Medford in 1912

    "Medford, with its several miles of paved streets, splendid hotels, creditable stores and metropolitan banks, is one of the most strictly modern cities in the state," said Mr. Selling yesterday. "The same business enterprise was apparent in Ashland, Jacksonville and Grants Pass. I also visited Eagle Point and Central Point and was given a most cordial reception at all points. The location of the business district of Eagle Point is being shifted a few blocks, and all the people are prosperous."
"Ben Selling Is Pleased," Morning Oregonian, Portland, October 12, 1912, page 11

    Medford--Altitude 1,337 feet. Population 8,840 (U.S. census 1910). Local estimate 10,500. On main line of Southern Pacific Railroad, western terminus of Pacific & Eastern, which taps great timber belt in upper Rogue River district, and terminus of Rogue River Valley Railroad, with daily 10-train service to Jacksonville, the county seat. In midst of extensive and exceedingly fertile section of Rogue River Valley, especially adapted to fruit raising, particularly apples, pears, peaches and small fruits, and to dairying and general farming. Mining is also an important industry in the near vicinity. Exhibits of products, including fruits in carload lots, have been awarded first prizes at leading apple shows of the West for three consecutive years. City owns gravity water works system, and electric lighting plant is under private ownership. Streets improved with hard-surfaced pavement, well lighted, and city has good sewer system and cement sidewalks. Has
high and graded public schools and one sectarian school (Catholic) and 12
churches, including Baptist, Catholic, Christian, Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist (South), Methodist (Free) and Presbyterian; fine hotels and business blocks and beautiful homes. Irrigation necessary for assurance of best results in all fruit products and is practiced generally throughout the valley. Average annual rainfall 27.21 inches. U.S. Weather Bureau, District Forester's office and pathologist's office located here. Claim is made that within a 50-mile radius of Medford there is a greater diversity of resources and opportunities than can be found within 50 miles of any other city in the world.

Oregon Almanac: The State of Oregon, Its Resources and Opportunities, 1912, pages 83-84

The Chicago Tribune Boosts
   In the Chicago Sunday Tribune of November 24, 1912, in a department devoted to the answering of queries appears the following article on Medford and the Rogue River Valley. The only error is in regard to the population of Medford, but it will doubtlessly be worth much to the valley:
Where Apple Raising Pays
    CHICAGO, Ill.--(Back to the Land Bureau).--Kindly give me any available information regarding the land in the vicinity of Medford, Ore.
N. M. McC.
    Medford is a wide-awake town of tomorrow with a population of about 6000--well-paved streets, parks, beautiful homes, schools and newspapers, and lies in the Rogue River Valley, surrounded by majestic snow-capped mountains, in the extreme southwestern portion of the state, and at an altitude of approximately 1500 feet.
    Here Nature has showered her choicest bounties, for this valley is known as one of he garden spots of America. Acre upon acre of choice apple and pear trees is under cultivation and the farms clear from $500 to $1500 an acre.
    Jackson County, at the south end of the state, has an area of 2000 square miles, one-half of it being covered with productive orchards. The soil is rich, deep and alluvial, much of it being black vegetable mold. Even the highest ground and mountain slopes are highly productive.
    An average mean temperature of 50 degrees is reported, and during the coldest day the mercury never falls below 20 degrees. The wet season extends from December to April. Spring never begins later than the first of March. There is an abundance of rainfall during the wet months and droughts are unknown. Fruit growers are always certain of an abundant harvest.
    The good roads movement has brought town and country near together. Every farmer has his daily or tri-weekly mail, besides telephone connection, and many of the residences and barns are electric lighted.
    The valley has become famous for its Bartlett pears and apples, especially the Aesoups [sic] Spitzenberg and yellow Newtown pippin. Blenheim apricots and peaches attain a remarkable degree of perfection. Tokay and Concord grapes, English and French walnuts, plums, prunes, and cherries do exceptionally well. Some of the most famous orchards in the world are located in this fertile valley, and first-class fruit land can be bought for $150 to $300 per acre.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 4, 1912, page 4

High School Enrollment Doubles in Three Years.
    MEDFORD, Or., Sept. 4.--(Special.)--The steady gain of school enrollment in Medford the last three years demonstrates that Medford's population has been steadily increasing. The strongest rate of growth has been in the high school, which has twice as many scholars this year as it had three years ago. The figures for the high school and the total enrollment are as follows:
                                               1912    1911    1910    1909
        High school . . . . . . . . .   250      205      151      125
        Grade schools  . . . . . . . 1300    1143    1012      845
            Total enrollment . . . 1550    1348    1163      970
Morning Oregonian, Portland, September 5, 1912, page 6

