The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Medford in 1928

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 has one of the best airports in Oregon, is one of the important stations on the Seattle to Los Angeles air mail line and is a station for three air passenger and express lines.
MEDFORD has the only aerological weather station in Oregon, furnishing wind velocities and weather reports for air pilots on the coast.
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 13,000 people, increased 6,840 since 1920.
MEDFORD's elevation is 1368 feet.
MEDFORD has 3,013 telephones.
MEDFORD has 3,579 electric light connections.
MEDFORD is the home of "KMED" 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 1927 totaled $6,000,000 in four substantial banks.
MEDFORD has a water system costing $975,000 alone for piping ice-cold waters from giant mountain springs to this city.
MEDFORD's post office receipts to December 1, 1927 totaled $84,530.97.
MEDFORD has approximately 700 students registered in high school.
MEDFORD has an exceptionally efficient fire department, the city sustaining a very small loss during 1927.
MEDFORD has a new $185,000 high school.
MEDFORD is the county seat of Jackson County.
MEDFORD's first mayor was J. S. Howard; O. O. Alenderfer now holds that office.
MEDFORD has two modern cold storage plants and a large ice plant and ice storage.
MEDFORD has 15 fruit packing and exporting firms and 3 fruit storage plants.
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 60,000 cases in 1927.
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 4000 automobiles. Jackson County has over 8,500.
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, four 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 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 seven wholesale oil companies.
MEDFORD has many clubs, including a Rotary, Kiwanis, Crater and Lions clubs.
MEDFORD has two daily and one weekly newspaper.
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 wholesale concerns.
MEDFORD has an excellent system of highways radiating in every direction.
MEDFORD is the shipping center for lumber and fruit. During 1927 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 five modern hotels, and many rooming houses.
MEDFORD is surrounded by 2142 farms, with 477,826 acres.
MEDFORD shipped 4489 cars of produce up to December in 1927; 2575 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 1927, exclusive of the mill district, totaled $608,430.
MEDFORD is the center of operations for the California Oregon Power Company's $4,000,000 plant now under construction at Prospect.
MEDFORD's annual rainfall is 17.52 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 45,000.
MEDFORD has the Tomlin Box factory and mill which used 20,000,000 feet of lumber during 1927in 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 1, 1928, page C1

Impressions of Coquille Editor After Visit to City and Valley
    The Sentinel editor and his better half and youngest daughter drove down to Medford last Saturday and returned Monday accompanied by their daughter, Miss Jean, who had visited the H. N. Butler family there for ten days.
    From the activity noted at Medford Saturday evening it is safe to say that it is destined to became the metropolis of Southern Oregon.
    It is now a city of 12,000 and suffering less from the splitting up of Southern Pacific train service than any other city south of Eugene. In fact it lost nothing except through freight service, as Medford is not a division point on the Shasta Route.
    The streets of this growing city were so crowded with cars Saturday evening that traffic was frequently halted, and two or three streets were so choked with automobiles that movement was at a snail's pace.
    Medford is the center of a wonderful fruit section, which is constantly expanding, and it is for this reason that its future seems to be more assured than does that of Klamath Falls, which depends largely on the lumber industry.
    But that is not the only attraction which is drawing home-seekers to Medford. It has the finest and purest water in the state. More than a million dollars was spent in bringing its supply from Black Buttes, near the foot of Mt. McLoughlin, or Mount Pitt, as the older residents still call it. A series of springs, furnishing an unlimited supply, have been encased with concrete so that contamination is impossible and the pure water arrives in the city almost ice cold. To take a drink at the Chamber of Commerce fountain causes one to take a look to see where the ice is located. But there is no artificial cooling; it comes to that fountain direct from one of the largest main pipes.
    Aqua pura is the sine qua non of any city or town, and no price is too great to pay for an ample and pure supply. A town the size of Coquille cannot spend a million dollars for water, nor a quarter of that sum, but it will be worth it to spend all possible. In the Middle West the rivers have to be utilized to furnish the towns and cities, but the thought of doing it on the Coast is unpleasant, when a few miles back in the foothills of the Coast Range the finest sources are available. Wells may be used for a time, but eventually Coquille's source must be found in the mountains to the east.
    There are no sprinkling restrictions in Medford, and water service
is furnished at $2.50 per month, and it is stated that the revenue at that figure will maintain the system, pay interest and cost of operation, and gradually retire the bonds.
    Crater Lake is the same deeper than cerulean blue it was the first time human eye saw it. Beautiful beyond compare, this lake in a sunken volcano crater, from which a small island rises with a crater in its apex, is becoming better known to thousands every year. In 1927 there were 84,000 who drove the eighty miles from the highway to gaze in rapt wonder at its splendor. Week before last the number this year had reached the 67,000 mark, and it was expected 100,000 would be the total for the year.
    The highway from Medford to the national park is oiled throughout and is as easy to drive a road, and as clean and comfortable, as is the section of the Coos Bay highway between Camas Mountain and the Pacific Highway.
    Inside the park road work is still in progress by the Forest Service department of the government. Easier grades are making less difficult the last five or six miles, and from the park entrance to the rim the road is not yet oiled. But it is all rocked and there is not the pumice dust to contend with that there was five years ago.
    No one making a trip to the park should fail to stop at Government Camp and take a drink of that water which bubbles forth from the gravel near the bridge. It stands at 36 degrees, both summer and winter.--(Coquille Sentinel.)
Medford Mail Tribune, August 28, 1928, page 4

