The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1886

Central Point--Jacksonville and the Bountiful Surrounding Country.

    Perhaps there is no place in Southern Oregon more prominent in variegated beauty of hills, mountains and plain than the view from Central Point, Jackson County. To the east can be seen Mt. McLoughlin, half covered with snow, and following down from its loftiest peak, the lesser spurs of the Rogue River mountains are seen jetting down, down to the beautiful and fertile plains which constitute the Rogue River Valley, while to the northwest looms up the Siskiyous, which are now also partly clothed in snow. This, in contrast with the valley teeming with thousands of grain fields almost ready to don the harvest hue, is a scene not only beautiful but one which leaves the impression that the sturdy hand of the husbandman has not been derelict in bringing into fruitful requisition the natural advantages so hospitably provided by a generous Providence.
    We are glad to know the people of Central Point are putting forth an effort to make their town correspond with the surrounding country (which is a vast one) contiguous to it. In an article in this paper heretofore we have taken occasion to contemplate its future, and give to the outside world an idea of what people can and will do under adverse circumstances. It must be admitted that no town ever started under such a pressure of opposition as Central Point--opposed by the railroad company, who have from the start refused to give them the advantages of a depot and convenient sidetrack; opposed by all her sister towns and denied the privilege of favorable argument in behalf of public facilities looking to its future benefit by its own county press; yet in the fact of all this the people are going right along and the town is building up, backed by the people of the largest and wealthiest portion of Jackson County--an area of country extending from near Willow Springs on one side of the railroad to Big Butte Creek on the other, a distance of probably over thirty miles, covering the most productive agricultural portion of the county.
    What will make Central Point a town? some ask. We will endeavor to answer by saying that it will become the greatest shipping point of agricultural products on the line of the O.&C. road in Jackson County. The productions of Big and Little Butte creeks and a large portion of Sams Valley must come to it, besides those in its immediate vicinity and from towards Jacksonville. The large warehouse and cleaner already provided substantiate our predictions in this direction. There is also every reason to believe that a large flouring mill will soon be another addition to the enterprises of Rogue River Valley, and that it will be located at Central Point. With the above enumeration of facts, the ones upon which the people who are already there have considered sufficient to invest their capital on in the erection of business houses, stocks of goods and other enterprises, we see no reason to doubt the future importance of the place as one of the leading towns in Southern Oregon.
    In consideration of the many kind friends the Courier enjoys at the county seat, it is not flattery when we say it gives us great pleasure to visit this beautiful town with its nicely shaded streets, fine dwellings and business houses, an evidence of wealth, good taste and enterprise. Away back in the past, when excitement enlivened the populace in the discovery of rich "diggings," the town was more noted than now. In those days, when an ounce of gold dust was not worth more than a sack of flour, and a pick, pan and shovel were the principal, in fact the only, implements used in the development of the county, it was then that Jacksonville seen its palmiest days and became one of the wealthiest towns in Oregon; in fact the town is built on an immense deposit of the "precious." Mining has been its chief support and is yet to a great extent one of the principal sources of its revenue.
    The ride from Central Point to Jacksonville at this time is extremely pleasant, passing by some of the finest farms in the county, all giving evidence of thrift and prosperity, judging from the fine residences, stock and other substantial improvements. Especially attractive are the farms of Hon. T. F. Beall, now deceased, R. V. Beall, George M. Love, Col. J. E. Ross, M. Hanley, the Ish farm, and the property of Wm. Bybee and others.
    At Jacksonville we find a whole lot of wide-awake, liberal business and professional men, a large number of whom are our patrons, and gentlemen who merit the most favorable mention in their different occupations. The legal profession is ably represented in the persons of Hon. J. R. Webster, who on Monday last was chosen his own successor, after serving a term by appointment and one by election--a compliment liberally bestowed by his constituents. Hon. P. P. Prim and Hon. H. K. Hanna are both ex-judges and excellent men, as are also Messrs. Kahler, Kelly, Neal and Kent, the latter gentleman having been twice elected district attorney. Mr. William Colvig, the prosecuting attorney-elect, will also, we believe, add brilliancy to Jackson County's excellent bar.
    The schools of Jacksonville are among the best in the state. For several terms they were under the principalship of Prof. J. W. Merritt, now one of the leading mercantile men of the place. The high school is now under an able management and is progressing finely.
    The churches of the different denominations are equally creditable with the institutions of learning--their respective pulpits being filled with able advocates of the different faiths.
    Mr. William Kahler, father of our friend C. W. Kahler, Esq., who has been sick for some time, is improving.
    Dr. C. Lempert makes a specialty of eye and ear diseases. Persons afflicted in this direction should consult him.
Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, June 11, 1886, page 2


