Medford in 1926

Main and Riverside, October 1926

Facts and Figures That Tell Briefly of Medford

   Medford is located on the main line of the Southern Pacific railroad and from this city extends the Medford Logging Railway a distance of 40 miles through a vast country of varied resources and to virgin forests where stand billions of feet of merchantable timber. A railroad line connects Medford and Jacksonville and is owned by the former. Extension of this road a few miles will tap a vast storehouse of timber and will in the near future be used for transporting logs to local mills.
    Medford, the metropolis of Southern Oregon, is situated in the heart of the famous Rogue River Valley, a valley made famous by the wide variety of products grown and noted the world over for its delicious pears.
    Medford is on the Pacific Highway, the longest stretch of paved road in the world, extending from the Canadian border to Mexico. Medford is also the gateway to Crater Lake National Park, a fine road extending from here to famous Crater Lake.
    The population of Medford is 9,000, having increased 3240 since 1920.
    The elevation of Medford is 1368 feet.
    The assessed valuation of the city is $5,400,000.
    Medford has a modern fire department, the city sustaining a loss of only $25,867 in 1925.
    Medford has four substantial banks, with resources totaling $5,496,988.10.
    There are a total of 2600 telephones in use in the city.
    There are 2532 dwellings in Medford.
    Ninety-seven percent of the homes of Medford are served by electricity.
    The average minimum temperature for a 12-year period: January, 29.7; May, 41.5; August, 52.2; November, 31.9.
    The average maximum temperature for a 12-year period: January, 45.6; April, 64.2; July, 89.9; September, 81; December, 30.7.
    The average annual precipitation of Medford and Rogue River Valley total 16.13 inches.
    The first mayor of Medford was J. S. Howard. The present mayor is O. O. Alenderfer.
    Medford is the home of a box shook factory which provides a payroll of $15,000 per month during the summer season.
    Medford is the home of a large, modern iron foundry.
    Medford is the home of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Co., with an annual payroll of $800,000. Plans for another new unit are under way to cost approximately $500,000.
    Medford is the home of 21 fruit packing and exporting firms, and 43 fruit storage houses.
    Two modern cold storage plans are located in the city.
    Medford is the home of a spacious, fireproof armory, the home of Co. A, 168th Infantry, O.N.G.
    Medford is the home of the Jackson County Library, containing 17,000 volumes.
    There are 44 teachers in the grade schools of the city.
    Twenty-seven instructors are employed in the local high school, including the superintendent.
    Medford has four grade schools, a high school, parochial academy, business college and a kindergarten.
    There are 2029 school children, of whom 503 are registered in the high school.
    Medford is constructing a new water system at a cost of $975,000 to bring an abundance of pure mountain water into the city, and in sufficient quantity to supply five times the present demands.
    Pears grown in Rogue River Valley set the standard for world markets.
    A modern vegetable, fruit and meat canning plant is located in the city.
    A catsup factory is important among local industries. Tomatoes grown here are declared to make a catsup equal to any in the world's markets.
    The total estimated payroll for Medford for 1925 was $2,500,000.
    During the three months of the picking and packing season $150,000 per month is paid out in handling pears.
    There are 1800 acres within the city limits of Medford.
    The population of Jackson County, of which Medford is the trade center, increased from 20,405 in 1920 to 25,032 in 1925.
    There are 8,000 acres of bearing and non-bearing pear trees in the district adjacent to Medford.
    During the annual encampment and maneuvers of the Oregon National Guard held at Camp Jackson, near Medford, last July, Medford citizens donated 525 automobiles to convey the troops to Crater Lake, which with the cars 100 feet apart, made a caravan six miles long.
    Medford has an aggressive Chamber of Commerce which is doing constructive work.
    Over 3000 automobiles are registered as belonging to Medford citizens.
    Medford is the leading convention city of Southern Oregon.
    There are 20.8 miles of paved streets in Medford, and 40 miles of cement walks.
    Eleven thousand, nine hundred and twenty cars of out-of-state visitors and tourists were registered in Medford during the year just closed, or with Sundays and holidays excluded, more than 40 a day.
