Jim Long

As It Was Contributor

Dr. James S. Long was an As It Was contributor right up until his passing in January of 2016. He met editor Kernan Turner when Kernan spoke to the Roseburg writers’ club about contributing to JPR's As Is Was series. Kernan inspired Jim to look for historically-important stories in the northern part of the State of Jefferson. As a retired professor, Jim felt compelled to seek out stories that related to his interests in the natural and social sciences. His contributions to As It Was ranged from Father Wilbur of the Wilbur Academy in the mid-1800s, to the recovery of the whitetail deer at the old Dunning Ranch, to the story of Nick Botner’s private orchard near Yoncalla created to preserve over 3,000 heritage apple varieties.

Nineteen-year-old John Lucian Gardner of Eugene joined the Oregon Mounted Volunteers in 1855 to fight against the Indians of Southern Oregon.  He died in an ambush a few months later, his body buried in an unmarked grave in the Riddle family cemetery in Riddle, Ore.

When a small warplane rose from a Japanese submarine and dropped incendiary bombs near Brookings, Ore., during World War II, it failed to ignite any forest fires as intended.  However, the bombing, and similar threats on the U.S. west and east coasts, did prompt enhanced U.S. Coast Guard vigilance.

Churches played an important role in establishing schools in the West.  One of Southern Oregon’s earliest church affiliated schools was the Wilbur Academy, founded in 1854 by Methodist minister James Wilbur.  It prepared students to attend Willamette University in Salem.

Since the 1920's, Oakridge, Ore., had been recognized as the heart of the surrounding timber empire.  That ended by 1992 when the community’s two sawmills -- and principal employers -- closed down.

During contentious times in the early 1990’s, conversations between an environmentalist in the Applegate River watershed and a logger revealed common interests about forest management. They invited others to a series of community meetings to explore how watershed conservation and timber cutting could coexist. 

During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps, known by its initials as the CCC, built the Glide Ranger Station to house the staff of the northern district of the Umpqua National Forest.

In 1867, George Nurse founded Linkville, Ore., named after the river that links the Klamath Lakes.  City boosters got the name changed to Klamath Falls in 1893. A descendent of Nurse, Earl Sheridan, staked a claim on what he believed were inherited mineral rights, pitched a tent, and stood guard with a shotgun. He stayed on the alert through a bout of appendicitis, but quit when his lawyer determined Nurse had deeded the mineral rights to the city.

Douglas County volunteers formed an organization named Sane Orderly Development and registered it with the Oregon Secretary of State as a non-profit corporation in 1987.  Known by its acronym, SOD, its purpose is to compare proposed local land-use changes and decisions with Oregon’s state land-use goals.  It makes its findings known to residents and public officials.



Beginning in 1857, being an Oregon lighthouse keeper was more than maintaining the warning beacon for ships at sea.  It also meant carrying a pail of lard oil from storage up more than 100 steps each night; repairing, cleaning and polishing the lenses; and keeping a daily journal of all activities, including receiving visitors.

Farms in Douglas County, Ore., have grown melons commercially since the early 1880’s. A photograph from 1886 shows horse-drawn wagons full of melons near Grants Pass waiting for shipment by rail. Even earlier, in August 1859, an itinerate preacher traveling by train from near present-day Dixonville to Ashland, Ore., noted in his journal, “The conductor gave me a watermelon.”

The first American ship to round Cape Horn and touch shore in Oregon near today’s Tillamook was the Lady Washington, named for President Washington’s wife, Martha.  Capt. Robert Gray sailed the 90-ton sloop from Boston to the Pacific Northwest in the late 1700’s to trade for otter pelts.

Nearly forgotten, lifelong writings by Oregon pioneer Lucinda Ann Woodward-Horning passed in a sugar sack from one family to another. They were nearly forgotten when they found a home recently with great granddaughter Jan Barba Horn of Myrtle Creek, Ore.

The beautiful but invasive and noxious Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) probably arrived in Oregon in the mid-1800’s from European shippers who had packed cases of whiskey bound for California with fresh-cut bundles of the plant. Oregon engineers planted the yellow-blooming shrub in sand dunes and along roads to prevent soil erosion, bakers used Scotch broom to clean cooking surfaces of brick ovens, and plant nurseries sold Scotch broom as an ornamental in California starting in the 1860’s.

A film produced in the 1940's, titled “Redwood Saga,” tells the story of how loggers chopped down California coastal redwood trees in the 1940's.  The producer, Guy Haselton, filmed the 10-minute, black-and-white movie in 1946.  It demonstrates how the redwoods, “now the object of awe and protection, were then regarded simply as commercial assets.”  Home builders around the world sought the redwood lumber because of its beauty and resistance to termites and disease.


The late Quentin Breen invested in cell towers and spent his earnings to preserve the history of railroading.   In 1987, Breen established the Train Mountain Railroad Club between Klamath Falls and Crater Lake in the town of Chiloquin, Ore.

Douglas County residents have expressed interest in flying ever since the Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, N. C., in 1903.

The Bybee Springs and Health Resort, built in 1892 near Wimer, Ore., offered its guests reputed health benefits of the water.

In 1995, the Oregon legislature authorized formation of community watershed councils to enhance the quality of water in their catchments or drainage areas.


In December 2014, Roseburg, Ore.’s Stewart Park celebrated the 100th birthday of Steam Engine No. 1229  with a party.  One 9-year-old at the party described the 67-ton, oil-burning steam engine as “a beautiful piece of history.”


A fire lookout in the 1950s, Lois Christiansen Eagleton of Umpqua, Ore., vividly remembers the four summers when she earned about $250 a month for college.

The first two summers she looked out over the Three Sisters Mountains in Central Oregon. The next two summers, near Fossil, Ore., in Eastern Oregon, she had a panoramic view of what she called a “string of pearls,” snow-capped peaks stretching from Mount Shasta in California to Mount Rainier in Washington.