MEDFORD and the Rogue River Valley
Situated near the southern boundary of the state of Oregon, approximately halfway between Portland and San Francisco, on the main line (the Siskiyou) of the Southern Pacific railroad, on the Pacific Highway, on the main airway of the Pacific Coast and about 50 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, lies the fertile and beautiful Rogue River Valley and the city of Medford. At an altitude of approximately 1500 feet and possessed of a climate seldom equaled and never excelled, the Valley of the Rogue is a spot where Mother Nature unrestrainedly showered the choicest of her bounties.
The advantages and opportunities of this region are manifold--too extensive to permit of elaboration in this short article. They are merely mentioned in passing.
This valley is blessed with a mild and equable climate throughout the entire year. The winters are mild, with snow an unusual occurrence. The summers are warm, but there is always a cooling breeze in the evening, and the forest-clad mountains, with their scenic wonders, and the beaches of the Pacific are but a short distance away. Blizzards, tornadoes and other violent storms and conditions are unknown. The soil of the valley is of such remarkable fertility as to almost surpass belief.
The Rogue is, in its upper reaches, a wild and turbulent stream fed by the never-ending snows of the Cascades, and its environs there form a veritable sportsman's paradise, with fishing and hunting in abundance. It carries water sufficient for an inexhaustible source of power and ample to irrigate an empire.
Located in the very heart of this beautiful valley is the thriving and prosperous city of Medford. Those who selected the original townsite chose wisely, for every natural condition favors the building of a great city. Medford is the center of the fruit industry of Southern Oregon, and the surrounding territory contains large stands of white pine and fir timber. The hills and mountains surrounding the valley are rich in gold, copper, iron, tin, chrome and many other minerals with coal available in the foothills. There is here the only known deposit of ganister silica in America except one in the East and also the only known large deposit of high-grade lime on the Pacific Coast, except one.
From a scenic standpoint Medford occupies the center of the stage. It is the natural gateway to the world-famous Crater Lake, which is only 75 miles from the city. Also tributary to Medford are Diamond Lake and Lake of the Woods, both of which are ideal for fishing and summer camping. By way of Grants Pass and the Redwood Highway one may easily reach the Oregon Caves, the greatest of their kind in the world. One may drive in any direction from the city and, within a few minutes, find many beauty spots that will be a delight to the eye.
In the past 10 years the population of Medford has increased from about 5500 to about 13,000, an increase of over 225%. The population of Jackson County has increased 65%. This remarkable growth has not been of the "boom" order but was a steady, substantial development. Irrigation has increased from a small acreage to over 35,000 acres and is divided into five districts covering nearly every section of the valley. This has not only increased the acreage of fruit and production but improved the quality. It also greatly increased the growing of alfalfa, grains, vegetables, berries, melons, etc., which in turn increased stock raising, dairying and poultry raising and brought canneries, fruit packing and cold storage plants. Increase in pear production alone was from 842 cars shipped in 1919 to 3666 cars in 1929.
Lumber shipment increased from a few cars to over 4000 in the past year, while cannery products were 225 cars, box shooks 875 cars and cement 1200 cars. There were also many cars of other products. The total value of all products from Medford in 1929 was approximately $12,250,000.
Building permits have gradually increased, from year to year, and reached the maximum in 1929. Post office receipts increased from $34,595 in 1919 to $91,924 in 1929. The first four months in 1930 showed continued gains. Bank deposits in 1929 were $7,157,956, a steady gain from year to year. The percentage of gain in deposits in Medford banks for the year 1929 over 1928 was the greatest in 10 of the largest cities in Oregon.
The school population made a remarkable growth in the 10-year period and in 1929 totaled 2500 children registered, with 800 in the high school. A new, modern high school was built a few years ago, and the city is now faced with the necessity of erecting another high school building and more grade schools.
One million dollars were spent four years ago to bring absolutely pure mountain water 35 miles for Medford's municipal water system, and the city now has "a mountain spring in every home."
In this period the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company constructed its new plant, one of the most modern in the state. It has a capacity of 250,000 feet every eight hours and, during the past two years, operated two shifts a day most of the time. It has a million-dollar annual payroll. The Timber Products Company is the second largest in Medford and is a big shipper of box shook to California and other states. The California Oregon Power Company and the Mountain States Power Company have their home offices in Medford and employ from 160 to 200 people. The former company has constructed a six-million-dollar hydroelectric plant on its system near Medford during the past five years. Allied Industries Inc. has its home office in Medford and are beginning the erection of the first modern byproduct and mineral reduction plant on the Pacific Coast, and opening up large coal deposits at the eastern edge of the city. Their iron ore, ganister and copper properties have been surveyed, opened and tested and will be developed in the near future. There are two planing mills and a cabinet factory in the city as well as several other manufacturing establishments of sizable proportions of which this limited space will not permit description.
