The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Jackson County 1912

(Jacksonville, County Seat.)
    Jackson County lies in what is known as the Rogue River Valley in the southwestern part of the state. It is bounded on the north by Douglas, on the west by Josephine, on the east by Klamath counties, and on the south by California. The population is 25,756; of these 89 percent are United States born; of the foreign 11 percent about one-fourth are German; the remaining three-fourths are made up principally of Canadians, English, Irish, Scandinavians and Austrians. The total area of the county is 1,779,662 acres. There are 50,191 acres unappropriated and unreserved, of which 47,946 acres are surveyed and 2,245 acres are unsurveyed. Of the assessed appropriated land 128,500 acres are cultivated and 1,076,601 are uncultivated. Cultivated land is worth on an average of $68.40 per acre, and uncultivated land $12.30. The total value of taxable property in the county is $38,027,086. The surface is level, rolling and mountainous. The rock formation in the western part is pre-Cretaceous; in the eastern part it is a combination of Cretaceous and Eocene. The natural forest growth consists principally of  yellow and sugar pine and fir. Fruit of all kinds, especially peaches, apples and pears, have been found to grow well on this soil, which is rich in all the essential chemicals. It is likely to be a very lasting soil. Its first need will probably be phosphoric acid. The soil is black and deep, ranging from ten inches to several feet. The subsoil is hard and white. The sugar beet, hemp, onions, sorghum and strawberries should grow well on this soil. The soil in the immediate vicinity of the valley consists of successive alluvial deposits of different geological periods and is very rich. Rogue River and its branches furnish excellent water power for milling purposes. The fuel used is wood and costs from $4 to $6 per cord. There are several mineral springs with good curative qualities in the county. The leading industry is farming. Lumbering is carried on extensively. There are seven sawmills, three saw and planing mills, one box factory, [and] five planing mills, employing in all 86 skilled men at a daily wage of $3.25; 100 unskilled men at a daily wage of $2.25; two women at a daily wage of about $1.15. Mining is also an important industry. There are sixteen gold quartz mines yielding ore valued at $24.15 per ton, a number of placer mines, five asphalt mines, two copper mines yielding 30 percent ore, one iron mine, also quantities of asbestos, quicksilver and building stone. Among the industrial plants of the county are found brick yards, breweries, creameries, cold storages, electric light, flour and feed, fruit canneries, laundries, machine shops, printing, soda water and water power, employing in all 115 skilled men at a daily wage of about $3.75, and 158 unskilled men at a daily wage of about $2.25. The roads are in good condition. The climate is mild and congenial. The mean temperature during the spring months is 50.5 degrees, summer 61.1 degrees, fall 56.4 degrees, and winter 42.7 degrees. The mean precipitation during the spring months is 2.64 inches, summer 1.34 inches, fall 1.43 inches, and winter 4.21 inches. About 75 percent of the Rogue River Valley has been put under irrigation.
Fifth Biennial Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Inspector of Factories and Workshops of the State of Oregon from October 1, 1910 to September 30, 1912,
Oregon State Printing Department, 1913, page 131

    South Central Oregon; Rogue River Valley.
    County Seat--Jacksonville.
    Population--25,756; 89% American born. Of the foreign born one-fourth are Germans and the remainder Canadians, English, Irish, Scandinavians and Austrians.
    Transportation--Main line of Southern Pacific traverses the county from the middle west to central southeast. The Pacific & Eastern (Northern Pacific) railroad operates from Medford, junction point with the Southern Pacific, to Butte Falls, in Cascade foothills, a distance of 35 miles. Rogue River Valley Railroad operates from Medford to Jacksonville, the county seat, 5½ miles. Klamath Lake Railroad, in extreme southeastern corner of the county, three miles.
    Water--Rogue River and its numerous tributaries drain an immense watershed
and furnish an abundant supply of water for domestic, irrigation and other purposes. Of the 235,000 hydro-horsepower available in this county, only 1,460 has been developed.
    Roads--There are 800 miles of public highways maintained by taxation and
    Timber--Natural forest growth, which is quite extensive, consists of oak, yellow and sugar pine, fir and willow.
    Minerals--Coal, asbestos, serpentine, limestone, gold, silver, copper, fire clay,
granite, marble, etc. Mineral springs, with acknowledged therapeutic properties, abound in the county, and the waters from them are extensively shipped.
    Fuel--Wood is principal fuel used and costs $4.00 to $6.00 per cord.
