Kernan Turner

As It Was Editor & Coordinator

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP.  His assignments included the World Desk in New York City and 27 years as a foreign correspondent and bureau chief, living and working in Mexico and Central America, South America, the Caribbean and the Iberian Peninsula. His final assignment was as chief of Iberian Services in Madrid, Spain. He retired in Ashland, his birthplace,  in 2002, with his wife, Betzabé “Mina” Turner, an Oregon certified court interpreter.  He and his wife are active boosters of Ashland’s Sister City connection with Guanajuato, Mexico.

When the twin-propeller steamer Mazama made the first trip up the crooked Wood River 110 years ago, the feat was hailed as an easy route to Crater Lake.

The Klamath County Museum’s latest e-mail newsletter contains a 130-year-old clipping from the Daily Astorian newspaper about a man who treed a buck deer.  The story goes like this:

Since 1993, the Klamath County Museum in Klamath Falls, Ore., has displayed a 7,700-year-old relic of the Mount Mazama volcanic explosion that created the Crater Lake caldera.  The ancient object is known as the Mazama Tree.

Not far from Ashland, Ore., there are two deep, dead-end holes in a Siskiyou mountain.

Lorane, Ore, a Lane County community established in the early 1850’s by settlers seeking free land, was connected to Southern Oregon by the Applegate Trail which passed close to nearby Cottage Grove to the East.

When the Applegate family moved to Yoncalla, Ore., in 1848, they made friends with Chief Halotish, or Halo, leader of the regional Kalapuya tribe.  He and his family helped the Applegates farm and cared for their livestock.

Dead Indian Memorial Road that leads over the mountains east of Ashland, Ore., got its start as a wagon road in the late 1850s that later connected with roads leading to the Fort Klamath military outpost. Today, it’s a well maintained, paved county route that avoids the long drive to White City for motorists headed from Ashland to the Lake of the Woods or Klamath Falls.

Southeast Oregon’s Fossil Lake has attracted amateur fossil collectors and paleontologists since the l880s, but a recent discovery astounded University of Oregon scientists.

A meeting of genealogical researchers in 1964 in Gold Hill, Ore., led to the birth of the Progenitors Forum of Southern Oregon, precursor of the present-day Rogue Valley Genealogical Society.

The U.S. Army rushed to build an airport in Lakeview, Ore., in 1942, completing two 5,200-foot-long runways in 18 months.

Gardeners facing problems of deer eating their roses might consider how one enterprising farmer in Curry County, Ore., persuaded the munchers to stay out of his oat field 100 years ago.

James Ivory saw his first movie when he was five at a theater in Klamath Falls, Ore.  Eighty-four years later, he has become the oldest person ever to receive an Oscar at the Academy Awards.

In 1970, emigrant trail enthusiasts founded non-profit Trail West, Inc. to research, locate and mark the pioneer trails to California and Oregon.  Since then, it has placed 700 markers on 2,000 miles of trails across Southern Idaho, Utah and Nevada, and into California and Oregon.

The rancher and co-author of the book titled The Oregon Desert, Reub Long, contributed some folksy humor about the lack of water on Southeastern Oregon’s high desert.

Here’s a tall tale from Curry County recounted by Bill Wallace for the Curry Historical Society.  It goes like this:

Crater Lake National Park features a deep blue lake inside the volcanic caldera of Mount Mazama, which blew its top about 7,700 years ago.  The mountain was 12,140 feet high, its summit a mile higher than the surface of the lake today.

The first Europeans to explore the Klamath Basin on foot and horseback in the early 1820s were amazed at how the Indigenous people near present-day Klamath Falls, Ore., depended more on canoes than
horses.  When the army, gold miners and settlers arrived by mid-century, they too relied on water travel.

Alarm spread through Medford, Ore., one morning in 1917 when residents found small cards on front porches or slipped under their doors with the message, “You Will DIE This Christmas,” with DIE in capital letters.

Crater Lake National Patrol Ranger Alice Siebecker was pursuing a speeding car on the park’s south entrance road in 1982 when the car exploded, ran off the road, and flew 500 feet through the air into an embankment.

Right after World War II, the government offered returning veterans homesteads in the Tule Lake Basin near the California border with Oregon.