    Medford is the home of a wide-awake Realty Board, which is affiliated with the national board of realtors.
    Medford is the location of two of the best privately owned auto camps in the West.
    Two modern hospitals are located in the city, capable of giving accommodations to 86 patients.
    Medford has 15 church buildings.
    There are 16 fraternal organizations in the city.
    Building permits issued in Medford during 1925 totaled $750,000.
    Medford is the home of a modern granite works.
    Medford is one of the best lighted cities in the Northwest.
    The home offices of the California Oregon Power Company are located in Medford, and in which 150 people are employed.
    Five wholesale oil companies are operating in Medford.
    Among organizations in the city are the Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis and Craters clubs.
    A cigar factory, broom factory and orchard ladder factory are among the industries represented in Medford.
    There are five retail lumber yards in the city.
    Three large, modern, fireproof hotels provide accommodations to visitors and tourists.
    A stone-tile factory and two cement brick and block factories are among the important industries in the city.
    A sash and door plant and cabinet works employing 21 men is located here.
    Three newspapers are published in Medford.
    Medford is a city in which decidedly few foreigners live.
    The grounds of the Jackson County Fair Association are located near this city.
    An aviation field is maintained by Medford, and is used regularly throughout the year.
    Medford theatres rank among the best on the Pacific Coast. All the best road shows play here, in addition to the latest pictures and a regular vaudeville circuit.
    Two golf courses are maintained in the city, one by the Oaklawn Golf and Country Club and the other by the American Legion.
    Medford is the headquarters of the Crater Lake National Park superintendent and organization.
    Numerous wholesale houses are located here, and this city is headquarters for many firms operating in Southern Oregon and Northern California.
    Medford is only 35 miles north of the Oregon-California line.
    A modern flour mill is one of the many industries of the city.
    Medford is a pleasant place in which to live.
    Medford is headed for a population of 20,000.
    Medford is and will continue as the hub of commercialism in the great Southern Oregon country.
Jackson County News, January 1, 1926

Medford Chamber of Commerce
Robert H. Boyl, Secretary
    March edition of Oregon Business, dedicated as Jackson County number, has proven effective toward obtaining the purpose for which it was intended as is evidenced by many complimentary remarks that have come into the office of the Medford Chamber of Commerce by local citizens verbally and through many, many communications. The Medford Chamber of Commerce extends a vote of appreciation to the periodical's capable editor and to the manager of the State Chamber for the creditable showing they made of this issue from the material furnished them.
    The new Stage Terminal Hotel is being rapidly rushed to completion, the pouring of cement being started some ten days ago. Upon completion of this hotel, Medford will be furnished with approximately four hundred rooms in the four hotels here.
    Early spring in Southern Oregon promises an early entrance to Crater Lake National Park through the Medford gateway.
    Through the capable assistance and untiring efforts of Arthur Foster of the Land Settlement Department of the Portland Chamber of Commerce, Jackson County boasts the most effective and creditable local Land Settlement Committee we have ever had. The nine men chosen on this committee have pledged themselves to set up a record that will be hard for other county committees to obtain.
    The heaviest fruit blossoming that has ever hung on the thousands of horticultural acres in Jackson County is at this time in evidence. People interested in fruit culture are driving here for many miles to view the beautiful sight that these trees present. A recent visitor who was a representative of the American Fruit Co. stated to the writer this was the most prolific universal bloom he had ever had the pleasure of viewing.
    Practically twice the acreage planted last year will be planted this year to the famous Rogue River Valley tomatoes.
    The Medford Chamber of Commerce continues to assist the Oregon delegation in Congress with their Senate Bill No. 3255, which in fact is O.&C. Grant Land Bill. There will be probably from three to five additional Medford citizens accompany the delegation, of which W. H. Gore of Medford is chairman, to Washington to testify before the committee on this subject.
    Another of the nationally known chain stores, that of Piggly Wiggly, opened in Medford this month.
