R. L. Polk & Co.'s Oregon, Washington and Alaska Gazetteer and Business Directory 1888,
MEDFORD. A city on the Oregon & California Railroad, in Jackson County, 323 miles south of Portland and 5 east of Jacksonville, the county seat. Settled in 1884, it contains Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist churches, a sash and door factory, a furniture and a broom factory, and sustains a weekly paper, the Southern Oregon Transcript (Dem.). Stages daily to Jacksonville and tri-weekly to Big Butte; fares, 50 cents and $1.50. Ships wheat and fruit. Telegraph Western Union and Pacific Postal. Express Wells Fargo & Co. Mail daily. Population 500. D. H. Miller, postmaster.
page 299 Abbreviations spelled out to facilitate searching.
To the average citizen of Medford, the idea of three grown men playing marbles in the middle of Medford's main street, and at the corner of Main and Central at that, is somewhat shocking, but if you don't believe it has been done, take a look at the picture above.
When Men Played Marbles
in Medford's Main Street
What's more, D. T. Lawton, the young man sitting in the Newton wagon, was watching the game, and was showing the picture to his friends early this week. Mr. Lawton still lives in Medford, at 321 Apple Street, and vouches for the fact that the above picture was taken in Medford, and also that it was taken in 1888.
Medford's First Hotel
The Empire House, one of Medford's only hotels at that time, was built on the location now occupied by the Jackson County Bank building. The Jackson County Bank was organized later in the same year.
The Newton wagon upon which Lawton is sitting was purchased from F. Hubbard, who was then a blacksmith. Hubbard later established his implement store, which has been one of Medford's leading institutions ever since, and is now operated by his son, Axel. [Hubbard built his Medford implement store in February 1884.]
"There wasn't much to Medford when this picture was taken," Lawton said, holding it up for friends in the Roxy Ann confectionery to see. "Across the street from the Empire Hotel was a vacant lot," he continued. "That's where the Medford National Bank is now. Then next to it is the building John Barneburg built. That's the building Toggery Bill has his store in now. They were just building it when this picture was taken. See the window frames sticking up in the air?
Marble Game Good
"There where the men are playing marbles," he went on, "you can see a sort of blur, like a man's feet. Well, that's what they are. Whoever it was playing, I don't remember who it was, had just made a good shot. He jumped up in the air and turned around, just as the camera clicked."
Judge Walton Watched
"No," he said, "I don't remember many of the people in the picture. That's old Judge Walton, who used to be justice of the peace, standing close to the porch watching the game. He has on that high hat and white shirt, and the watch chain. He's standing right in front of that 1888 sign.
"Next to the Empire House is our real estate office. That's about where Brophy's jewelry is now. Then the little building back of Judge Walton is where Dr. E. B. Pickel had his first office in Medford. He was a young fellow then. Then the next is a grocery store and confectionery. I don't know who owned it, but the next one is the George Lindley building, where Hutchison and Lumsden's store is now.
Ike Webb Remembered
"Oh, yes," he said, "I remember this one playing marbles. That's Ike Webb standing up looking at the camera."
It was along about this time, Mr. Lawton said, digging back into the recesses of his memory for facts long unused, that the merchants from Jacksonville started moving to Medford. They had just decided that since the railroad had gone through Medford (in 1883), the thing to do was to move over.
Strang and Miller Move
Charles Strang, druggist, and Dave Miller, hardware merchant, moved to Medford about the time this picture was taken. [Vrooman and Miller was established in early 1884.] Jacksonville, then, was a much larger city than Medford. George Haskins, father of Leon, also established a drug store here soon after this picture was taken. [Haskins opened his store in the summer of 1884.]
"Before the railroad came through Medford," Lawton said, "the railroad had quite a time with Jacksonville. They'd have built through Jacksonville if the Jacksonville boys had given them a good enough deal, but Jacksonville thought the railroad would have to go through there anyway, so they didn't want to compromise." [This is a common story, but it isn't quite true.]
Medford Gets Railroad
"So it turned out that Beekman, the Jacksonville banker, who owned the land that is now West Medford, a man named Broback, who owned what is now South Medford, and Ide Phipps, father of Dr. I. D. Phipps, who owned East Medford [He owned the northern part of the townsite. He owned land in East Medford also, but it wasn't part of the original townsite], donated their farms to the railroad if the railroad would build through Medford. [Actually, the donation was to establish a townsite, not to divert the railroad's survey line.] Then the railroads, after the road was built, deeded every other block back to the original owners. They sure put one over on Jacksonville," Lawton said, laughing.
Bank Started in 1888
W. I. Vawter started the first bank in Medford, Lawton said, in 1888. Lawton had been here three years then, as he came here from Portland in 1885. For 12 years prior to coming to Medford he steamboated on the Columbia River, and during that time saw floods on the Columbia which he says were much worse than the one recently experienced.
"I remember once we ran our steamboat out over the land where the city of Longview now stands, and picked up cattle and horses from the little mounds and hills. The water was several feet deep," he said.
Main Street Muddy
But getting back to Medford, in the years following 1888, Lawton told many other interesting things. Their first efforts to improve Main Street were futile, he said. They hauled in a lot of gravel, which helped for awhile, but it soon sank below the muddy surface and in another year they had to do it all over again.
