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Glimpses of Medford Past

Now and then I stumble upon an evocative passage that gives insight into what it was actually like to live in Medford in days past--an article or passage that gets behind the sanitized version of life normally presented in the newspapers.

Myrtle Whipple talked about the mud up to the wagon hubs on Main Street; below are more brief glimpses into the lives of early residents of Medford.

    "Southern Oregon" contains three prominent civil centers. These are Roseburg, just mentioned, Jacksonville, the oldest and, historically, the most important town in the five counties, and Ashland, at the base of the Siskiyou Mountains, twelve miles north of the California line. As has already been remarked, the Oregon and California Railway unites the first and last of these communities. But Jacksonville lies off the thoroughfare, five miles to the west. Its railway station is the active, growing little village of Medford. Conveyance to Jacksonville from this point is by stage, over a road decorated in Springtime with frequent capacious depressions filled with water, and usually called mud holes. The writer, with three other passengers, made the distance, one cold starlight morning in March, and distinctly remembers every rod of the comfortable way. They were the longest five miles I ever traversed.
    Our party set out at four o'clock. So arctic was the air, that to a heavy newmarket, as an outer garment, I soon added a fur-lined cloak, and still suffered from the rigor. The driver, an obliging young man, full of vitality, seemed to be utterly unaware of the sudden descent of the vehicle into the pits. But its occupants, despite their resolute bracing of themselves, and their clinging to the straps, were all frequently in the center of the coach at the same time. We arrived in the place just at break of day, and at the hotel happily found the landlord, a shrewd Teuton [Jean St. Luc DeRoboam?], on the watch for us, with a glowing fire throwing out comfort from an old-fashioned fireplace in the office. As was quite sure to be the case, the day proved to be lovely, and I passed its hours in walks and talks about the interesting locality, at sunset retracing my way to Medford.
Excerpt, To and Fro, Up and Down in Southern California, by Emma Hildreth Adams. 
Cranston & Stowe, 1888, pages 553-554


    There is an amusing amount of self-assertion in the manners of the frontier people. When you are introduced to a man, after giving you a cordial hand-grip, the pushes his hat back on his head, thrusts his hands into his pockets and throws his body back from the hips, in a swaggering way. He is far from meaning anything offensive. It is the custom of the country for every man to behave as if he were a tremendous fellow, and were determined the world should estimate him up to his full value. An introduction is almost invariably followed by an invitation to drink. The saloons are the social clubs and business exchanges of the male population. In them the lawyer meets his client, and the merchant his customer. Usually, there are two or three gaming tables in the saloon, and the clink of the ivory chips mingles with the clinking of glasses, and the din of many voices. Women are treated with great respect, if they are respectable, and with none at all if they are not. Not long ago, a timid lady from the East, on her way to join her husband, a government engineer officer, on getting out of a stagecoach, at the door of a hotel [the U.S. Hotel], in [Jacksonville,] Southern Oregon, was met by the stout French woman [Jeanne DeRoboam Holt] who managed the establishment, with this greeting: "Are you a decent woman, madam? If you are, you can come in; if not, you can't stop at my house."
    Frontier towns swarm with dissolute creatures who drink at the bars and mingle with the men in the gaming houses, betting recklessly at faro and keno. In one town, I heard a leading citizen openly defend the tolerance shown them by the authorities. He said they brought money to the place, and made trade good. Most men, in the new settlements, are known to their acquaintances by their first name, or by some droll nickname. Listening to a conversation between two ex-miners in Montana, both now prosperous men, about old times and acquaintances, I heard them speak of "Shirt-Collar Bill," "Yeast-Powder Joe," "Sour-Dough Jim," "Six-Toed Pete," and "Snapping Andy."
    The first harbinger of civilization in all the vast interior between Eastern Dakota and the settled country on the Pacific Coast is the saloon. It does not follow population; it takes the lead. If there is any reason to suppose that settlers will go into any distant and isolated section a year hence, you will find the whiskey seller already on the ground with his tent or "shack," patiently waiting for customers. In mining camps, on bare and desolate cattle ranges, at river fords where a few horsemen or a mule team may cross now and then, and on lonely forest trails, traversed only by prospectors and Indians, the man of decanters and bottles has established himself. Usually his only stock in trade is a barrel of whiskey and a few pounds of sugar, but if he be convenient to wagon transportation, he will have bottled beer. The consumption of beer in the camps of the railway builders is enormous.
Excerpt, "Features of the New North-West," by E. V. Smalley, Century Illustrated, February 1883, page 529


    Bright moonlight nights are the order now, but what will the harvest be when the moon is on the wane and the inky blackness of the night is intensified by the sickly glare of our street lamps. Give us light.
"Local News," Medford Mail, January 14, 1892, page 3



    We would suggest that the city council establish some measures to prevent cattle from running at large in the city as it is now impossible to protect ornamental shrubbery which adds so much to the appearance of the streets and yards.
"Local News," Medford Mail, January 28, 1892, page 3


    The frogs, as it were, seem to be masters of the situation, and we confidently expect the council will be called upon to raise up in all its might, or words to that effect, and put a quietus on their hilarious and discordant strains. Let the good work of extermination be carried to a successful termination even if the troughs must be abated as a nuisance.
"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, June 24, 1892, page 3


    Spikenard post office is now a postal note office. That means it does $2 worth or more of business per annum. It has done over $50 worth of business during September. The gross receipts for the current quarter will be about $70. In the face of this fact there are some dudes who undertake to tell us that we are in the back woods, have no country etc. It is a libel on one of the finest little valleys in Oregon. What we need here, and we are only one of many communities, is a few more live men who will work for their particular locality without libeling every other one in the county. California and Washington forge ahead of us because their people are loyal to the state and the interests of the state. When Oregonians peel off their coats and go to work for Oregon we will have a boom. Talk up your town or neighborhood, work for it, invite settlers, and do not rob them when they come; build decent schoolhouses, improve your roads, speak well of your neighbors, or say nothing; go to church on the Sabbath, rather than go hunting; set and care for an orchard, drink less rotgut whisky, keep fewer cattle of a better grade and feed and care well for these, and see if your country does not boom. Stop cursing Oregon and hire someone to kick you until you get a move on yourself, and you will notice a vast improvement in your neighborhood, right at home too, before three months. Your fences are all down, your house and barn with their surroundings look like thunder, your cows are all scrubs, your chickens are half starved and worse than half bred; you don't have butter on your table three months in the year, and that often unfit to eat; your pipe is a holy terror to decent people, yet you curse Oregon. Curse yourself for a week, and thus be in sympathy with the respectable people around you, then reform and go to work. Southern Oregon is the best country God ever made. If we will do something and keep at it, we can put it in the foremost rank.
"Spikenard Sparks," Southern Oregon Mail, September 30, 1892, page 2


    The time of year has arrived for the cleaning of back yards, and should the cholera make its appearance, the coming summer will then find us prepared to handle it. Every nook and corner should be thoroughly cleansed.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 31, 1893, page 3


    The party of young folks who went from here to attend the ball at Eagle Point on Thanksgiving night got lost on the desert, and after wandering around for some time finally brought up at Jack Montgomery's place and hired Jack to act as pilot. They had not proceeded far, however, until Jack discovered that he was lost also, and after roaming the desert for nearly four hours finally reached their destination at twelve o'clock. This is a good joke on Jack, who is supposed to know the desert like a book.

"Phoenix Flashes," Medford Mail, December 15, 1893, page 2



Want the Stock Yards Removed.
   
J. W. Hockersmith has been circulating a petition about the city and surrounding country procuring signers asking the S.P. company to remove the stock yards from their present site to a point further north and near the distillery. He procured about 300 names and last week sent the same to the man in charge of this line of work for the S.P. The object in asking for its removal to a more excluded [sic] spot is to do away with the now existing necessity of driving stock through some of the principal streets of the city to reach the yards. There is some doubt expressed regarding the company's taking action in the matter as petitioned, as it is understood that they have already formulated plans for enlarging the yards and upon the grounds now occupied.
Medford Mail, March 30, 1894, page 3


    Report reaches us that boys, who would like to be men, and who want to act like men--real bad ones--are in the habit of congregating in old sheds and various other unused buildings about the city, and there put in their time playing poker; of course in a mild way, with only a nickel ante, but the habit is sufficiently alluring to take the boys from their homes and make gamblers of them. Parents should exercise the greatest possible vigilance in this matter and break up these little gatherings, which if diligently followed up cannot fail to result disastrously to the young men of our city.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, April 5, 1895, page 5


   Speaking of the aroma from ripe apples reminds us that it was nothing of so wholesome a nature that came from the rear of Hotel Medford [the Nash] last week, during the process of removing refuse matter and the accumulation of a dozen or more back number closets. The building of the new hotel will positively have one good effect--that of disinfecting that particular locality, but it would have been more agreeable to the denizens of this little city had the work of removing this refuse been performed at night, when the streets were not filled with people and when the warm rays of sun would not be there to encourage a greater unpleasantness. However, the work is done and we are all glad, not only of the cleansing, but of the occasion which brought it about.
"News of the City,” Medford Mail, May 17, 1895, page 5