Medford was one of the first cities on the Coast to become "air-minded." It had the first airport in Oregon, the first airmail station and the first aerological weather bureau. The people became air-conscious two years ago and recently completed a $120,000 class "A" airport, one of the best on the coast. Medford is on the main airway of the coast and is a regular stop for airmail, passenger and express air lines.
Medford, owing to its strategic location, was recently selected as district headquarters by the Standard Oil Company and is now its distribution center for Southern Oregon and Northern California.
During this 10-year period three new modern churches, two theaters, many new business structures, two hotels, a city hall, hundreds of residences and several new fruit packing and cold storage plants have been erected in the city. Medford was made the county seat of Jackson County three years ago, and the county court is now preparing to erect a new court house to cost $300,000 or more. The county has the money on hand to pay for it.
No region is richer in soil, climate, resources, landscape, people, background and all the other elements to make for advancement, prosperity, culture and progress.
Truly, "This Is a Great Country"
Medford Printing Co., 1930-1931 Medford city Directory
The artist's conception of Medford's civic center in 25 or 30 years as provided in the plan. The Medford city plan, as worked out by Mr. Crane in conjunction with the Planning Commission and engineers, was exhibited at the National Conference on City Planning held at Denver June 23-26, and attracted favorable comment. Voters of Jackson County have determined upon the location of the courthouse as shown in the sketch. Several of the buildings shown in the eventual grouping, particularly the courthouse, city hall and library, are in prospect within the next few years. Realization of the completed plan is expected to be a matter of twenty-five or thirty years.
An Alert Northwest City
Plans for its Development
JACOB L. CRANE, JR.
City Planner, Chicago, Consultant to the Planning Commission, Medford, Oregon
Medford, Oregon, beautifully situated in the Rogue River Valley, surrounded by orchards and mountains, is a city of 15,000, but it has already achieved important things in its development, and it has a sound future program under the guidance of city planning. Medford ships out from 4000 to 5000 carloads of pears each year; it has a large sawmill industry, and is developing copper. It is also the center of an enormous tourist and fishing business, and it is an important trading and distribution point for a large territory.
Water Supply: While many other towns along the Pacific coast have puzzled over lack of a good water supply, Medford boldly set out to fulfill this public necessity. It went back thirty-one miles into the Cascade Mountains and brought down the water from a mountain spring. This water is soft, pure, clear and cold, and is abundant enough to supply a city many times the present size of Medford.
Airport: Another illustration of Medford's progressiveness is its airport. Not content to be just within the standards, Medford, after passing the necessary bond issue, purchased more than twice the United States Department of Commerce standard required area, all within a few months of the initial suggestion that an airport should be built. This airport now has an excellent, permanent combination hangar, administration quarters, restaurant and service facilities. There is a 3,000-foot runway which has been under-drained and graded, and which may be extended to a length of 4,300 feet. There are secondary runways planned, but the prevailing winds are almost always along the line of the main runway. Because of the initiative, foresight and forethought put into this venture, Medford has now been placed on the official air mail route along the Pacific coast, the only stop between San Francisco and Portland; is a station on three commercial air lines; and it has an active local air transport business. If, as seems probable, airplanes are going to revolutionize the transportation field, Medford is in a fair way to become the leading town in its entire territory.
City Planning: Because of sensible early layout, Medford now has only a comparatively few serious and difficult planning problems confronting it. The new city plan now in actual operation covers the usual ground of zoning, street and highway planning, railroad grade separations, parks and school sites, and a civic center, and it has strong public support behind it.
Credit must be given here to the Planning Commission, the City Council, the City Engineer, the Building Commissioner, and the civic organizations which have taken hold of city planning with the same initiative and forceful open-mindedness as they have handled the airport and water supply problems.
There are several unusual and interesting features about the city planning project. To further accentuate the beautiful setting of the town, a scenic parkway is already partly developed and in the process of full development, completely encircling the city along the foothills of the mountains, passing through orchard land and overlooking the whole valley and city. Another parkway along Bear Creek is also proposed and the first unit is now in process of acquisition.
A beautiful cone-shaped mountain called Roxy Ann, immediately east of the city, rises to an elevation of 2500 feet above that of the town. This mountain is in the process of acquisition for a city and state park and will be one of the most spectacular park projects in the country, regardless of the city's size.