William Vawter dropped into the confectionery in time to hear most of Lawton's story. In speaking of the streets being muddy, Bill spoke up.
Horses Get Stuck
"I can remember when Central here got so muddy horses and wagons would get stuck, and we had boards put across the street at the corners of the blocks. I was born in a house that stood on the corner of Sixth and Central, where the Medford Center building is now, and Seely Hall, son of Court Hall, lived right beside us. That wasn't so very long ago."
Lawton could also remember many of the Rogue River Valley's earlier pioneers. He knew the Rosses, the Bealls, and the Whetstones, who had large homestead farms in the Jacksonville district, on the finest land in Oregon. He knew John Griffin, who still farms out on Griffin Creek, and he knew many others, still living here.
Bridge Washed Out
"People forget things," Lawton said, "but I remember when the Bear Creek bridge washed out and you could swim a horse clear to the Hospital hill. I remember, too, when water would come down from Griffin Creek and Jacksonville and flood the west end of Medford. They used to have to dismiss school at the old Washington School, where the courthouse is now, because of the water."
Medford News, January 5, 1934, page 1
MEDFORD IN '88 AS SHOWN BY AN OLD NEWSPAPER
G. W. Coulter of this city has a cut of a birdseye view of Medford in 1888. Of the business blocks now in existence, only the Angle Opera Block, the Hamlin Block and the Medford Roller Mills were then erected. The swell residence of the city was the two-story dwelling of W. H. Barr. The Nash Hotel is a modest two-story structure, the Southern Pacific depot about the size of that now at Tolo. East of Bear Creek are farms and orchards. First Street on the north and Twelfth Street on the south, N Street on the west and Bear Creek on the east formed the city limits, with houses few and far between.
Mr. Coulter also has an issue of the Southern Oregon Transcript, the first paper published in Medford, dated March 27, 1888, Vol. 1, No. 36. The Transcript succeeded the Monitor, afterwards becoming the Southern Oregon Mail, then the Medford Mail, finally the Mail Tribune, under successive owners. C. B. Carlisle was its editor.
City and County OfficialsThe official directory printed shows A. C. Stanley as state senator, J. T. Bowditch and R. A. Miller representatives, E. DePeatt county judge, B. Hammond and S. Carleton commissioners; W. H. Parker clerk, B. W. Dean sheriff, N. Fisher treasurer, J. M. Childers assessor, N. A. Jacobs superintendent of schools, F. A. English surveyor and R. Pryce coroner.
L. R. Webster was circuit judge and W. M. Colvig, Democrat, district attorney.
E. P. Geary was mayor of Medford, C. H. Barkdull recorder, Charles Strang treasurer, M. S. Damon street commissioner, J. S. Miller marshal; A. Childers, D. H. Miller, E. G. Hurt and C. Skeel comprised the council. W. H. Gore was principal of schools.
Pioneer IndustriesThe enterprising firms, preserved by their advertisements, included the Jackson County Bank, the only bank in the city, occupying the Medynski corner at Central and Main Street. J. S. Higinbotham, now of Prospect, had a wagon shop. W. S. Barnum was proprietor of the Medford Planing Mill. William Angle and F. M. Plymale conducted the "Farmers' General Merchandise Store," and Adkins & Webb a hardware store. E. Worman ran the livery stable. Haskins & Lawton were druggists. Dave Miller and Charles Strang had a hardware and drug store.
Childers & Sons were masons and contractors then, as now. Wolters had the "New Bakery and Confectionery." John Noland ran the "Railroad Exchange Saloon," and Cox & Bantz were real estate dealers. R. T. Lawton & Son were in the real estate business. Henry Smith sold general merchandise, W. G. Cooper & Son harness, J. C. Elder groceries, and O. Holtan the tailor. Wrisley & Miller were realty brokers, and J. G. McAllister made brooms. Rosenthals announced a flourishing mercantile business, and Isaac Woolf sold groceries.
Old News ItemsAmong the items of interest, it is announced that the county convention was "packed as usual," and the "slate went through" with Benj. Haman temporary chairman and Judge DePeatt secretary. Klippel, Wright, Pickens, Nickell and Bowditch were prominent figures. Delegates were instructed to vote for Colvig and the delegation instructed for Cleveland. Delegates elected were Ferry, Bowditch, Klippel, Pickens, Taylor, McDonough and Crawford. "So ended the first chapter of the Klippel lesson in campaign politics."
The Transcript says that the county debt, $120,000, is "healthy and vigorous and keeps up its steady growth." "Potatoes are getting scarce." "Real estate people are busy as hornets." "Apples 5 cents each at Portland and San Francisco news stands." Among items of news are the following:
Ancient Local News"The changes at the meat market of Hanley & Love have modernized and citified it until you hardly know the place."
"The Hamlin case record ought to defeat the political aspirations of Mr. Colvig in the coming campaign."
"Married--at the house of Rev. C. H. Hoxie March 18, 1888, by the Rev. C. H. Hoxie, O. F. Lewis and Miss Nancy Riggs, all of Jackson County, Oregon."
