907 its valuation was $1,949,731. The assessment for 1908 is now being made, and it is expected that it will prove to be more than $2,500,000. From these figures can be seen the rapidity with which Medford is growing. In another column is the story of the growth in the list of registered voters. The population of Medford is generally stated at 5500 at the present time and is generally believed correct.
    The city has just completed a city hall and fire station at a cost of $10,000. At present there is a large force of men engaged in putting in an improved water distributing system which will thoroughly cover the city and will cost in the neighborhood of $65,000. A bond issue of $300,000 was voted on the 17th day of last April to bring water to this city from Wasson Canyon, a distance of 20 miles. When this water system is completed Medford will have one of the finest [water systems] in Oregon. The source of water supply is in the deep gorges of a mountain range, and the supply will be sufficient for a city [omission].
    The city is soon to undertake the laying of more sewer pipe. The sewer system of the city at present is giving entire satisfaction, but the city limits have expanded, making more sewer lines necessary.
    Seventh Street and Central Avenue, where they transverse the business section of the city, will be paved this summer, and the council is in receipt of other petitions for the paving of streets.
    Medford has nine churches, two modern schoolhouses in use, and $40,000 voted for a high school building which is to be ready by October, two daily papers, three banks, a box factory, two ice plants, a spray manufacturing plant, a box factory [sic], a sash and door factory, two granite manufacturing concerns, a foundry, splendid electric light plant, modern hotels, a theater at which some of the best shows on the coast stop, and all other business houses and concerns that tend to form a modern city.
    Medford is fast becoming a railroad center. The Southern Pacific runs through the center of town, the Rogue River Valley Railroad runs from Medford to the county seat, the Pacific & Eastern Railroad runs to Eagle Point and will be continued through to the famous Crater Lake, which is about 85 miles from Medford. An electric line is talked of circling the entire valley.
    The city has recently purchased a quarry about seven miles from the city which will connect by rail with the city. They have contracted for the hauling of 4000 tons of crushed rock a year for ten years for the streets of the city. Modern machinery has been installed for the handling of the rock.
    There are many other details regarding Medford that should be mentioned in an article of this kind, but our space is too limited. To do this city justice a special edition should be prepared. That is a matter of the future. However, there is no doubt but that Medford is ideally located as regards the good things of the earth, and there are many investments to be found in and about Medford that will pay any person or persons to become interested in.
Medford Mail, June 12, 1908, page 8