   There is an ordinance which prohibits cows running at large within the city limits of Medford, yet many of our people are compelled to build boxing about the young trees they set out along the street in front of their places of residence. The ordinance made to keep cows off the streets ought to be enforced. A law not enforced is worse than no law, because that people expect their property to be protected by it and do not apply the precaution they would if no such law existed. 
"News of the City,” Medford Mail, May 31, 1895, page 5


   John Bigham, living out on Dr. Adkins' place, south of Medford, has entered a complaint that the small boys who go bathing in the river near his place are making themselves too familiar with his potato patch. He has the identity of the lads written where he will not forget it and if they do not let loose of his potato vines, and stay loose, he will have them before Judge Walton.
"News of the City,” Medford Mail, July 5, 1895, page 5


    The half past seven closing move, which is now on in Medford, is working to a degree of much satisfaction to the merchants. They have heretofore been compelled to stand behind the counters until nine or ten o'clock, but to be given the evenings for a home visit with their families is indeed a pleasure. As very little of the evening trade comes from the country, the closing will hardly work a hardship upon the general business of the city. We townspeople can as well do our trading before the closing hour--and no inconvenience comes therefrom. It is hardly more than fair that we give our merchants a chance for a few hours' time at home with their families.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, August 30, 1895, page 5


    The Mail is never saying a word when the boys of our town indulge in innocent fun, or if they reach out into a little hilarity, so long as no person is inconvenienced by it and no property damaged, but when these boys--young men--make night so unpleasant as to call out censure from many of the good ladies of our town it is then time for something to be done. There is a crowd of young men in this town which are fast closing about them shackles of vice and dissipation that will be difficult for them to throw off when the error of their way is discovered. They are sowing their wild oats upon too fertile soil. One lady asked us if we knew where the city marshal was at nighttime when the sidewalks in various parts of the town are thronged with half-drunken hoodlums, and their shouts of blasphemy and vulgarity, making the nights, instead of a time of rest for the residents, one of very much unrest and disgust.
Excerpt, "News of the City," Medford Mail, August 21, 1896, page 7


    Capt. Nash ordinarily is not a gentleman who allows his wrath to get so far beyond him that it is not an easy matter to reach out and haul in sails, but when he appeared on the street Monday morning his wrath was waterlogged and would not respond to the rudder. He was just naturally hot, and there were grounds for this heated condition. He is the owner of a fine brick hotel and has recently had built a splendid cement walk about the building, and the captain prides himself in keeping things neat about his premises, and when he discovered, lined up against his nicely painted walls and new cement walk, a furrow, deep enough to plant sugar beets in, of old quids of tobacco, cigar stumps and thick molasses-colored expectorant, he was just riled "clean through and through." Just why people who feel they must use this vile weed have not enough of manhood left to respect and keep neat and clean things that are beautiful is past finding out--but without any exaggeration whatever that sidewalk was a disgusting sight Monday morning. An anti-spit law that would protect such places ought to be passed by our city council.

"A Grist of Local Haps and Mishaps," Medford Mail, April 30, 1897, page 7



    Marshal Johnson deserves a chromo. If the city council don't put it up, The Monitor-Miner will. Several improvements are observable in the morals of Medford, not the least of which is the cessation of the loudmouthed swearing of certain of the hoodlum element--boys and men. It has formerly been a matter of general occurrence to hear a lot of the boys engaged in playing ball or some other sport shoot off their "bazoos" with obscenity or profanity until decent people would want to either stop their ears or walk away. Business men of the town have been heard to rip out oaths and obscenity on the street that would have put them into the "cooler" of a decent town--that is, if a decent town has such a thing. Marshal Johnson has given the men of the baser sort to understand that loudmouthed profanity must be stopped, and it is to be hoped that he will carry it out to the letter of the law. There are still other improvements that might be made in the morals of the town without interfering with anybody's rights. Let the good work go on.
Medford Monitor-Miner, October 13, 1898, page 2



    Griffith, the hypnotist, has been giving hypnotic entertainments at the opera house every night this week. On Monday night, at 8:30 o'clock, he put his advance agent into an hypnotic sleep and placed him on a cot in H. H. Howard & Co.'s show window, where he slept until Wednesday evening at 8:30, when he was taken to the opera house and there awakened. Those who saw him when he was awakened say he went into all kinds of spasms, and the combined efforts of six men were of no avail in holding him on the cot at that time.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, December 21, 1900, page 7


    A citizen:--"I wish you would call the chief of police's attention to the fact that stock is running at large in Medford--in direct violation of a city ordinance to that effect. To be sure there is little damage that can be done on the streets, but it is dog-blamed unpleasant to live in fear of this stock getting in on one's lawn, or maybe puncturing the sidewalk in front of your place full of holes."

"Echoes from the Street," Medford Mail, March 8, 1901, page 6


    It is said that between 250,000 and 300,000 pounds of garlic are used every year by residents of the United States. Once in a while a fellow encounters a breath in public which tends to the belief that the estimate given above is far too low.
Medford Mail, April 12, 1901, page 2


    A Groceryman:--"I want you to stand in front of our store a few minutes and notice where the profit on our fruit goes. You will notice that very nearly everyone that passes will take from two to half a dozen cherries from those crates that set out front. It's the same way with berries, and it'll be the same way with peaches, plums and pears when they come on the market. We always buy full measure when this line of goods is taken in, but after standing in front of our store a few hours there is a noticeable goneness near the top of the boxes. The people we sell to will buy only full boxes, and the result is that we lose from one to three boxes out of every crate. No, the people who help themselves to the fruit don't do it to be mean nor with a disposition to get something for nothing. They do it largely from force of habit, or from carelessness, and are forgetful of the impropriety of the act. If I was to speak to them I would undoubtedly offend the party and would without a doubt lose a good customer, yet why they should expect us dealers to tolerate the wholesale consumption of our stock in trade is more than I can tell. Women and children are addicted to this habit more than men, still I have seen a great many men stand in front of my place and eat half a cup of cherries. I sometimes speak to children when they reach into the crates because I think it is a bad habit and they ought to be taught not to do it, but when they see their parents and grown people doing the selfsame thing the matter of youthful education becomes a too-arduous task."

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 12, 1901, page 7


    Many Medford people are hitting only the high places in their flight for the tall timber and mountain springs. There seems little need for going thitherward for cool weather, but what's the difference, if it's a good time all these people want--and most of them have earned it--why not take it. We poor, misguided hard workers who are plodding along here at home probably wouldn't appreciate a good time if we had it offered us. Most of the outing parties thus far this year have headed for McAllister Springs.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 19, 1901, page 7


    The Odd Fellows of Medford have a kick coming. Some person, or persons more probably, have of late been making the entrance stairway to their hall a trysting place, or a place of revelry. Tobacco smoke fumes pervade the air thereabouts, and cigar ashes have been found in great quantities, also a lady's handkerchief. This item is published to give notice to the offending parties that the premises are being watched, and they must not offend again. The Odd Fellows do not smoke cigars or pipes within several blocks of their hall, hence the presence of the smoke fumes are easily detected--and again, if the Odd Fellows didn't notice this sort o' thing, the Rebekahs would hardly pass it by unnoticed.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 26, 1901, page 7


    A Subscriber:--"It might be well for parents who have young girls who are in the habit of being out late of evenings to look after their whereabouts. It is claimed by good citizens that not only old squaws but young girls are seen, too frequently, loitering around a certain place of business on East Seventh Street, not far from the bridge, where the age of the proprietor ought to be, but it is feared not, sufficient protection.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 9, 1901, page 7



    The sidewalks in front of Medford's grocery and feed stores present a very inviting appearance these days. There is displayed almost every variety of fruit grown in the valley, and as there are many varieties the sight is decidedly a pretty one to look upon--and tempting as well.
    It is a very disgusting habit, that of expectorating on the sidewalks. The many hundred feet of good, substantial cement sidewalks are a beautiful thing to look upon, but when they are bespattered with tobacco juice they are unsightly things. There ought to be an ordinance passed prohibiting spitting on sidewalks. It is a filthy habit and is very annoying to those of our townspeople who believe in cleanliness and who have a desire to keep our little city looking as pretty and tasteful as possible. Aside from being unsightly the habit is dangerous from a sanitary point of view as many disease germs find harbor in the dress skits of passing women and are in this way carried home, where firm lodgement is found for them in the person of some member of the household.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 23, 1901, page 7


    Horace Nicholson is nothing if not novel, even unique. His latest innovation in window displays is a dozen or more chipmunks turned loose in one of his shop windows. They were caught in a trap by Robinson, the Klamath County buckster. The antics of the little fellows are attracting much attention and as an advertising feature the window surely catches the eye.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 11, 1901, page 7


    While those interested in the appearance of our city are hunting around for something to do business with, The Mail would suggest that they commence action leading to the removal of that old Crater sign board which is disgustingly and prominently perched high up over Harry Myers' jewelry store. There was at one time a beautiful picture of Crater Lake painted thereon, but that was in years agone and prior to Mr. Myers' occupancy of the building. Now nothing but rough, weather-beaten boards are seen.

