The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Medford in 1927

Medford circa 1927

Facts and Figures Tell Their Own Story of Medford's Growth
   The New Year holds promise of continued prosperity and increasing development for Medford and the southern Oregon country. Never before has this city started a new year under more auspicious conditions. Never before has the future of this city seemed brighter. These facts and figures tell their own story--some of the reasons why Medford is the "Biggest Little City in America."

MEDFORD is the financial, industrial and commercial center of southern Oregon and northern California.
MEDFORD is situated in the center of the Rogue River Valley, famous the world over for its pears. A variety of products is grown on farms surrounding Medford.
MEDFORD is on the Pacific Highway, the longest stretch of paved road in the world, reaching from Canada to Mexico.
MEDFORD is the gateway to Crater Lake National Park, an excellent road extending from this city to the famous scenic attraction.
MEDFORD is the timber center of Jackson County and the location of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, a mill having an annual capacity of 100,000,000 board feet.
MEDFORD is on the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad. A 40-mile, standard-gauge line extends from this city to the heart of the Butte Falls timber section, and Medford owns a railroad line from this city to the forests of the Jacksonville country.
MEDFORD has a population of 12,000 people, increased 5,840 since 1920.
MEDFORD's elevation is 1368 feet.
MEDFORD has 2866 telephones.
MEDFORD has 3134 electric light connections.
MEDFORD has the only air mail landing field in Oregon, affording airplane mail and passenger service for people here.
MEDFORD is the home of "K.M.E.D." radio Mail Tribune Virgin broadcasting station and is one of the only cities of its size in the United States with a licensed station.
MEDFORD's bank deposits during 1926 totaled $5,500,000 in four substantial banks.
MEDFORD is completing a water system costing $975,000, piping ice-cold waters from giant mountain springs to this city.
MEDFORD's post office receipts during 1926 totaled $69,071.
MEDFORD has approximately 650 students registered in high school.
MEDFORD has an exceptionally efficient fire department, the city sustaining a very small loss during 1926.
MEDFORD has a new $185,000 high school.
MEDFORD will be the county seat beginning this year.
MEDFORD's first mayor was J. S. Howard; O. O. Alenderfer now holds that office.
MEDFORD has two modern cold storage plants and an ice plant.
MEDFORD has a large, modern iron foundry.
MEDFORD has an armory building, the home of Company A, Oregon National Guard.
MEDFORD is the home of the Jackson County library, having 21,000 volumes.
MEDFORD has four grammar schools, a junior high school, an academy, a new high school, a business college and a kindergarten.
MEDFORD is the music center of southern Oregon and boasts several studios.
MEDFORD and Rogue River Valley pears may be found in the principal markets of the world.
MEDFORD has a modern vegetable, fruit and meat canning plant that packed 50,000 cases in 1926.
MEDFORD's branch factory of the Knight Packing Company manufactures Rogue River catsup, famous the country over.
MEDFORD has 1800 acres within the city limits.
MEDFORD has an active Chamber of Commerce, assisted by service clubs.
MEDFORD has approximately 3500 automobiles, 7678 being registered in Jackson County.
MEDFORD is one of the best-paved cities for its size in the United States, having 20.8 miles of pavement and 40 miles of cement sidewalks.
MEDFORD has, during the summer months, approximately 5000 tourist visitors daily.
MEDFORD has an aggressive Realty Board, affiliated with the National Board of Realtors.
MEDFORD has, within its city limits, two of the finest privately owned auto camps in the West.
MEDFORD has two strictly modern hospitals and is the medical center of southern Oregon.
MEDFORD has 18 churches and 16 fraternal organizations.
MEDFORD's building permits during 1926 totaled $1,335,000.
MEDFORD is the home of a modern granite works and a large concern specializing in sand, gravel, tile, brick and building materials.
MEDFORD has the distinction of being one of Oregon's best lighted cities.
MEDFORD is the home office of the California Oregon Power Company, with a permanent payroll in and surrounding this city of over 200 employees.
MEDFORD is the headquarters for five wholesale oil companies.
MEDFORD has many clubs, including a Rotary, Kiwanis, Crater and Lions clubs.
MEDFORD has five retail lumber yards.
MEDFORD has three newspapers.
MEDFORD has two sash and door plants and a cabinet works with a substantial payroll.
MEDFORD is a city in which very few foreigners live.
MEDFORD is near the Jackson County fairgrounds, representing an investment of $110,000.
MEDFORD has two modern theaters and enjoys the best stage and screen productions.
MEDFORD has two golf courses, one of which ranks high among those of the Coast.
MEDFORD is the headquarters of the Crater Lake National Park: $150,000 is spent annually in the Crater Lake National Forest for general maintenance and fire control.
MEDFORD is a distributing center of the southern Oregon country and is the home of numerous whole[sale] concerns.
MEDFORD has an excellent system of highways radiating in every direction.
MEDFORD is the shipping center for lumber and fruit. During 1926 approximately 70,000,000 feet of timber were cut--seven times the amount cut in 1920.
MEDFORD, in the center of Jackson County, is surrounded by 772,000 acres of virgin forests, or approximately 22,000,000,000 feet of merchantable timber.
MEDFORD has four modern hotels, one of which was built in 1926.
MEDFORD is surrounded by 2142 farms, 422 more than 1921 records show; 477,826 acres are included in these farms.
MEDFORD shipped 4489 cars of produce up to December in 1926; 2265 of these cars were filled with Rogue River fruit.
MEDFORD has a modern dehydrating plant.
MEDFORD has a free employment bureau.
MEDFORD's building permits in 1926, exclusive of the mill district, totaled $885,207.
MEDFORD will be the center of operations for the California Oregon Power Company's $3,000,000 plant to be constructed at Prospect during 1926.
MEDFORD's annual rainfall is 16 inches.
MEDFORD has, surrounding her, 55,000 acres of land suitable for irrigation, 40,000 acres of which are already under ditch.
MEDFORD has two pre-cooling plants.
MEDFORD has a trading area with a population of 40,000.
MEDFORD promises to be the location of a pulp plant during 1927.
MEDFORD has a box factory and mill which used 20,000,000 feet of lumber during 1926 in the manufacture of box shook. From 75 to 225 men are regularly employed by this organization.
MEDFORD has a modern flouring mill and three candy factories.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 2, 1927, page 5

