Luana (Loffer) Corbin

As It Was Contributor

Luana (Loffer) Corbin was born and raised in Jackson County in the Phoenix area.  Her parents owned a farm and fruit orchard, and she spent her childhood in the country.  After graduating from St. Mary’s High School in Medford, Corbin enrolled at Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years.  She considered teaching at a small country school as a wonderful experience that helped her appreciate regional history.  After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.

Children and learning are her passions.  She lives with her husband, Richard, and a black lab, Kelly, on a small farm outside Phoenix.

In the early 1900s, Southern Oregon communities often held events to boost the economy and bring attention to their uniqueness.  One type of celebration, the industrial fair, publicized not only the civic organizations, but also the community’s businesses.

Pictures of Steve Oster show him with gold pan, pick and axe, a solitary prospector who mined in the Applegate area in the 1860s and 1870s.  Little is known about Oster, but many landmarks bear his first name.

Trained as a lawyer and teacher, Iowa-born Fred DeKor preferred stunt flying, especially looping the loop, flying upside down, spiral diving and other thrills.  Born in Iowa in 1878, DeKor had passed the Wisconsin Law School bar exam in 1910, but became better known as a daring “birdman” whose aerial acrobatics thrilled crowds across the country.

Born in Hartford, Conn., in 1867, George S. Calhoun moved West with his parents in 1888, eventually making Grants Pass his home where he operated a grocery store.

William Powell and his family came to the Oregon Territory after the Civil War and settled in the little town of Ashland, consisting of small woolen and flour mills and a Southern Pacific railroad depot.

All-Star baseballer Charlene “Shorty” Pryer of Medford, Ore., learned to play in California from her father.  After high school, she joined the Marine Corps Reserve and became a vocalist with the Dick Jurgens Orchestra, entertaining troops and working as one of the first female DJs in the country.

The Fort Klamath to Jacksonville Military Wagon Road that soldiers built in 1865 under the command of Capt. Franklin Sprague improved transportation routes in Southern Oregon.

Born in 1846, Annie Gaines loved the outdoors, and no obstacle seemed too great for her when she wanted adventure.

In 1944 during the Second World War, two Navy TBF Avenger bombers were flying over the Klamath Marsh area about 70 miles north of Klamath Falls, Ore., on a training mission from Pasco, Wash., to San Diego.

Eastern Oregon Rancher William “Bill Kitt” Kittredge was raised by pioneering parents.  His mother traveled by wagon on the Oregon Trail and his father emigrated West during the California Gold Rush of 1849.

The first person buried in the historic Stearns Cemetery on Anderson Creek Road west of Talent, Ore., was Judge Avery P. Stearns.  His nephew, David Stearns, buried the judge in the nephew’s wheat field in 1857.

Josef Slowikowski was born in Poland and grew up in a small village near Warsaw.  At age 17 he worked in the Nazi forced labor camps until the liberation.  In 1950, Slowikowski boarded the Queen Elizabeth in England and sailed to New York City.

The orchard boom of the 1900s stimulated rapid population growth in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley.  Among the new arrivals were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Madden of Chicago.  They bought acreage on Old Stage Road in the Central Point area, built a house and planted Fairview Orchards.

One of Southern Oregon’s outstanding teachers, Mae Beatrice Richardson, maiden name Nealon, was born near the Table Rocks in 1884 and lived and worked her entire life in Jackson County.

Today’s shoppers wheel carts through stores and head for the cash register.  It wasn’t always that way in Southern Oregon.

In 1919, three World War I aviators from Medford, Ore., Seely Hall, Floyd Hart, and Frank Farrell, formed an aviation corporation, the Medford Aeroplane, Co., and sold $100-shares to stockholders.  Their goal was to sell rides to Rogue Valley residents.

For a time, shallow Goose Lake had enough water to support a motor ferry promoting land sales in the Klamath Basin east of the Cascade Mountains.

During its 1900 July Fourth celebrations, Medford featured a hot air balloon daredevil, Professor Chris Nelson.  For a fee of $125, Nelson said he would ride a trapeze attached to the balloon to an elevation of 5,000 feet, jump from the balloon and parachute back to earth.

Close inspection of the tombstones in the cemetery located next to the church in the Josephine County ghost town of Golden reveals that none of them have legible markings on them.  It’s impossible to know who is buried there. That’s because no one is.

Although Jim Holland founded Holland, Ore., around 1877, the person who really built the town was Jack Smock, who arrived 18 years later.