    One of the local canneries has contracted for all the barreling variety of local strawberries at 8½¢. Indications point to a bumper crop and the popular Rogue River Valley strawberries, which is perfected in color by the continued daily sunlight and perfectly flavored, being the combination of same with the cool summer nights, is growing more and more in demand.
    Medford is starting to make ready for the annual encampment of the Oregon National Guard, who will have their usual two weeks' training at Camp Jackson near Medford the last two weeks in June.
    Mayor O. O. Alenderfer and City Recorder M. L. Alford are both carrying their arms in a sling due to a serious infection of writers' cramp, occasioned by them having to affix their personal signature to 500 one-thousand-dollar city of Medford water bonds which are the first installment of the $975,000 issue that will be expended this year for Medford's new water supply from the springs at the base of Mt. McLoughlin to the city of Medford.
Oregon Business, March 1926, page 12

Medford and the Rogue River Valley
    The original founders of the city of Medford were well guided in their selection of a townsite for the metropolis of Southern Oregon. They could have chosen no better location for the development of a commercial, industrial, and tourist center than that which was selected for the city of Medford. A number of years ago, during the boom days of the Rogue River Valley, the residents of this city posted a challenge to the world, to the effect that $5,000 would be paid to that section of any country which could show a greater diversity of commercial resources within a radius of fifty miles than could the city of Medford. Strange to say, the reward was never claimed, although the cash had been deposited in the bank awaiting the proof of a richer section.
    It would be indeed difficult to arbitrarily state which of the numerous resources of the Rogue River Valley has proven of the greatest commercial value, although in the past fruit raising has proven to be immensely profitable to those who have scientifically and economically managed their affairs. Mining, too, has been a very important industry, and will undoubtedly undergo a great development within the next decade.
    From a scenic standpoint, Medford occupies the center of the stage. Tributary to this city are a great diversity of scenic and recreational spots, the like of which would be difficult to find in any other section. Foremost among our scenic attractions is, of course, famous Crater Lake, in Crater Lake National Park, to which Medford is the natural gateway. To adequately describe this gem of the Pacific Coast in a short article would be impossible, but suffice it to say that no traveler can say that he has seen the Pacific Northwest unless Crater Lake has been included in his itinerary. This beautiful body of water, called by Joaquin Miller, the "Poet of the Sierras," the "sea of silence" lies in the remains of an extinct volcano, Mount Mazama, which towered eighteen thousand feet above sea
level, so the geologists tell us. The lake itself is six miles in diameter, at an elevation of approximately 6,100 feet, and of so deep a blue as to defy description, and is surrounded by towering walls over a thousand feet high.
    From Medford, Crater Lake may be reached by automobile within three and one-half hours, over a perfect road. The trip in itself is well worth the taking, even though one had not the inspiring sight of the lake at the completion of the journey. The highway follows along the course of the winding Rogue River, through primeval forests, past beautiful waterfalls, and through mountain gorges which delight the eye and stimulate the imagination.
    Approximately twenty miles north of Crater Lake is located another of the jewels of the Cascades--Diamond Lake. Here, the fisherman finds his ultimate goal, for Diamond Lake is well stocked with rainbow trout, intriguing the angler to pit his skill against these gamest of "speckled beauties." Boats and lodging, as well as desirable camping spots, are available--both at Crater and Diamond lakes.
    A description of the Rogue River Valley would be far from complete if some mention were not made of the fact that the Rogue River is one of the best fishing streams in the Northwest. In its upper reaches, where the stream is a series of bounding cataracts, and where none but the most intrepid anglers are wont to venture, every pool is alive with native mountain trout; throughout the length of the stream are found the voracious cutthroat.
    The famous steelhead trout, found in the Rogue in great numbers, has here reached the acme of its development as a fighting fish! Spawned and hatched in thundering mountain torrents; infant days spent among the roaring falls and rapids of the upper Rogue; the trip down the river to the ocean, where it grows to maturity, and then the return to the Rogue--the mature steelhead is a marvel of vitality, beauty, and fighting ability. To have one of these active fellows make off downstream with your hook; to feel the mighty tug of his pull against your line--is a thrill which comes only to the follower of Izaak Walton who has caught this famous fish in his Rogue River habitat.