Beautiful Word Picture of Medford
and Famed Rogue River Valley

   B. F. Irvine, editor of the Portland Oregon Journal, one of the leading papers of the state, has this to say of Medford and the Rogue River Valley:
    "In a county where the people do things, the city of Medford has voted $975,000 to bring absolutely pure water from Big Butte Springs at the foot of Mt. Pitt for its water supply. The water will come from springs that issue in a torrent from the ground, and be conveyed through steel mains and delivered to Medford water users at a temperature of 38 to 42 degrees.
    "Following are a few examples of the big things that are being done in the Rogue River Valley evidencing the aggressiveness of the community:
    "The Rogue River Company of Los Angeles, California, in 1925 invested over three-quarters of a million dollars in lands and orchard properties in Jackson County, consisting of some of the best peach orchards in the valley, a large proportion of which are under irrigation. This company added three other properties to its list in 1926 and is making improvements in its cold storage and pre-cooling plant, which when completed will have a value of over $100,000.
    "This company also built a dehydrating plant last year. The pre-cooling plant and the dehydrator are operated by the Southern Oregon Sales, Inc. This company has established offices in New York.
    "During the past five years 35,000 acres in the Rogue River Valley, tributary to Medford, has been put under irrigation, which greatly improves the orchards, increasing production of alfalfa, also small fruits and vegetables that are packed, canned and shipped fresh out of Medford.
    "One of the largest properties in the Rogue River Valley is the Potter Palmer estate. The Modoc, one of its orchards, comprises 1300 acres, with 275 acres in pears. The company also owns the Klamath Orchards of 200 acres in fine pears, and is one of the largest fruit shippers in this section.
    "Medford has three excellent hotels. The Medford is a six-story structure, the Holland a four-story structure, and the new Terminal Hotel [later that year renamed the Jackson Hotel] a four-story structure, all of which are modern.
    "Medford is one of the main stations on the new air mail line from Seattle to San Francisco and Los Angeles, and has the distinction of being the only city in Oregon to have an airport.
    "The Medford Chamber of Commerce put over a novel idea of advertising the first air mail flight. They issued 2000 Greetings From Medford, sent by the people of Medford to every part of the globe. This greeting contained a four-color picture of Crater Lake. The envelope carrying the greeting had special advertising for Medford and the Rogue River Valley and was arranged in color to attract attention.
    "They do things in Jackson County.
    "Along with varied and abounding resources to draw upon, the people are alert. In the population there is a very high percentage of college people. At Medford there is a University Club with a membership among the largest on the coast. Practically all the colleges of America, as well as some of the foreign countries, are represented on the roll of the club.
    "Medford is known as one of the musical and theatrical centers of the coast, and gets most of the big road shows. The county's culture is reflected in the extraordinary interest in schools. There are eighteen high schools in the county, those at Medford and Ashland coming under the official designation of first class.
    "Two hundred and fifty teachers are employed. Medford has completed a new high school building at a cost of $185,000, which contains 33 rooms. The old high school building is used as a junior high school.
    "Perhaps the most picturesque high school in the state is at Ashland. It is of the old Spanish type of architecture and very attractive.
    "The Jackson County Fair Association dates far back in Oregon history. The original fair was held at Jacksonville in the early '60s, in the days of the gold mining excitement. Jackson County was then the most populous county in the state, and one of the most important. At that fair the first apples grown in Oregon were exhibited; the miners bought them at a dollar an apple. The fruit was grown on trees in an orchard near Table Rock, the first orchard set out in Southern Oregon.
    "Some of the richest history in the West was made in Jackson County. It is a history in which hostile Indians, gold, hardy pioneers and the beginnings of a rude civilization are intermingled. Out of this has come one of the finest communities and one of the best ordered and most beautiful districts on the planet."
    In another editorial Mr. Irvine said:
    "Jackson County is a paradise of beauty. Besides its marvelous scenic lures lighted up with clear atmosphere and 200 to 240 days a year of brilliant sunshine, the orchards heighten the picture. To ride along the Pacific Highway and see the miles and miles of trees in bearing or in the springtime to look on the billions of beautiful blossoms is a picture worth journeying hundreds of miles to see. It adds to life and joy and happiness to see this fairyland of beauty.
    "In one day last autumn 52 cars of pears left the railroad station at Medford, bound east. The former high record for one day's shipment was 49 cars, the year before.
    "Bosc pears from the Rogue River Valley often sell at 25 cents each in New York stores. Seventy-five cents is often paid for Boscs by guests at fashionable New York and London hotels and by passengers on Atlantic liners.
    "Winter Nelis pears have such keeping qualities that they are a splendid fruit for the table as late as April and May.
    "Not only pears, but the apples grown in Jackson County are famed and favored the whole world over.
    "In the list of fruits are cherries which you have to bite in two to eat, and the famous Ashland peaches, equaled nowhere for flavor and duplicated in but few districts for size. Fifteen thousand acres in Jackson County are devoted to fruit production.
    "The name 'Rogue River Valley' on a box of fruit gives it prestige that is recognized in all the fruit markets of the world."
Medford Mail Tribune, January 2, 1927, page 6