    Lands--Surface: Level, rolling hills and mountains. Soils: Alluvial, ranging in depth from 10 inches to several feet. In the immediate vicinity of Rogue River Valley are successive rich alluvial deposits which are particularly favorable to the raising of fruits of all kinds, especially peaches; sugar beets, hemp, onions, sorghum and strawberries also thrive. The finest quality of apples, peaches, pears and strawberries is produced in this county, which has attained an international reputation for pears and apples, which command a widespread and remunerative market. Products are marketed through the association cooperative plan, and there is a preserving and cold-storage plant in connection. Average value farm lands $90.60 per acre, cultivated and uncultivated (U.S. census 1910).
    Industries--Fruit growing is the leading industry in the valleys, but lumbering
is carried on extensively in the foothills and mining in the northern and southern portions. Products have won high awards in competitive exhibits in which they have been shown.
    Ten to 40 acres, intensified and diversified farming; 20 acres and upwards, dairying and general farming pay good dividends.
    Average daily wage for skilled labor $3.25; unskilled $2.25.
    First Southern Oregon District Agricultural Fair held at Ashland, Medford
and Grants Pass, each year in rotation.
    For information address: Ashland Commercial Club, Central Point Commercial Club, Medford Commercial Club.
    Newspapers will send copies: Weekly Valley Record, Ashland Tidings, Ashland; Weekly Herald, Weekly Globe, Central Point; Weekly News, Gold Hill; Weekly Post, Jacksonville; Weekly Sun, Daily Mail-Tribune, Rogue River Magazine, Weekly Review, Medford.
    Ashland--Altitude 1,960 feet. Population 5,020 (U.S. census 1910). Local
estimate 6,000. Division terminal on main line of Southern Pacific Railroad and special motor service between Ashland and Grants Pass, Josephine County, in Rogue River Valley. In midst of rich and fertile agricultural section and lumbering and mining district, and leading industries are fruit growing, general farming, stock raising, lumbering and mining. Country surrounding and climatic conditions especially suited to fruit growing, stock raising, dairying, poultry raising and mining. Peaches attain highest state of perfection in this section, and the product enjoys a widespread reputation. Average annual rain fall 21 inches. City has modern, improved, well lighted streets, sewerage system, fire protection, telephones, etc. Has high and graded public schools, a business and normal college and 12 churches: Baptist, Catholic, Christian, Christian Science, Congregational, Dunkard, Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist (Free), Nazarene, Presbyterian and Spirituality. Surrounding environment picturesque and hunting and fishing conditions ideal. Ashland Lithia Springs and Wagner Soda Springs are near this city. Southern Oregon Chautauqua Assembly is held here annually, also First Southern Oregon District Agricultural Fair upon alternate years with Grants Pass and Medford. City owns gravity mountain water system and electric lighting plant. The original lighting and power plant is under corporation ownership. Creamery, cannery and fruit associations. Manufactures include foundry and machine shops, ice, granite works, cement blocks, brick, shoes, etc.
    Central Point--Altitude 1,298 feet. Population 761 (U.S. census 1910). Local
estimate 1,400. On main line of Southern Pacific Railroad and in Rogue River
Valley. Principal shipping and distributing point for rich agricultural and fruit growing district and center of great alfalfa district of the valley. Packing and shipping point for many great orchards. Abundance of water for irrigation,
power and other purposes. Fruit growing is most important industry, peaches,
apples, pears, apricots, berries and grapes being the most favored varieties. In agriculture, alfalfa, potatoes, onions, melons and all varieties of garden truck are prolific producers and highly remunerative. Dairying, lumbering and mining are also important industries of this vicinity. Low altitude, with favorable climatic conditions, contribute to high state of cultivation for fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc., and early ripening season affords advantage of best market prices for products. City owns water works system and electric lighting plant owned by private parties. Has high and graded public schools and five churches: Baptist, Christian, Christian Science, Methodist Episcopal and Presbyterian. Average annual rainfall 22 inches.
    Gold Hill--Altitude 1,109 feet. Population 423 (U.S. census 1910). Local
estimate 618. On main line of Southern Pacific Railroad and on Rogue River in
Rogue River Valley. In midst of rich and fertile fruit and general farming country and surrounded by extensive forestry and mining district and the principal industries are mining, stock raising, fruit culture and farming. Water works system and electric lighting plant are owned by private parties. Has high and graded public schools and church, non-sectarian, in which all denominations hold services. Is gateway to Crater Lake, being the nearest railroad point to this great nature's wonder.
    Jacksonville--(County Seat)--Altitude 1,600 feet. Population 785 (U.S. census 1910). Is terminus of Rogue River Valley Railroad, which connects with the main line of the Southern Pacific at Medford, 5½ miles distant. In midst of excellent fruit growing district in Rogue River Valley, and fruit growing and mining are the principal industries in the early stages of development. Has high and graded public
schools and three churches; Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian. City owns
water works system, and electric lighting plant is under private ownership.