Medford Is Biggest Little City in World
    The Rockford (Ill.) Morning Star contains a very interesting interview with Miss Kate O'Connor, who was recently in Medford from Rockford, Ill. In it she pays a high tribute to Medford. Among other things she says:
    Medford is all that its enthusiastic friends claim it to be. Fargo, North Dakota, has for its slogan "The Biggest Little City in the World." I believed it until I saw Medford, which is not only the biggest little city but the most beautiful and up-to-date little city on the map. It has more paved streets and automobiles than any other place of its size. The orchard lands that I went out to see lie about eight miles from Medford, and about three miles from Talent, on the Southern Pacific. It is in the heart of the Rogue River Valley, and comprises fifteen hundred acres. It is out here near Medford that Gov. West of Oregon has placed the "honor men," the convicts from the state penitentiary to work on the roads. [The "honor men" worked on the road to Crater Lake, north of Medford.] This humane executive took fifty prisoners and placed them under oath that they would not try to escape and sent them out upon the highway to work. They were without guards or shackles and were paid twenty-five cents a day for a shave and tobacco. Only three attempted to escape and remorse drove them back to a hostile camp of forty-seven men, who organized themselves into a posse to capture their recreant brothers.
    The fruit orchards of Rogue River Valley are worth seeing. Miles and miles of blossoms until the air is fragrant from apple, pear and peach lands.
    Mrs. Potter Palmer and many eastern women have large orchards in this valley, that are not only beautiful but bountifully productive.
Medford Mail Tribune weekly, May 23, 1912, page 2

What to Tell Your Friends When you Write--
Local Conditions as They Are
By William M. Colvig, President, Medford Commercial Club
    Tell them that Medford has between 10,000 and 11,000 inhabitants, and that its rate of increase during the last census was second in the United States.
    Tell them that it is an American city, as shown by its register of voters; that out of 1000 enrolled for the city election only 59 were of foreign birth, and only two of all of these voters did not write their names on the register.
    Tell them that Medford has more miles of hard-surfaced paved streets than any other city of its size in the civilized world, that it has 17.27 miles of such streets.
    Tell them that the city has a gravity water system that cost $450,000, and that the water is pure, soft mountain water, brought a distance of 22 miles by underground pipes, and that the emergency reservoir has a capacity of 2,000,000 gallons.
    Tell them that our sewers have cost $214,651.24, there being 26.21 miles of sewers, and 27.01 miles of water mains.
    Tell them that no city in Oregon can show a better bill of health than Medford for the year 1911: that the total enrollment in the four public schools and one high school is over 1600 children, and that since the opening in September 1911, not one of these schools has been closed for any length of time whatever on account of contagious diseases, such as mumps, measles, smallpox, diphtheria, scarlet fever, typhoid fever, etc., because there have not been any of these diseases prevalent in the city during said time.
    Tell them that the record of the secretary of state's office for 1911 shows that only Portland and Salem, of all the cities of the state, have a greater number of registered automobiles in use, Medford being third on the list.
    Tell them that the character of our citizenship is unexcelled; that among the social clubs of the city the University Club is one of the most prominent, its membership representing graduates of 49 different universities and colleges.
    Tell them that Medford city bonds find ready sale at a premium, because moneyed men have confidence in the future of the city.
    Tell them that Medford is a well-governed city; that the tax levy for state, school, county and city purposes aggregates a total of only 28.5 mills for the year 1911. Impress upon their minds the fact that a levy of 28.5 mills is lower than the levy in any other city outside of Portland in western Oregon, except the city of Albany, which also has 28.5 mills. The following is from the official records:
    Ashland . . . 40. 5 mills
    Central Point . . . 32 mills
    Grants Pass . . . 37 mills
    Roseburg . . . 32.5 mills
    Eugene . . . 30.7 mills
    Marshfield . . . 28.5 mills
    Albany . . . 28.5 mills
    Salem . . . 32.6 mills
    And after having told them all of these facts, then say to them that Medford is in the center of Rogue River Valley, Jackson County, southern Oregon, and that a person has but one life to live, and why not spend it under the genial skies of Rogue River Valley? This valley is one of the leading apple and pear countries of the world. It took the sweepstakes prize on apples at the Spokane Apple Show, 1909; and its growers were awarded the title of "Apple Kings of the World." In 1910, it took first prize in a carload exhibit at Vancouver, B.C., and again in 1911, with a like exhibit at Spokane it took first prize. No county in the United States has a larger area devoted to pears, and no country in the world ever produced pears of a more excellent quality. The valley is sheltered from every inclement wind by the mountains which surround it, and when all the country east of the Rocky Mountains is smitten by blizzards, nature here is in her calmest mood, and spring-like weather prevails. At no time during the past winter was the mercury at Medford below 20½ degrees above zero. It was 17¼ above at Los Angeles. The average rainfall for 23 years, as taken from the government records, is 27.21 inches. There have been but 1½ inches of snow in the valley the winter, and it lay on the ground about five hours.
    The Medford Commercial Club is an Oregon corporation; its membership includes all the live business men of the community. It will vouch for the truthfulness of every statement contained in this article, for each is confirmed by the records.
    Tell your friends to buy tickets directly to Medford, and from thence it will be easy to travel out and see the rest of the state, and that if they want further information to write to the Medford Commercial Club.
Medford Mail Tribune weekly edition, March 21, 1912, page 3