A Few Words on the Recent History of Medford
    In 1917 the City of Medford was practically broke, to all intents and purposes. That is, it had bonds maturing and interest payments due, for the payment of which there had been no provision made. There were no funds on hand to meet these obligations, and the City was confronted with a serious financial situation which was not only an embarrassment to the then administration, but also seriously jeopardized the financial credit and integrity of the City of Medford.
    Up to this time no administration had worked out and perfected a comprehensive plan by which the future progress of the city might be assured and its bonded and other obligations met as they matured. In this grave crisis a number of leading citizens and business men were prevailed upon to undertake the very considerable task of reorganizing the city finances as they then were, and of formulating a policy which would be businesslike and adequate for the future.
    This was the beginning of the so-called Citizens' Committee, who then reorganized the finances of the city and mapped out a forward-looking, comprehensive program, under which program city affairs since then have been handled in a sound, businesslike manner and the financial standing of the city put on a premium basis.
A Few of Medford's Recent Accomplishments
Since this program has been made effective the city has:
• Has more than doubled in population.
• Modernized and increased in efficiency its fire department.
• Procured the armory building for Medford.
• Erected a warehouse and plant for the Street and Water Department.
• Doubled the available space in the present city hall.
• Cooperated with Jackson County in securing the present fairgrounds.
• Cooperated on the present air field.
• Purchased property and installed buildings in the present playgrounds.
• Acquired Jacksonville Railway and its valuable right of way without cost.
• Made possible the removal of the county seat to Medford.
• Cooperated in securing the establishment of our largest payroll, the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company.
• Opened up and graded over eight miles of dirt streets.
Paved approximately forty blocks.
• Opened up Sixth Street to West Main Street.
• Opened other streets to provide arteries for rapidly increasing traffic.
• Installed over three miles of sanitary sewers.
• Acquired perpetual rights to a water supply sufficient for a city of 30,000 people, and has constructed a water system unsurpassed in the entire country.
• Paid off over $485,000 worth of city bonds.
All of this has been accomplished with but a very slight increase in the millage tax for strictly city purposes.
    M. N. Hogan, Chairman.
Advertisement, Medford Mail Tribune, October 30, 1928, page B3

Mayor Alenderfer and Councilmen Hubbard and Jacobs Retire
After Long and Noteworthy Service--New Officials Highly Qualified.