"City Happenings,"
Medford Mail, March 7, 1902, page 7


    Southern Oregon people are enjoying some fine weather now, and here in Medford, as the evenings are pleasant, it is not an uncommon thing to see the people bring out their chairs and form themselves into little groups on the sidewalks of the business streets. Each cluster of idlers has its oracle at these open-air assemblies, who hold forth upon any subject which may present itself; but for the present political questions hold a top hand, and the "third termer's" case is being diagnosed with minuteness and even unto pyrotechnic display of Latin. A listener at one of these meetings is almost constrained to think, if we only knew that
If every "third termer's" internal care
    Were written upon his brow,
How many would their pity share
    That have their envy now?
Medford Enquirer, April 19, 1902, page 5


    The street cleaners were out in full force Monday, and all of Seventh Street was swept clean of dust and debris. This was a good job--and it was well done. It is to be regretted, however, that this spirit of cleanliness did not extend beyond the streets and onto the sidewalks. There are some walks in our city that are anything but pleasant to look upon--and they are not healthful. Just what breed of swine a man is who will besmear a sidewalk with tobacco juice The Mail is not going to say, but that there are several of this kind of loafers in the city is evident by the condition of some of our cement sidewalks and the adjoining brick walls. The business men find it impossible to keep their walks free of this nauseating nuisance, try as hard as they may. The city council should order the owners of property adjoining the places where these conditions prevail to throughly cleanse them of this filth and then pass an anti-sidewalk-expectorant ordinance.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 24, 1902, page 7


HE DESCRIBES AN AMERICAN CIRCUS
Racy Remarks of Mr. Andrews at a Public Function.
    At a recent banquet, at Grand Rapids, Mich., W. R. Andrews responded to the toast, "The Filipinos," in the following style:
    "You Filipinos don't know what you are missing by not wanting to become citizens of this grand country of ours. There isn't anything like it under the sun. You ought to send a delegation over to see us--the land of the free--land of fine churches and 100,000 licensed saloons; bibles, forts and guns, houses of prostitution; millionaires and paupers; theologians and poverty; Christians and chain gangs; schools and scalawags; trusts and tramps; homes and hunger; virtue and vice; a land where you can get a good bible for fifteen cents and a bad drink of whisky for five cents; where we have a man in congress with three wives and a lot in the penitentiary for having two wives; where some men make sausage out of their wives, and some want to eat them raw; where we make bologna out of dogs, canned beef out of horses and sick cows and corpses out of the people who eat it; where we put a man in jail for not having the means of support and on the rock pile for asking for a job of work; where we license bawdy houses and fine men for preaching Christ on the street corners; where we have a congress of 400 men who make laws, and a supreme court of nine men who set them aside; where good whisky makes bad men and bad men make good whisky; where newspapers are paid for suppressing the truth and made rich for teaching a lie; where professors draw their convictions from the same place they do their salaries; where preachers are paid $25,000 a year to dodge the devil and tickle the ears of the wealthy; where business consists of getting hold of property in any way that won't land you in the penitentiary; where trusts hold up and poverty holds down; where men vote for what they do not want for fear they won't get what they do want, by voting for it; where 'niggers' can vote and women can't; where a girl goes wrong and is made an outcast and her male partner flourishes as a gentleman; where women wear false hair and men 'dock' their horses' tails, where the political wire-puller has displaced the patriotic statesman; where men vote for a thing one day and curse it 364 days; where we have prayer on the floor of our national capital and whisky in the cellar; where we spend $500 to bury a statesman who is rich and $10 to put away a working man who is poor; where to be virtuous is lonesome and to be honest is to be a crank; where we sit on the safety valve of energy and pull wide open the throttle of conscience; where gold is substance--the one thing sought for; where we pay $15,000 for a dog and fifteen cents a dozen to a poor woman for making shirts; where we teach the untutored Indian eternal life from the bible and kill him off with bad whisky; where we put a man in jail for stealing a loaf of bread and in congress for stealing a railroad; where the check book talks, sin walks in broad daylight, justice is asleep, crime runs amuck, corruption permeates our whole social and political fabric, and the devil laughs from every street corner. Come to us, Fillies! We've got the greatest aggregation of good things and bad things, hot things and cold things, all sizes, varieties and colors, ever exhibited under one tent."
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 18, 1903, page 2


    Dr. Pickel was mayor [1904-05] in the days when we drank Bear Creek "liquid." It was generally liquid. In those days if we wished to leave our homes at night we equipped ourselves with rubber boots, procured a lantern, and with fear and trembling sallied forth into utter blackness. If we reached our destination without stepping on the end of a board whose other end was not nailed down we felt that we were under the protection of a special providence.
Excerpt, Minnie (Mrs. Harry C.) Stoddard, "Medford's Hall of Fame," Medford Mail Tribune, December 18, 1912, page 4



    Commissioner Alford [remembered] that there was a mudhole of considerable dimensions in front of where the Monarch Seed and Feed store is now located, and another opposite Charlie Strang's drug store. Commissioner Bursell corroborated his fellow official and declared these two were the best mud holes he had ever encountered or expected to. The mudhole adjacent to the Washington School, however, was a cousin to the Pacific Ocean, having breadth and depth. One spring a steer walked into the same and was never seen again.
"Three Mud Holes of County Bring Pioneer Memory," Medford Mail Tribune, February 13, 1929, page 5



    A Citizen:--Some of these moonlight nights I'm going to act contrary to the peace and dignity of the city of Medford, and I don't care who knows the reason thereof. Every once in awhile the canine population of this man's burg takes a notion to have vocal exercises, and invariably they choose my neighborhood for a general rendezvous. They start something like the farmer's band that parades the streets before a performance of Joshua Whitcomb. Way in the distance a faint bark is heard, then another in a different direction, then more somewhere else. They keep getting closer and closer, until finally they converge as near as possible to my bedroom window. Some of these times I'm going to load an old-fashioned ten-bore shotgun I know of with slugs, nails and any old thing I can get and take a pot shot at that canine orchestra. The old gun may kick hard enough to kill me, but if the superstition of the Indians is anywhere near right I'll be sure to have plenty of dogs with which to chase game in the 'happy hunting grounds'."
"Echoes from the Street," Medford Mail, August 26, 1904, page 1


    Some of the revival meetings which have been held in Medford during the past couple of weeks have been attended by a number of young men whose sole and only purpose seemed to have been to create a disturbance and in every way possible make light of the efforts of the evangelists and pastors who have been conducting the meetings. This is not right; in fact, it is all wrong. No young man who has remaining in him one spark of manhood will willfully disturb a religious meeting. If the meetings and the utterances of the speakers are distasteful to them they should remain away from the meetings and away from the sound of the voice of the speakers. No law compels them to attend, but there is an unwritten law of common decency and respect which ought to compel them to behave themselves when in attendance at such gatherings.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 17, 1905, page 5


A House Cleaning Carol.
When the soap is on the stairway and the carpet's on the line,
Then I do not mope and long for any Home, Sweet Home in mine;
And I know the books are corded in the cellar by the coal;
And the pictures are reposing by the punch and salad bowl,
And the mops and rags and dusters in confusion intertwine
When the soap is on the stairway and the carpet's on the line.

The piano's in the kitchen and the feather beds are hung
On the fence above the flowers where the bric-a-brac was flung;
There's a heap on the veranda--crockery and jardinieres--
And a sound of mighty whacking in the back yard strikes my ears;
So I slope away discreetly, for some other spot I pine
When the soap is on the stairway and the carpet's on the line.

They would feed me on cold victuals, I would sleep upon a cot;
They might even say, "Get busy!"--make me help them, like as not;
So I hover at a distance till I see them gather in
All the furniture and bedding, and complacently I grin
That a fellow's mighty lucky if he knows the mystic sign
When the soap is on the stairway and the carpet's on the line.
Medford Mail, June 9, 1905, page 1


    A Medford Lady:--"I do not know what you will think of me, a woman, when I come to you and ask that you print an item calling attention to the inhospitality of those of my own sex, but I am going to do it. The Medford women are not hospitable enough. Socially there are a great many of them who are naturally a frost, insofar as strangers are concerned. Now there are a great many new people coming to Medford, and the most of these are the equal, socially, of any who are older residents of our city. The men strangers can hang around on the streets and in a business way get acquainted with lots of people; but it is different with the women; they cannot do these things; they must stay at home, or in a room in a boarding house or hotel and see no one outside of one or two near neighbors or fellow boarders. They get homesick and blue, and pretty soon the family has returned to their home in the East. Why? Husband says, 'Wife is homesick--wants to get back among her friends. Oh, yes, I like the country first rate myself, like your people, too, but wife is dissatisfied and I feel like I want to please her.' I know of a great number of newcomers (women) to Medford who have not met more than three or four people--and they have been here several months. That isn't right; it isn't fair to the city. I am going to suggest that a committee be appointed whose duty it will be to appoint a visiting committee of a dozen or more women to call upon strangers. These committees may be changed at intervals, and in that way the strangers will get to know the most of the women in town, and when they do I will wager that no one gets homesick."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, June 30, 1905, page 1


    The condition of the wooden sidewalks around town is causing more or less "language" and a whole lot of loose shoe soles. It does make a fellow pretty warm to catch the sole of his shoe upon a protruding nail in the walk, thereby requiring a trip to the shoemaker or to be walking along the street with a friend and have his companion step on the end of a loose board which flies up and barks your shins and then drop back on your favorite corn. This sort of thing is getting to be a common occurrence and it strikes us that it wouldn't be a bad idea to have those nails driven down and the loose boards fastened. It would lessen the labors of the recording angel and save a whole lot of shoe leather.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 21, 1905, page 5