"R. T. Lawton reports the sale of 38 acres adjoining Phoenix and belonging to Donna Dunlap to Andrew Brown."
"New buildings are going up on almost every street in this city. Lumber is getting scarce again."
"Since last Friday nine families have arrived and taken up residence in this city. Property is changing hands rapidly."
Start of the East Side"The building of Mr. Childers' residence on the east side of Bear Creek has laid the foundation for East Medford. We are told seven other residences will be built on that side of the creek during the present season. In another season, Mr. McAndrews will be inside the city limits."
"The high school literary society is flourishing. It has a membership of 20 scholars. Debating every Friday after school."
"Mr. I. A. Merriman is a smilingly happy man. A ten-pound stranger at his home. Such things should make any man happy."
"Unless the company ask the engineers to haul 'Q' cars there will not be any strike on this line of the road."
"D. J. Lumsden and family of San Jose, Cal., who purchased the Barnum ten-acre tract of land south of town, came north by the Sunday evening train. Mr. Lumsden is building and will remain."
"Mr. George W. Howard has sold his residence property to Mr. Davis of California. Price $2700."
"W. Crawford and Miss L. Eaton were married in this city last Saturday evening. They have gone to housekeeping in the Hamlin block."
During the month of December the citizens and farmers in the adjacent country subscribed $2000 to induce the erection of a flouring mill of 50 barrels per day capacity.
"During the fruit season of last year, Medford shipped nearly 1000 tons of fruit as freight and almost 100 tons as express matter."
Medford Mail Tribune, January 24, 1916, page 4
Oregon As It Is.ED. ENTERPRISE:--I promised you when I left Iowa that I would give you a few lines about my trip and the country in general. On our way we visited Wm. Miller at Center City, Nebraska. We were delayed 15 hours on account of the burning of [the] snow shed 8 miles west of Rock Creek in Wyoming. The shed was one-half mile long, and all had to burn before we could leave [before the train could pass through the ruins]. We soon reached Sisson [now Mount Shasta City], 3,000 [feet] above the sea level on Mt. Chasty [Shasta]. This mountain is 14,000 ft. high and covered with snow the year round. The timber belt is about one mile below the top, above this line nothing can grow as the ground there, if there be any, never thaws out. We then passed down into Chasty Valley. Good wheat is raised here and where water can be let on they raise timothy, clover, or anything else, but the good country is very limited. At 4 o'clock we reached the summit of the Ciseque [Siskiyou] Mountain. To get down we had to run down the side of the mountain, turn back, form a loop passing through a tunnel, then threble the track, making three tracks within 200 yards of each other. Now we get down into Rogue River Valley and find Ashland, population 1,500; 8 miles further on we find Phoenix, a small but old town; 4 miles further we come to Medford, the haven of rest. Here we are dumped off at the hind end of the train on the ground, our goods to be carried 100 yards to the depot or anywhere one thought best. The railroad company is done with you now. This is the nice treatment you will receive after traveling over the Great (on paper) Overland Route. It is now 6:15 p.m. We pinched ourselves to see if we were alive, called the roll of workmen, picked up our rags and bedding which we had used to keep our hipbones from hurting the bed slats, and carried them 100 rods to a house selected for us by one who went ahead to prepare a place that we might come. There we found venison for supper. I will not say we ate--you can imagine what you would have done.
The next morning at 9 o'clock we were brought to light, not by removing the mountain, but by the sun rising above it. That night it rained and kept it up until the roads got passable--I mean downwards as far as the wheels could go and bringing up a black gumbo or doby [adobe] soil that had not seen the light of day since last spring. Do not understand that this is all doby land, for there is a greater variety of land here than in any country I ever saw. First, all these towns stand on a strip of gravelly desert land from one-half to a mile and one-half wide, in some places so poor that tickle grass and chaparral brush refuse to grow; with small potholes all over it where water will stand till the sun, if it ever shines, draws it up; for it cannot get down as this is underlaid (I should say top-laid except about 4 in.) with a hardpan, or granite substance, in which, if you should dig a hole 6 feet deep, you would not have to set any sprig or mark the place in any manner so the place might be known, should future occasion ever require it, for it would stay just as you left it. But should you live after digging this hole and conclude to dig a well, you would proceed as before with a pick and shovel to go down gradually to a depth of 18 to 20 feet, where you will find plenty of water. The other hole can be used for burial, should you fall a victim to the typhoid fever which is raging here.
This strip of desert is bounded on the west by a great variety of land, consisting of gravel, knolls of timber and stony land that cannot be farmed. Passing through a strip of timber we came into nice, level farms. Walking through this, which is no small job by reason of the sticky soil, you find an entirely different variety. First a good deep black free soil where wheat, corn, oats, or anything will grow equally as well as in any other country. Here you find yourself getting happy and even start to sing, "The happy land of Canaan!"--but before you get to the Canaan part you look down and find your feet covered with putty or black mud. You stop to clean your feet, but fail. Your first thought is to swear; but on second thought--what is best when all attempts fail? The answer comes, Pray. You then proceed to perform that devotion standing, as you dare not kneel--if you could have held out a few steps farther you would have found a nice gravel bed free from dirt. In Iowa you have someone to pray for you; here you must pray for yourself. This sticky land if you succeed in getting it plowed will generally yield a good crop. The more general way of farming here is to raise one crop in three years. I mean farming one-third--letting one-third come up from the old seed and cutting that for hay; then leaving that part to grow up to a weed that looks like mustard, but no good on earth. The next year this part in wheat and so on.
