The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Medford News 1929

Medford-related news items from 1929. Also see descriptions of Medford and Jackson County for this year.

JOHNSON--Mattie A. Johnson, aged 46 years, accidentally, Jan. 8; wife of Charles G. Johnson of 84 East 26th N. Mother of Merle, Howard, Preston, Edward and John, all at home; sister of Jess and Vernon Howard and Mrs. Hattie Lang, all of this city. The remains are at the Wilson-Chambers Chapel on Killingsworth.
"Died," Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 9, 1929, page 13

    "Most prosperous town in Oregon" is the modest claim made for Medford by Floyd J. Cook, who arrived in Portland yesterday, "and we've got the money in the bank to prove it," he asserted. "The banks are just bulging with money. There was a big pear crop, and the price was good, so everyone is happy." Work has started on the pear crop of 1929 already; that is, the weather conditions are just right to put the pep into the future fruit. There is snow in the mountains which rim the Rogue River Valley, but none down in the orchards. There is something about this climatic arrangement which makes the valley particularly suitable for growing an extra fine quality of pears, and this climatic influence on the next crop is very important. At least that is the untechnical explanation given by Mr. Cook, while boasting about playing golf in shirtsleeves on the Medford links.--The Oregonian.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, January 10, 1929, page 2

To Build Packing and Storage Plant at Medford.
    Medford, Ore., Jan. 11.--The Southern Oregon Sales, Inc., has just made public plans for the construction of a pre-cooling, cold storage and packing plant, to cost $100,000, here. Work will start February 1 and the plant completed a month before the opening of the next fruit picking season in this valley. The building will be 270 feet long and 128 feet wide, erected upon property owned by Leonard Carpenter, president of the concern.
    The structure will be three stories high and equipped with the latest fruit industry machinery. Among the innovations will be a packing machine, capable of packing 20 carloads daily. Through the use of this machine, the boxes are stacked and stripped, and not again disturbed until the car is loaded, thus eliminating bruising of the fruit.
    There will also be installed two large hydroelectric elevators of large capacity, for the carrying of fruit and material from floor to floor.
    It was announced that Paul Scherer would be general manager of the new property, and that Jack Spalding, of New York, sales manager and eastern representative would continue in that capacity. Dee Hendrickson has been selected as superintendent of the new plant.
The Chicago Packer, January 12, 1929, page 11

Rate of 50¢ per Box for Packing Fruit
Held Too Low by Medford Packers.
    Medford, Ore., Jan. 25.--The substance of a resolution passed at a meeting of fruit packers of this district Thursday of last week is as follows:
    "The packers, who have met here today at the request of the board of directors of the Fruit Growers' League, feel that the suggestion of the board that packers should establish a rate for 1929 of 50¢ per box cannot be entertained, as the consensus of opinion would show this to be below actual cost.
    "However, the packers realize that the industry and their own existence is dependent upon the production of fruit by the grower. Individually, the packers are fully cognizant of the conditions confronting the grower at this time and pledge themselves individually to give this entire subject their earnest consideration and to effect a packing charge based upon a reasonable profit for the capital and energy expanded."
    The packing charge will be fixed at a future session of the packers, it is announced.
The Chicago Packer, January 26, 1929, page 4

Storage Adding Unit.
    Medford, Ore., March 8.--The Medford Ice & Storage Company broke ground recently for another unit of its cold storage plant. This unit when completed will represent an expenditure of $80,000. The increased tonnage developing in the Medford district necessitated the building of the addition, Oscar Bergner, general manager of the plant, says.
The Chicago Packer, March 9, 1929, page 5

Reduce Packing Charges in Medford, Ore. District.
    Medford, Ore., March 22.--What is regarded as one of the most important steps taken this year by the fruit growing industry was announced at the meeting of the Jackson County Fruitgrowers' League in the report of a special committee that an agreement had been reached between the growers and packing interests to reduce the maximum packing charge from 60 to 55¢ per box, with a number of packers willing to give service at even a lower figure. Judging from last year's fruit crop, this is expected to save growers at least $100,000.
The Chicago Packer, March 23, 1929, page 13

