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Town of Placer Serves as Mining Center in Josephine County

The town of Placer, Ore., served as a mining center for the Tom East and Upper Grave Creek mines in Southern Oregon.

The town, originally established in 1885 as “Tom East,” got its name from an Oregon miner who had prospected and mined along the Rogue River.  At least three creeks also bear his name.

Pioneer landowner L. M Browning platted the town in 1898.  Newell Fillmore Inman applied for the first post office in 1893.  The name changed to Placer in 1894 because of the number of placer mines in the area.  The post office closed down in 1924.

Placer grew rapidly with development of the Columbia placer mine and the rich Greenback Quartz Mine. The town had two hotels, two variety stores, a newspaper, and three saloons. The town of Greenback was founded in 1902 by Carey Thompson, who wouldn’t allow saloons, so anyone looking for a drink had to go to Placer, an important stop on the stagecoach line between New Leland and the Greenback Mine.

Placer, located in Josephine County a few miles east of Interstate 5, is a ghost town today.


Sources:  “Placer, Oregon.”  Wikipedia.  Web. 16 Aug. 2005.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placer,_Oregon;  McLane, Larry.  “Placer, Oregon History.” Web. 17 Aug. 2015. http://www.webtrail.com/history/placer.shtml 

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from 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. 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.