As It Was: William Powell Becomes Known as Ashland’s Cider Man

Aug 2, 2018

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.

Soon Powell’s family owned several homes and ample acreage where he planted apple orchards.

Powell opened a confectionary store between Fourth and Fifth streets, next to the Chop House, or in present-day parlance, a steak house. The popular confectionary store was just a few blocks from the train depot and the depot hotel.  Behind his house on A Street, Powell began using a rudimentary press to make apple cider.   

Soon Powell became a fixture at the train depot, selling cider from his picturesque cart to passengers.  He expanded his operation by employing children to sell cider and fresh apples to the train passengers during the short layover at the depot for trains to take on fuel and water.  His cider became one of the most remembered parts of depot history. 

Passengers, train employees, and neighborhood children knew him as the “bearded cider man” who tipped his hat while offering a cup of cider.

Sources: Peterson, Joe. Images of America Ashland. Charleston, SC, Arcadia Publishing, 2009, p. 42; Waldron, Sue. “Growing Up in Ashland’s Railroad District.” Table Rock Sentinel, Mar. 1988, p. 9; Bynum, Jack. “Retirement Reorientation:  Short Stories and Tall Tales.”  Google Books, 2014, Accessed 9 July 2018; Darling, John. “Walking Through History: Free weekly tour offers glimpse into Railroad District Past.” Daily Tidings, 30 June 2018. Accessed 21 July 2018; National Register of Historic Places. Heritage Data, 1991, p. Sec. 8 Page 5, Accessed 9 July 2018.