What Medford Needs
    To the Editor: What Medford needs is factories to give work to our young girls and boys who graduate from our schools. We see them to the trains and with tears in our eyes bid them goodbye as they depart for some large town to find work. Vast sums have been spent to fit them for a useful life, and then we read how they have won success outside of the Rogue River Valley. Yes, this is a great country! We supply the ability for other sections.
    We boast of having cheap electric power, best water in the state, and a beautiful climate, and ship 1,000,000 pounds of wool from southern Oregon to Boston, Mass., and pay the freight both ways, and stand the price for the goods returned.
    What Medford needs is rails to the Blue Ledge camp, where millions of tons of fertilizer wastes, while we ship it in from the outside. We need woolen mills to work up our wool, and then Medford will come to her just dues.--T. H. Callaghan, Medford, Oct. 22.
Merely What It Has
    To the Editor: In the recent issues of your fine paper the writer has followed with much interest the answer to your appeal to the people for suggestions as to what Medford needs most.
    To begin, with your thought of starting the inquiry was highly commendable. The suggestions that have been made are very constructive ones and indicate that the people of the Rogue River Valley are always on the alert.
    Looking over the pages of history so recently completed, we see there written the record of the vision realized. The O. and C. tax refund, completion of O. O. Mill, construction of hydroelectric plant at Prospect, opening of Sixth Street, solution of and reconstruction of the spray residue disaster.
    Appropriation for the harbor at Crescent City, Hill lines to Klamath Falls and last but not least, the completion of our "spring water" system. How were the visions realized?
    It was through the combined, unselfish and untiring efforts of every man, woman and child in the valley. The people of the Rogue River Valley are always on the job. They are never caught napping, and their loyalty to the cause is very outstanding. One can hardly realize the way in which our people observed the [polio] quarantine which has been in force for the past three weeks.
    There is not another city in the United States that could maintain the observance as our community has. Our citizens are all on their toes to develop the wonderful valley to its fullest extent and they fully appreciate and know the many resources and advantages in southern Oregon.
    What does Medford need? It needs the same combined, unselfish and untiring efforts of every man, woman and child that it has in the past, and that is always at the service of this Great Country.--R. U. BROWN, Medford, Oct. 22.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 22, 1927, page 4