    Nearly sixteen years ago George Coulter, the painter, one dark, rainy night, picked up a bedraggled kitten in the street, near the Hotel Nash. He carried the kitten into the barroom and fixed him comfortably by the stove. The kitten waxed and grew strong and in time became a cat of large size and dignified mien, and the name of "Jerry" was bestowed upon him. Up to two years ago "Jerry" was boss of the hotel. No dog was allowed to invade that portion of the house which he regarded as his particular territory. He stayed through all the changes which took place in the management up to two years ago, when he left because he and Ragsdale's dog couldn't get along together. He was known to all the old citizens in the town, and nobody had anything but kind words for Jerry. The only time he was ever defeated in battle in his prime was when he tackled a cub bear, which refused to run, and in a short time Jerry was compelled to retire to the top of the barroom partition, where he remained, defiant but careful not to come down, until the bear was led away. About ten days ago old Jerry, worn out by the weight of years, passed away, and if there is a happy hunting ground for good cats, he is there.
    Since the above was put in type, "Old Jerry" has reappeared, and as a consequence has the distinction, enjoyed by few humans, of having good things said about him before his death.
"An Ancient Feline," Medford Mail, September 15, 1905, page 5

A Portland trash heap, February 28, 1902 Oregonian
A Portland trash heap, February 28, 1902 Oregonian

    It's a good time of year just now to clean up your back yards. Some of them in this town would be a disgrace to Cologne, the famous city of a "thousand smells." Such things are a menace to the health of the whole community and should not be tolerated. Heaps of trash of all kinds--old rags, broken bottles, tin cans, ashes, etc., can be seen about town frequently if one keeps his eyes open. Such are not only unsightly, but breeders of disease. Clean up.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 13, 1906, page 5


    The habit which some of our boys and young men have of playing ball on the streets and in public places where people are continually passing, is a very dangerous sport, and there should be an ordinance passed by the city council prohibiting it. It was only last week that Miss Grace Lawton, while walking on West [Main] Street, was struck on the side of her head with a ball and was knocked down, and was unconscious for some little time. Another lady walking on the streets with two children was struck on the head. The boys do not injure these people intentionally, but this fact does not relieve the suffering.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 20, 1906, page 5


    Installation of officers of Talisman Lodge, K. of P., was held Monday night, but the ceremonies were curtailed considerably, owing to the heat and the fact that ice cream and fixin's were on tap in the banquet room. The ice cream hit just the proper spot, and the installation will be completed later on.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 6, 1906, page 5


Let Us Have Houses Numbered.
    How about putting up at the street corners the printed names of the streets? And then again how about numbering the residences and business houses?
    The Mail believes the city council ought to take this matter up and order this work done. Our town is getting too large to satisfactorily direct a person to some particular locality by stating that they live "in the Jones or Smith house," or that they live in the new house just south of the old Jim Williams place. As a matter of fact, it is impossible to do this any more. The expense of putting up the numbers would, of course, be borne by the property owners, while the cost of labeling the street corners would be but light.
    This would be a great convenience to the new people who are taking up their residences with us, and it would also be a great help to the merchants in delivering goods about the city. There are few, if any, of our townspeople who could not afford the expense incident to properly numbering their places of business and residences.
Medford Mail, November 30, 1906, page 1


    The presence of a dwelling house traveling through the streets of Medford is an uncommon sight, but Joe Atwell, the house mover, has the residence known as the Warnerman property, formerly located on B and Eighth streets, on wheels and will take it up and place it near his residence, in the southwestern part of the city. He has a large force of men assisting him.

"Additional Local," Medford Mail, April 19, 1907, page 8



        The health officer is evidently not working overtime these days, else why the many unsanitary places around the city. Typhoid fever is lurking in every one of these, and they should be looked after. The aroma about the city hall, even, cannot be likened to that of a ripe apple--unless it be an overripe one. Then there are alleys and rears of store buildings which are not conducive to the good health of the people.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 16, 1907, page 5


    A. C. Allen and family returned last week from a tour of Northern California. They went in their Thomas 40 touring car, with George King, going by way of Crescent City and Eureka and returning by Yreka and the Siskiyous. The whole trip was made without mishap of any kind outside of a broken spring and worn-out tire or so, and everybody arrived home well and hearty, but extremely glad to be in the Rogue River Valley once more.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 16, 1907, page 5
   


    A street fakir held forth on the corner of 7th and C streets Monday evening and succeeded in separating some of the foolish ones from their money. He used the timeworn gag of giving away some articles, selling others and handing the money back and finally selling stuff for higher price and not giving the money back. Ethically such things should not be permitted, of course, but the people who are bitten are usually getting only what is coming to them, and nobody wastes much sympathy upon them.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 15, 1907, page 5


    Someone of unclean mind and thoughts has developed the habit lately of writing inscriptions on the walls of a number of buildings about town. There is a penalty for such actions, and it would be wise for the guilty party to abstain from further exemplifications of his degeneracy.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 22, 1907, page 5


    If you want to have "that tired feeling," stand on the corner of 7th and C streets most any Saturday afternoon and listen for fifteen minutes to some self-constituted orator tell how the banks and the government generally should be run, while the ladies who are shopping elbow their way through the crowd of idle listeners. If this does not produce the desired results, consult a specialist.
"Eden Valley Items," Medford Mail, December 13, 1907, page 5


    Professor Fait was arrested on Friday evening of last week, for violation of the state statute preventing exhibition of hypnotic slumber in windows. Professor Fait's wife, under the influence of hypnotism, was displayed in the window of a local drug company, in order to advertise the evening performance of the professor. When she was spied by the authorities and Constable Tull notified, the professor was arrested but released on cash bail of $125. He stated that he intended to fight the case. The law under which the professor was arrested is a new one. The professor says he was not an intentional violator of the statute.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, March 13, 1908, page 2


    On Tuesday afternoon D. W. Anderson, who has been living in a house built entirely of piano boxes situated in the Ross addition, succumbed to heart disease, from which malady he had been suffering some time. Mr. Anderson was nearly 70 years old at the time of his death, and for some time has been in destitute circumstances. Lately he had been receiving medical attention and medicine without cost. From his neighbors he declined to receive aid other than occasional gifts left by friends. His son of Grants Pass arrived Wednesday and took charge of the remains.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 20, 1908, page 5

Chaparral in the Medford area, 1913
Chaparral somewhere in the Medford area, 1913

    Mr. Kinuck is having his nine pretty lots in Meeker's addition cleared of the old landmark chaparral thicket which adds incalculable improvement to his property and those adjoining. W. H. Coop is doing the work.
"North Medford Notes," Medford Mail, March 5, 1909, page 8


    An appreciated welcome visitor that is much sought and looked-for with its columns filled with sad and happy tidings of the day and night's doings, a great institution when other things fail, the dogs bark and the birds fly in commotion at the coming of the morning paper. But if it should fail to make connection on its accustomed rounds and fall under your window when you are peacefully enjoying your morning nap, then the happy smile changes to a frown, a cuss word, and the editor and carrier are remembered with an expression perhaps. This disappointment should have never occurred, not even in 365 days, but patient reader, should we not bear and forbear occasionally with all the unforeseen misfortunes of others, even the thankless position of an editor whose object is to please everybody and then be kicked.