    The hunter, too, finds ample opportunity to ply his chosen sport in this beautiful valley and in the neighboring mountains. If you hanker for big game, there are deer, bear, mountain lion, and other big game animals in abundance in the Cascades, to the east, and the Coast Range, to the west of the Valley of the Rogue. Then, in the lowlands, game birds, such as the native and Chinese pheasant; blue and ruffed grouse; quail, and like breeds are found in abundance during the hunting season; or, if you yearn for the wild duck, you have but to travel a few miles to some of the larger lakes, where you will find them in abundance during their season of migration.
    We have merely skimmed the surface of the scenic and recreational features of the Rogue River Valley, but with much territory left uncovered regarding the many other resources of this country, must hurry on with a short description of some of the more commercial opportunities of the section.
    As was stated earlier in this article, the raising of fruit is, perhaps, the most extensive industry in the Rogue River Valley at the present time. With an annual rainfall of approximately 17 inches, practically all of the valley is under irrigation, divided into a number of irrigation districts. The principal of these are the Talent District, the Eagle Point District, the Medford District, the Gold Hill District; and, to the north, the Grants Pass District. They are all ably financed, and, compared to other irrigation projects in Oregon, their water rents are not unduly high.
    Each season sees well over 2.000 carloads of pears, and over 400 carloads of apples shipped from Medford, the principal shipping point for fruits from the Rogue River Valley. These 2400 carloads of fresh fruit represent approximately a million and a half boxes, which find their ultimate consumption in practically every country on the face of the globe. The income from this fruit aggregates well over over $3,000,000 yearly in itself.
    This particular section of the state of Oregon is unquestionably the peer of all others in the production of the finest varieties of luscious pears. Aside from the two most popular varieties, the Bartlett and the Winter Nelis, such magnificent varieties as the Doyenne du Comice, the Beurre Bosc, and the D'Anjou here attain the most perfect development. Varieties like the famous Comice, which elsewhere are very shy bearers, here yield most prolifically.
    Rogue River Valley pears command the very highest prices in the markets of the world, as evidenced by the record shipment made during the past season from the Bear Creek Orchards, near Medford, which were sold at the New York auction market for a price which will stand for some time as a record. There were 13⅓ carloads of Comice and Winter Nelis pears in the shipment, and the selling price was $45,920.05, an average of .065 cents for each pear in the shipment. This same orchard also holds a record for an individual carload, which was sold in 1921 for $4,300.00.
    Distribution of local fruit is secured through a number of local marketing agencies having nation- and worldwide contracts. There are a total of 21 such agencies making distribution of fruit from the Rogue River Valley. Most of the fruit is handled by the shippers on a consignment basis, but there are several firms which do their business on a cash basis--buying the fruit direct from the grower and selling through their
own channels. A portion of each year's crop is held in the local cold storage plants, awaiting better market opportunities.
    Apples, while they are second to pears as to volume of production, are grown with considerable success in some parts of the valley. The prevalent variety grown in the Rogue Valley is the Yellow Newtown. As a general rule, however, fruit growers are tending toward the raising of pears to the exclusion of other fruit of the deciduous varieties.
    Other lines of endeavor, with respect to horticulture and agriculture, have proven immensely profitable in the Rogue Valley. Small fruits, berries, vegetables, melons, and many other crops are raised here in commercial quantities; also soft fruits, such as cherries, prunes, and plums. During the past few years, a large number of agriculturists in this section have begun to diversify their crops, producing small fruits and berries along with their apples and pears.
    During the last two years, poultry raising has had a remarkable growth in this section. With the formation of cooperative poultry exchange for marketing and purchasing, the poultry raisers' chances of profit have been greatly increased. Both eggs and chickens are now being shipped out of Medford in carload lots, destined for the California and Northern Oregon markets. Rabbit breeding has also increased by leaps and bounds, some of the rabbit men having made large profits in this industry.
    Among other farming industries must be included dairying, which is fast coming to the front as a leading occupation in this district. The recent discovery of a new grass, called winter blue grass, whose growing season is from October to May, will make possible the pasturing of cattle throughout the year, due to the mild climatic conditions which usually prevail during the winter months.