    The annual change in the city administration . . . occurs Monday night, January 3rd, when A. W. Pipes becomes mayor, succeeding Mayor O. O. Alenderfer, who retires to private life after four years of notable service, and A. C. Hubbard, councilman of the first ward and vice president of the council, and J. W. Jacobs, councilman of the fourth ward, retire after years of like efficient service, to be succeeded by E. M. Wilson and R. E. McElhose, who are regarded as highly qualified to fill the positions.
    The large growth of the city of Medford in recent years has brought added responsibilities to the mayor and council in meeting the necessary needs of a growing city. Moreover, these needs have been met without an increase in the tax levy, and as this growth is continuing the new mayor and city council, the latter with six holdover members, will face like responsibilities in the matter of handling the city's finances economically while keeping pace with Medford's development and progress.
    Incidental to this coming change in administrations a review of the notable achievements during the past four years under Mayor Alenderfer is given, as follows:
New Million-Dollar Water Supply.
    The most important improvement during the recent growth of the city undoubtedly has been the new water system which was completed a little over a year ago. It replaces our old water system which had its source in the murky waters of Fish Lake with a pure water system gathered from springs which does not see the light of day until it emerges from the faucet of the homeowner, 30-odd miles away in Medford. What such a system means in the health and future prosperity of Medford and its environs can hardly be estimated.
Fire Protection.
    Following closely after a pure water system in its order of importance is the protecting of the business men and homeowners from the catastrophe of possible conflagration by fire.
    The city has made notable improvements in the fire department, thus placing it on a high standard of efficiency. First and foremost is the purchase of [a] new pumper, auxiliary truck and other much-needed equipment, and scarcely less important is the building of a new fire hall just on the edge of the business district, costing approximately $15,000. This new fire hall will be modern in all particulars, with the ground space allotted to firefighting equipment and a repair shop, and with provision in the second story for quarters for the fire chief, a dormitory for regular members and volunteers, a recreation hall, shower baths, etc. There is also provided extra vacant lots and a drill towers where necessary fire drills can be put on without interfering with traffic.
The New City Hall.
    Another important improvement to the city is the building of the new city hall costing $60,000, which was authorized by vote of the people in order to move the courthouse to Medford. It is furnished free to Jackson County for five years, at the end of which time it will return to the city for use as a city hall. This new building is located at Fifth Street, just one block from one of the main business streets, is ideally located as a new city hall, is of concrete construction, three stories high, and while it will shortly be inadequate for use as a county courthouse it will be adequate for many years to come to house the city offices.
    Quite a bit of the cost of this building will be paid for by savings made by the citizens and the city itself in not having to go to Jacksonville on all city and council business. Provision was also made that when the old city hall is sold the money received is to be used in taking up the new bonds, with the result that with these two sources available very little, if any, of the cost of the city hall will be reflected in increased taxes.
    A new warehouse, used jointly by the water department and the street department, is another much-needed improvement. An up-to-date building of concrete, it houses all of the city equipment. This building cost much less than the others, only some $10,000, and is paid for by the sale of a couple of vacant lots which the city owned on South Riverside Avenue which, due to the growth of that section of the town, had increased materially in value.
Sixth Street.
    Among other improvements during recent years has been the opening up of Sixth Street as a major traffic artery; nicely paved with concrete, it will increase the values all along the thoroughfare. More recently a movement has been started for a modern lighting system, and bids will be let at the first meeting of the new year for its first installation, thus in a few short months transforming Sixth Street from a non-important closed thoroughfare to a major business artery.
Other Improvements.
    It might be thought that the above enumeration is quite a sufficient recital of recent improvements, but they are not all.
    The city purchased the Jacksonville railroad, in order to hold it for railroad developments and a possible sawmill; has dredged Bear Creek for some four or five blocks in order to remove the menace of flood danger, and purchased a grader and street roller which the city sadly needed in order to grade and repair its streets, this latter equipment being purchased without cost to the taxpayers out of the city's part of the county road money which it obtained for the first time this year.
Street Improvements.
    In the past year or more the city has laid four miles of water mains, three and a quarter miles of sewers, graded and graveled four miles of streets and paved, either with concrete or asphalt, about three miles of street, a total improvement of approximately $200,000, one-half of which has been for paving. Compared with the vast amount of work done in 1910 to 1912, the recent paving program has been less than 10 percent, but sewer improvements have been approximately one-third of those in former years, while the water mains recently laid have been more than equal to the amount laid in the former years, due to the laying of a new distributing system in connection with the new Big Butte water system.
Building Permits.
    Building permits during the past four years [have] held up remarkably well, showing practically no decrease for 1926 over 1925 when they were $779,000, and only an approximate $100,000 decrease for each of the years 1927-1928, running well over a half million dollars for the year just passed.
City Lots.
    Not a little of the building has been due to the policy of the city in selling off the city lots taken over by it for delinquent assessments, on convenient terms that could be met by its citizens and at reasonable prices. For the first time in ten years the year just past saw the city with its shelves cleaned of practically all of its paved lots.
    While it still has a few, and a good many lots off the pavement which it has had to take over, yet compared with something more than 2,000 lots that were originally delinquent, a great part of which it actually had to take over, the assessment problem is well on its way to solution, after many years of the most arduous work on the part of former mayors, councilmen and city employees.
    It is estimated that [with] another year or two of continued growth, the city will have cleaned up all of the lots, marking the completion of ten years of work in clearing up this most difficult problem.
    One might go in for another column if one were to relate all of the improvements which have come to Medford in the past little while, but suffice it to say that all these improvements show a big growth of our city, and not only growth but hard work and intelligent efforts of the recent administrations and of the various mayors, councilmen, water commissioners and city officials who have had these tasks in charge.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 31, 1928, page 3