Medford Mail, March 19, 1909, page 7


A STRANGER'S IMPRESSIONS OF MEDFORD.
(By a Casual Observer.)
    It is interesting to note the different impressions which Medford makes upon strangers. Probably nine-tenths of the people who get off the trains with no one to greet them look up and down Main Street and are most favorably impressed and, as a usual thing, happily disappointed [sic] to see modern and substantial-looking business blocks and the apparent "hustle" manifested by the people in general. Then he spies the splendid-looking Exhibit Building and meanders in to look over the exhibit, which he declares surpasses in quantity and well as quality any exhibit he has seen along the Coast. By the time he has finished there he is ready to interview the Secretary of the Commercial Club and invariably goes into the real estate office, which is at one side of the room, to find him, expecting beyond all doubt to find the club rooms there, and he is really justified in thinking so, for that is the most natural place to have them. Therefore he is a bit disappointed when he is informed that he may find them on the second floor of a block some little distance from the depot. But in strolling around the town, where so many objects of interest meet his gaze, he is pleased and disappointed in turn. He is pleased with the paved streets, the modern and up-to-date stores, the courtesy of clerks, the good school buildings, the number of churches, the pretty residences, the well-kept lawns, the large number of family gardens in back yards indicating thrift, the good bank buildings, the floating of the weather signal flags, the splendid fire equipment and station and the general indication of prosperity and ambition.
    But alongside of those things he sees the old unsightly, unpainted telephone and telegraph poles along the edge of the sidewalks and he wonders at the filth of the alleys and the disreputable appearance of the vacant lots along Main Street just west of the railroad tracks. The health department owes it to the inhabitants of the city to have those places cleaned up. It detracts much from the unpleasant appearance of Main Street to confront those alleys and vacant lots, to say nothing of the unsanitary conditions prevailing.
    In a recent interview with a man, he said, in part, "I notice that the new high school is endeavoring to fix up their yard a bit. I would suggest that as a psychological influence on the children that the school board solicit the help of the teachers and children to beautify the school grounds. The appearance of the church buildings would be exceedingly improved, too, by elaborating their grounds a trifle at a small expense. I notice a general dearth in shade trees along the streets, and what there are do not look thrifty for lack of attention. The limbs grow so low down that they are an annoyance to passersby."
    The vacant lots on Main Street are not the only ones that need cleaning up either. Many of the outside vacant residence lots do not offer an attraction to a prospective buyer. Lots that with a little energy exerted upon them would make very desirable locations now look like a public dumping ground. This makes one wonder if the city has an ordinance relative to scavengery. If so, why don't they enforce it, and why are shiftless citizens allowed to dump their rubbish in the outskirts of the city?
    Then the stranger notices the dilapidated condition and scarcity of hitching posts for country teams. In a single afternoon three pedestrians narrowly escaped injury and possibly with their lives from fast automobile driving. There is no question but that the number of automobiles supported here is a good advertisement for the wealth of the town, considering its size, but if there was a speed limit on the streets it would seem that it was about thirty-five miles per hour. A eyesore to residents and people who can spare time to rest awhile in the pretty and refreshing park, and the teachers and students of the West School, is the old neglected water tower.
    Another question frequently asked by strangers is "I read that Medford has the largest postal receipts of any city in the United States that has no free delivery. Why is it that Uncle Sam allows the citizens of Medford to stand in line for hours awaiting the distribution of the mails?" What can we answer? Nothing except that lack of sidewalks and house numbering makes us ineligible for this modern convenience.
    But on the whole, after the stranger has had plenty of time to consider Medford, the good with the bad, he is very well pleased and almost always replies to inquiries as to his opinion, "Well it is so much better than I expected to find and so far surpasses its promises and my fondest expectations that I am quite well pleased, and if the citizens would see to it that the alleys and bad-looking streets were cleaned up and a few improvements made regarding sanitation and beautifying public grounds it could be made to be to the Great Northwest what the renowned 'Spotless Town' is to the world."
Rogue River Fruit Grower, April 1909


    [A Medfordite reports on a visit to Central Point.] "I saw no city officers of any description, no one smoking, no one with flushed face and red nose, no one screaming hot hominy and sauerkraut and cheap beef--as is to be seen daily in metropolitan Medford. . . ."
Central Point Herald, February 3, 1910, page 1


S M E L L S
By Mrs. H. C. Stoddard
    The enlightenment of the Medford public might almost be gauged by the number of its citizens who sleep out of doors, or at least demand well-ventilated sleeping apartments.
    Of the hundreds of houses built recently and now under construction a large percentage have provision for out-of-door sleeping. Of our three score and ten years we spend over twenty years in sleep, and we realize as never before that 'tis well nigh impossible to so ventilate our house that the air is as good indoors as out. While many parts of Medford are kept beautifully clean, the fact remains that some parts of our city are not kept clean. The perpetual condition of certain alleys in Medford renders sleeping out of doors or indoors most difficult. Truth to tell, 'tis discouraging to breathe at all, either day or night.
    We have a city ordinance which adequately covers the matter; a city health officer to enforce the law; a city editor who conducts an unceasing campaign for cleanliness; a large majority of citizens who have enough personal pride to keep their premises at all times free from kitchen garbage, refuse from stables or anything else that will contaminate the air and furnish a breeding place for flies.
    We have a few citizens who are notorious for not complying with the law in keeping their premises clean and habitable, and who seem entirely indifferent to the fact that their neighbors have any rights which should be respected.
    We have made repeated attempts to sleep out of doors in various parts of Medford and have found it a most discouraging undertaking, inasmuch as the incense that rose from neighboring alleys and smote our olfactories was something which even the wildest flights of fancy could not construe as emanating from orange blossoms. Nor is this all--it has brought out the ugliness in our disposition rather than the beautiful, as bad environments invariably do. Indeed, so vicious have we become, we have often wished, with the Roman tyrant of old, that the people responsible for those filthy alleys had but one neck, that we might go out and hang them all with one rope.
    People who keep horses on small city lots should form the habit of removing all refuse from stables and alleys once a week. This, with the frequent use of chloride of lime, will render their own premises more habitable, to say nothing of the great joy it would afford the neighbors.
    If thou love thy neighbor as thyself, thou will not compel him to breathe the aroma arising from thy manure pile.
    Let us enlist public sentiment against the few remaining filthy alleys of Medford, and in so doing speed the day when the residents on every street in Medford can, if they choose, sleep out of doors without wearing clothespins on their noses.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 15, 1910, page C1


GARBAGE.
    A very deplorable condition exists in many of the alleys and back yards of our otherwise beautiful and healthful city, where garbage, in open buckets, barrels and, at times, on the ground, is allowed to remain for days and weeks at a time without removal. This should be corrected at once. Most cities enforce stringent regulations regarding the care and disposal of all kinds of refuse requiring covered, water-tight cans for it pending frequent removal. From a sanitary standpoint the accumulation of filth at the rear of downtown restaurants and shops where perishable commodities are dealt in is most menacing. The same can be said of some of the residences. There is no possible excuse for permitting such negligence either on the part of the offending person or the city officials. It is a fact well known to all that such conditions are directly responsible for many dreaded diseases, for instance, typhoid and yellow fever. In the fight against yellow fever nothing was ever accomplished until doctors took to prevention instead of cure. When they did away with all filth in the affected districts, refused to allow any possible feeding or breeding ground for flies to be exposed, then and then only did yellow fever vanish. Medical men are all of one mind on this subject--disease is caused directly by neglect of proper sanitary regulations, including the care and disposal of city garbage.
    And aside from the actual danger involved, what can be more offensive than to use one's outdoor sleeping apartment when a thoughtless neighbor has permitted such a nuisance to exist.
Medford Saturday Review, June 25, 1910, page 2


    "It isn't alone that iceboxes and rear rooms and alleys are filled with filth and flies," said a certain well-known Medford physician to us, "but it's combustibles too, in heaps and piles, and just where if a match were carelessly dropped, whole squares of this business portion of town would be afire."
    Said he, "Walk through any of these alleys near Main Street and see for yourself! There's no excuse for it. We have policemen enough for all these purposes, but they are so concerned with jerking up every poor, broken-down fellow who seeks solace overmuch in the flowing bowl, and consume so much time following such roundups in patting themselves upon the back over their noble exploits, that they haven't any time or thought left for the rest of the duties that are legitimately theirs. It's their business to know about back-door iceboxes, about the nauseous heaps that draw flies and propagate sickness, and about these combustible-filled alleys that are a continued invitation to fire. It's their business to find these evils, to give warning, and if not heeded to make report to officials higher up. There's occasion for a dozen people to get busy. Then, it remains for the proper official, if due notice will not bring results, to clean up the property of the parties responsible and charge them with the same. We can have a clean town if we go after it right--and that's a fact."
    We quote the conversation in full. The stand taken by the Saturday Review is being responded to in numerous quarters, and we confidently expect that many of the desired changes will occur before the end of another week.
"Brevities," The Saturday Review, Medford, July 30, 1910, page 1


The M.E. Church North, Fourth and Bartlett, circa 1910. Note the board sidewalk and dirt street.
The yards are fenced and the trees boxed as precautions against wandering livestock.


DROVE CATTLE ON MAIN STREET OF MEDFORD
     William McClanahan has just come to Medford from the McClanahan mill, on Elk Creek, owned by his son, and will leave in a few days for his home in Fresno County, California. For 22 years Mr. McClanahan raised cattle in the Rogue River Valley. He engaged in a few reminiscences, when seen on the street Thursday evening, of the days when he drove his cattle down Main Street. He spoke of one time when he roped a big steer on the corner of Main and Central Avenue. As he looked at the crowded streets and honking automobiles he remarked that he would not like to try and drive a herd of wild steers down the street now. Still, it was only five years ago that cattle were driven through the business section of Medford without trouble.
Medford Mail Tribune weekly, September 22, 1910, page 14