    Look whichever way you will, go whichever way you may in Medford, the beautiful, the Queen City of the Southern Oregon empire, new and elegant modern residences of the bungalow, colonial and other handsome types greet the eye of the casual observer in the residence districts, while in the business section substantial modern business blocks, finished in the latest styles of architectural designs and equipped with every convenience looking to the comfort of inmates and the arrangements and display of business wares are everywhere in evidence. Some of these new buildings are already occupied, while others are receiving the finishing touches and will be ready for occupancy in a very short time.
    There is not to be found in the whole west country a more thrifty, progressive and prosperous city than growing Medford, and it goes without question that Medford is justly entitled to the rank of "The Queen City" of Southern Oregon. Located in the very heart of this great fruit, agricultural and mineral country of the Rogue River, Medford is naturally the hub around which center the resources of boundless wealth of this vast empire, and the unloading within the gates of the Queen City the rich products of the soil, which are here prepared for shipment to the different marts of the world, returning a handsome profit and golden wealth in dollars as a reward for the industry and thrift of the enterprising farmers, is an index to the rapid growth and substantial wealth of the city.
    The ever progressive citizens of Medford are always wide-awake and help along with commendable energy and zeal any and all enterprises that tend to the betterment of conditions and the upbuilding of the city.
    Ever onward, progressive and hospitable to a fault are the watchwords of our people, and the visitor and stranger within the gates of the city (of which there are hundreds arriving almost daily) receive a hearty handshake and a cordial welcome from one and all, thus they are at once made to feel at home and as "one of the family." Visitors to Medford seldom, if ever, turn back; once there they readily become imbued with the prevalent progressive spirit of the people and with the great possibilities which the resources of our city and valley offer for investment in business opportunities and lands.
    Medford and the Rogue River Valley are the Mecca for the homeseeker from the overpopulated East, for here in this city and county are to be found the very best educational facilities, and the opportunity for purchasing at a comparatively nominal figure land upon which in a very short time can be built a happy and prosperous home surrounded with every convenience and all the necessities of life.
    True, Medford has had a phenomenal growth, but it has not been a boom or a "mushroom" growth, but a permanent, substantial and necessarily rapid growth in order to keep pace with the surrounding development of our wonderful wealth of resources.
    With the rapid increase in population and upbuilding of Medford, it taxes even the energy and enterprise of our citizens to keep pace in the line of needed improvements. But they are doing their best, and are not, after all, so very far behind. At present the city has a very adequate sewer system which is daily being extended, and a water system that answers the purposes very well until the early construction of the greater, more beneficial and useful Little Butte water proposition can be completed; and when it is completed Medford will be the proud possessor of one of the best and purest water systems in the state. The school facilities of the city are unsurpassed; the school buildings are well built, commodious and modern structures and are equipped with every convenience looking to the comfort and contentment of the pupils and teachers.
    The sanitary conditions of the city are excellent, and the streets, alleys and yards are kept in a cleanly condition and free from accumulating rubbish.
    The cleanly surroundings and well-kept lawns of a Medford home is truly an enticing and pleasing sight.
    The electric light system of the city is apace with and adequate for all domestic and commercial purposes in furnishing light and power.
    Aside from the new water system the most important improvement going on in Medford at present is the bitulithic paving of the streets by the Warren Construction Company. On West Seventh Street, where the company have a large crew of men at work at present, it presents a busy scene, and is the chief attraction for the crowds daily passing to and fro along that popular thoroughfare. The company are doing excellent work and are putting in a good paving product that will undoubtedly give excellent satisfaction for years to come. Up to last night they had completed the first course of the block lying between I and J streets, and had the entire block laid over with crushed rock. It necessitates running day and night crews on the rock-crushing plant in order to keep up with the paving work, which will be continued today and every Sunday in order to push the work to as steady completion as possible.
"Medford the Beautiful," Medford Mail, November 13, 1908, page 2