The crops here last season were the best known for years, fruit not excepted. The fruit sunburns considerably here, as it gets very hot--rising to 118 last season in some localities. Potatoes cook in the ground if not dug early and covered deep. West of this strip of good land at the foot of the mountain stands Jacksonville, an old mining town. In this town Elasha [sic] Hammer of Iowa started the first store in Jackson County and sold goods in a tent. Back of these mountains there are farms and orchards on every patch of roller or side hill that can be worked. Some haul their produce 40 miles to Medford, passing through Jacksonville. The railroad missed Jacksonville 5 miles to the east, so it looks rather dead.
On the east side of Medford runs Bear Creek, passing just at the edge of town. Crossing the creek we find a strip of good land ½ mile in width, then widening as we go. Two miles west it is one mile wide. Then we come to the great desert, which divides the valley and leaves a narrow strip at the foot of the mountain and one along the creek. This desert is the playground of the wild goose. What they can want there I can't see, as there is neither water nor grass. On the east in the mountains there are farms on all that can be worked and on each and every one there are young orchards ranging from ½ acre to 300 acres. The fruit will be immense here in a few years. As it is cheap and plenty now, the future can only say what will become of it when the new orchards increase it ten times.
I have now been here nearly one month and shall start home soon. In conclusion I will say that there are more Iowa people here than of any 3 other states. So when you meet a man it is not necessary to ask what state he is from, just inquire what county. These men have sold all they possessed on earth to come to this foggy, web-footed country, where clouds, mist, and typhoid fever prevail, and invested all they have left after paying the exorbitant freight bill for carrying their scant supplies to their new home. After making the first payment (which is always small) they mortgage themselves, wives and children, and in some cases their dogs for the back payment on a few acres of poor desert land. In behalf of these people, when I cross the river at Omaha, I am authorized to give three whoops for Iowa, the land that will bless, clothe, feed and warm and give you a chance to work in fine weather to carry you through the storm--and not be compelled to plow in the rain to eke out a miserable existence in the fine climate of Rogue River and Willamette valleys, where, should you attempt to buy a farm, you would have to pay $100 per acre. You ask, how can they charge such a big price for such poor land? The man will remark that this is a good fruit country, and we have a most excellent climate. You ask, how is it divided? He will make it something like this: $60 for the climate; $39.75, fruit, and $0.25 for the land. This would be very cheap so far as the land is concerned--if you wished to secure a small plot, say 6 feet east and west, where you could dig a hole 6 feet deep to bury some of your family if they fell a victim to the typhoid fever. You could select a dandy place on a high, dry knoll, where the ground is so hard that no wild animals could penetrate. But the writer, not being of a dying nature, although the temptation was ever so great to secure so cheap an inheritance forever, would most humbly ask to be excused and pass out at the east gate, which I will do now.
JOSEPH MILLERKellogg (Iowa) Enterprise, December 14, 1888, page 3
An Open Letter.
Something About Medford, the Metropolis of Southern Oregon.
H. B. KINGSLEY,
Your letter mailed at Boston last November did not reach me until late in December--overdue some three weeks. I have waited until now to make a reply, partly for lack of opportunity, but chiefly because I have not had space in the Transcript for the accommodation of the open letter that you requested.
I wrote this whole matter to the Boston Globe, but the editor, in returning the mss., says:
"I ought to publish so grand a letter as this, but if I did all the New England papers would have me by the ears, because we have no desire to depopulate our state."
Since getting your letter a gentleman at Adrian, Michigan has written under date of "Blizzard No. 3" to tell us that a dozen of his neighbors, all mechanics, well-to-do, and with families, desire to make a trial of a new home in Southern Oregon and says:
"What about Medford; we hear something of the place from those who have passed through, and we had one Transcript sent here, but we have read it, and re-read it, singly, double, treble and in bunches of half a dozen until it is just worn out. Even the advertisements are gone. Now tell us all about the place, and send me a package of papers for distribution."
It is my purpose to make this letter a reply to your communication, and to the other inquirer.
Is the chief city of Southern Oregon. It is the chief commercial city; its commercial supremacy cannot be questioned. It is the central point in the wide-reaching fruit belt of Southern Oregon. Medford city has more exceptionally fine farming country directly tributary to it, and paying to it tribute or toll--in the shape of trade and freight shipments--than any other town in Southern Oregon. Available figures--not manipulated--prove this.
It is the chief warehouse and storage point in Southern Oregon. More grain is now on store and in our warehouses, in this city, than [can] be found along the line of railway in Southern Oregon; the amount reaching up into the hundreds of tons.
It is the principal market city of Southern Oregon. All the produce grown by the farmers in this valley finds a cash, and a good-priced, market here in Medford. Wheat--the price of which is controlled by outside circumstances--may be said to be the only exception to this statement. The market is growing better each year.
