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.

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.

Esther “Etta” Soulé was born in a log house in the Little Shasta Valley in Siskiyou County, Calif.  She and several other Soulé children grew up in the area and were educated at a rough-board, box-shaped schoolhouse built in 1860.

In 1963, lightning struck the house of Charles and Ruth Capello in the small logging town of Butte Falls, Ore., burning it to the ground.  The community’s old fire truck had a dead battery and the Forest Service was not prepared to fight a house fire.

Born in 1894, Alfred F. Ross, Jr. was the third generation of his family to call Shasta County, Calif., home.  He was the son of Albert and Lizzie Greer Ross.

For a girl on the Oregon Coast in 1895, Francis Hofsess, her most prized possession was a plaster of Paris effigy of a lovely woman’s head and bust.

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:

Adella V. Weaver spent her childhood in Yreka, Calif., where her father mined.  In a memoir, she shared some interesting episodes, noting that she and other children had the freedom to roam at will.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet said “Let Hercules himself do what he may. The cat will mew and the dog will have his day.” One of those days was in April, 1981, when the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland needed a dog for the play “Two Gentleman of Verona.”

In 1879, famed science-fiction writer Jules Verne wrote a book about a utopian city called Ville-France, run by a French doctor, and a German city run by an evil scientist.  The book was called “The Begum’s Fortune,” after an East Indian widow who bequeathed her riches to the two men.

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.

The winter of 1889-90 was hard on man and beast in Trinity County, Calif.  The snow was 17 feet deep at Denny.  Deer perished by the hundreds and a local butcher, Jim Mullane, lost his entire beef herd.

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

In 1883, Ottilie Parker and her sister received an invitation to attend a spring wedding at Gold Beach, Ore., 70 miles from their home on the Coquille River.

How does a cook separated from his kitchen feed 40 hungry people while traveling in the mountains in a covered wagon train?

The discovery and publicizing of Crater Lake came about in fits and starts in the mid-1800s, as stories of a great body of water emerged from a variety of sources.

Samuel Handsaker quit school at the age of 11 and emigrated from England to Alton, Ill.   He lacked a formal education, but was a gifted writer and observer.

Since 1953, the town of Rogue River, Ore., has held a rooster crowing contest every June.  Shade Combs got the idea from an article he read about rooster competitions among Welsh miners.

The one-room Rock Hill School on Old Hill Road southwest of Lebanon, Ore., has served as a school, church, and community center.

Ten-year-old Pete Scott won $25,000 and a role in a TV commercial in August 1981.  Born and abandoned in New Jersey, Pete had been adopted when he was young and moved with his family to Central Point, Ore.

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.