Medford, Ashland, Grants Pass, Salem and Eugene are Shipping Points--
The Crop this Year--Market Prospects.
(Staff Correspondence.)
    Medford, Ore., Sept. 18.--The Hood River Valley and the Rogue River Valley are the two great fruit growing sections of Oregon. They are also two of the greatest fruit producing sections of the Northwest. They both grow as fine apples as can be found in the world, and both can boast of leading the markets of the United States on high prices received for fruit.
    Medford is the chief shipping point in the Rogue River Valley, as most of the big orchards are close around the town. It was here that fruit growing in the valley had its inception, and while the industry has spread to other points it is still from this vicinity that most of the shipments are made. The orchards here are older, and the proportionate acreage of bearing orchard is much larger.
    At the present time there are in this valley somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 acres of bearing fruit trees. In addition there are over 30,000 acres of young trees that have not yet come into bearing. This acreage is being added to every year by the setting out of new orchards to the extent of from 4,000 to 5,000 acres. There is lots of room in the valley yet for more orchards, as so far but a small portion of the fruit land has been utilized. If the profit in fruit growing continues anything like it has been in the past the people will go on setting out orchards here until this whole valley will become one vast forest of fruit trees. It is estimated that the acreage of fruit now set here will, when it comes into full bearing, produce 8,000 cars of fruit.
    Like all the fruit points in this western country this valley has never had a crop failure. Year after year the yield of apples, pears and other fruits has been as good as anybody could ask. Of course, there have been seasons when the yield was smaller than it was other seasons, but there has never been a season when there was not a good crop. This year the crop is perhaps lighter than it ever was before, but still there will be lots of fruits to ship from here this fall.
    The chief fruit crops grown in this section are apples and pears, although there are a good many peaches and prunes. Last year there was loaded at this station for the eastern markets 152 cars of apples and 130 cars of pears. This year the shipments will not be so heavy, as some of the larger orchards in the center of the valley have less fruit than they had last season. Last spring there was a late frost, something never known here before, which killed many of the fruit blooms in the orchards farthest from the protection of the hills. The orchards near the hills were not hurt, and they are well loaded.
    All the fruit shipments from Medford are handled by the Rogue River Fruit Growers' Union, which is evidently one of the most successful associations in the country. It is under the management of J. A. Perry and has a membership of seventy-five. So well pleased are the growers with the union's work that no one else can get into the deal here and make it go. Outside buyers have tried to break in, one firm even putting up a large packing house, but after a short effort they have all been forced to give up the field. This speaks well for the way the union is managed, and it also shows that the growers are willing to stand together.
    The union has generally made it a practice to sell its fruit f.o.b. Medford. Occasionally, however, shipments have been sold at auction at New York. Usually the fruit sold at auction has been very fancy and sold at extremely high prices. This is especially true of Newtown apples and Comice pears. In fact, it is claimed here that for six years Rogue River Valley has led the New York market on prices received for Comice pears and that for five successive years the highest prices paid in the London markets for Newtown apples were for shipments from Rogue River Valley.
    The Yellow Newtown Pippin is the most popular apple with the growers of this section. The Spitzenberg and other varieties do well, but they do not equal the Newtown. The soil and the climate seem to be peculiarly adapted to the latter, and it grows as near to perfection as is possible. It is large, well flavored and will carry around the world. In pears the Comice takes the lead. It grows very large, is smooth and even and carries splendidly. The Bartlett is grown largely, too, and is a fine marketable pear and finds a ready sale at good prices.
    There are lots of peaches shipped from here and all kinds of berries. The latter go in express lots to western markets. A good many prunes are shipped. They go in carlots, and many of them find their way to the eastern markets. Plums and cherries are also shipped extensively. The latter come in just after the California crop is over and find a good market at splendid prices.
    The largest orchard in the valley is the Bear Creek orchard. It was the property of Mr. Lewis, but he recently sold it for $160,000. The orchard is now owned by the Bear Creek Orchard Co. C. E. Whisler, formerly of Palisade, Col., is the manager, as well as one of the owners. Mr. Whisler owned a peach orchard at Palisade and for a long time was secretary of the Palisade Fruit Growers' Assn. Two years ago he sold his Palisade orchard for $2,100 per acre. Since then the orchard has sold for $4,000 an acre.
    A car of pears from the Bear Creek orchard last year broke the world's record for high prices. They were of the Comice variety and sold at auction in New York for $3,784.76. That was the net proceeds to Mr. Lewis, the grower and shipper, after deducting all freight and other charges.
    It is not known yet what prices fruit in this valley are going to command this season. Buyers are not showing up very freely, and but little of a definite nature regarding prices can be learned. The growers are not expecting such prices as they received last year, for those prices were unusual, but they think they will receive a good round sum for their fancy export stock. The buyers are now beginning to show that they will soon be ready to talk in a business way. The apple crop will be ready to begin to move sometime between the middle of October and the first of November.
    One of the most successful fruit growers in the valley is S. L. Bennett, one of The Packer's good friends out here. He has not a large orchard, but it is one of the best kept and most productive in this whole section. He has 20 acres in fruit altogether, but it is not all in bearing. The trees that are in bearing are nearly all Newtown Pippins, and in 1906 these trees yielded him a net profit of over $1,000 to the acre. He has one pear tree about 17 years old that nets him $70 a year for its fruit. Mr. Bennett is president of the Rogue River Fruit Growers' Assn., and is enthusiastic over this valley as a place to grow fruit and make money. He says $5,000 an acre would not buy his orchard. He has an immense crop this year.
    W. H. Holmes of the Rogue River Land Co. is another enthusiast over this valley as a fruit section. He thinks its future is too wonderful for contemplation.
    They have a Commercial Club here to which all the business men belong and every man in it is a booster for Medford and the Rogue River Valley. A. A. Miller is the secretary, and he is always ready to give information to everybody that requests it.
    W. T. York & Co. are real estate dealers who make a specialty of fruit ranches and fruit lands. They are also heavy orchard owners. They have now 150 acres of orchard, 45 acres of which is in bearing.
    Dr. F. C. Page is one of the big orchardists of this section. He has 136 acres in 5- and 6-year-old trees and 140 acres in 2-year-old trees. The older trees are full of fruit this year.
    Mitchel & Boeck are the owners of a large orchard of various kinds of fruit. They have 60 acres in apples, pears, peaches, apricots and cherries.
    At present there is very little irrigation in the Rogue River Valley, but plans are on foot for putting in a good system. So far there has been but little need of irrigation, as the fall of rain has been sufficient to supply all the moisture that is required, but the growers think it would be well to be prepared for an emergency should a long dry season come.
The Chicago Packer, September 19, 1908, page 1