Medford is the railway station for a vast area of country in Southern Oregon, the depot for supplies, and the point of arrival and departure for two-thirds of the population of this distinctive portion of Oregon. It is in the very heart of the choicest and most extensive grain-growing region of Southern Oregon. The choice of the farming lands in this immediate vicinity is not equalled anywhere, in fertility, versatility or strength.
The business houses of Medford are of the most substantial character, and the merchants carry very heavy stock of the best class of goods. All the different lines are represented. The merchants are cash buyers, and among them not a failure has occurred since the city was founded.
Manufacturing has gained a permanent footing and is soon to become an important feature in Medford. Water power--ample and never-failing--is at hand. Wood is convenient, and within three or four miles of the city, as the nearest point, there are coal deposits, known--by examination--to be extensive. Within the past two months plans for the fullest development of these mines have been adopted by men of means. The Central Pacific railway company are making tests of these coal beds. They will be uncovered in 1888.
To up-build and support here a city of 5000 people, we have:
Unequalled Fruit Interest;
Unmatched Grain Farming;
Extensive Hay Farming;
Splendid Stock Raising Interest;
Immense Shipping Business;
Warehouse and Storage;
A Growing Dairy Interest;
A Splendid School Interest.
The city of Medford maintains a
BOARD OF TRADEof seventy members, which includes all the business and professional men, mechanics and farmers in the immediate vicinity. It is the organized effort of the city, and during the past seven months it has accomplished exceptionally great results for the city of Medford. Among the business establishments Medford has a banking institution with ample capital, and under careful, conservative management. During the month of December the citizens and farmers in the adjacent country subscribed a cash bonus of $2000 to induce the erection of a flouring mill of 50-barrel-per-day capacity.
The city has a mayor and council, and under this supervision the city streets have been put into excellent shape; the sanitary condition closely looked after; a public square or park located, and various other plans of a kindred nature adopted.
The city of Medford is handsomely located. Nature--as engineer and architect--did a splendid piece of work in laying out the townsite. It is on a plateau, with the descent to drain the streets and keep them in excellent condition during rainy weather. As we have said it is in the midst of a splendid farming region. The farms and orchards come right up to the city lines, hedging it in on all sides, and they stretch away for miles on every hand.
The track of the
OREGON & CALIFORNIA RAILWAYis laid through the western half of the city, and a handsome and convenient depot building is located at the head of the principal business street. At the opposite end of this street and forming the east front of the city runs Bear Creek, a splendid stream of water fed throughout the entire year by melting snows and the springs in the mountain range at the south end of the valley, fifteen miles away.
OUR CLIMATE.Mountain ranges hedge in this magnificent valley; 6 miles away on the west, 19 miles on the south, and 20 to the north and northeast. Within this valley--or basin--the climate is just as near perfect as is possible on this mundane sphere. It has been called the Italy of the Pacific Northwest. Relatively speaking, and with regard to the climate of the common country, it is that. It is more than that. The past has been an exceptionally cold winter, yet not a thermometer in this city registered down to zero. Three above was the coldest. Some snow fell just prior to the cold snap and lay on the ground about one week, but as it was only two or three inches deep it did not interfere with the stock range. Cattle have not suffered in the least; our butchers supplied the city market in December and January with beef from the range. When you compare this with the climate of Michigan or that of New Hampshire, Minnesota or Dakota, where the thermometers have registered 40, 50 and even 60 degrees below zero, and the winds have traveled at the rate of 60 miles an hour, and the whole air was filled with razor-cutting icicles, our valley is twice an Italy and once a Rio Janeiro.
The valley here is about 1400 feet above sea level, and the air is dry and pure. In both valley and mountain nature has provided just the climatic conditions required by the industries of the county, fruit-growing, agriculture, mining and stock raising. To the eastern man especially, who desires in summer a warm climate without the excessive heat of his native state, and in winter a clear, bracing atmosphere unaccompanied by extreme cold, and exemption from continuous snow and rain, this valley presents attractions peculiarly inviting. It is beyond question the paradise of Oregon. Storms, tornadoes and cyclones which visit other countries and scatter death and desolation in their track are unknown. Spring and summer, autumn and winter, seed time and harvest come and go in regular succession, but the transition from one to the other is so gradual that one fails to note the end of one or the beginning of the other.
Good water is one of the things this city and valley can boast of. The water in the wells of this city comes from mountain springs, through gravel undersoil. It is cold and pure, wholly free from anything like vegetable matter.
The health of the people all over this valley is something remarkable. There are no diseases that can be said to be prevalent in this valley. The climate is peculiarly beneficial to those who come here suffering with asthma, catarrh and the like.
We have left for the last what it is desirable to say about the
SOCIAL, SCHOOL AND CHURCHstatus of this city. It will be admitted by all that the moral tone of the city of Medford is higher than that of any other town of its size in the Pacific Northwest. Indeed it is a model town in this respect. The people are--for the most part--from the older settled portions of the East, American born, and strong and earnest in their love of peace and order.