Build Large Storage and Packing Plant at Medford.
    Medford, Ore., March 22.--Work has been started on the construction of the $200,000 storage and packing plant of the Southern Oregon Sales, Inc., at Stewart Avenue and Pacific Highway. It will be a model plant of its kind, and one of the largest on the Pacific Coast. Final details of the plant's equipment are now being completed by S.O.S. officials.
The Chicago Packer, March 23, 1929, page 15

Chamber of Commerce Annual Report Shows Diversity of Accomplishments During Past Year for Medford Vicinity
    Highlights of the annual report of the Medford Chamber of Commerce, as presented last night at the Community Home Products dinner, revealed more accomplishments than had been generally realized by citizens of Medford.
    Portions of the report are as follows:
    The recommendations of the aviation committee of the Chamber of Commerce were accepted without question by the city council, and at the city election held April 2, the electorate of the city accepted these same recommendations by a most gratifying majority.
    The project recommended by the aviation committee included the issuing of city bonds to the amount of $120,000 and the subsequent use of this fund for the purchase, conditioning and construction of an airport and the buildings necessary to secure the Class A rating. The site for the proposed port was selected by the committee after a great deal of deliberation, and contains some 280 acres of land, is one-half mile wide and nearly a mile long.
    After the city council had called the special election for the airport bonds, an airport publicity committee was appointed to conduct the necessary educational campaign to secure a favorable public sentiment for the construction of the airport. The work of this committee was most effective, and they utilized every local medium of publicity to accomplish their purpose. Billboards, newspaper, radio, public meetings and house-to-house canvassing were employed, with the result that the largest vote ever polled in a city election was registered on April 2.
    The commendation of the chamber and the entire community should be given to these two committees, whose personnel were as follows:
    Airport Committee: Seely V. Hall, chairman; Clyde Eakin, F. C. Dillard, Bert Thierolf, J. C. Thompson, M. N. Hogan, Floyd Hart and Larry Mann.
    Publicity: S. S. Smith, chairman; Lee Tuttle, W. J. Warner, A. A. Hayden and W. A. Gates.
Freight Rates
    Possibly the most important work of the agricultural committee was that of carrying on the preparation and presentation of the case for a reduction in freight rates on fresh fruit to eastern points. This case has been in the process of preparation for two years, and all of the local work was done under the direction of this committee. In this case the Rogue River Valley had the energetic support of the Traffic Association of Hood River, Wenatchee, Yakima and Walla Walla, and also the public service commissions of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The actual work of presentation of the case was done by Allen P. Matthew of San Francisco, acting attorney for the Northwest, the Oregon case being directly handled by Wm. P. Ellis of Salem, as attorney for the Oregon interests.
    The testimony and arguments in the case were presented to the Interstate Commerce Commission at a formal hearing in Portland on October 16, and continuing until October 27. Commissioner C. B. Aitchison of the I.C.C. presided during the hearing, at which witnesses from all of the northwestern fruit districts were examined. Witnesses from the Medford district included Leonard Carpenter, S. M. Tuttle, B. E. Harder and C. T. Baker.
    The final brief of the Oregon case was prepared by Mr. Ellis, and has been filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission at Washington. The reply brief of the carriers was to be filed by April 15 of this year, and it is expected that the oral arguments before the entire commission will be heard sometime in May. Those in close contact with the case hope for a decision from the commission before the fall shipping season of the year.
    The complaint filed by the fruit interests asks for a reduction in rates on apples from $1.50 per cwt. to $1.25; and on pears from $1.73 to $1.60. This reduction on the pear rate was temporarily granted last season by the carriers, as a voluntary reduction, and it is hoped that the decision of the commission will make this reduction permanent.
Better Business Bureau
    The work of this department during the past year has been directed toward controlling of promiscuous solicitation of business houses for advertising and other funds, and has been instrumental in preventing a considerable amount of canvassing of the city. Propositions for solicitation are thoroughly investigated, and very few endorsements have been given by the committee.
    Personnel: J. Russell, chairman: H. E. Marsh, R. B. Strang, Wm. Isaacs and Fred Heath, Sr.
Jackson County Fair
    The campaign for the tax levy for the building and reconditioning program of the Jackson County fair was conducted by the Chamber of Commerce, and materially assisted by the cooperation of the three service clubs. Petitions were circulated to place the measure on the ballot for the primary election last June, and an educational campaign conducted prior to the election. The millage measure carried by a substantial majority throughout the county.
Roads and Highways
    --Williams Creek Road. A number of meetings were held with representatives of the Williams Creek district and other interested parties, to further the construction of a road through the Williams Creek district, connecting with the Oregon Caves highway, and plans have been perfected looking toward an aggressive campaign for the construction of this important highway. Practically all interests in Jackson County are united behind the movement, and efforts are being made to secure a like cooperation from Josephine County, the U.S. Forest Service and the state highway commission,
    2--Midway Road. Committees representing the Chamber of Commerce have appeared before the county court, urging the construction of the Midway Road to Bybee bridge, and pointing out the benefits to be enjoyed by the city of Medford through the construction of this road. The county court has recently ordered the construction of this road, which, it is expected, will be completed by September 1
of this year.
Buy-at-Home Campaign
    In pursuance of the program of work, a combined campaign to foster buy-at-home spirit and home products was conducted during the week of November 19 and proved to be a successful means of bringing to the residents of the community a better feeling toward local merchants and industries. The educational work of the campaign was carried on through the newspapers and the radio. Window displays were used, exhibiting locally manufactured products, and lists of local manufacturers were published in the newspapers.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 10, 1929, page 6

