Amy Couture

As It Was Contributor

Amy Couture is originally from Loomis, California and Astoria, Oregon.  She has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Oregon, a master’s in teacher education from Eastern Oregon University, and a master’s in history from Minnesota State University, Mankato.  In graduate school, she focused on 19th-century social and labor history.  Her master’s thesis examined the origins of the labor union movement among Cornish hard rock miners in California’s gold country in the 1860s.  Before moving to Ashland in 2010, Amy taught fifth grade and coached cross country in Stebbins, Alaska.  She also taught history and education classes at Clatsop Community College and Treasure Valley Community College.  She is the author of 14 historical vignettes in the book, Astorians: Eccentric and Extraordinary.  Her husband, Patrick, is the assistant principal of Talent Middle School and they live in Ashland with their two young sons.

Using modern technology, the Ashland Woodlands and Trails Association has uncovered one of the oldest trails in the Ashland Watershed.

 Every August, about 200 runners from across the country scramble up 13 miles of watershed trails from Lithia Park to the top of Southern Oregon’s 7,500-foot Mount Ashland.  It takes only two or three hours, compared with two days by mule and horseback in the early days.

Built 100 years ago, the Dollarhide Bridge on the Old Siskiyou Highway was one of the first two bridges constructed in 1914 by the new Oregon Department of Transportation. The bridge is named after the Dollarhide family that moved to the Rogue Valley in 1869.  

 On the wall of the 1912 Sunset Schoolhouse in Fort Rock, Ore., is an Oregon map from the 1920s.  It shows the major towns of Ashland and Medford along the Oregon and California Railroad line through the Rogue Valley, and smaller communities that no longer exist.  

 In order to reduce fuel consumption and pollution caused by idling vehicles, the City of Ashland in 1982 discouraged businesses from using drive-up windows. Two years later, a city ordinance prohibited the construction of new drive-up windows and placed a limit on the number that could exist in the city.  A grandfather clause allowed businesses that already had drive-up windows to continue using them.

 Rodney Glisan has a major street named after him in Portland, Ore., and his personal book collection generated the first library at the Oregon Health and Science University.  Before he became a leading citizen in Portland, Glisan was a young army medical officer stationed at Port Orford on the Southern Oregon Coast.

There was trouble in Port Orford in 1855.  Lt. August Kautz, a German-born officer in the U. S. Army, had arrested a civilian for harassing Indians on the nearby federal reserve.  Kautz jailed the man in the guardhouse for six days.  In response, the local justice of the peace was suing Kautz, accusing him of false imprisonment of a civilian.

 For more than 120 years, the Ashland, Ore., City Council has protected the city’s water supply in the 14,000-acre Ashland Creek watershed despite early opposition from private and commercial interests.  

 Pioneer Abel Helman built Ashland, Oregon’s Flouring Mill in 1854, the same year his wife, Martha, gave birth to their son, John.  One day after lunch, Helman took the 15-month-old boy to work with him.  The mother planned to meet them later at the flour mill.

 George Barnum stopped for coffee in the wee hours of March 7, 1922, in Dunsmuir, Calif., on his way home to Medford, Ore., from San Francisco.  At the restaurant, a police officer told Barnum that robbers had stolen a mail pouch up the road at Weed, and the government was offering a $5,000 reward for their capture.  Barnum hadn’t passed any southbound cars that morning as he drove north on the Pacific Highway that followed the old Siskiyou Trail.

 In Ashland’s Lithia Park, a ditch leaves Ashland Creek just above the playground and runs straight to the hill above the Lower Duck Pond.  A crude dirt path parallels the ditch, which is now partly buried by erosion, leaves, and pine needles.  But the ditch was once a millrace, flowing with water that entered a wooden flume and turned the grindstone at the Ashland Flouring Mill.  

 Anderson Creek, which enters Bear Creek at the south end of today’s Phoenix, Ore., was named for Eli Knighton Anderson and his brother, two of the first settlers in the Rogue Valley.  

 The Klamath Falls Evening Herald’s coverage of the Mexican Revolution reported in 1913 that Pancho Villa’s army was seizing foreign-owned farms and industries in Northern Mexico.  

Seven-year-old Trudy Meadows of Yreka was living in rural Siskiyou County during the December 1964 flood, one of the worst in California’s recorded history. Meadows’ father, a miner, had recently moved the family from Utah to a rough-hewn, historic bunkhouse in the tiny community of Forks of Salmon.

 As a boy in 1853, Orsen Stearns was one of the first pioneers to settle near today’s Phoenix, Ore.   Thirteen years later he started his own ranch south of Klamath Lake, in an area he had explored as a soldier at Fort Klamath.

In 1898, Ashland resident Thaddeus Powell, 28 years old, married and with a new baby at home, was feeling restless.  He told his wife, Laura, that he was either going to fight in the Spanish-American War over Cuba, The Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico or join the gold rush in Alaska.  Laura replied, “Well, you’re not going to war!”

A family farm on the hill above Ashland’s North Mountain Park has changed a lot in the last century.

As It Was - Episode 2265

As It Was - Episode 2260

  In the summer of 2013, forest fires north of the Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley filled the air with smoke. Physical landmarks such as Grizzly Peak and Mount Ashland disappeared in the haze. On especially bad days, people stayed indoors or wore masks outdoors. Some left town to escape the smoke.