It is true that the population of Medford embraces more people of the higher standard of intelligence, culture and refinement than any other western city of its size. To this is due the fact that the school and church interest is a dominant one in Medford. Very handsome churches are owned by the Baptists and the Presbyterians, and both the Methodist and Episcopal are preparing to erect church edifices here. Medford sustains a fine school, and the people are a unit on the proposition to build here this year a handsome, commodious brick structure for the home of a higher educational institution, in this way making this city the school center of Southern Oregon.
You ask, what are the promises for Medford. If we may measure by the past three years, and more especially by the experiences of the past twelve months, and by the enterprising and pushing spirit of the citizens, Medford will be a city of from 4000 to 5000 inhabitants in the next two or three years. It has all the elements of a rapid, permanent, wholesome growth. So far as we can see there is nothing to obstruct such a growth, and everything to foster it.
Wisdom-wise our property holders have made no effort at a boom. Prices are very little advanced beyond this scale of last year.
We are persuaded that no place on the Pacific coast can offer better inducements to the intending settler.
During the fruit season of last year, Medford shipped nearly 1000 tons of fresh fruit as freight, and about 100 tons as express matter.
It is confidently expected that during the coming season of '88, the shipment of fruit will reach 1,200 tons.
Southern Oregon Transcript, March 13, 1888, page 1
General Information for the Homeseeker.
WHAT CAN I DO?
If you are coming from any of the states east of the Rocky Mountains, you can:
Double the acreage you now have--
Double, if not treble, the profits of your farming--
Get the best climate on the Pacific Coast--
Locate in the midst of excellent social, church and school interests--
Buy choice fruit and grain lands adjacent to the best town in Southern Oregon, MEDFORD--
Increase your chances of good health, by having an even and splendid temperature--
Exchange the extremely bitter cold of winter for a climate in which open-air work is possible the year through--
Purchase land close to market, on which all kinds of fruit can be produced, and which, when marketable, will bring you $200 an acre, net--
Find a summer temperature which admits of field labor, without any possibility of being overcome by heat, or sunstroke; an air that invites labor--
Find a location where stock can pasture almost all the year round, and where it is an uncommon thing to feed more than a week or two during the winter--
Your $2500 will give you an excellent farm in this splendid valley, and if you plant an orchard on ten or fifteen acres of it, and attend to business that farm will make you rich in ten years.
EDUCATION.Southern Oregon Transcript, Medford, March 13, 1888, page 4
On the subject of education the people are wide awake. Although long separated from the outside world, Jackson County has kept pace with other sections in matters of education and general culture.
The public and private schools bear favorable comparison with institutions of the same kind in other states, while the warm hearts and friendly hands that greet the newcomer will readily convince him that true culture and true courtesy are not circumscribed by mountain barriers.
NOT A BOOM.
One of the most gratifying features of the present rapid growth of this city and the immediate vicinity is the fact that our property holders have not attempted to take any undue advantage of the new situation by advancing the prices of land, in that way killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Anxious to see the city expand and her population grow, they have settled upon a reasonable price for property and sold at that price, whenever a buyer sought it. That is the true policy, the continued and very rapid growth of Medford, and especially the fact that the newcomers are men of means, character and business probity, very strongly emphasizing this proposition.
ODDS AND ENDS.
Good fruit and grain lands can be bought in this vicinity for prices ranging from $20 to $50 an acre; lands upon which 25 to 40 bushels of wheat may be grown; land that will produce fine corn, sweet potatoes, all the vegetables known in the market, and if set in fruit trees will in four years yield $250 an acre net.
House rents are cheap as yet, $10 a month getting a good-sized dwelling. Building material is cheap in the city. Meats, choice cuts, 12½ [cents a pound] for beef. Flour is among the cheap things of the state. Fuel about $3.25 per cord. There is little government land in the vicinity. What is left has to include the higher foothills, good only for pasturage.
The best way to reach Southern Oregon from any of the points east of the rockies, and south of St. Paul, is by San Francisco, thence by rail to MEDFORD. This is the chief city of this valley. Don't forget that the same qualities are necessary to success here as elsewhere. Any other notion leads to disappointment. Labor and thrift collect money in Southern Oregon.
Interrogatory.Are your winters enjoyable? Yes. When do farmers plow? Almost any time during the whole winter. Do crops ever fail, and do you sometimes have a drought? No, never; unknown things. Take your climate the year round, is it better than California or the rest of Oregon can offer? Yes it is, being a happy medium between the dryness and droughts of Southern California, and the long, continued rains and drizzles of Northern Oregon. What is good building material worth? This is one of the cheap things of Oregon; fair lumber for building purposes can be had along the railway lines for $7 to $12 per thousand. Is building expensive? No, compared with prices east of the Rocky Mountains. Sawmills are a feature of almost every locality, and certainly of every distinct neighborhood and town.
"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 mudholes. 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
In rolling along down the valley don't fail to note the beautiful mountain scenery on either side.
Phoenix--[Eight miles]. Is a thrifty hamlet of 325 souls, with a flouring mill and a good record for shipping cattle, sheep, hogs, wool, grain, flour, fruit, etc.
The next station is a regular meal station.