    Medford, Ore., May 17.--Work has started on improvements to the C&E packing plant, representing an expenditure of approximately $15,000. The warehouse capacity will be increased 100 by 85 feet, and the office space increased. Room will be made for the installation of two box making machines and one box lidding machine, and a live belt system that will load and unload material and fruit. The box lidding machine will "lid" 600 boxes per hour. The box making machines will produce boxes at the rate of 250 per hour. By the live belt system, the trucking is reduced to the minimum, affecting a heavy saving in time and labor. The machines drive eight nails at one stroke. The C&E company is headed by Weldon Biddle and J. E. Edmiston.
    Finishing touches are being put on the new $100,000 ice and storage warehouse of the Medford Ice & Storage Company on South Grape [sic] Street, and the work of storing ice will commence this week. It will have a capacity of 10,000 tons, giving the plant a total ice storage capacity of 22,000 tons. The building was started March 15, setting a record for local construction. To meet the demands of the coming fruit season, the ice company will increase its car loading platform, 30 car lengths, enabling it to "spot" 65 cars at a time. Additional carrier system will also be erected. The  Southern Pacific Railroad, in the furtherance of this plan, will increase its yard facilities.
    The present outlook of the Rogue River Valley pear crop is that, barring possible unforeseen damage by frost, wind or hail, it will be another bumper one, as large, if not larger than last year, when it amounted to about 3,800 cars, breaking the valley's record, in the opinion of L. P. Wilcox, county agent, in charge of the horticultural end of the county agent's office. The normal frost danger season is about over, and therefore the chance of a severe frost damage could only come about by an unexpected freak of nature, although this has so far been an unusual weather year. However, the apple crop of the valley does not look so good, as the prediction is that the crop will amount to but from 50 to 60 percent of last year's drop, which was 600 cars, due to the fact that the Newtown variety predominates in the valley, and this is an alternate bearer. This is an off year for the Newtowns, and the valley apple crop next fall is expected to amount to only from 300 to 350 cars. The peach, apricot and cherry crops of the valley were badly damaged by frosts, hence only 50 percent of the normal crops of such fruits is looked for.
    The emergency pear freight rate of $1.60 per cwt. will be extended by the Southern Pacific Railroad to cover the 1929 movement of Rogue River Valley fruit, according to word received late [last] week by the Rogue River Traffic Association from J. H. Mulcahy, assistant freight traffic manager. The association recently petitioned the railroad for the extension. The old rate was $1.73 per cwt. The granting of the request means a saving of over $150,000 in freight rates to growers.
    The emergency pear rate was ordered by the Interstate Commerce Commission last year, when fruit growers of Oregon, Washington and Idaho asked for a parity rate with California shippers, which is now before the Interstate Commerce Commission for decision. The California case is before the United States Supreme Court on an appeal.
    The local traffic association last week asked similar organizations in the Hood River, Oregon and Wenatchee and Yakima, Washington districts to join with them in securing a continuance of the emergency rate. They opposed on the grounds the decision of the Interstate Commerce Commission in the Northwest cases would be rendered before the 1929 fruit shipments started. The local shipping season peak is a month earlier than these districts.
    The Southern Pacific Railroad must secure the permission of all carriers participating in the fruit haul before the emergency rate becomes effective again. It expired June 31 next. Under the present plan, it will be extended to December 31 next.
    The rate concessions were secured through the efforts of the traffic committee of the Traffic Association. The application for the extension was filed April 17, and through aggressive action secured quick results.
The Chicago Packer, May 18, 1929, page 33