Medford Is Becoming the Home of Many Infant Industries
    The following list of manufacturing concerns in Medford will serve as an eye-opener to those who have thought the only resources in Southern Oregon were covered by the fruit and lumber industries:
    Art Goods--Bliss Heine Company, advertising novelties, emblems, costumes. Handicraft Shop, art needlework. Snedicor Shop, markers of draperies, lamp shades and slip covers. S. Lang, woodcuts.
    Auto Tops--Medford Auto Top Shop, auto tops, allied products.
    Baking Business--Beck's Bakery; Colonial Bakery; Electric Bakery; Gates & Lydiard.
    Batteries--Medford Battery Shop.
    Blueprints and Maps--The Blue Print Shop.
    Box Shook--Tomlin Box Company.
    Brooms--L. J. Dunaway; Medford Broom Factory; Mack Neighbors.
    Candies--R. F. Buckingham; W. A. Whitelaw & Company.
    Canned Goods--Rogue River Valley Canning Company, canned goods. Knight Packing Company, catsup, canned goods. Bagley Canning Company, Ashland.
    Cider-Vinegar--Walden Bros.
    Cigars--Lew Rukes.
    Cement--Beaver Portland Cement Company, cement, Gold Hill.
    Concrete Products--T. H. Callaghan, pipe and concrete products. Medford Concrete Construction Company, sewer pipe, drain tile, sand and gravel.
    Creameries--Gold Seal Creamery, creamery products and bottled drinks. Snider's Dairy & Product, creamery products and bottled drinks.
    Electric Power--California-Oregon Power Company.
    Florists-Nurseries--Eden Valley Nursery, plants, shrubs, etc. Medford Greenhouse, florist. Park Landscape Company, plants, shrubs, etc. Rogue Valley Floral Company, florist.
    Flour and Feed--Rogue Valley Milling Company, flour. Monarch Seed & Feed, seed, etc. Mutual Mill & Seed Company, flour, seed.
    Furniture--Aherin's Antique Shop.
    Fur--Wardwell Fur Company, fur products.
    Gas--Southern Oregon Gas Corporation.
    Glass--Medford Plate Glass and Mirror Works.
    Granite--Oregon Granite Company, monuments, granite products.
    Ice--Medford Ice & Storage Company.
    Insecticide--Bear Creek Spray Company, insecticides, spray products.
    Iron & Allied Products--Medford Iron Works. T. T. Merriman, wrought iron and allied products.
    Ladders--Medford Ladder Works.
    Lumber--Fir-Pine Lumber Company; Medford Planing Mill; Owen-Oregon Lumber Company.
    Mattresses--Medford Mattress Company.
    Millinery--Miss Taylor.
    Paving--L. O. Herrold Company.
    Potato Chips--Carold J. Parker.
    Pictures and Photo Products--Anderson Studio; Harwood Photo Service; The Peasleys; Patterson Pictures; J. Verne Shangle.
    Printing, Rubber Stamps--Klocker Printery; Kunzman Printing Company; Marshall Printing Company; Medford Printing Company; Daily News; Pacific Record Herald.
    Rugs--Medford Fluff Rug Works.
    Sand--Medford Sand & Gravel Company. Medford Concrete Construction Company.
    Seed and Feed--Farm Bureau Cooperative Exchange; Monarch Seed & Feed; Hoover Ranch, bluegrass seed; Mutual Mill & Seed Company.
    Sheet Metal and Allied Products--Brill's Sheet Metal Works; Campbell Sheet Metal Works; Medford Sheet Metal Works; Modern Plumbing & Sheet Metal Company; Showers Sheet Metal Shop; S. H. Hawk.
    Signs, Decorating--H. S. Cleveland, also interior decorating. Coast Display Advertising Company, signs. Foster 
& Kleiser, signs. Heck Sign Company, signs. Jenkins Sign Company, signs.
    Tailors, Dressmakers--Gus the Tailor, men's and women's clothes. F. J. Huber, men's and women's clothes. E. J. Klein, men's and women's clothes. Fashion Shop, women's clothes, novelties. Natwick, Inc., women's clothes, novelties.
    Taxidermist--F. W. Starboard.
    Tent--Medford Tent & Awning Works.
    Wood Products--Trowbridge Cabinet Works; Stillman Cabinet Works.
    Honey Producers--W. D. Barnes, Phoenix; John Brenner, Central Point; Lester Hamilton, Table Rock; A. E. Hildreth, Butte Falls; John Holzgang, Medford; P. D. Lofland, Central Point; Mankins & Bell, Medford; Geo. W. Nichols, Ashland; H. A. Owens, Medford; I. M. Philbrook, Eagle Point; Stewart Honey Company, Medford; Xavier Widmer, Medford; Mark F. Wright, Medford; C. R. Zimmer, Medford.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 31, 1928, page C3

Showing Medford's Growth Since Last Census
    Excess of births over deaths since the 1920 census, 760.
    Increase of 110 percent in the number of qualified voters.
    Increase of 160 percent in number of children of school age.
    Increase of 120 percent in number of domestic water users.
    Families have increased from 1,601 to 3,602.
    Males have increased from 2801 to 6302, females from 2955 to 6849.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 31, 1928, page C4

Last revised January 17, 2023