In collaboration the School Board and the City have established an adequate and excellently distributed system of adequate and excellently distributed system of combination school sites and playgrounds, as well as several separate playgrounds. It is the writer's experience that very few towns are so well fixed on this score. Most cities are prone to overlook the importance of an adequate school site and playground system in advance of building development.
Medford is also planning an outstanding civic center: a central park-plaza surrounded by a new courthouse, a city new hall, a library, a museum, civic organization building, a hotel, churches, and some business structures. This will be a rare and handsome arrangement, and quite unusual for a town the size of Medford.
Western City magazine, August, 1930, page 10
FORMER EDITOR OF THE REAPERWe do not think that the following letter needs any preamble or its writer any introduction to Sevier County people. A. B. Williams, some 25 years ago, was publisher of The Reaper, and he now writes:
WRITES FROM MEDFORD, ORE
A. B. Williams Sends Greetings to His Many Friends Here
Medford, Oregon,Editor, Reaper:
I am tempted to enter upon a sketch of this little city and the Rogue River Valley, but, as an enthusiast, I would, unless I guard myself carefully, intrude unduly perhaps upon your space. I will endeavor to be brief.
Medford is a city now of about 13,000 population, a pretty and prosperous municipality. It is supported by an extensive agricultural, horticultural, lumbering and mining section. Some of the finest fruits known, especially pears, are grown here. The income from fruits last year was around $5,000,000. Medford is the youngest and now the largest town in this (Jackson) county.
Five miles from here is historic old Jacksonville, the third oldest town in Oregon, a survival of the days of the Rogue River gold boom.
The main valley is about 25 miles each way from foothill to foothill, but there are numerous smaller valleys on all sides, out of sight until one suddenly emerges into them through a creek or river canyon or ravine.
All is surrounded by a dense mass of big and little timber--pine, sugar pine, cedar, hemlock, laurel, oak and other varieties, and, with numerous streams, afford many delightful places for an outing, fishing or hunting.
This county has one of the artistic and scenic wonders of the world, Crater Lake, a body of water some 2,000 feet deep in the mouth of a mammoth extinct volcano.
Then there is the almost matchless Rogue River, heading near Crater Lake, and winding through rugged mountains to the ocean.
The climate is quite attractive. We have some very light moisture fall, considering this is in Oregon. The average seasonal rainfall is 15 to 16 inches; but the last three years it has not been to extend 12 inches. We have seen two real snowfalls in the 21 years we have lived here and only two winters that we have had zero weather, this winter one of them.
The elevation of the valley is from 1,2000 to 1,500 feet, and that accounts for the moderate weather.
I might go on at length with a more full description of this city and valley, but as I have already encroached on a reasonable amount of space, I will subside by wishing one and all of our friends a successful and prosperous year and hoping you may all enjoy many blessings.
A. B. WILLIAMSExcerpt, Richfield [Utah] Reaper, February 20, 1930, page 5
A TWELVE-MILLION CITY
In the past ten years the population of Medford increased from 5756 to 11,095. It was an increase of 5339, or 92.7 percent. The population of Jackson County increased 65 percent.
This remarkable growth was not of the jazz or boom order, but a steady, substantial development. As told The Journal by S. Sumpter Smith, who, as one of the owners of the Medford Mail Tribune has been a part of this development, following are some of the reasons for a 92.7 [percent] growth in Medford in the last census period:
First and foremost was the increase in irrigation from only a small acreage to over 35,000 acres, divided into five districts covering nearly every section of the valley. This not only increased the acreage of fruit, and production, but improved the quality. It also greatly increased the growing of alfalfa, grains, vegetables, berries, melons, etc., which in turn increased stock raising, dairying and poultry raising and brought in canneries, fruit packing and cold storage plants.
The increase in pear production alone was from 842 cars shipped in 1919 to 3666 cars in 1929.
In lumber the shipment increased from a few cars to over 4000 the past year, while cannery products were 225 cars, box shook 875 cars, and cement from the Gold Hill plant 1200 cars. There were also many cars of other products.
The total value of all products shipped from Medford in 1929, at a conservative estimate, was $12,250,000.
Building permits have gradually increased from year to year and reached the maximum in 1929.
Post office receipts increased from $34,595 in 1919 to $91,924 in 1929. The first four months in 1930 showed continued gains.