    Another year of sound and conservative progress passed into Medford's history at 12 last night--a year of rapid growth in prestige, in business, in population, and in building. There were no aspects of a boom, and no inflation. To many observers, Medford's growth appeared slower than resources warranted, but even these optimists declared that the progress was both economically sound and satisfactory.
Spent Half Million.
    Over half a million dollars was expended on building operations, according to the conservative records of the city building inspector. Practically all this was local capital, and was expended only to provide homes for over 100 new families that located in the past 12 months, and for badly needed commercial expansion.
    Six hundred and twenty-six thousand six hundred and seventy-six dollars were expended on construction. In December, there were 22 building permits, with $27,872 expended.
    While the 1927 figures were below those for 1926 and 1925, local businessmen pointed out that the two years before 1927 saw the greatest growth in the history of Medford.
City's Growth.
    Medford's growth last year as compared with previous seasons is shown here:
1927 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $626,676
1926 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $789,330
1925 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $779,000
1924 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $617,304
1923 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $412,255
1922 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $255,425
1921 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $171,160
    Many new homes were constructed during the year, estimates placing them at 163. Two new churches, the Presbyterian and Evangelistic Lutheran, were constructed. The new county courthouse [i.e., the Medford city hall], the Pantorium building, Johnson's Market, the new Jackson County Creamery were new public and commercial structures.
Outlook Bright.
    The outlook for building in Medford during the 1928 season is bright, and it seems that the year which dawned this morning will be another in which Medford continues to rise toward its destiny of the leading city of a rich and promising country. There are rumors of two new eight-flat apartment houses. The Palmer corporation plans to erect a new fruit packing house. The Knights of Pythias may build a second story on Fichtner's garage, and there is a report that the rest of that block will be built into a business establishment.
More Plans.
    Plans are under way to open a motion picture studio here through refinancing the Rogue River Studios near Medford. The Barkdull property on North Central, reports declare, will be built into a modern business building. Rumors of new theaters are frequently heard.
    More acres of pears, the staple farm crop of Rogue Valley, will come into bearing next season. Last year was a prosperous one. Except for light frost and hail loss, there were bumper crops, and a new record in fruit shipments was made with prices above the average.
Much Progress.
    A new business street was opened in Medford. A new modern lumber mill, the costly Owen-Oregon improvement just north of the Medford city limits, added to the permanent payroll of this city, this improvement also being made in the logging properties of the company.
    A new hydroelectric project, Prospect No. 2, which is planned to be the largest in Oregon, was started, and the first unit is now virtually complete.
Grew in Population.
    In population, as in horticulture, agriculture and commerce, Medford and its surrounding territory continued to forge steadily ahead. An authentic census placed Medford's population at over 12,000 in September. Actual population is now believed near the 13,000 mark, with a growth equal to that of Medford being recorded in the agricultural territory and smaller cities in Medford's business territory. Irrigated lands were further subdivided, so that more population is living in the rural districts. The dairy industry, and other industries connected with agriculture, continued to advance. More persons turned to rabbits as a commercial proposition.
Bank Deposits.
    Financially, it was also a year of progress. Bank deposits are at the highest mark in the history of Medford, indicating a sound prosperity for all.
    In education, the Medford public school system continued to be a state leader in scholastic standing and in athletics.
    From every phase, the old year was one of progress, and the new one holds even greater promise. Mining shows indication of having been transformed from a "get rich quick" plaything of unscrupulous promoters into a sound industry. The Medford realty board and the Medford Chamber of Commerce are bending all their efforts toward a common purpose of providing a livelihood for more population, and attracting that population here. Upon these factors depend the growth of any community, and in Medford they are being soundly exploited.
Medford Daily News, January 1, 1928, page 1

    Prevailing Winds.--Northwest and southeast.
    Paved Streets.--22 miles.
    Ground Elevations.--Nearly level, except in the eastern portion, where moderate grades prevail.
    Public Lights.--Electric.
    Radial and Numerical Center.--At intersection of Main St. and the main track of the S.P.R.R.
    Water Works.--Municipal ownership.
    Gravity System.--Supply from Little Butte Creek northeast of city, through 22 miles of iron pipe to 2 reservoirs of 2,000,000 gallons capacity each. Located near eastern city limits as shown on key, at an elevation of 218' above city, intake 744' above city. 42 miles of distribution mains, 16", 12", 10", 8", 6" and 4" in size. Average daily consumption 4,800,000 gallons, 326 double hydrants.
    Average fire pressure 78 lbs.
    Note:--A new source of supply is being installed, to be completed and in use in 1927. This supply will come from Big Butte Springs, 30 miles northeast of city, through 30 miles of 25", 23", 21" and 20" steel pipes into city mains, the overflow filling the reservoirs above described. Intake of this supply is 1,322' above city.
    1 chief, 1 assistant chief, 4 men, all full pay, 24 call men, 5 of whom sleep at headquarters; these are paid $3.00 for the first 2 hours and 50 cents per hour thereafter.
    1 Stutz pumper, model "O," capacity 1,200 gallons per minute, 1,250' fire hose. 1 chemical car with 117½-gallon chemical tank and 250' chemical hose. 1 hose truck (for call men) with 650' of hose. 800' of hose in reserve. Apparatus fully motorized.
    Fire alarm by telephone. 1 compressed air siren at headquarters. 3 electric street sirens being installed in the business district of the city.
Medford Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1927, page 1