    MEDFORD (Dr. J. F. Reddy, Mayor.)--Medford, Jackson County, incorporated in 1885, covers an area of one and one-half square miles, and has a population, on school census, of 5,015. It is situated on the main line of the Southern Pacific and Eastern [sic], and Rogue River Valley railroads. The assessed valuation of town property, in 1907, was $1,949,781, with a bonded indebtedness of $165,000. Receipts from the sale of postage stamps for the quarter ending December 31, 1907, were $3,079.31. The altitude is 1,290 feet. Two public school houses aggregate a value of $50,000, and twenty-five teachers are employed at salaries from $40 per month to $1,200 per year. Eight churches, Christian, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, Methodist (South), Baptist, Episcopal and Free Methodist, approximate a value of $24,000, and the city hall and opera house $20,000. The city marshal and night officer receive $75 and $65, respectively. The chief of [the] voluntary fire department receives $110 per month. Common labor commands $2.00 to $3.00 per day; skilled labor, $4.00 and up per day, and man and team, $5.00 to $6.00. An electric light plant, private ownership, furnishes service at 10 cents per kilowatt hour, and scaled lower according to quantity. The city water system is under public ownership, and the rate to consumers is 15 cents per 1,000 gallons. Gold, copper, coal, cinnabar, iron, platinum, asbestos and placer mining, fruit growing and farming are the principal industries. Coal fields, lumbering, petroleum, marble, lime, granite and building stone deposits abound in the vicinity in an undeveloped state. Two marble and granite works, three livery stables, three planing mills, two boot and shoe stores, seven groceries, three hardware stores, four gents' furnishing stores, four general merchandise, four hotels, eleven saloons, cigar factory, four confectionery stores, and three banks are doing a good business. There is good opportunity for investment in a cannery, vinegar factory, orchards and timber.
Third Biennial Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Inspector of Factories and Workshops of the State of Oregon from October 1, 1906 to September 30, 1908, Oregon State Printing Department, 1909, page 134

MEDFORD, pop. 1,791; Jackson Co. (S.W.), pop. 13,698. 5 m. E. of Jacksonville. Southern Pacific; Rogue River Valley R.R. Tel. Exp. Bank. Planing and a grist mill, brewery, distillery and machine shops, etc. Center of a fine fruit and mining belt; also devoted to agriculture and stock raising.
                                                                              Estab.  Pages    Size        Subsc.      Circ.
Mail . . . . . . . . Friday . . .
. . . .  Republican . . . 1889 . . 8 . . 17x24 . . 1.50 . . 2,200
    A. S. Bliton, Editor and Publisher.

Southern Oregon and Times
                     . . Wed. & Sat. . . . Independent . . 1871 . . 4 . . 15x22 . . 1.50 . . 2,200
    Southern Oregonian Printing Company, Publishers.

Tribune  . . . . . Evg. ex. Sun.
  .  Republican . . .           . . 8 . . 15x22 . . 5.00
Tribune  . . . . . Weekly  . . . . .  Republican . . . 1896 . . 8 . . 18x25 . . 1.75 . . 1,300
    A. F. Moore, Editor; Medford Tribune Publishing Company (Inc.).
Ayer Directory of Publications, 1908, page 739

Last revised March 10, 2023