    From the standpoint of potential industrial development, the city of Medford is exceptionally well located. Tributary to this city are over twenty-two billion feet of merchantable timber, the great majority of which will undoubtedly be shipped through Medford. The exploitation of Southern Oregon's timber resources has just begun with the completion of the new Owen-Oregon mill, located in Medford, which is a modern plant with large capacity.
    Hydroelectric power is rapidly being developed in the Medford section. The California-Oregon Power Company have several large power plants in operation, and at the present time are constructing a new $3,000,000 plant on the Rogue River, near Prospect, which will produce an enormous amount of electrical energy which may be utilized in the development of Southern Oregon's industries.
    In the foothills surrounding the Rogue River Valley is found an immense quantity of varied mineral deposits, the exploitation of which has been barely started. In the early days of the development of this section, the city of Jacksonville was a great mining center, but of late interest in mining has been allowed to lapse, until the last few years, when there has been a revival of interest. The discovery of the so-called "mystery metal" [tin] in the hills west of the Rogue stimulated mining interest to a great degree, and plans are being worked out for considerable activity in mining.
    The metal and mineral deposits of this district are extensive and greatly varied as to classifications. Copper, tin, lead, cinnabar, antimony, and other such metals are found in commercial deposits, as are jade, turquoise, onyx, garnets, and other precious stones. There are large deposits of marble, granite, and other nonmetallic substances, which, combined, make the Rogue River Valley wonderful country for the prospector.
    There are mountains of lime rock which assure a perpetual supply for the present large Beaver-Portland cement plant located in the valley near Gold Hill, and for many additional plants of like capacity.
    The city of Medford, itself, is the commercial and industrial center of the Rogue valley. It is a thriving, busy city of twelve thousand population, having good schools and churches; a new, pure water supply of mountain spring water; unexcelled anywhere; and all of the other conveniences that go to make an ideal city. The people of Medford are a conservative, yet progressive people; the percentage of foreign-born residents is indeed small.
    The city was first incorporated in 1884, and has maintained a steady, if not rapid, growth. The U.S. census in 1920 showed a population little in excess of 5,500. A recent census of the city shows a population in excess of 12,000. This census was compiled from statistics gathered in a house-to-house canvass, and is undoubtedly correct.
    The estimated value of the assessable property within the city of Medford is in excess of $12,000,000; the city school property is valued at $442,000. Medford is the county seat of Jackson County, and is located on the main Shasta line of the Southern Pacific Railway, which provides railway transportation north and south. It is also on the paved Pacific Highway, the longest paved highway in the world. Medford is an airport for the Pacific air mail route--the only air mail landing field in the state of Oregon.
    Medford has four banks, with combined resources of over $6,000,000; Medford has two modern hospitals, sixteen fraternal organizations, and numerous small factories, in addition to the larger mills mentioned; this city is the wholesale distributing center for Southern Oregon and Northern California.
    During the past year, Medford has made enormous strides in industrial and civic development; the next five years will undoubtedly see a much greater advance. The new water system, just completed at a cost of nearly one million dollars, provides the city with absolutely pure water, delivered to the users at a temperature of about fifty degrees on the hottest of summer days. A new city hall is now in the process of construction, and a new eighteen-hole golf course has just been completed.
    There is at the present time under construction near Medford, the first unit of a large moving picture studio, which is the first in Southern Oregon. If the plans of those interested in this venture are carried out, Medford will experience a great development through this industry. It has been found that Southern Oregon is exceptionally adapted to the production of motion pictures, and it is hoped that this first plant will be but one of many.
    The foregoing has been but a sketchy description of Medford and the Rogue River Valley, and one which will convey but a small idea of the possibilities of this section. To adequately know the Rogue River Valley, it must be seen, not merely described; this may be considered as a personal invitation for you to visit this country and see for yourself the greatest future of Southern Oregon.
    Truly, this is a great country!
Oregon Business, March 1926, pages 27-36

Last revised December 4, 2022