Medford--[Pop. 1,500; from Ashland, 13 miles]. Is a new town in Jackson County; is incorporated and very prosperous. Its Board of Trade has nearly 100 members, all of whom "pull together" in an effort to make their pet town, at an early day, the principal one in Southern Oregon. The shipments from Medford for 1887 were 1,000 tons of fruit--100 by express. Livestock, potatoes, wheat, oats and other grain, and the products of its reduction works, saw and planing mills, sash, door and blind factory, broom factory, flour mill, etc., were items of shipments requiring a great many cars to transport.
The hotels are the Riddle (eating house at depot), the Empire and Central. The Transcript is a live weekly paper, several fine churches and schools are here to do you good, a bank to hold your surplus funds, while the Medford (amusement hall) will seat your uncles, aunts, cousins and friends to the number of 450.
From the fruit shipments one will readily conclude that Medford is in the midst of a great fruit belt--such is the case. The peach, pear, apple, prune, etc., raised in Jackson County have a reputation which commands the highest price of any raised in the State of Oregon; yet in this county fruit raising has only just commenced.
As the demand for fine fruit is practically unlimited (with the present advantages of market by rail), the opportunities to engage in fruit raising in this vicinity are only limited by the acreage. The price for which suitable fruit land can be bought at this time, in this county, ranges from $15 to $35 per acre.
Stages leave Medford as follows: Jacksonville, double daily, fare 50c., for Sterlingville, 16 miles, $1.50; and Uniontown, 20 miles, fare $2.00. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, for Eagle Point, 12 miles, fare $1.00; Brownsboro, 20 miles, $2.00. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Crater Lake, not regular, 80 miles.
Crofutt's Overland Tours (travel guide), by George A. Crofutt, 1888, page 161
A SUNNY LAND.
MRS. DAMON WRITES OF HER HOME IN OREGON--
THE CELEBRATION AT THE COMPLETION
OF THE GREAT NORTHERN RAILROAD.
The following letter is from the pen of Mrs. M. S. Damon, formerly of this county, but now a resident at Medford, Oregon. After expressing her sympathy with the sufferers from the recent eastern blizzards, she says:
We can very faintly realize their true situation in this congenial climate of ours, where, at the coldest, it was only about zero, and that only for a few days. Here it is like the sunny days of May. The grass is springing up, and the fruit trees will soon put forth their foliage. We had about two inches of snow, which soon melted away, and can now only be seen upon the far-off mountaintops. Farmers are busy fencing and setting out fruit trees, and the new buildings which are fast going up show that enterprise here is not lacking. There is a large planing mill here, the lumber mostly coming from Grants Pass by rail, a distance of about 25 miles. Then there are several dry goods stores, a large brick hotel and restaurant, a weekly paper, two fine churches, and a schoolhouse with four teachers.
Medford is one of the most quiet little towns which we have had the pleasure of visiting. There is not much of a start of saloons yet, and we invite none to come. There is a prospect now of a $15,000 flouring mill being erected, and our new bank is ready to receive its $1,000 safe, which will add much to the security of our little earnings.
On the 17th of December last, at Ashland, a station about 12 miles from this place, the golden spike was driven which clasps the great belt of the railroad of these United States. As the train came up on Sabbath morn, there was a grand reception at the depot. The band of music played, and platforms loaded with fruits and vegetables were laid out in great display for the visions of the inmates of those nine loaded coaches.
There was a spicy speech made by the Governor as he held up the California golden spike to the inspection of all present. As the ponderous train moved on the inmates dispensed a rousing cheer for the residents of Medford for the warm reception.
There has been a great work performed in the construction of this railroad between Portland and San Francisco--which is about 600 miles--this place being near the central part of the road. The fare is about $14 each way. There are fourteen tunnels between here and Portland, and now the greatest tunnel has been completed that there is on the road.
There have been some slides of late, rendering it almost impossible to travel for a few days, but the roads are now in repair and travel increases.
There is a rumor that a large sugar beet refinery will soon be erected here, which would add much to the business of the place. Beets can be raised in abundance, and it will give people a chance to improve the valuable lands that are lying idle.
What we need here most at present are a good dentist and a photographer--men that will start a business and build it up.
There was 1,000 tons of fruit shipped from this point this year, and many fruit trees are being set out, which grow very rapidly.
The climate here is very even, and general health prevails, thus making it rather dull for a physician, so that the one we have [E. P. Geary] recently bought a ranch, and is growing rich raisin grapes.
We are inclined to think a cheese factory would pay here, as there is none within a circuit of several miles.
Any letters of inquiry sent us will be cheerfully answered. The country deserves all we can say of it!
Waukesha (Wisconsin) Freeman, March 1, 1888, page 6
Medford Woman Observes 90th Birthday;
Recalls When City Had 200 Population
In January of 1888, when Medford had a population of about 200, Mrs. [Harold] U. Lumsden came here from Minnesota as a bride. Today Mrs. Lumsden will be 90 years old and believes that she has been privileged to live through an interesting period of history.
In 1888 one of the new town's main buildings was the Nash Hotel (now the Allen Hotel), there was no bank, but three churches, the Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist, had been organized. [The Hotel Medford at Main and Front would not be renamed by Capt. Nash, its new owner, until 1895.] The Southern Pacific Railway had completed its line through the valley only the week before the Lumsdens arrived. [The golden spike uniting the northern and southern sections of the Oregon and California Railroad was driven in Ashland on December 17, 1887.]
