The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Medford News 1949

Medford-related news items from 1949. Also see descriptions of Medford and Jackson County for this year.

    From the standpoint of spectacularity, the search for and rescue of John Kraus Jr., California pilot who crash-landed his plane on frozen Little Fish Lake, was perhaps the outstanding local story of 1949 in the Medford vicinity.
    Other top news was not lacking, however. The veterans administration domiciliary center at Camp White was opened in February, after a long battle to secure the hospital for such use; the controversial Rogue dam bill passed, to the elation of irrigation and reclamation enthusiasts; six school districts completed consolidation into one large district, No. Six, with headquarters at Central Point.
    Two persons were killed in a two-plane crash, worst air tragedy to occur in the immediate vicinity of Medford; rent controls in Medford and Ashland were removed; more than 15,000 attended one of the state's largest air shows here, designed to show the capabilities and needs of the Medford airport, and several hundred irate citizens angrily protested increased assessments of their property.
    A month-by-month review of the news highlights during 1949 follows:

    Bids on sewage disposal area at Camp White called by War Assets Administration, city to bid . . . Diamond L. Flynn installed as mayor of Medford at brief ceremonies . . . New Ashland council meets for first time as city's political fireworks sizzle . . . "Sleepy Hour" radio quiz program, to raise swimming pool funds, started by Lions Club . . . C. E. Williams, police chief, and William Briggs, city attorney, retained on jobs at Ashland after hearings . . . Jackson County representatives leave for legislature . . . Temperature drops to five above, a 12-year record . . . Suit filed in Ashland municipal dispute . . . Feed the birds project under way as snow, cold continue . . . Don Lane, chamber of commerce manager, named Medford's junior first citizen . . . Plane piloted by John L. Krause Jr., Antioch, Cal., reported missing in area . . . Petitions seeking recall of three Ashland councilmen filed.

    Missing flier's plane sighted on frozen Little Fish Lake, 'chutists jump to rescue . . . Air officer, two others, charged with cattle stealing . . . Ground parties reach downed flier, rescuers unharmed . . . Additional study of Rogue Basin Project slated by Bureau of Reclamation . . . Mrs. Don J. Stoner wins estimated $7,000 in prizes on "Sleepy Hour" swimming pool radio quiz . . . Record-breaking 47-day cold spell broken by strong, warm winds . . . First members arrive at Veterans Administration Domiciliary Center at Camp White . . . Community Chest goes over top of minimum goal . . . City OK's survey of snowpack to determine flood potential . . . Gas fuel supply back to normal after cold spell . . . Veterans Administration Domiciliary Center dedicated at Camp White, governor, congressmen attend . . . New YMCA building opened . . . Chamber of Commerce board of directors opposes CVA, favors Rogue project . . . KYJC affiliates with ABC.

    Improved weather permits mills to reopen . . . Dr. A. B. Mitchell, health officer for one month, resigns . . . Circuit court rules in Ashland controversy, each side gains points in dispute . . . 223 attend Veterans Administration volunteer orientation course . . . William Briggs, Ashland city attorney, resigns, Harry Skerry Jr. appointed . . . Sen. William McAllister announces support of Rogue dam bill . . . Two Crater Lake park employees complete trip to Wizard Island across ice, first such trip recorded . . . Three Ashland councilmen recalled in special election . . . Rogue dam bill passed by Oregon legislature, goes to governor for signature . . . 5,000 attend opening of new Greyhound bus station . . . Cecil A. Witcher, Navy man, killed as plane he was piloting in surprise visit to home in Medford crashes near Greensprings Highway . . . Emil Kroeger, Richard Neill, E. E. Sheldon named to Ashland city council . . . Bid awarded for Lincoln School work.

    The Rev. Kenneth Nelson of St. Mark's Episcopal Church accepts appointment as instructor in Church Divinity School of the Pacific in San Francisco . . . Circuit court trial of Lt. Floyd E. Stone on larceny of livestock charge gets under way . . . Moore Hamilton named acting postmaster here . . . CAA tentatively earmarks $25,000  for Medford airport improvement . . . Tony Manno named to YMCA presidency . . . Diamond Lake resort purchased by Larry Neely and Oscar Larson of Medford and Bill Fox, Ashland . . . Circuit court jury acquits Lt. Stone of rustling charge . . . Mail Tribune makes first appearance with new headline type . . . Twenty-six voters from Phoenix, North Phoenix, Independence and Fern Valley communities approve $25,000 bond issue for new high school construction . . . Mrs. Curtis L. Hopkins named to executive committee of state Republican Central Committee . . . Police investigate brutal killing of Mrs. Margaret Cornell . . . City council proposes $75,000 bond issue for park, swimming pool improvements . . . Mrs. Duane Bergstrom wins $3,000 in prizes on "Sleepy Hour" program to raise funds for swimming pool building . . . Edward Hussong, well-known Medford educator, dies at home here . . . Stephen E. Tamney dies after drinking orchard spray . . . Historical museum group incorporates . . . Mary Kelly succeeds Moore Hamilton as chairman of county Democratic Central Committee.