Central Labor Council of Medford and Vicinity.
    We, the Central Labor Council of Medford and vicinity, deem it necessary that some steps should be taken to inform the working man who is thinking of changing his location to benefit his condition of the true conditions as they exist in the Rogue River Valley. A bunch of organized promoters, "boosters" and real estate men are advertising this country in glowing colors. They do not hesitate at any statement to catch the unsuspecting prospective settler.
    All of the really good land, which comprises about two-fifths of the Rogue River Valley, has been bought up by millionaires and speculators, who have boosted the price out of the reach of the man of moderate means, and who are at present advertising desert land, with hardpan only a few inches under the surface, in which they must needs blast holes for fruit trees that cannot survive more than a few years, at from three to five hundred dollars an acre.
    This entire country is overrun with an unemployed and disappointed army of men who have responded to this unscrupulous advertising. The churches, lodges and municipality of Medford have made many contributions to charity in order to tide their unemployed through the winter--and still men, willing and anxious to work, are begging for bread in Medford. And these deplorable conditions are not confined to Medford alone, but exist quite generally over the state of Oregon.
    Skilled mechanics are in the same boat with the common laborer and are having a hard struggle under these adverse conditions. Very few are at work.
    This letter is not put out, as some of the "boosters" claim, "to get a corner on labor," but to protect the working man. Any sane man knows that a "corner on labor," in these times of depression and unemployment, is an impossibility. The day of the homesteader is past in this vicinity, and unless you are prepared to support yourself by other means than day labor our advice to you is do not come to Oregon until such time when matters have been so adjusted that you can at least find employment and not be compelled to walk the streets looking for work while your savings, accumulated by hard work and sacrifice, dwindle and disappear.
Plumber's Gas and Steam Fitters' Journal, May 1912, page 23

Twelve Months Just Ended Witnessed No Detriment--
Crime Is Slight--Business Good, Future Bright
    Medford in 1912 experienced no extremes of prosperity or stagnation, but the twelve months that ended last night served to clear the atmosphere and give great promise for 1913. Nineteen-twelve was a year in this town that went "the even tenor of its way," ironing out the defects of the "boom" and clearing the way for new development. Providence was kind. There came nothing that left general sorrow or devastation that paralyzed. But through the months there was a steady, even growth.
    Politically, Medford received its share. Her candidates occupy the office of county judge, the most important, with a policy of progressiveness in view, sheriff and prosecutor. Another victory for the forward movement was the decision of the supreme court upholding the contention of the city in the Bear Creek bridge suit.
    Though a quiet year, building operations for 1913 open with great prospects. There is the construction of a new theater by Dr. F. C. Page and building of the Elks Club, now in the formative stage. There is also to be noted the completion of the Nash Livery building and the beginning of construction of a one-story business block on Grape, near Sixth Street. There were also many new homes built throughout the city. The biggest realty deal of the year was the purchase of the Davis tract for $317,700 by the F. P. Minney Realty Company of Oakland.
    The closing months of the year, with the election by, brought out promise of railroad activity, capped on the last day by the application of the F. P. Minney Company for a franchise for an interurban line. Other developments on this line were the option secured by Portland parties on the Barnum road, the incorporation of the Medford-Crescent City line, and the laying of the surveys, and the announced intention of the Hill lines to connect with the Pacific & Eastern. The new year promises to see important action in these branches and the probable construction of a line to the Blue Ledge mine.
    The fruit crops for the year were larger than in 1911, 1000 cars of apples, pears and other fruit and produce being shipped out, putting the balance of trade for once in favor of Medford. The most serious setback to the orchardist was a heavy windstorm in September, an unusual weather condition, that caused much damage by causing apples and pears to fall from the trees. The star of promise for the fruitgrower is the installation of a fruit cannery now under consideration by the Commercial Club and Merchants' Association.
    In public improvements the largest were the completion and operation of the public market, the building of the Bear Creek bridge and the paving and grading of streets in the residence district. This year will also, if all goes well, see the construction started on a new federal building. Two new rural routes were opened during the year, and the parcel post becomes effective today.
    The year also witnessed the opening of the Carnegie Library. The public schools showed a substantial increase over the previous year. A fire auto was added to the fire department.
    There was only one crime of any consequence during the year. That was the brutal murder of George Dedaskalous, a Greek, by Mike Spanos and Frank Seymour, both convicted, and now awaiting the penalty at Salem. There was one suicide and no accident of any consequence. Two high school boys on hunting trips shot themselves and both recovered. The most serious fire was the destruction of the Medford Theater, a landmark, at a  $5000 loss, which brought regret to the amusement-loving people. Howard Bros.' fruit-packing plant was burned twice at an aggregate loss of $10,000. Another crime above the average was the robbing of the post office December 27, with a small loss.
    In a business way, the important [omission] was the change in the ownership of the Medford Hotel, the purchase of the Big Pines Lumber Company by California and Portland lumbermen and the consolidation of the Home Telephone with the Pacific. Another advance was the installation of the Western Union relay station at this point.
    There is no complaint to make for what the past gave, and Medford enters today with rosy hopes for the future, financially, commercially, morally, socially and spiritually, with everybody happy, as prosperous as the next one and ready and anxious to boost as never before.
Medford Sun, January 1, 1913, page 1