Bank deposits in 1929 in four banks in Medford were $7,157,956.08, a steady gain from year to year. The percentage of gain in deposits in the Medford banks for the year 1929 over 1928 was the greatest in 10 of the largest cities in Oregon.
The school population made a remarkable growth during the 10-year period and in 1929 totaled 2500 school children registered, with 800 in the high school. A new modern high school was built a few years ago, and Medford now faces the erection of another high school building and one or two grade schools.
One million dollars was spent four years ago to bring absolutely pure mountain water 35 miles for Medford's municipal water plant, and the city now has "a mountain spring in every home."
In the period the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company constructed its new plant, which is one of the most modern in the state. It has a capacity of 250,000 feet every eight hours, and during the past two years operated two shifts a day most of the time. It has a million-dollar annual payroll. The Timber Products Company is the second largest in Medford and is a big shipper of box shook to California and other states. There are two planing mills and a cabinet factory in the city.
The California-Oregon Power Company and the Mountain States Power Company have their home offices in Medford, employing from 150 to 200 people. The former company has constructed a six-million-dollar hydroelectric plant on its system near Medford during the past five years.
Medford is the home of several wholesale houses and branch houses for autos, tires and auto accessories, and many traveling men make it their headquarters.
Medford was one of the first cities on the coast to be "air-minded." It had the first airport in Oregon, the first airmail station, and the first aerological weather bureau. The people became air-conscious two years ago and recently completed a $150,000 Class A airport, one of the best on the coast. Medford is on the main airway of the coast and is a regular stop for airmail, passenger and express air lines.
The tourists visiting Medford have increased yearly, attracted by Crater Lake and many other lakes and by the wonderful fishing and hunting. Several California millionaires have purchased tracts along the Rogue River and have built beautiful summer homes.
Medford, owing to its strategic location, was recently selected as district headquarters by the Standard Oil Company and is now its distribution center for Southern Oregon and Northern California.
During this 10-year period three new modern churches, two theaters, many business structures, two hotels, a city hall, thousands of residences and several new fruit packing and cold storage plants have been erected in Medford.
Medford was made the county seat of Jackson County three years ago, and the county court is now preparing to erect a new courthouse to cost with equipment $300,000 or more. The county has the money on hand to pay the cost.
Keep your eye on Medford and Jackson County. No region is richer in soil, climate, resources, landscape, people, background and all the other elements that make for advancement, prosperity, culture and progress.
Portland Journal, June 12, 1930
Facts and Figures Show Importance of MedfordMedford Mail Tribune, December 31, 1930, page 6
As Center of Rich Territory
MEDFORD is the financial, industrial, agricultural and commercial center of a rich territory embracing Southern Oregon and the northern counties of California.
MEDFORD is situated in the center of the Rogue River Valley, famous the world over for its fruit.
MEDFORD is on the Pacific Highway, the longest stretch of paved road in the world.
MEDFORD is the gateway to Crater Lake National Park, a fine macadam highway reaching from this city to the famous park.
MEDFORD is the timber center of Jackson County and the location of the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, a modern mill having a capacity of 100,000,000 board feet annually.
MEDFORD is on the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad. A standard-gauge railroad also extends from Medford to the Butte Falls timber section.
MEDFORD has a population of approximately 13,000, an increase of 225 percent in the last 10 years.
MEDFORD has an elevation of 1368 feet.
MEDFORD expended $315,569 on buildings during 1930, 387 permits being issued.
MEDFORD has already issued 177 building permits totaling $256,618 for 1931.
MEDFORD will construct [a] $250,000 courthouse during 1931.
MEDFORD has been selected as the location of a proposed $100,000 tourist hotel, and an eight-story office building is among the proposed 1931 projects.
MEDFORD has a mayor and eight councilmen, a water commission and a planning commission.
MEDFORD has a million-dollar municipal water system, supplying ice-cold mountain spring water direct to Medford homes.
MEDFORD has a modern broadcasting station, associated with the United Broadcasting Company.
MEDFORD has an active Chamber of Commerce and a Traffic Association.
MEDFORD is the district headquarters of the Standard Oil Company.
MEDFORD is the location of the home office of the California Oregon Power Company and the Mountain States Electric Company, serving the entire Northwest territory.
MEDFORD has a Retail Merchants' Association.
MEDFORD suffered fire loss in 1920 [sic] of only $47,365.02, due to Medford's efficient fire department. There are 8 regular firemen, 24 trained volunteers subject to call and four fire trucks, housed in a fine new central fire hall, erected during 1929.
MEDFORD has two National Guard units, Company A, 186th Infantry and Headquarters Company, 3rd Bn., 186th Infantry.