    Medford--Altitude 1,337 feet. Population 8,840 (U.S. census 1910). Local estimate 10,500. On main line of Southern Pacific Railroad, western terminus of Pacific & Eastern, which taps great timber belt in upper Rogue River district, and terminus of Rogue River Valley Railroad, with daily 10-train service to Jacksonville, the county seat. In midst of extensive and exceedingly fertile section of Rogue River Valley, especially adapted to fruit raising, particularly apples, pears, peaches and small fruits, and to dairying and general farming. Mining is also an important industry in the near vicinity. Exhibits of products, including fruits in carload lots, have been awarded first prizes at leading apple shows of the West for three consecutive years. City owns gravity water works system, and electric lighting plant is under private ownership. Streets improved with hard-surfaced pavement, well lighted, and city has good sewer system and cement sidewalks. Has
high and graded public schools and one sectarian school (Catholic) and 12
churches, including Baptist, Catholic, Christian, Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist (South), Methodist (Free) and Presbyterian; fine hotels and business blocks and beautiful homes. Irrigation necessary for assurance of best results in all fruit products and is practiced generally throughout the valley. Average annual rainfall 27.21 inches. U.S. Weather Bureau, District Forester's office and pathologist's office located here. Claim is made that within a 50-mile radius of Medford there is a greater diversity of resources and opportunities than can be found within 50 miles of any other city in the world.
    Phoenix--Population 250 (U.S. census 1910). On main line of Southern Pacific Railroad. In upper Rogue River Valley and in center of extensive and fertile agricultural and horticultural district, and the leading industries are farming, grazing and fruit growing. Electric lighting plant is owned by private parties. Has graded public school and two churches: Christian and Presbyterian.
    Other prominent trade centers of the county are: Butte Falls, Sams Valley,
Siskiyou, Talent and Trail.

Oregon Almanac: The State of Oregon, Its Resources and Opportunities, 1912, pages 81-84

Rogue River Valley, Southern Oregon
    Directly tributary to the city of Medford is one of the great fruit-raising sections of the continent. Its horticultural products have brought renown to Oregon and wealth to the producers. Orchard planting, as time is counted, is comparatively new. Some trees were planted years ago, but the commercial orchards are of more recent origin.
    The "Apple King of the World" was the title bestowed on a Rogue River orchardist for his showing at the Spokane National Apple Show in 1909. A carload of Spitzenburgs won the grand sweepstakes prize in competition with fruit from all over the nation. This was $1000 in gold coin.
    The Spitzenburg and Newtown are the principal varieties of apples grown in this valley. Yet all the other standard apples, such as Jonathan, Winesap, Grimes Golden, Ortley, Arkansas Black and Rome Beauty, grow to perfection here.
    Pears are another product of the Medford district worth more than passing mention. Think of shipping 40 cars of pears from a 48-acre orchard--$40,000 for the crop! The Winter Nelis pear record of the world is held by the Snowy Butte orchard at Central Point, four miles from Medford. Sixteen and one-half acres of 19-year-old Winter Nelis pears yielded the record average of 435 boxes to the acre, which sold F.O.B. orchard at $2.12 a box, or $900 an acre. The fruit was marketed in London and New York. A seven-and-one-half acre Bartlett pear orchard is another record-breaker for yield and price. Its owner shipped 12 cars of pears, which netted him $9335.10, or nearly $1250 per acre.
    Peaches, plums and prunes are grown in the valley. Peach fillers are planted in the pear orchards. This means the removal of the tree when the pear trees come into bearing, the pear being more profitable than the peach. While the latter is of good flavor and size, its keeping quality is limited. It must be marketed within a certain time. The pears are good keepers, and their marketing does not of necessity have to be done until such time as may be convenient.
    Cherries grown here maintain the excellence of the reputation of the district for its splendid products. Berries of unusual size and flavor are early on the market and supplant the earlier product of California. The blackberry, raspberry, loganberry, gooseberry and currant bushes of the valley are all revenue-producers.
    In the early period of its settlement the land was planted to grain and hay. With the planting of orchards and the demonstration of the fact that fruit of superior quality could be grown, less attention was given general farm products. Fruit trees were set out, and even the inter-crops omitted, until with the growth of the cities and the increase in rural population the people became aware of the fact that they were not growing the cereals, hay and vegetables needed for home consumption. Dairy and poultry products were imported. This situation led to plantings along other lines. Experiments proved that every variety of vegetable could be grown in surprisingly large quantities. Potatoes yield five tons to the acre, onions give larger returns, and tomatoes run as high as fifteen to twenty tons and over.