    The counties of Jackson, Josephine, Coos, Curry, Lake and Klamath form what is commonly known as Southern Oregon. It comprises the lake region to the east of Jackson,the valley of Rogue River, the Umpqua and the Coquille rivers, and a vast domain lying south of the Calapooia spur and north of the California line. Whether we speak of Southern Oregon as a stock, fruit, grain, timber or mineral region, it is equal to any other part of the state. In many respects--fruit and corn for instance--this section is unmatched in the state or on the Pacific Coast. The whole domain will stand the closest examination of the immigrant who comes to find opportunity for building up a profitable business and permanent home.
    The climate of Southern Oregon is its strong point; the healthfulness of the section in comparison with other parts of the state or with other states presents it in a most favorable light. The soil is fertile and prolific. Anything that will thrive in a semi-tropical climate will grow here and attain a degree of perfection unknown elsewhere. Southern Oregon is a very empire, the pride of every citizen there, and containing within itself all the elements of prosperity; the very place for new homes, new energy, new industries.
    It is not easy for a person to form a correct idea of Jackson County without visiting it, and even then a hasty tour, although instructive, is apt to be misleading in many particulars, unless accompanied by the closest observations and the most diligent inquiry. It is a land of novelties. In topography, climate, water, soil and products, it has its own peculiar character. There is a strange commingling of mountains and plains, hills and valleys, gardens and deserts; and their unusual and unexpected combinations are ever ready to interest the intelligent observer and confuse the careless sightseer. Climate and seasons are unlike anything known in the states east of the Rocky Mountains. The great differences of soil in the same neighborhood, and often on the same farm, render any description made, otherwise than in detail, vague and unsatisfactory.
    Bounded north by Douglas, east by Lake, and south by California, it contains an area of about 4,100 square miles, and fully one-half of its surface is comprised within the Rogue River Valley and the valleys tributary to it. Jackson is, by many, termed the garden spot of the Pacific Coast, because of its excellent climate, its beautiful scenery, and the richness and great variety of its productions. It is eight townships or forty-eight miles wide, east and west, with an average of nine townships, or fifty-four miles, north and south. This area contains 2,592 square miles or, in other words, 1,658,880 acres. Of this amount, 278,000 acres are in cultivation, which can be enlarged to a total of 500,000 acres or more. Dividing the 1,658,880 acres into three parts, one-third is arable land, one-third grazing, and one-third timber land. The arable land comprises the valley, table and rolling hill lands.
    It has neither the humidity of the Willamette nor the excessive heat or drought of the Sacramento Valley, but maintains an equable temperature, a kind of happy medium between the two. Besides its mines, fruit, vegetables and grain, it is particularly famous for its fine stock, especially horses. From the first there seems to have been a rivalry among the stock raisers of Rogue River Valley for the improvement of all breeds.
    Rogue River Valley is a most beautiful one, dotted here and there with groves of oak, intermingled with evergreen, covered all over with well-cultivated farms and excellent improvements. The summits of the highest mountains to the east and south are covered with everlasting snow, while in the valley snow seldom falls at all. Thousands of streams come tumbling down the mountainsides to beautify and enrich the valley below.
    The great diversity of soils and the admixture of the elements composing one class of soil with those of another grade render it exceedingly difficult, in the space at our command, to describe it so that one not acquainted with its peculiarities and the climatic influences can form a rational conclusion concerning its merits. The soil of all sections of country seems to be adapted to the climate, or the climate to the soil. These conditions seem to be admirably adjusted here. There is no frost to loosen up or pulverize the mineral elements, but this work is done by chemical action caused by the admixture found in nearly every grade of soil. Nothing more astonishes the novice than the crops found growing on lands which appear to him as worthless.
    The same widespread variety of soils manifests itself in the products. Take, for instance, any of the valley farms, and on all of them you may grow, with a reasonable amount of industry, all that is necessary for the support of man or beast, including fruits from the semi-tropical to the most hardy varieties. Couple to this the fact that crops never fail, that houses or other improvements are never molested by wind or storms, that the climate is mild, invigorating and healthy, and you will have a fair conception of nature's works to the wants of man who makes his home in this valley.
    The mildness of the climate and the absence of any prevailing disease among stock makes this an inviting field for stock growers. Very few persons furnish shelter for their stock in winter. In the valley, where it is more densely settled and the native grass more exhausted, more hay for winter feeding or more tame pasturage is required. Some of the best horses ever grown on the Pacific Coast were the product of this country. Stock of all kinds have always commanded good prices.
    The county seat is Jacksonville, a delightful town of considerable importance, about five miles to the west of the railroad. It has two newspapers, a large number of mercantile establishments, excellent schools, churches, a $40,000 courthouse and other attractions. The other principal towns are Medford, a new town on the railroad near the center of the valley, of rapid growth and great promise. Phoenix, also on the railroad, and Ashland, the present terminus of the Oregon and California road, and the most considerable town in Southern Oregon. It has a college, woolen factory, marble factory, two cabinet factories, a large flouring mill, newspaper, two excellent public schools, a bank does a large commercial business with the surrounding country, and with the Lake County across the mountains. Ashland Creek flows through the town and furnishes an excellent water power and an abundance of water for irrigation and domestic purposes.
Oregon As It Is, State Board of Immigration, Portland, October 1886, pages 52-54

Last revised August 20, 2016