    Medford is unique in the attractions it offers to people accustomed to living in large cities. Being located midway between San Francisco and Portland, road companies and touring artists of all kinds make Medford, because they can do so without losing any engagements in the larger cities and because they like the metropolitan methods of the city and the people. Therefore, Medford can have practically all the attractions that come to the Coast, and the Craterian and Rialto theaters offer the best in equipment and comfort, both for those who come to perform and those who come to be amused.
    Medford is also recognized as the musical center of Southern Oregon. George and Ed Andrews, members of the famous Andrews
Opera Company
, so popular in the Middle West a generation ago, came to Medford nearly two decades ago to live, and have been leaders in the musical life and development of the community ever since. There is also a number of other noted musicians living here, some retired and some still teaching. For several years a midsummer musical pageant has been given, drawing auditors from all parts of the state, Gilbert and Sullivan's "Iolanthe," "Pirates of Penzance" and "Pinafore" being presented with exceptional success.
    Recognizing Medford's unusual resources in this regard, the Mail Tribune and W. J. Virgin recently established KMED broadcasting station, and now concerts by local talent are given every night and sent throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California, as well as the latest news and market reports, national baseball and football games and other sporting events. Medford claims to be the only city of its size on the coast which has its own broadcasting station.
    Medford is rapidly gaining fame as a literary center. One of the most successful authors in the country today, Edison Marshall, came to Medford from Indiana when a baby, was educated in the Medford schools, graduated from the University of Oregon. An indication of Mr.
Marshall's literary success is found in the fact that he won the $500 O. Henry prize for short stories, competing with the foremost authors of the United States, that many of his books have been best sellers, and nearly all of them have been dramatized by the movies.
    Two other residents of Medford have burst into the literary limelight, A. C. Allen, state horticulturist, with his novel of outdoor life, "King of the Wilderness," and "Challenge," by Col. C. G. Thomson, superintendent of Crater Lake National Park.
    In short, although Medford is not a large city, it has the advantages of a large city, as well as the attractions of a small town, a combination not found in many places on the Pacific Coast or any other part of the country.
Medford Mail Tribune,
January 1, 1928, page B6

    Medford has well-furnished, modern apartment and rooming houses and many excellent restaurants and cafes, and is prepared to take care of hundreds of visitors without extending to any great amount these places.
    In the past there have been many conventions, conclaves and assemblages at Medford. They have brought thousands of visitors here, and seldom, if ever, has there been a complaint raised about the prices charged or the service.
    These places are operated by hospitable people who have taken on that Rogue River Valley spirit that always cries "welcome" and offers "friendship" to the tired and weary traveler. The poet Shenstone wrote prophetically of the Pacific Coast hotels when he described some of those of his own age:
"Whoe'er has traveled life's dull round
Where'er his stages may have been,
May sigh to think he still has found
The warmest 'Welcome' at an inn."
    This same welcome is always present at Medford, and in the years to come as the city expands in its great industrial glory, it will be still greater.
    The apartment and rooming houses are all centrally located and are as follows:
    Lake Hotel, 130 West Main St.; New Western Hotel, 133 West Main Street; Washington Rooming House, 33 South Front; Imperial Rooming House, 30 North Front.
    Among the cafe and restaurants in Medford, which are equipped with cozy grilles and spacious dining rooms and private apartments for parties, where the guest will find a tempting variety of dishes from which to dine luxuriously or simply according to taste and price, are as follows: The Hotel Jackson Coffee Shop on South Central; Crowson's at 229 East Main; Rex Cafe at 121 East Main; Derick's Cafe on South Riverside; Franklin's at 31 South Central; Diamond Cafe at 127 East Sixth; Do-Drop-In Cafe at West Main; J.N. Cafe at 20 South Central; Ideal Cafe at 28 South Front; The Nanakos on South Front; Brownie Marie Coffee Shop on North Fir; Jewel Cafe at 28 North Front; Club Cafe at 5 South Riverside.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1928, page 73

Last revised January 25, 2023