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Post Offices Dot Jackson County Countryside


In the days before good roads and the first automobiles, delivering mail to small groups of settlers scattered over a wide area was a challenge in Southern Oregon.  Post offices sprung up near sparsely settled rural areas that never grew into full-fledged villages. One of them was the Asbestos Post Office located a half mile east of Evans Creek near where Chapman Creek Road and East Evans Creek Road intersect today.

Opening on Aug. 15, 1893, the office served some 60 people settled near some asbestos deposits. The post mistress, Miss Mary Sackett, said the office was 5 ½ miles north of Spikenard, the nearest post office on the same route.  Other post offices on the route included Beagle, 10 miles southeast of Asbestos and Sams Valley, 15 ½ miles to the south. The Asbestos office closed on Aug. 31, 1918.

A 1903 report on Oregon’s mineral resources acknowledged that “fair quality” asbestos had been discovered at Spikenard, but no production was underway.  A state report in 1916 reported the same. Some interest was shown in Jackson County asbestos during World War II, but no significant production resulted from it.

Sources: Van Gosen, Bradley S. "Reported Historic Asbestos Mines, Historic Asbestos Prospects, and Other Natural Occurrences of Asbestos in Oregon and Washington ." USGS Science for a Changing World . U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior, 2010. Web. 2 Oct. 2014; Jackson County Post Offices, historical documents. Ed. Pat Harper. Southern Oregon Historical Society, 11 July 2013. Web. 2 Oct. 2014; Stafford, O.F. "Mineral Resources and Mineral Industries of Oregon." University of Oregon Bulletin I.4 (1904): 5. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. http://www.jeffersonminingdistrict.com/The_mineral_resources_and_mineral_industry_of-Oregon_1903.pdf; "Jackson County 1916." Southern Oregon History, Revised. Ed. Ben Truwe. 2014. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.

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 before retiring in Ashland.