Now Estimated Output Will Not Be Over 3,000 Cars, from 500 to 1,000
Cars Below Last Year--News from the Valley.
    Medford, Ore., June 14.--The Rogue Valley does not expect to ship over 3,000 cars of pears this year. With estimates of the crop shortage ranging from 500 to over 1,000 cars, growers, buyers and shippers are agreed on only one thing--that early season hopes of another bumper crop are proving unfounded.
    A late season, frost damage and failure of fruit to pollinate properly are jointly blamed for the shortage. Pears are now dropping from the trees in many orchards.
    The Comice variety, most observers agree, has been the hardest hit, and estimates of the yield range from 60 to 75 percent of last year's 231 cars. The d'Anjou estimates range from 70 to 85 percent. Last year 781 cars were shipped. Winter Nelis is the only variety expected to equal last year's production.
    Last year's crop totaled 3,658 cars of all varieties, including 509 cars to canneries. There were 870 cars of Bartletts packed, 105 cars of Howells, 781 cars of Boscs, 946 cars of d'Anjous, 231 cars of Comice, 307 cars of Winter Nelis, five cars of Patrick Barry and four cars of Seckels.
    During the past few weeks a number of meetings of growers and shippers have been held regarding plans for the greater distribution for the Bosc pear, and at a meeting held Friday it was voted to enter Pittsburgh and Detroit as new marketing centers and an assessment of 5¢ per box of Bosc pears was voted to bear the advertising and other expenses of  the innovation. It is the plan of the committee to send an advertising expert to these two markets, this person to be thoroughly familiar with the Bosc pear. A proposal to assess 1¢ per box for all winter pear varieties for educating and advertising purposes was held in abeyance, to be considered later.
    The Pinnacle Packing Company, Inc., Raymond R. Reter, manager, has started the installation of fruit machinery in its packing house and plant on South Fir Street, entailing an expenditure of between $8,000 and $10,000. The equipment will be in operation the coming fruit season. The new machinery includes a new box lidding machine, two new box making machines, a lug box conveyor that will expedite the handling of fruit and the return of the lug boxes to the platform and the latest improvements of the Bean Sprayer Company.
    The fruit industry, in preparation for the handling of the coming crop, has expended close to $500,000 since the first of the year in new construction and addition of new equipment, as follows:
    Kimball Fruit Company, new plant on North Fir Street, $25,000.
    Medford Ice & Storage Co., completed ice storage warehouse and cold storage and pre-cooling plant to be completed by July 20, $125,000.
    Pre-cooling and cold storage plant of the Southern Oregon Sales, Inc., at Stewart Avenue and Pacific Highway, $200,000.
    C. & E. Co., additional warehouse and equipment, $15,000.
    Yard extensions and increased ice loading platforms by Southern Pacific Railroad, $50,000.
The Chicago Packer, June 15, 1929, page 29

More Work for J. P. Naumes.
    Hood River, Ore., Aug. 2.--J. P. Naumes, mid-Columbia manager for the Pacific Fruit & Produce Company, with which the Snoboy Fruit Distributors were merged recently, will divide his time in the future between Hood River and Medford, Ore. The resident manager for the Pacific at Medford, C. M. Speck, recently died.
The Chicago Packer, August 3, 1929, page 12