    Ex-postmaster Frank DeSouza takes over editorship of Medford News . . . Lie detector tests clear several suspects in Margaret Cornell killing . . . Karen Lee Wadsworth wounded by accidental discharge of gun in hands of four-year-old cousin . . . Three-year-old Claire Schmidt dies after being struck by car . . . W. P. Barkley and Mrs. Mary A. Thompson killed in Medford's worst air tragedy; three injured in mid-air collision . . . City of Central Point sued for alleged damage by sewage to farm lands . . . Miss Claire Hanley named president of Southern Oregon Historical Museum corporation . . . Voters in Medford school district agree to exceed six percent limitation . . . Governor McKay dedicates new YMCA building . . . Miss Hazel Swayne named chairman of Medford Safety Council . . . Medford receives nearly 1,000 acres of Camp White land from War Assets Administration on 100 percent discount basis.

    Central Point, Gold Hill, Table Rock, and Willow Springs school districts approve consolidation . . . Tentative plans for Medford Center building remodeling announced . . . 747th very heavy bombardment reserve squadron deactivated here . . . Commission form of authority and bond issue for improvement urged for Medford's airport by citizens' advisory committee . . . George Flanagan named chairman of Medford district forest advisory board to O&C lands administration . . . Restrictions to conserve water during dry spell put into effect . . . Morning blaze guts storage plant of Pinnacle company . . . Bonds worth $75,000 sold to Blythe and Company of Portland to finance new swimming pool and other park improvements.

    Medford hotel sold to Asa I. Arnsberg of Portland by Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Walls . . . Attorney Edward C. Kelly considered for new federal judgeship . . . City council hears scores of arguments for and against decontrol of rent . . . Ex-Medfordite Fred Colvig killed when Dutch airliner crashes into Indian hillside . . . Hot, dry weather forces new restrictions on water use . . . Referendum petition to delay Rogue Basin Project fails for lack of signers . . . Council asks governor to approve rent decontrol . . . McKay grants petition to remove [rent] controls . . . Pear harvest begins in valley orchards . . . Forest fire sweeps several hundred acres on Foots Creek . . . Medford named headquarters of new air reserve training group.

    New sewage trunk line to Camp White put into service . . . Heroic scouters rescue Klamath Falls youth from crevasse on Mt. McLoughlin . . . Governor McKay opens ninth annual Shakespearean festival at Ashland . . . Brush fire destroys Tolo School and other buildings . . . C. A. Winetrout Jr. dies in Portland hospital of polio . . . Tighe E. Woods, rent expediter, lifts controls of Medford rents . . . Mercy Flights corporation formed to provide at-cost air ambulance service . . . Government announces purchase program in help to move Northwest Bartlett pears . . . Council approves agreement for joint use of Camp White sewage plant with Central Point . . . Teamsters Union No. 962 posts picket at Crane company warehouse here . . . Evergreen Bus Lines announces increase in fares.

    Duane Shangle earns West Point appointment from Congressman Harris Ellsworth . . . Work started on Bear Creek [Hawthorne] park swimming pool building . . . Hawaii-bound airliner lands at Medford to investigate fire in baggage compartment . . . Smoke jumpers used in fighting forest fires here for the first time . . . More than 15,000 persons witness aviation spectacle at Medford airport . . . Chamber of Commerce allowed to intervene in civil aeronautics board hearings concerning three airlines operating out of Medford . . . Railroad boxcar shortage causes unemployment of 15,000 men in lumber industry . . . Robert B. Hammond, former manager of Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company here, dies of heart attack . . . Jacksonville Grange joins revolt against state master . . . Medford school enrollment up seven percent over last year.

    Howard Thomas Breen, Talent, first hunting fatality in the county . . . Pear harvest ends in valley orchards . . . Death of 13-year-old boy marks beginning of diphtheria outbreak on county . . . First fall frost reported in some valley spots . . . More than 1,000 county children given diphtheria immunization . . . End of fruit harvest creates sharp increase in unemployment . . . Bids for construction of library addition rejected as too high . . . Central Point voters approve $100,000 bond issue to finance connection of sewers with Medford system . . . Plans for $500,000 apartment building revealed.

Unseasonable 200-acre blaze keeps crews busy in Sardine Creek area . . . Retirements of Fire Chief Roy Elliott, Police Officer Ray Sloneker and park employee Phil Ratty announced by city . . . Lookouts return to forests as late-season fire danger mounts . . . New St. Peter's Lutheran Church dedicated . . . Forest fires sweep out of control in Applegate area . . . Voters in Central Point consolidated school district approve $500,000 bond issue to build new high school . . . Forest fire fighters in Applegate marooned by snow . . . Karl L. Janouch announces retirement as supervisor of the Rogue River National Forest . . . Medford housewives declare "war" on high coffee prices.

    Medford telephone system switches to five-digit numbers . . . Hundreds of irate taxpayers attend tense meeting with state tax commission . . . More than 15,000 persons attend first city-wide Christmas opening . . . Funds raised to carry fight for Rogue Basin development to Congress . . . Toketee power plant put into service by Copco . . . Laurence G. Jolly appointed new supervisor of Rogue River National Forest . . . Swem's robbed for $1,900 . . . New burner system heralded as solution of mill smoke and soot problem . . . Two Californians held in connection with Swem burglary . . . Christmas rush exceeds 1948 volume in both stores and post office.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1950, page B1

Last revised February 15, 2010