    The Medford district is now raising its own garden truck. One of the new methods of disposal is the public market, opened in May of this year. The grower brings his fruits, vegetables, dairy and poultry products on regularly advertised days, and the housewife makes her own selection from a variety that is unsurpassed. The stalls are leased for a small consideration, the grower or some member of his family does the selling, and sales are made for cash. This enables the orchardist and the gardener and farmer to pay cash for the staples needed in the home, for the clothing and other requirements. What little opposition there was at the beginning toward the market, on the part of merchants, has disappeared. The dial on the cash register records better transactions. The men who till the land now have a regular weekly income, instead of having to "wait until they thresh."
    There was a time in the history of the cultivation of this valley when there was no application of moisture. The annual precipitation averages 28 inches. This insures many crops, but there is a growing season when there is little if any rain. Additional moisture means increased production. To provide this, irrigation systems have been established. Operations are well advanced on a series of canals and laterals which will irrigate 55,000 acres. This is a gravity system. It covers the land directly tributary to Medford. Storage reservoirs will permit supplies to adjacent territory, and pumping plants along the river will add to the system until every acre of cultivable land in the Rogue River Valley which will be benefited by irrigation can have the amount of water needed.
    The Rogue River is a power stream from its source in the mountains until it loses its identity in the Pacific. Confluents of the Rogue are also power streams. At Gold Hill and other places electricity is generated, but on a scale so small as to be almost negligible when the available power is considered. Not that the valley towns are not well illumined. Medford, Jacksonville, Central Point, Ashland and other Jackson County municipalities are well lighted, and this is particularly true of Medford, along whose principal thoroughfares cluster lights and electric signs that turn night into day. The harnessing of this water power must soon come about. Jackson County will eventually be one of the manufacturing centers of the Northwest.
    Jackson County is also rich in mineral resources. Millions of dollars have been taken from its placers, and there are many quartz locations. Gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc and other metals are found. Gold-bearing quartz indications cover a large area. The development of this industry is in its infancy. Even the placer ground is largely unworked, operations having been confined to the lower-lying deposits. Coal is traced on the surface for nearly one hundred miles from the California line. Coal mining operations are being conducted a few miles from Medford. A good quality is being taken out, and it is used in the home market. Granite, sandstone and other building rock are plentiful.
    There are twenty billion and more feet of lumber directly tributary to Medford. A railroad has been built into the timbered section, and the line is to be extended through it. There are also sugar and yellow pine, fir, cedar and other forest growths. This great body of timber is in a virgin state. When mills are in operation another valuable industry will be operative to the Medford district.
    Medford is a starting point to Crater Lake and other scenic resorts. The Crater Lake road is bordered by picturesque streams, mountains and forests. The lake itself is one of the wonders of the continent. It is part of an area set apart as a national park. The lake is oval in shape, six miles long and four miles wide. The twenty-two miles of shoreline are sheer precipices, towering from 1000 to 2000 feet above the surface of the water. Adjacent peaks tower to a height of 9000 feet. The lake surface is 6239 feet above sea level, and the water has a depth of 2000 feet. All of the peaks nearby are snow-covered at all seasons.
    The Oregon Caves, located in Josephine County, are easily reached from Medford. They have never been fully explored, but are known to extend many miles under the mountains, having openings in both Oregon and California.
    The streams of the valley are abundantly stocked with native mountain trout, rainbow trout and other fish. The Rogue River steelhead (rainbow trout) is a gamy fish. It attains a weight of 14 pounds, but the average size of those taken with the fly is from four to eight pounds.
    Bear, deer, cougars and wildcats are found in the mountains. Small game, such as wild geese, ducks, grouse, Chinese pheasants, quail, snipe and squirrels, abounds in the valley.
    The Medford district offers many inducements to the homemaker, the capitalist and the pleasure-seeker. It is a land of plenty. The products have been but briefly outlined in the foregoing article. It would take volumes to tell what the Medford district has in the way of developed resources, and countless pages to set forth its undeveloped and wonderful possibilities. Living here is a delight at all times. The climate is one of the attractions, and healthfulness is another. There are no epidemics, and none of the discomforts experienced in localities where severe weather is encountered. To any reader of Sunset who is interested in this vale of plenty, let me suggest that he or she write to the secretary of the Commercial Club at Medford, outlining what it is desired to know. The organization has bulletins telling of products, of hunting, fishing, camping, and beautifully illustrated literature generally descriptive of the section. It is well worth reading and may be helpful to those who are looking for a home in a land so favored in every respect.
    Medford is on the main line of the Southern Pacific, 329 miles south of Portland, and 434 miles from San Francisco. Through and local trains give good service. The city is well built. It has miles of paved streets, splendid business blocks, charming homes, good schools, churches, water and every requirement of an up-to-date city. It has a present population of about 10,000 and is destined to grow rapidly. It is a natural site for a large city.
Sunset, November 1912, page 591

Last revised January 25, 2017