RIVER FLOWING ON MAIN STREET
FILLS WHOLE CROSSING AT CUTHBERT TENT STORE
Sixth Street Storm Sewer Imperiled--
Much Damage Done by Water--Heavy Rain Yesterday
    West Main Street yesterday from the end of the paving to Laurel, close to the Washington School, was a river. After the forenoon deluge of rain that fell the water poured down toward town along the south curb of the street an average of six to eight inches in depth and for a width of ten to sixteen feet. At various crossings, planks and poles were thrown to permit people to cross the stream, and these acted as dams which blocked the water so that it crossed at such places over the center ridge of the street emptying into the north curb. Thus some of it made its getaway through ditches that recently were dug by the street commissioner's men, which was only done after much lambasting on the part of The Sun.
    At the old Cuthbert tent store, which is located at the corner of West Main and Laurel, the water filled the whole crossing of Laurel and formed a rushing torrent and whirlpool. On the southwest corner is an opening reaching to a storm sewer, but the torrent from the west was so great as to carry most of the water by, after which it turned by reason of the rise in grade and part came back to the sewer grizzly [sic] and part crossed over to the north side of Main. At that point there happened to recently have been started a sewer ditch in the alley between the Southern Methodist Church and the residence of J. A. Perry. The water poured into this sewer ditch all day long in a great cataract and torrent, from which it escaped at the north end by means of an opening into the Sixth Street storm sewer. The rush of water was so great that many fears were expressed that it would carry out the Sixth Street piping and render it a complete wreck.
    Water stood about eight inches deep on several yards of area on the Perry lot.
    On South Oakdale there was another smaller rush of water, doing less damage than that of West Main.
    Sixth Street for the entire distance that the sewer was recently lain is a mass of mud that cannot be traveled by team and for a whole block or two the mud heaped on the walks has not been removed by the Jacobson-Bade Company, the sewer contractors. At the corner of Sixth and Fir two crossings are submerged by mud and water which are from six inches to a foot in depth.
    On North Grape the cement walk on the east side in one place near Fourth is covered with standing water for which no ditch is provided, and pedestrians must wade the mud to the west side with no crosswalk or wade around the water north- or southbound.
    On Third Street the city has planked the street in front of the Medford Lumber Company's place for a distance of about 100 feet. Also two sets of planking in the form of bridges over muddy places have been put in at the corner of Third and Fir. The same has been done at Sixth and Holly.
    At one point a short distance south of West Jackson the sewer company did not care to remove its ditching machine for the small amount of work to be done, attempting to do the work by hand. This is left in a condition with dirt heaped and piled up that residents cannot get in or out without traveling halfway across the city in a roundabout course over a new route.
    These are only a few of the many places where the people are discommoded whenever it rains by the halfhearted work that has been undertaken by the city government.
Medford Sun, December 4, 1910, page 9


Medford Sun, January 19, 1911

    Away back in the archives of ancient history--at least some of the oldest inhabitants assert that such were the facts--the corner of Main and Grape streets was a frog pond where in the early spring time the music of the frog band was heard.
"Sky-Scraper To Be Opened," Medford Sun, December 13, 1910, page 4


Train News Agent Arrested.
    MEDFORD, Or., Jan. 10.--(Special.)--Richard Watson, a news agent on the Southern Pacific from Ashland to Portland, slept last night in the Jackson County jail at Jacksonville, charged with selling improper literature to passengers on his train. Watson was arrested yesterday afternoon by Deputy Sheriff Sandry, of Woodville, who went to Roseburg with him. While standing at the Roseburg depot with two deputy sheriffs who had arrested him, Watson took into his head to escape and jumped on a passenger train bound north, just as it was pulling out. The train was moving swiftly. One of the deputies was formerly a railroad brakeman and, taking in the situation, he swung onto the last coach and entered the train.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 11, 1911, page 4



TIRED OF RAFTS ON MISTLETOE
Artistically Inclined Feminine Resident Begs for Gondolas--
Request of Street Commissioner
    A lady of somewhat aesthetic temperament telephoned to this office yesterday from her home on Mistletoe Street and expressed a wish that The Sun use its influence to dissuade the street commissioner from constructing and launching the rafts that were lining the improved wharves of that thoroughfare during the freshet of yesterday.
    "We are tired of rafts--let us have gondolas," said the artistic-minded fair one, "and have a real Venice here; not a mere imitation."
    "We agree with you," replied The Sun. "You are entitled to gondolas, and it is fortunate, too, that the street commissioner, who understands the needs of the city, has been reappointed that he may complete the grand work he has started. No doubt he feels with the expression of confidence that his reappointment conveys he will have more spirit to complete his ambitions for the improvements and cleanliness of Medford's highways. You shall have the gondolas, and our good offices are with you. We believe the street commissioner will grant your wish with enthusiasm born of loyalty to the welfare of the citizens of Mistletoe, the Venice of America."
Medford Sun, January 20, 1911, page 2


NOISY NOISE ANNOYS MANY RESIDENTS
    If a petition filed this morning with City Recorder Robert W. Telfer by residents and property holders in the vicinity of the Parkview Hotel at 123 South Holly Street meets with favor in the eyes of the city council at their next meeting the proprietor of that hostelry will be forced to devise some new means for apprising his boarders of the fact that their provender awaits their onslaught.
    The modus operandi at present in vogue at the Parkview consists of beating a large iron triangle with a large iron bar. This instrument, described in the petition as one of torture, is suspended from a tree in front of the hotel and regularly, three times a day, is caused to vibrate with unholy results by repeated whacks with the iron bar in the hands of a more enthusiastic than talented performer. At such times as the triangle shows signs of indisposition a large and discordant tin disk is substituted for it and, the petition alleges, whenever one of the boarders is known to have strayed out of earshot of one or the other of them, a duet is the result.
    The time required for the rendition of each of the three numbers of the daily program rarely exceeds one minute but, asserting "that the nature of this nuisance is extremely loud, highly disagreeable and nerve-wracking," and that as the proprietor of the hotel has failed to heed previous protests, the petitioners request that the council order the chief of police to put a stop to it.
Medford Mail Tribune weekly, February 2, 1911, page 3


MOVE THE RAILROAD
    The disgraceful condition of the Southern Pacific right of way through Medford is an argument for the removal of the tracks to Bear Creek and the utilization of the idle land for business purposes.
    Piles of lumber, tiers of cordwood, movable lunch wagons, junk piles, debris of all kinds, billboards, collapsing and flimsily constructed shacks and warehouses make this stretch of the most valuable business property in the city an eyesore to the community.
Excerpt, Medford Mail Tribune, February 7, 1911, page 4


MUST NOT KNOCK THE TOWN
    For several hours yesterday The Sun was hesitating. Hesitate and you are lost. The cause of the hesitation was to decide whether or not it would be safe to publish an editorial about the streets, fearing that to do so would "knock the town." It was while in this state of doubt that the worthy street commissioner of Medford beat us to it and cleaned up a block and a half of Main Street from the railway tracks east. He got busy with his nozzles and the way he went at that slumgullion was a caution. You never saw a fodder chopper that tore things up like the street commissioner did, and the beauty of it is that he once more saved the good name of Medford, for otherwise it would have been published broadcast that the streets were the dirtiest they ever were, and it would have "hurt the town."
    Things like that should never be published, for they "hurt the town." That is why The Sun never mentions the subject. For instance, it would not do now to say that Main Street east and west of where the mighty street commissioner left off is ten times muddier than ever it was, nor that North and South Central are the worst that any pavement ever came in contact with--but don't mention it, for it will hurt the town.
    Only yesterday a thoroughbred knocker called at the Sun office. He was treated most courteously and had no right to knock the town. All that was done to him here was to talk to him and to take the small change he had in his fingers, and he was supposed to be a gentleman, but when he went out the door he asked his question:
    "Why don't you plant fish in your lake out in front?"
    "Well, the horses keep wading through there and killing 'em off," was the sad reply.
    So it has been for the winter. Every time the fish get a good start the horses had to trample them underfoot, and if nobody else it was Weeks and McGowan's blacks drawing the hearse. The fish have had a hard time of it. Besides, they were in dire fright at one time that the street commissioner was going to drain the lake and leave the fish high and dry in the dust.
    But let's don't talk about it further; it will hurt the town. Besides, it was put up to the people January 10 and they voted for a continuation of the past and present progressive policy, which includes the streets. As the Evening Apologist once remarked, "The people are to blame. It was put up to them and they voted for it."
    To make a long story short, don't knock the town.
Medford Sun, February 18, 1911, page 2


IDLE GOSSIP
By The Loafer

    Believe me, a sleeping porch is something fine.
    I tried one for the first time the other night. There is no better place to hear the roosters crow. And Medford has some population of chanticleers, believe me.
    I would like to know the leader. He is always on the job. Sometimes he starts the orchestra at 11 p.m. and sometimes at 1 a.m. But whenever he starts there are always two or three concerts before the fanfare at sunrise.
    It's nice, lying there and listening to the poultry yard symphony. It makes one feel like a country gentleman, proud owner of a flourishing hen factory. And then the dogs.
    There is something very interesting about the nocturnal canine howl. Not in itself, but in trying to find out what sort of a dog is doing the damage. Is it a St. Charles spaniel, or a setter, a bulldog or a dachshund? Try the game the next time you try the sleeping porch. It's better than watching sheep jump over a fence or counting to one thousand to make you forget that you are awake.
    Then the sunrise--how poetic! So few people who sleep indoors know what a sunrise is. But on a sleeping porch!
    Yes, a sleeping porch is simply g-r-a-n-d--if you don't want to sleep.
Medford Sun, June 1, 1911, page 4


TWO YEAR OLD TOT SEES CITY
CAPTURES THE HEART OF A BIG POLICEMAN
Dirty Little Midget and Monstrous
"Billy da Cop" Make Sight Fit for the Gods.
    While her foster parents were looking everywhere for her, little two-year-old Meda Hartwell was trotting serenely down the main street of Medford holding to a finger of Big Bill Hall, the cop, with one hand and with the other placing an ice cream cone to her lips with great frequency.
    Meda opened the gate of her home at 444 North Grape Street, where she lives with Mrs. M. F. Hurst, and, darting a glance around, "beat" it off up town to take in the sights. "Billy da Cop" discovered her sauntering leisurely between the legs of horses and past speeding automobiles and he rescued her and stood treats. During her sojourn in the city Meda had picked up enough mud to pave an ordinary street and the beating sun dried it with an awe-inspiring effect. Wholly unmindful of the incongruity of her appearance alongside the enforcer of ordinances and city law, the little tot enjoyed a pleasant afternoon and kicked something fierce when she found out that she was to be taken home.
    The child could not talk, and Patrolman Hall was left in a rather serious predicament until he heard of the frantic searches of the friends of the little one and was able to locate her home.
Medford Sun, July 16, 1911, page 3


WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH CITY SANITATION?
Report of Medford Club Shows Needed Reforms
    The following report made by the ladies of the Greater Medford Club shows that the only thing the matter with Medford in the way of sanitation is carelessness. The people of Medford could make the city an ideal place if they would start to clean up the back yards, garbage receptacles and insist that the stores or restaurants they patronize are complying with city ordinances. Below is the report in full:
    In view of the amount of surface to be drained and the possibility of very heavy rains during the winter, 1.59 miles of storm sewers would appear to be wholly inadequate for the needs of the city.
    The danger of overflowing from the mains might be very considerable.
Alleys
    We find alleys in the city, especially in the business district, to be very generally neglected. Quantities of highly inflammable material, constituting a fire menace, have been allowed to accumulate in unsightly heaps along alleys--noticeably in the region directly back of the new First National Bank, back of the row of saloons and restaurants on South Front Street and also along the alley adjoining North Central Avenue with Bartlett Street, between the Medford Pharmacy and Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company.
Contagious Diseases
    We find that according to the city health officer, Dr. R. W. Stearns, there are many cases of violation of section 5 of Ordinance No. 129, relative to the reporting of contagious diseases. Two supposedly reputable physicians refuse to report such cases to the health officer, and there are many other cases of neglect of this important duty.
Garbage
    We have found specific violations of Ordinance No. 319 providing that "Every person conducting or running a restaurant and other places in the city of Medford where the public are supplied with food shall maintain at all times a garbage can or cans, holding not more than twenty gallons, which shall be constructed of metal and shall be water tight and fitted with air-tight lid, and said can shall at all times be kept securely covered with said lid, except when being filled and emptied." Then follows a list of violations among restaurants. No fault is found with the sanitary conditions of any restaurant or hotel kitchens, merely with the garbage repositories.
Condition of Toilets
    The following brief reports on this subject were submitted for compilation by the several members of the inspection committee:
    The following report includes the sanitary survey of the business portion of the city on the south side of Main Street from Central to Holly, and the streets intersecting that side of Main Street.
    I found all places in this district connected with the sewer either directly or indirectly, in some cases the firms of adjoining buildings being obliged to use the same toilet. While I found some buildings where the toilets were kept in a wholesome, sanitary condition, by being cleaned daily, many of them had little or no care, and were consequently very unsanitary and obnoxious, thus forming the most favorable breeding place for flies and typhoid germs.
    On Main Street between Central Avenue and Holly Street I found things in a very sanitary condition excepting the insufficiency of toilets in each building. Some of the stores have no toilets and the employees are obliged to go next door or farther away.
    A chicken house was used for slaughtering fowl, and there was a receptacle or depository for the entrails and all refuse made by dressing fowls for sale. The odor was unspeakable and this whole group of back buildings which is in the most crowded part of the business section was the worst thing that came under my notice.
B. G. CLARK
Plumbing
    This ordinance provides "No person or persons shall within the corporate limits of the city of Medford erect or maintain or suffer to be erected or maintained upon premises owned by him, her or them, any privy or cesspool upon any lot or parcel of land abutting upon any street in which there has been constructed and is being maintained a public sewer.
    Sufficient of the city was covered in the following reports from the several members of the committee as was deemed necessary for indicating the general percentage of violations of this ordinance herein referred to and for the purpose such as were deemed typical districts of the city were chosen for the survey.
    Having been assigned to investigate the sanitary condition of Jackson and North Roosevelt, I submit the following report:
    On West Jackson Street there are four houses which have outside privies and no connection with the sewer.
    On North Roosevelt Avenue there are four houses which have privies.
B. Y. CLARK
    The sanitary conditions embodied in this report were made during March 1912.
    In general I might say that the southwest portion of the city, approximately between West Tenth Street and South Hamilton, inclusive, has been very indifferently considered by the city authorities having the matter in charge. For example, West Tenth, west from Hamilton, has neither sewer nor water. While Hamilton, south from Eleventh, has water but no sewer.
    The following lists will show how the sewer ordinance demanding connection has been taken care of.
    On West Ninth Street between Orange and Hamilton, six houses are not connected with sewer.
    On 11th Street between Hamilton and Oakdale Avenue, seven houses are not connected with the sewer.
    One small square between Tenth Street and Eleventh Street, Hamilton and Plum streets, has eight outside toilets and four barns. An A1 camping place for flies. Sewer and water are in on Eleventh Street but nowhere else. It should be put in that block at the end of West Eleventh Street.
    One street in the west end of town, Benson, has sewer in but no water. Weaver tract at end of West Tenth Street and Eleventh Street is rented quite extensively to campers. No provision is made for sanitation of any kind. Nine houses in this section have no sewer connection.
EDNA H. DAVIDSON
    Fourteen houses on North Central Avenue have not yet been connected with the sewer.
    Eight houses on Fourth Avenue West are unconnected.
Public Schools Unsanitary
    Inspection of plumbing in the public schools makes known unsanitary plumbing in all schools save the high school. At the Washington, conditions are bad to the degree of constituting an actual menace. Moreover, the toilets at the Washington School stand open to public use. Ordinary janitor attention should at least be equal to keeping school toilets clean. That there is very great need of more thorough plumbing inspection is very obvious, and the inspector should be a competent man, thoroughly awake to his responsibilities. Thorough enforcement of the sanitary ordinances will go a long way toward making typhoid fever  thing of the past in Medford.
Ice Cream Depots
    We find that no ice cream shop in the city is equipped with any modern apparatus for sterilizing implements for preparing or the receptacles of ice cream. We found the candy and ice cream kitchens to be only ordinarily "kitchen clean," as housewives understand it.
    Conditions surrounding the preparation of ice cream should be carefully investigated and supervised on account of danger of ptomaine in dirty receptacles and unsanitary surroundings.
Protection of Foods
    Section 10 of Ordinance No. 130 is openly violated. This section states: "It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to carry, convey or haul through, or upon, the public streets or alleys of the city of Medford any fresh meats of any kind, or any fresh fruits or any fresh vegetables of any kind, offered for sale or intended for sale within the limits of the city of Medford, unless the same shall be securely covered, so as to be protected from flies, dust or any unwholesome matter."
    Meat is daily carried through the streets and alleys without covering from dust and flies. Section No. 20 of Ordinance No. 129 is alike ignored. Foodstuffs such as dates, figs, candied figs, and honey are exposed to flies in practically all groceries in the city where they are offered for sale.
    It would seem to be apparent that a more adequate food inspection is greatly needed.
City Water Supply
    This is most plentiful and with frequent analysis and attention could be kept in an exceptionally wholesome condition.
    In the hope that the foregoing data may prove of use and even value to the city authorities, and in the spirit of full cooperation, the above is made.
    Respectfully submitted,
    THE GREATER MEDFORD CLUB
        By Inspection Committee,
        Mable H. Parsons, Chairman.
Medford Sun, May 12, 1912, page 8


DEMAND THAT CITY ALLEYS BE CLEANED
    An insistent demand is being made in the city that the city officials take steps to have the alleys throughout the city cleaned. At present a large number of alleys are in a frightful condition, being most unsanitary. Some of them not only are unsightly, but smell unto high heaven, due to a custom of filling garbage cans with refuse and leaving it there until it decays.
    For some time action on the part of residents has been planned, but not until now has this sentiment crystallized. A demand will be made in the near future to have the city officials enforce sanitary regulations in the various alleys.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 10, 1912, page 6


SUFFRAGETTE MEETING DRAWS LARGE CROWD
    B. F. Mulkey spoke at the suffragette meeting at Haymarket Square on Friday evening. Mr. Mulkey spoke well for the cause, and his speech was a brilliant one. The Andrews and Burgess quartet sang three selections, and at the close of the address two more selections were given. Tonight at the same place Mayor R. G. Smith of Grants Pass will speak of women's rights.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 2, 1912, page 8



When the Medford Opera House burned to the ground, the Medford Sun commented:
It's the first time the opera house was ever overheated.
Medford Sun, October 12, 1912, page 1


Will the City Council Please Answer?
Medford, Ore., Oct. 6, 1913.      
To the Editor:
    A few things we would like to know:
    1. Why the city authorities don't have some of the vacant lots and parkings burned off before the rainy season begins and stop the danger of fire to a great extent, besides destroying bushels of weed seeds?
    2. Why they allowed the steel rails [for the trolley line] to be laid in the gutters, so long before they will be used, to catch the filth and dirt and breed disease?
    3. Why they don't put in a filter at the intake or somewhere along the line, as other cities have done, thereby giving us purer and better water to use?
    4. Why the men on the police force don't wear their uniforms anymore? They are a very nice-looking bunch--with the exception of three or four--when they dress like policemen, but otherwise look punk.
    5. And last, but not least, how the city of Medford can afford to hire two street commissioners to look after three workmen; if they have money to throw away, better give it to someone that needs it.
        Respectfully,
                E. H. H.    [E. H. Hoag?]
Medford Mail Tribune, October 7, 1913, page 4


    Stop, look, listen! Did you hear that bell? It is the Newtown Bakery wagon. You will have to hurry.

