Medford in 1883

Days before the town plat was recorded, months before the railroad would arrive, the editor of the Ashland Tidings visited the site of the new town and filed this evocative report:

    A visit to the new town of Medford, four miles below Phoenix, last Tuesday, revealed to us that the "foundations of the city" are already being laid. Several piles of new lumber were seen here and there over the town site, and three or four buildings were in course of construction.
    The town site, as has been stated by us heretofore, comprises a tract of 160 acres, which was owned in equal shares by C. C. Beekman, C. W. Broback, C. Mingus and [I. J. ] Phipps. To induce the railroad company to locate a depot there, these gentlemen offered to give the company half the land. This offer was accepted by the company, and now as the town is laid off, every alternate block belongs to the railroad, and Messrs. Beekman, Phipps, Mingus and Broback each have a one-fourth interest in half the land of the town.
    It is a beautiful site for a town, situated near Bear Creek, on high gravelly land, just sloping enough for drainage, but appearing at a distance to be almost a perfect level. Oak trees dot it with shade here and there, but aside from this it is a clear, grassy plain. The town plat had not been recorded when we were there, but will be within a few days. No deeds have been made out yet, but a number of parties have bargained for lots, and are already building, all the buildings being between the railroad track and Bear Creek.
    J. S. Howard has just finished a house for his general merchandise business, and will call his place the Pioneer Store. He will put in a stock of goods at once. He will also continue his business at Jacksonville.
    Emil Peil, recently from the East, has a blacksmith shop built and is at work at his forge.
    Wm. Egan, recently from Goose Lake, is building a livery stable, and will soon be ready for business.
    Dr. Vrooman, of Jacksonville, and David H. Miller had the foundation prepared for a good-sized store. One side will be occupied by the Doctor in the drug business, and the other by Mr. Miller, who will put in a good stock of general hardware.
    F. B. Voorhies, recently from San Francisco, had men at work on the foundation of a house in which he intends to open a restaurant business as soon as it is completed.
    Betterton & Work have a building already in use as a saloon, and T. E. Stanley intends to build for the same business.
    Wm. Angle has on his lot a portion of the lumber for a dwelling house which he will put up this winter, and several others are intending to build as soon as lumber can be had.
Ashland Tidings, December 21, 1883, page 3

But This California Visitor Would Not Have Taken it As a Gift at That Time

    "I was here thirty years ago when Medford was waving grass, hiding the herding animals of the Rogue Valley plains from the view of the settlers in their white covered wagons, and I could have secured the site of Medford for the price of one lot now," said C. L. Frisbie of Yreka, California, who "pioneered" over this stretch in the early days. "I wouldn't have taken land on the site of Medford as a gift at that time because I did not want it and few would have taken it. Twenty years ago I came through the Rogue River Valley again, and on this site was a crossroads store and a few houses. Central Point was the booming town in those days, but I do not suppose there were more than two hundred people in the entire valley." [Frisbie's memory is faulty here. The population of Medford alone in 1891 was over a thousand. He may be recalling Phoenix and Medford, instead of Medford and Central Point.]
    "I have come to the Rogue River Valley to locate. Before I could own the site of Medford, now I would have to be worth several million dollars, and even then might have a hard time convincing the owners of beautiful homes as to the justice of my claims by right of previous discovery."
    Mr. Frisbie was accompanied by C. W. Gregory of Stockton, California, and both were enthusiastic over the exhibits of the Commercial Club rooms and the treatment they had received at the hands of Medford's publicity men.
Medford Sun, June 15, 1911, page 5

Last revised December 14, 2009