MEDFORD is the headquarters of the Southern Oregon Gas Company, manufacturers and distributors of gas.
MEDFORD now has one of the finest electric substations in the West, the project being completed during 1930 by the California Oregon Power Company.
MEDFORD has a fine, strictly modern $120,000 municipal airport.
MEDFORD has an airways radio station, KCX, broadcasting regularly to air mail and government planes.
MEDFORD has a new $150,000 theatre, constructed during 1930.
MEDFORD has the largest cold storage plant on the Pacific Coast.
MEDFORD has a new animal shelter, erected under the auspices of the Jackson County Humane Society during 1930.
MEDFORD is the center of mining activities in Southern Oregon and is 40 miles distant from the Blue Ledge copper mining property.
MEDFORD post office receipts for 1930 were in excess of $101,000.
MEDFORD has many modern fruit packing plants, the Southern Oregon Sales plant costing in excess of $200,000.
MEDFORD is but 40 miles distant from Oregon's largest hydroelectric power plant, constructed recently and being operated by the California Oregon Power Company.
MEDFORD has two reservoirs to handle its water supply with a million-gallon capacity each.
MEDFORD was incorporated February 24, 1884. [It was February 24, 1885.]
MEDFORD has an area of 2080 acres, 30 miles of sewer and 31.5 miles of water mains.
MEDFORD has an estimated value of all assessable property of $15,000,000.
MEDFORD has an annual precipitation of 17.06 inches.
MEDFORD is the county seat of Jackson County, a territory with a trading area in excess of 40,000 people.
MEDFORD has a fruit payroll during packing season of approximately $200,000 per month.
MEDFORD is the location of the Jackson County fair grounds.
MEDFORD has four substantial banks with resources in excess of $6,000,000 and deposits in excess of $7,000,000.
MEDFORD has four grade schools, a junior high school and a fine $185,000 high school, with bonds overwhelmingly voted for the erection of a new high school building and grade schools to meet the increase in school enrollment.
MEDFORD has a business college, a parochial academy, a private school, and two kindergartens.
MEDFORD had 2750 children enrolled in its schools during 1930.
MEDFORD has a modern box factory, 2 planing mills, a cabinet factory and iron works.
MEDFORD is the distributing center of Jackson County and has numerous wholesale plants as well as industrial enterprises.
MEDFORD has two modern hospitals, 16 church buildings, 16 fraternal organizations, Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions and Activian clubs.
MEDFORD has nine retail lumber yards, three large creameries, three stone, tile and cement block plants and a modern flour mill.
MEDFORD has three newspapers, The Mail Tribune, evening; the Daily News, morning, and the Pacific Record Herald, weekly.
MEDFORD has one of the finest 18-hole golf courses in the Northwest and is the home of H. Chandler Egan, nationally famous golfer.
MEDFORD has five fireproof hotels and several modern auto camps.
MEDFORD has factories manufacturing many articles, among which are candies, brooms, cigars, orchard ladders, cedar chests and cabinet goods.
MEDFORD has five theatres: The Fox Craterian, Fox Rialto, Holly, State and Isis. All have talking picture equipment.
MEDFORD's first mayor was J. S. Howard. E. M. Wilson is present mayor.
MEDFORD is the home of the Jackson County Library.
MEDFORD is the music center of Jackson County and has many studios.
MEDFORD has a modern vegetable, fruit and meat packing plant.
MEDFORD has an aggressive Realty Board associated with the National Board of Realtors.
MEDFORD is the center of Jackson County, and is surrounded by 772,000 acres of virgin forests or 23,000,000,000 estimated feet of merchantable timber.
MEDFORD is surrounded by thousands of acres of irrigated lands, over 40,000 acres of which are estimated to be under the ditch; 55,000 acres are suitable to irrigation, according to estimates.
MEDFORD has, surrounding its city limits in Jackson County, 337.7 miles of macadam roads, 365 miles of graded roads, 151.2 [miles] of ungraded roads and 8.45 miles of paved market roads, 11.03 miles of oiled market roads, 66.36 miles of macadam market roads, 4.18 miles of graded market roads and 36.4 miles of ungraded market roads.
MEDFORD has modern department stores and specialty shops which serve shoppers from all parts of Southern Oregon and Northern California.
MEDFORD has 19 fruit packing, shipping and exporting firms.
MEDFORD shipped 4867 cars of fruit during 1930, 4218 cars of pears and 649 cars of apples.
Last revised November 19, 2019