    [Los Angeles real estate broker Earl Huntley] was impressed with many changes and all for the better--the many shade trees and the green grass and the green fields in midsummer particularly pleased him. When Earl left here [around 1912] there was no irrigation, no "mountain spring in every home," few green lawns and practically no shade trees. He was also impressed with the new buildings--or said he was.
Excerpt, "Earl Huntley, Boom Day Realtor, Notes Changes on Return to Medford," Medford Mail Tribune, August 7, 1935, page 8

    MEDFORD (W. H. Canon, Mayor.)--Is located in the Rogue River Valley, 329 miles south of Portland and 434 miles north of San Francisco. It is on the main line of the Southern Pacific railway, and it is the terminal of the Pacific & Eastern railway, now constructed into the great forests in the eastern part of Jackson County. This road will be extended to a connection with the Hill lines of the Deschutes system; also Medford is the terminal of the Rogue River Valley railroad, now operated to Jacksonville, the county seat. The population as given by the census of 1910 was 8,840, and the census shows that the increase in population during the last decade was third among the cities of the United States; it being 392 percent. The estimated population at this time (October 12, 1912) is 10,500. The assessed valuation of property in Medford in 1909 was $2,407,394; in 1910 it was $5,953,253; in 1911 it was $6,800,000, not including valuation of railroads and corporations. This is an increase of 14 percent during the year. The post office receipts from the sale of stamps for the quarter ending June 30, 1912 were $6,963.32. The altitude of Medford is 1,377 feet. There are four brick public school buildings, and also one brick high school building. These buildings are of an aggregate value of about $150,000; also a private school for girls, managed by the Catholic Sisters (St. Mary's Academy) and a business college. There are 12 churches, viz: Christian, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, Methodist South, Free Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, Christian Science, Seven Day Adventists, German Lutheran. Common labor commands $2.50 to $3 per day; skilled labor $4 and more. Electric light plant privately owned. This company owns electric energy in Southern Oregon amounting to more than 100,000 horsepower. Has a gas plant, privately owned, and a gravity water system, at a cost to the city of $450,000. Supply sufficient for a city of 25,000. Has a paid fire department with equipment costing $15,000 and including an auto combination chemical and hose wagon; two newspapers, four banks (two national and two state); 18 miles of hard-surfaced paved streets, 30 miles of sewerage, and 32½ miles of water mains; 36 miles of cement sidewalks. The total tax levy for the year 1911, including state, school, county and city purposes, 28.5 mills. Gold, copper, cinnabar, iron and asbestos mines exist in the county. Gold mining has been one of the industries of the people since the year 1851. Fruit growing and farming are the principal industries. There has been shipped from Medford this year up to this time (October 12, 1912) 226 carloads of pears. The winter varieties are not yet marketed. There are also located here two marble and granite works, six garages, three planing mills, three boot and shoe stores, one shoe factory, seven grocery stores, three hardware stores, four gents' furnishing stores, four general merchandise stores, two first-class hotels, and several others; 11 saloons, each paying a license of $1,000 per year; one cigar factory, three confectionery stores, one public library, with building which cost $35,000, and the following federal offices: United States Weather Bureau, United States Forestry Office, United States Pathologist's Office, under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture. One term of the United States District Court is held annually in Medford. Congress appropriated $110,000 in 1909 for the construction of a federal building. Construction will soon commence. There is also the Sacred Heart Hospital, which cost $125,000; a park covering three blocks in the heart of the city; one public market built by the city, and furnished free to the farmers, and the Medford Commercial Club, composed of the leading business men and farmers of the section, whose objects are: To cultivate and foster civic spirit and patriotism among the citizens of Medford. A pickle and canning manufactory are greatly needed, and furnish a good opportunity for investment.
Fifth Biennial Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Inspector of Factories and Workshops of the State of Oregon from October 1, 1910 to September 30, 1912, Oregon State Printing Department, 1913, page 133

Last revised January 25, 2017