As It Was

Classics & News: Mon-Fri • 9:30am & 1pm | News & Information: Mon-Fri • 9:57am

Colorful vignettes dedicated to the regional history of Southern Oregon and Northern California. As It Was is an all volunteer effort -- produced by Raymond Scully and narrated by Shirley Patton in partnership with writers from the Southern Oregon Historical Society.

If you have a writing background and would like to submit an As It Was essay for consideration, email your written piece to

A collection of As It Was essays is available in a high-quality paperback book at the JPR Online Store.  Each episode is also available below.

Twenty-seven miles west of Grants Pass is a small town once named Napoleon.  The town started out as Kerbyville, but is known today as simply Kerby.

In 1851, Ernest Kidder, a partner, and five mules were packing supplies to their mining partners on the Salmon River from Trinidad, Calif.  The trail was narrow and high above the river.

In 1929, George O. Knapp, a wealthy entrepreneur, announced plans to build a hospital at Crescent City, Calif.  He already had been instrumental in transforming the Santa Barbara (Calif.) Cottage Hospital into a premier facility.

A major business property owner, Charles W. Palm, was a familiar figure in Medford, Ore., often seen downtown with his wife, Callie, and their two cocker spaniel dogs.

An amendment to the Constitution saying equal rights under the law cannot be denied or abridged on the basis of sex was originally proposed in 1923 and passed by Congress on March 22, 1972.

The National Register of Historic Places has listed a road system in Crater Lake National Park as worthy of preservation.  The Army Corps of Engineers built the historic road segments during the summers of 1913 through 1918.

The Grange in Happy Camp, Calif., formed two youth baseball teams in 1924 that played against teams from other towns.  A local poet named “Rex” described their enthusiasm:

A school carnival held at the Woodman Hall in March 1924 raised funds to defray the expenses of high school students attending a two-week summer program at the Oregon Agricultural College in Corvallis.

An automobile trip along the Oregon South Coast required stamina and optimism in the early days.  Wes Hartman of Jacksonville remembered driving to the coast with his father, Jason, in late June 1923 in their Chevy touring car, camping and fishing along the way.

During the golden age of Hollywood, moving picture theaters were the social center of small towns.  In 1940, Merle Alger helped construct an art-deco theater in Lakeview, Ore.


Born in 1817, early Siskiyou pioneer Elijah Steele grew up in New York, where he practiced law for several years before leaving for California in 1849.

One spring in Northern California, a miner known as Smith was preparing to return home to his family in Illinois with $2,000 in gold dust.  He kept it on his body during the day and used it as a pillow when he slept at night.

Within a year of tossing around the idea, Bandon had its first golf course.

The Oregon Geographic Names Board will meet in 2020 to consider the naming or renaming of geographic features, including eight in Southern Oregon.

Born in Louisiana in 1901, Carlton Errol Morse became the oldest of six children.  His family moved often, coming west to San Francisco in 1906.  The same year they relocated to a fruit and dairy farm on Anderson Creek near Talent, Ore.

In the movie, four boys are walking across a railroad bridge, one of them on hands and knees.  The bridge has no railings and drops off about 100 feet to the rocky water below.  The train arrives, and the crawling boy can’t escape in time.  After a hair-raising moment, one of the other boys goes back to get him and they both tumble over the end of the bridge to safety.

Steam rising next to the Klamath Falls A-Canal bike trail on winter mornings draws swimmers to the Ella Redkey Pool.


Thomas King was born in Ireland and left home at age 12, roamed the United Kingdom until he committed a felony, and was shipped to confinement in Australia.

In 1946, while cleaning out an old building to house the Yreka office of the California Highway Department, an employee found a battered old account book.  It contained the records for the pioneer store of F.J. King from the years 1868 to 1871. The account book is preserved at the Siskiyou County Historical museum, offering a fascinating glimpse into pioneer life.

In 1843, one of the first things the new governor of the Oregon Territory did was try to find a better Oregon Trail.