The Lumsdens' first home was located where the Woolworth store now stands [at Sixth and Central], and later they lived in a home on the corner of Sixth and Bartlett streets. Mr. Lumsden and his wife's brother, A. N. Berlin, now of Seattle, operated a grocery store located back of the Nash Hotel for a few years, and after a time the Lumsdens moved to California, where they lived briefly. Returning to Medford, Mr. Lumsden became a partner in Hutchison and Lumsden, a general merchandising firm located in a building where Mann's Department Store now stands [near Main and Central]. This business was in operation for 35 years.
"I hardly know Medford now," said Mrs. Lumsden, speaking of the city's growth and development. "I could easily get lost, especially on the east side. When my friends take me for rides around the east side districts, I remember how my father-in-law used to say 'don't buy or build on the east side--there's too much danger of flooding.'"
She recalled that this was true in those days, Bear Creek having flooded scores of residents from their homes at different times. Mrs. Lumsden remembers the first car the family owned, a Reo, and recalled how it once was stuck in the mud about where the new Rogue Valley Bank building is located [at 1109] Court Street [current site of Medford Fabrication].
Before purchasing the car, the Lumsden family made long trips using horses and wagons, or hacks. Mrs. Lumsden particularly remembers the first time the family set out on the four-day drive to Crater Lake. Shortly after leaving she became ill and in Union Creek was forced to remain in bed. The stay in Union Creek lasted for about six weeks, for she had typhoid fever.
The next time the family set out for the lake, Mr. Lumsden chose another route for the beginning of the trip. The wagon road was so rough the couple tied the children in the back seat of the vehicle to keep them from falling out when it bounced over big rocks and fell into deep holes.
"The first day we reached Elk Creek and the second day we had driven as far as Prospect," she recalled. Bad as was the road to Crater Lake the one to Lake o' Woods was worse, she said.
Mrs. Lumsden's early-day activities included membership in Adarel chapter, Order of the Eastern Star in Jacksonville, and in those days she made the trip to Jacksonville by horse and buggy to attend chapter meetings. In 1900 she helped organize Reames chapter in Medford, and was its third worthy matron. She has been a member of First Presbyterian Church since 1897.
During the interview Mrs. Lumsden removed her wedding ring from her hand and explained she was especially proud of the ring because it is made of Oregon gold. Mr. Lumsden bought the gold of a man who had mined it near Wolf Creek, and mailed the metal to his fiancée in Minnesota. A Minneapolis jeweler made up the plain gold band which Mrs. Lumsden has worn ever since her marriage in 1887. Mrs. Lumsden is a native of Farmington, Minn., and as a girl was Bessie Berlin.
One of the first clubs in Medford was the Lewis and Clark club, organized as a civic group. When Mrs. Lumsden served as president, she appointed a committee to work towards securing a library. She recalls that on the committee, or "library board," were Dr. J. F. Reddy, W. I. Vawter, a banker, Mrs. E. B. Pickel, who now lives in California, Mrs. Paul Tice and Mrs. M. L. Alford.
The committee induced C. C. Beekman, Jacksonville banker, to donate land for the library and with the aid of a Carnegie library grant the first building was eventually erected.
Medford's early-day residents enjoyed parties, as they do now, and Mrs. Lumsden remembers one the Lewis and Clark club gave. Guests were to dress to represent the name of a book. Among the guests were Mr. and Mrs. W. T. York, with Mr. York dressed as "Innocents Abroad" and his wife as "A Long Look Ahead." Mrs. Ed Warner's costume was "The Light That Failed" and Dr. Bundy came attired as Shakespeare. W. I. Vawter was "The Prospector" and Mrs. Vawter the "Kentucky Cardinal." Mrs. Lumsden and her mother-in-law were dressed as "Adam Bede" and "Bittersweet." Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Gore had signed the program book, but failed to note what costumes they wore.
Mrs. Lumsden will spend today with her niece and foster-daughter [Edith], Mrs. James A. Grigsby, and Mr. Grigsby at their home on the Rogue River [near Eagle Point]. The Lumsdens had three children, Hazel, Treve and Ruth, but none are now living. Mr. Lumsden died 28 years ago. Mrs. Lumsden's daughter-in-law, Mrs. Treve Lumsden, her grandson and granddaughter all live in other Oregon cities and none will be able to join the Medford woman on her 90th birthday. She has three great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Lumsden sold the family home at 610 South Holly Street several years ago and has made her home since in apartments. She now lives at The Plaza with her companion, Mrs. Emily Anderson. In spite of her 90 birthdays, this charming and interesting woman leads an active life in Medford. She enjoys a wide circle of friends, attends occasional meetings, plays cards and keeps up with current events by way of radio and television. Failing eyesight prevents her from reading.
Mrs. Lumsden has lived in Medford so long that she says she would not dream of making her home anywhere but Medford.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 31, 1955, page 6
Medford, a town created by the railroad seven miles from Jacksonville, has made great progress and bids fair to rival the older towns.
Oregon State Board of Immigration, The New Empire: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, 1888, page 54
Last revised December 11, 2011
For more complete names of persons identified by initials, see the Index.