Fruit Estimates in the Medford, Ore. District.
    Medford, Ore., Aug. 9.--A survey by representatives of the Rogue River Traffic Association was conducted on crop estimates last week covering the 1929 season with the following results:
Apples . . . . . . . . . . .     404
Pears  . . . . . . . . . . . .  2,992
    Bartlett. . . . . . . . .  1,156
    Howell . . . . . . . . .       85
    Bosc . . . . . . . . . . .     675
    Comice   . . . . . . . .    127
    Anjou  . . . . . . . . . .    684
    Nelis  . . . . . . . . . .    265
    The Rogue River Traffic Association is considering a plan of marketing approximately 10 percent of the Bosc crop in the cities of Detroit and Pittsburgh under a neutral label, using only extra fancy fruit. The sales will be made by a special representative of the fruit growers in the cities named.
The Chicago Packer, August 10, 1929, page 33

Preliminary Picking, Packing and Shipping Began Early this Week
And Is Expected to Gather Momentum Rapidly--
Bartlett Crop Estimated at 18,000 Tons or 1,500 Cars,
Considered Well in Line with Last Year's Production.
    Medford, Ore., Aug. 16.--Fruit growers and shippers of the Rogue River Valley, including Grants Pass district, this week began picking, packing and shipping the Bartlett crop.
    The crop is estimated at 18,000 tons, close to the figure of last season. Not less than 500 cars will be shipped to Eastern markets. The remaining 12,000 tons have been sold to Northwest and California canneries, at prices ranging from $72.50 to $80 per ton. Figuring the cannery shipments at from 20 to 25 tons to the car, the Bartlett shipments will reach a total of 1,500 cars.
    The Bartletts are now in prime condition, with ideal weather for their growth.
    Picking began in a preliminary way and is expected to gain considerable momentum by the last of this week. The peak of the Bartlett movement will be reached the last week of August and the opening days of September.
    For the handling of the 1929 fruit crop, close to $500,000 has been expended by the industry for new improvements and structures. These include the ice storage warehouse of the Medford Ice & Storage Company, now filled with 8,000 tons of ice; the pre-cooling and storage plant, built at a cost of $125,000 by the same company and ready for test runs the coming week; the $200,000 pre-cooling plant of the Southern Oregon Sales, Inc., now ready for operation, warehouse and mechanical equipment of the C.&E. Company, representing an expenditure of $20,000; the new warehouse and packing plant of the Kimball Company, costing $25,000.
    Innovations for the coming fruit season will be the printing of the word "Medford" on all pear boxes, in accordance with the wishes of Eastern buyers, who hold that the word Medford means more to buyers than Rogue Valley or Southern Oregon; and the intention of the Southern Pacific to dispatch two fruit trains daily from the local yards, during the fruit shipping season.
The Chicago Packer, August 17, 1929, page 20

New Freight Schedule for Medford Pear Shippers.
    Medford, Ore., Sept. 13.--For the first time in the history of the fruit industry in the Rogue River Valley pears will be moved out of Medford daily in two shipments. The Southern Pacific Railroad Company announced that two trains a day will be started east from Medford during the peak of the fruit season. One train will leave here at 3 a.m. and the other train at 10 p.m. This added service was requested by local shippers some time ago. All fruit to be shipped on the 3 o'clock train must be ready at noon with bills of lading filed at the freight office. This service will mean a saving of seven hours on eastern fruit shipments on fruit rolling on the afternoon train.
The Chicago Packer, September 14, 1929, page 18

Fruit Shipments from Medford, Ore., District.
    Medford, Ore., Oct. 11.--Fruit shipments out of Medford last week totaled 560 cars, slightly less than the average held for the past season, due to over 80 percent of the pear crop having already been picked. The season shipments to date total 2,585 cars and are expected to reach 3,500 before the end of the season. Only one car of apples has been shipped so far this season.
The Chicago Packer, October 12, 1929, page 25

Last revised September 5, 2023