"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, March 14, 1914, page 5



OLD SPARROW MISSING FROM HIS USUAL HAUNTS
    An old sparrow who had been loafing in front of Ritter's confectionery store for years, eating scraps from the peanut roaster, has disappeared, and fears are expressed that he has met with foul play, or is very sick. He has not shown up since Sunday, and as he was fixed in his habits, there are grounds to worry. All his mates are on the job. He was chiefly distinguished from them by a white tail feather and was not afraid of man or automobile. It was his custom to roost under a machine, and when a peanut dropped, run out and grab the morsel from under feet. There is the hope that he is busy doing the spring nest cleaning.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 7, 1914, page 6


    The smudging operations throughout the valley Wednesday morning were so heavy that the business district was covered by a haze at sunup. At 3 o'clock lights of automobiles did not penetrate the murkiness over half a block. Window curtains and the hair of dogs suffered most when the smudge began to settle.

"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, April 29, 1914, page 2


    There is not a light-haired dog in the valley that does not show the effects of the recent smudging, the soot settling upon them as they go chasing through the grass.

"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, April 30, 1914, page 2


    Complaint has been filed that joy riders whoop and yell nightly through the residence district, not to mention violation of the speed ordinance.

"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, August 26, 1914, page 2


    Complaint has been made to the police again that stock is being allowed to run at large in the resident districts trampling down lawns and destroying shrubbery.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, February 26, 1915, page 2



COMMUNICATION.
To the Editor:
    Public drinking fountains installed by the city are placed at convenient heights and at readily accessible places for the purpose of obtaining a good, wholesome drink of running water. By their very nature, they should continue to stay sanitary. But this, of late, cannot long remain if certain conditions are not rectified. By this I mean the habit of an individual's coming up to the fountain, rinsing and cleansing his mouth of foreign objects near to or directly over the drinking jet. It may not in all cases serve to infect the frame of the fountain, but it is decidedly offensive for a woman or any person, for all that, of good habits to approach and drink at the same fountain immediately after.
    Then there is the habit of several persons, talking business or otherwise, of leaning against the fountain, speaking of those built of brick as the one on the Medford National Bank corner [Main and Central]. The clothing of these persons may be scrupulously clean, and again it may not. It is disagreeable in no small degree to request certain men to move aside, and either drink amid jesting and clouds of smoke, or to do without a drink at that fountain.
    In the interest of the whole community, individually and collectively, an observation of these conditions, and a careful endeavor upon the part of the citizens to prevent them, will tend to give the public a drink of cool, clear running water in an undisturbed manner.
E. C. F.           
Medford Mail Tribune, September 7, 1915, page 4

   
    Two west side women were en route to the Page [theater] last evening when a hand organ operated by a mendicant at the corner of Main and Front streets began to grind out a tune. "Oh hear the high school band play," remarked one of the women. "There’s a basket ball game tonight, you know."
“Local and Personal,” Medford Mail Tribune, January 15, 1921, page 2


FIND LOST GIRL BEHIND A COOKIE
    While Mrs. Lewis Jenkins was busy shopping yesterday afternoon in the Hutchison & Lumsden store, her three-year-old daughter wandered away from her side and started out to see the sights. Later when she was missed and could not be found the frantic mother started out to enlist the services of Chief of Police Timothy to reunite the family.
    The chief was just turning away from the street phone police box in front of the Chamber of Commerce building, where he had been summoned by the flashing of the red light to receive a message which he could not get exactly right, but pertained to something to a little girl and the Economy Groceteria, when he was stopped by the frantic mother, who started to tell her story.
    "Little girl gone and--just jump in my auto here with me," said the chief. "The Groceteria just phoned me something about a girl which I did not understand. We'll go down there."
    As the chief's car drove up in front Wm. Gates was seen coming out of the store carrying the girl, who had her features hidden behind a large cookie. Mother and daughter caught sight of each other and both began to cry with joy at the same time.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 14, 1922, page 8


    Mrs. Mary E. Lozier requests that it be printed that the fence built by Homer Pellett is between a lot owned by herself and husband, John D. Lozier, and not owned by Mrs. Lozier, individual, as inferred in a previous article. The fence, eight feet high, was erected between the houses at 509 and 511 South Central Avenue. Mrs. Lozier lives in the dwelling at 511 South Central. The other house is unoccupied. Pellett lives in a house 200 feet away. Quite a few people have driven past the alleged "spite fence" to see it, and it continues the sole topic of conversation in the neighborhood. Legal developments over the fence are expected to break out next week, as both sides of the fence have retained counsel.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, June 16, 1923, page 2


    Last Saturday night Herman Abramson of San Francisco gave a three-hour recital on an ordinary saw at the Medford Furniture & Hardware store before a very large and enthusiastic crowd. He used an Atkins silver steel carpenter saw which produced wonderful tones. This was a rare treat for the large crowd present.
Bliss Heine, "Medford News," Central Point American, October 15, 1926, page 6


    The reminiscent oldtimer will easily recall, and not without a few tender thoughts of the "good old days," the Medford of twenty and thirty years ago. Behind the curtain of years is a vivid picture of Main Street, muddy and soggy with the rain of early spring and late fall, which gripped the wheels of buggies and the sturdy hoofs of horses like Tanglefoot grips the unsuspecting fly.
    The hitching rack was the center of many friendly gatherings and heated political debates. "Would McKinley be elected?" and "What was Garfield's stand on the tariff?" In the saloons, which were the popular rendezvous for many Medfordites of 20 or more years ago, and on the old Nash Hotel corner the Spanish-American war was fought with many a verbal skirmish and bombardment from sturdy-lunged soapbox orators.
    Indians from the Fort Klamath country came to Medford to buy their supplies and tarry in Medford on their way to Huckleberry Mountain, lending color to the Medford of those days. Horse races down Medford's main street were not uncommon events, while the cattle rustler, long since deposed by today's bootlegger, kept the sheriff and posse in the saddle.
"Brief History of Old-Time Medford Firms Given," Medford Mail Tribune, September 29, 1930, page 8


Not Selling Apples
    A familiar figure in front of the Chamber of Commerce building since last December, selling apples, L. C. Calkins has not made his appearance at his post for the past two days, possibly due to decrease in sales and arrival of warmer weather. There were several apple vendors in December and January, but they gradually gave up their endeavors, leaving the entire field to Mr. Calkins.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 8, 1931, page 2


ATTACKS JUNK YARDS
To the Editor:
    I am proud of my home town, Medford. It is a beautiful little city. It is as clean as the average town, probably cleaner, morally, spiritually, physically, and civicly. But I believe we are sitting quietly by and letting our front-door yards be cluttered up with old junk heaps that mar the beauty of our little city.
    What sort of an impression will the tourist get of our city as he passes through if the first and last things he sees are junk yards? True, these junk heaps are outside the city limits, but cannot the city or civic clubs bring pressure to bear on the county and state to regulate such unsightly things?
    [omission] to forbid junk yards within 200 feet of the main highways and within a mile of any civic center?
    The whole of our little suburb Berrydale is damaged by the junk yard in its very center. What damages our suburbs damages Medford also.
    Why do not the citizens of Medford and vicinity rise up in righteous indignation against the junk yards at our very door? Let us get busy through publicity and otherwise and rid our front door yards of such nuisances.
A Taxpayer.       
Medford News, January 5, 1932, page 4


SHAMEFUL SITUATION
Open Your Eyes, Ye Wets and Drys
    I wonder if either the wets or drys realize to what state of affairs the liquor problem has come to. When girls and boys of teen age bring liquor in bottles to our city park and there carry on most shamefully, in fact too shamefully to write in words, finally carrying one girl off too drunk to stand and chucked her into a car, departing in haste. All this in broad daylight on a recent Sunday about noon. Police patrol is badly needed in the park.
    Writer an eyewitness.
                        Name on File
Medford News, July 30, 1937, page 2



    South Front Street has long been a sickening sore on Medford's otherwise fair face. Derelicts, human dregs, winos, prostitutes hang out there, and it has become a breeding place for immorality . . . . It is true that hardly a day passes that police do not lead some babbling, staggering drunk from that district to the city pokey, to sober up, and at night the number increases. It is also true that what Medford has of that sort of disgraceful condition is pretty well confined to that area. But it still doesn't mean that the condition should get as bad as it has there.
    The city police have confined Medford's scum to that specific district. They must be credited with that. But we believe a closer check should be made on just what goes on in that district and how drunk a man or woman must get before being trotted off to the can to sober up.
    If the tavern operators on Front Street do not tighten the reins and clean up their own houses, then the city officials are certainly going to do it for them, and the public in Medford is going to demand such action forcefully. Things have gone just about as far as they can go. They have gone further than there was any excuse for them to go. It is a disgrace that such conditions have existed, and now is the time to do something about it.
    When, right in the center of a city, a street such as South Front can become so bad that even ordinary drunks won’t go there, it's getting out of line. For a long time it has been a street that a man certainly wouldn't want his wife or children to walk down during the late afternoon or evening. And there isn't any sense in that.

"Clean Up South Front," Medford Sun, April 25, 1949, page 4



Last revised March 12, 2015